I live here in the Philippines in a nice town called Dumaguate. It has many advantages over bigger cities in the Philippines, for which there are quite a few. People love visiting or living in places like Dumaguete for several reasons, not to mention its cleaner, safer, more relaxed, there’s less traffic, the people are friendlier, and you’re a lot closer to nature.
Those are pretty much the reasons I lived to Dumauguete from the nasty city of Cebu in a nut shell, with one addition: I wanted to live a healthier lifestyle.
That’s not easy to in the Philippines. As I’ve lamented and moaned about for a year now, the food in this country of 7,500 islands is downright miserable. That is, unless you love fat, processed foods, sugars and chemicals, everything fried and cooked in oil, super heavy fatty meats, and fast food. Seriously, it’s that bad.
So, when I moved to Dumauguete, I took it upon myself to make a concerted effort to eat healthier than the average Filipino or average beer-swilling fat-gutted expat. Much to my delight, I discovered that my new apartment was only 3- minute bike ride from the Daro Farmers Market.
It may not look like much form the outside – just a covered series of dark wood stalls on the corner lot off the main road, but it’s got just about everything you need. I also found out that it’s not open every day, but some early mornings and then certain afternoons every week. I’ve been told that Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays are the best days.
A Closer Look at the Farmers Market
But a walk through the market confirms that it is a true farmers market, as each of these vendors packs up their goods and comes down to the big “city” to rent a stall and sell their fruits, veggies, and other stuff independently.
A walk through and I’ll regular find squash, jack fruit, hot peppers, eggplant, spinach and other lettuce greens (super hard to find), fresh corn, cucumbers, mini tomatoes, green beans, carrots, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a lot.
They also have fresh ginger (love it!) and turmeric.
Of course, fruit is easier in the Philippines, so at this farmers market there’s an abundance of pineapple, jack fruit, durian, coconuts, apples, oranges, little limes (they call them calamansi or lemons), avocados, and bananas.
While these are definitely fresh and organic, you’ll notice that many of these look different than you might buy in the states, are smaller, and even taste different. For instance, their avocados are mostly dark green or black and don’t have much taste and only are ripe for a couple of days at most.
But it’s still great to be able to go through and buy all of this stuff. Each vendor has their own prices and you can haggle, then take it all home in bags or boxes. They even have amazing fresh fish and chicken they cut up and sell in the market, although I’m not yet used to unrefrigerated and fly-plagued meat in the heat.
Since I don’t want to visit the market every couple of days to buy what I need (I don’t have time and I don’t really cook), I’m just hiring a nice Filipina to go shopping for me, and cut up everything in little individual baggies which I can put in my freezer and take out for smoothies daily.
A perfect way to eat healthy, thanks to the Daro Farmers Market.