Vegan's Chronicles + [travel]

Alien's Day Out in Manila: Legazpi Market

I'm baaack!! (miss me much?)

Phew, I had such a wonderful trip, it's going to be really hard to try to blog about all the beauty I saw and the delicious food I got to taste in a way that does it all justice. I'll do my best though! I have a buttload of photos to share, so I'm going to have to break things up into smaller blog entries... So please bear with me as this blog temporarily becomes 'Alien's Day Out in the Philippines.'

So, this was my second time in the Philippines- the first being a Habitat for Humanity trip in High School, where we went to Cebu. I would've loved to visit a completely new Asian country, but I have no regrets! This trip was totally different from my first experience. Since my friend Chris is currently living and working in Manila for a short period of time, it just made sense to take advantage of the opportunity to visit him in his new stomping ground. So last Saturday, Yunseo (another friend) and I hopped on a plane for Manila. Within Manila, Chris lives in Makati, which is the most developed and modern part (financial district) of the city. I honestly felt like I was in LA, what with the warm weather, impressive high-rise buildings, palm trees lining the streets, and the huge Greenbelt Mall. It actually made me miss So-Cal... :P

Anyway, on our first day, Chris took us to see the Legazpi Market, which is a parking-lot-turned-farmers'-market that opens every Sunday, filled with stalls of the freshest produce, baked goodies, beauty products, art, jewelery, clothing, you name it. This was literally a 5 minute walk from Chris' apartment! It simply blew me away. There was sooo much to see, taste, and enjoy~ And so much of it was very animal/earth-friendly!

A cornucopia of fresh, organic veggies and fruit. Stunning.

Can you understand when I say that my eyes were literally boggling out of my head? I got so happy seeing fruit that I grew up on in Ghana, like mangoes, guavas, papaya, and soursop. And ofcourse, I couldn't just admire them- I had to buy! It's shopping amidst such superabundance of fresh produce that gets me really high and excited. I'm not a big fan of shopping in general, but I have no problem spending all my time and money on delicious produce.

Check out dem jackfruit. They're like pudgy babies, except that you wouldn't want to pinch their cheeks.

The insides of the jackfruit. I wish I had tried some of this cuz now I'm curious as to what they taste like...

One stall was selling an array of sweet, sticky, coconut rice, wrapped in leaves. The lady there let us taste some of them, and they were incredible. I imagine they would make a very satisfying, snack or dessert.

Chris got a purple one with yam on the inside. This was soooo good! I loved the way they were packaged, and how you had to squeeze the rice out like toothpaste. :) I honestly wanted to buy one of each flavor, but I had to save my stomach for all the other foods I was going to try~

I believe this colorful dessert is called 'sapin-sapin'. I asked the lady what went in it, and she said "rice, flour, sugar." I'm not sure if it's totally vegan, but it looks beautiful, no? Kinda like rainbow ddeok.

Mm~ roasting chestnuts!

A huge barrel of steaming hot peanuts.

When I wasn't trying to take in all the awesomeness that surrounded me, I was sweating a river, quite literally. Perhaps it was because Yunseo and I had just come from the still relatively cold spring weather of Korea, but the sweltering heat and humidity of Manila seemed the most intense that day. So to avoid dehydration and to replenish our electrolytes, we got some fresh coconut water- something you can never get in Korea~ :)

There were also a lot of foreigners with their own stalls, selling more Western-style foods, like bread, quiche, and hand-painted t-shirts. I loved seeing the diversity at the market.

Creative garlic-woven baskets.

Some non-edible baskets and boxes...

I bought some of these soaps because they smelled heavenly~

Live music! I love that one guy can drum and drink from his coconut at the same time.

We also found a vendor selling vegan cookies~ Ofcourse I had to get one! I gotta show support for my fellow vegan bakers. :)

There was even a stall with "rawlicious" green smoothies.

... and another one juicing wheatgrass!

Chris made me try my very first wheatgrass shot! Um... the taste was... okay... . hehe. It was like having a freshly-cut lawn in my mouth. It actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and it was gone in one quick swallow. All in the name of good health, I s'pose! :)

So that was the spectacular Legazpi Market. I was really impressed with the variety of healthy, veg-friendly options, and it felt really great supporting local, independent vendors and creative types. It was the perfect (albeit sweaty) way to kick start my vacation! And that was just the first half of the first day... . :) Much, much more to come, so stay tuned!