Eating greens ranks first among the healthiest forms of diet, said many health experts including America’s most trusted online health information resource, WebMD.  However; most of us Filipinos especially in the city don’t get to eat much green or other vegetable. One of the reasons is that the prices of fresh produce that can be bought in the city usually exceed our allotted food budget.
But fret not, because there are the bagsakan (open area where fresh produce suppliers drop off their goods for wholesale purposes) local wet markets where you can find fresh greens that will surely fit your limited food allowance. Quiapo, Manila is a good place to start. ShoppersGuide has visited Quiapo recently to give you tips and recommendations when buying fresh goods in the area. First tip, of course, is to bring with you a sturdy bayong for all your fruits and vegetable finds.
Villalobos and Hidalgo Streets
Right in front of Quiapo Church, Villalobos Street is filled with several rows of street vendors selling lush, green veggies. According to one of the regular vendors, they are up on the street as early as six in the morning until seven to eight in the evening.
The corner of Hidalgo and Villalobos Streets is where the stalls of dried fishes are—the famous tuyo and tinapa. These are tagged PhP20 to PhP50 per sort.
Galunggong at the corner Hidalgo and Villalobos Streets
Leafy vegetables like kangkong, cabbage, pechay, lettuce, spinach, mustard greens, and broccoli are also available along the street. Many vendors are selling almost the same goods so it’s advisable to do a survey to get a good bargain. However, always remember to not compromise the freshness of the vegetables for lower prices.
You can already fill your bayong with greens by visiting just one stall. (Photo by Writer)
Kangkong and camote tops can cost around PhP15 per bundle. Yard-long beans or sitaw cost PhP10 to PhP20 per bundle while sigarillas are priced PhP15 per bundle. A bundle of bitter melon (usually three small pieces) costs about PhP30 to PhP50; the bigger ones, PhP30 per piece.
Basic ingredients like garlic, onions, and tomatoes are plenty in Hidalgo Street.
Meanwhile, the first part of Hidalgo Street, going to SM Clearance Outlet, welcomes the crowd with basic ingredients like garlic, onions, and tomatoes. These can be bought for as low as PhP10 per pack. Note, though, that prices may vary per stall, season, and day.
Fruit stalls also line up Hidalgo Street.
Another spot for juicy and healthy finds is just right by the entrance to SM Clearance Outlet, at the end of Hidalgo Street. Pears, apple, lemon, orange, ponkan, pomelo, grapes—name it, they have it!
The Art of Haggling
Local markets are a proof that being healthy doesn’t need to be expensive. One tip from tiangge shopping aficionados is to look for the items with the lowest prices. According to Consumer Reports survey, 89% of those who had haggled for a better deal saved money at least once. There’s no harm in trying. Politely ask the vendors for lower prices or, at least, ask them to give you one more piece of that fruit for free! Who knows, you might find a trusty regular supplier of fresh goods.
Quinta Market, famously known as Quiapo Market, was closed in July 2015 for rehabilitation. There are stalls where market vendors are temporarily located so buyers could still find affordable and healthy foods within the area.
Although Quiapo has been known for being home to various religious sectors, we should take extra alertness when roaming around the place. There’s too much crowd during Fridays (Quiapo Day) and Sundays of every week, so always beware of petty thieves. If you want to avoid large crowds, go on early weekdays when people are not yet around. If possible, don’t bring or wear expensive valuables. Make sure as well to bring only money you will spend based on your projected shopping budget. Also use a bayong or eco bags instead of plastic as a little contribution to saving our environment.
Parking and Directions
Parking areas are scattered around Quiapo: one in front of Quiapo Church within Plaza Miranda; another one in Quezon Boulevard in front of BPI and Chowking going to Raon; and, more in some parts of Avenida. However, it is advisable to commute via public transportations when going to wet markets, like Quiapo, to avoid congestion in the area.
From South, you can reach Quiapo by bus and jeepney bound to Fairview, Cubao, España, Dapitan, or Blumentritt. Buses will drop you off along Quezon Blvd. From North, there are buses, jeepneys, and SUVs going to Taft or Baclaran that will take you right beside Quiapo Church. It is also accessible through LRT Line 1. Get off at Carriedo Station, walk a few steps, and you’ll get to Quiapo Church and Plaza Miranda.