9 Years of Palengke: The Salcedo Market
By N Mark Castro
Every emergent social class has what Antonio Gramsci calls “organic intellectuals” who articulate the ideas, values, and aspirations of the community and press for change in social relations inimical to that class.
Now that I’ve waxed something that sounded seemingly philosophical, let’s go back to our regular programming.
Back in the ancient time of the Philippines in the 80s, the Unimart Supermarket was among the most exciting places one could visit in the old Greenbelt area. I have fond memories of my childhood there when my parents would take me, and we kids would rush to get our own fill as if there would be a forthcoming doomsday.
On weekends there would be a bunch of old ladies plying their organic produce on the side of the supermarket, and it grew in size in terms of participating vendors, all healthy-conscious people, and I knew it was the end of the world.
Until about the time I left for Jakarta, 9 years ago, they’ve demolished the old Unimart Supermarket in Greenbelt and never knew what became of those health-conscious old ladies. Until I heard of the Salcedo Market where they seem to have transferred, at least for some vendors I got to know then.
Located between the corners of Leviste and Toledo, the Salcedo Market boasts the largest organic produce in Makati City, where young, hip people meet with the health-conscious senior citizens of the land. The market is only open on weekends and has now become a mainstay in Makati where even foreign expats come to look around the many vendors.
Locals and foreign residents meet
And it’s both surprising and amazing that it has lasted all these years, with a mixed array of exquisite Spanish-influenced and American-influenced food, with a touch of Asian flair.
Organic vegetables, herbs and spices to add flavor to your home-cooked meal.
While home-cooked and freshly baked pastries and cakes are available for those with a sweet tooth.
While food is served by the bucket whether to dine in the place or use it as your office food for the week.
You can taste a few of the samples being offered – bits of Suman (sweetened rice cakes), some Dalandan (local green-skinned oranges) and Rambutan.
Your nose will lead you to the smoke emanating from the far corner where several stands were grilling sweetly spiced pork skewers, pork belly, tuna jaw and even whole Tilapia.
There was also a lechon (roast pig) or lechon baka (roast beef) stand where pre-packaged crispy crackling and slices of roast pork were ready to be eaten right there.
In here, you’ll find people doing their weekly shopping armed with their own cloth carrier bags and appropriately dressed for the heat in tank-tops, shorts, and flip-flops.
But one of my most favorite finds in the place is this —
And was so glad to have introduced my Dad to this long before he passed away.
And although markets are meant to be a meandering affair where young and not-so-young parents are out there doing their “palengke” time, their kids can safely play here: