Laag-Laag sa Cebu (Part 15): Taboan the Pasalubong Center of Cebu City

Taboan Market Pasalubong Center of Cebu

"Bili ka ng danggit" - is the usual spiel of my Beloved Wife Lei whenever I have a trip to Cebu.

What the wife commands the good husband obeys so I dedicated a day to visit the pasalubong center of Cebu City, which is none other than the Taboan (Tabo-an) Market.

Taboan Market in Cebu City

I have been to Cebu so many times but I still have a hard time going to Taboan Market. There was an instance that I reached Carbon Market instead of Taboan. Losing my way was not a total disaster since I got the chance to visit the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.

My visits to Taboan Market are dizzying experiences not only because of the strong odor of dried seafood but also of the variety of dried fishes for sale here. First time visitors will be amazed by the sheer volume of dried goodies.

Dried seafood for sale in Taboan Market, Cebu City

I thought that Taboan was so called because dried seafood is "tabo tabo sa sobrang dami!" Well, I was wrong.

I read from the article of Clarence Paul Oaminal in Freeman that Taboan Market was established after the Tres de Abril Battle between the Katipuneros and the Spaniards. The revolutionaries lost the battle and the colonial government arrested almost all the residents of the San Nicolas District where many of the Katipuneros came from.

San Nicolas became a ghost town since the residents fled to the mountains to avoid arrest and interrogation.

The responsibility for reviving the town fell to a certain Teniente Indong and some San Nicolas officials who were released from the prison in Fort San Pedro. They revived San Nicolas by establishing a market in a place called Tagbu-an, where the consumers from the city and the vendors from the mountains would meet.

The place eventually became the center of trade in the Visayas where produce from the seas and mountains are sold. In time Tagbu-an became Tabo-an.

Buyers of danggit and other dried seafood in Taboan Market, Cebu City

I thought that danggit is the Visayan word for "dry" or "dried". Lei laughs at me whenever I ask if she wants the "danggit na pusit" aside from "danggit na isda". I was wrong because danggit is the local name for rabbitfish.

Dried Danggit in Taboan Market in Cebu City

I bought dried danggit for Lei and I also bought dried squid, which is my favorite. We usually fry them and then dip then in vinegar. It is best paired with sinangag.

Aside from dried seafood, I also saw other Cebu pasalubong like the langgonisa hanging like fat hair strands.

Longganisa for sale in Taboan Market in Cebu City

Those sausages are enticing but Lei didn't want it because they are exposed to the elements and flies.

I also saw Cebu pasalubong sweets from like broas, otap, and dried mangoes. However, I didn't buy from Taboan because I prefer to buy directly from Shamrock. Souvenirs such as key chains and ref magnets are also available in Taboan.

Souvenirs for sale in Taboan Market, Cebu City

A visit to Taboan is truly overwhelming. I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of dried seafood. I was also overwhelmed by the fishy odor that sticks to my shirt.

If you are a visitor to Cebu, I suggest that you drop by Taboan and buy all your Cebu pasalubong in one go.


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  1. Aw. We went to Cebu but I don't remember going to Taboan. I wish I've read this before going so I could tell the driver. lol

    1. I am sure that you didn't go because if you do then you will remember the baskets of so many dried fish and the smell that will cling on your clothes.

  2. Reminds me of the Filipino market in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

    1. Wow. Did you already blog about the Filipino market in Sabah?

  3. I love market, so many interesting things to see.


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