Great Things You Can Buy at the Carbon Public Market

A tricycle driver enjoys a cup of juice at the Carbon Public Market.

You will rarely run out of things to do in Cebu City. You can eat in a lot of restaurants and carenderias, and you can buy gifts and groceries in a selection of malls. There is even a place where you can do all of these things at a drastically low cost, a place that is also very accessible.

Here you can shop, buy your essentials, and go on an affordable food trip. Enter the Carbon Public Market!

The Carbon Market is the biggest and oldest public market in Cebu City. You can pretty much find anything here — from flowers to cheap clothing, and anything else under the sun. It’s like a smaller version of a mall, but with only the bare essentials.

You can find some of Cebu’s most popular street foods here, as well as have a taste of some of the local’s favorite dishes. You can also buy accessories like shoes and watches. Also, expect very friendly vendors who are always up for a long conversation.

Carbon was once an area for merchants to drop goods that were delivered through trains. It got its name from what Cebuanos used to call coal. It is located in Barangay Ermita, right across from the University of San Jose – Recoletos. Years later it has become a very popular Cebu tourist spot and the city’s go-to Farmers Market.

You can also walk to other popular places in Metro Cebu. You can go to Colon Street or visit the famous Magellan’s Cross.

Wholesale suppliers also drop off their products to have them sold to the masses. The Public Market is indeed a great place to buy some of the best Central Visayas products.


A bouquet of flowers is a common product sold at the Public Market.

You can buy bouquets of flowers at the well known Freedom Park. Located in front of Carbon along Magallanes Street, you can easily find this place since it is only beside the road. Many kinds of flowers are sold here. You can buy them individually, and you can also ask the sellers to set up a bouquet for you.

Flowers in the Carbon Market are usually imported from the mountain provinces of Cebu City. Wholesalers arrive very early to drop off their products to retailers.

You can also see more people selling flowers during Valentine’s day and All Souls Day. People ask sellers to create flower arrangements for a special someone, or a fallen loved one.

Souvenirs and Gifts

A woman stands with her many makeshift products at the Carbon Market.

If you wish to buy gifts and souvenirs, Carbon is still a good place to go. Baskets and ornaments made from local products can be seen around the market. This highlights the importance of public markets, as it helps greatly with the local economy.

You can also buy other accessories like gloves and cheap G-Shock looking watches. If you need to replace something inside your house, there are some stores that sell cheap hardware. There are also some that sell small bags in case you need something to put your purchased items in.

During Christmas time, all kinds of ornaments and lanterns are sold, as well as Christmas trees. There’s no need for you to go to a mall where everyone is rushing to buy their gifts because Carbon has got it all for you.

This makes Carbon a Metro Cebu City staple.


A rack full of clothes at a Carbon Market stall.

There is also an area for ukay-ukays, a term used for a Filipino thrift shop. You can go to the market to buy new shirts, jeans, and even jackets. Some of these are famous brands that were once used. Dig in and maybe you can find a great bargain deal.

Maybe you want some good looking shoes? Carbon has that, too! Before buying though, be aware that there are many cheap knock-offs, but you will hardly be able to tell the difference between an original and the ones sold at the market.

Just make sure to wash them right after you buy them since there is no knowing where these clothes have gone before they were sold. Once you do that, get ready to slay with your new fashion sense.

Street Food

Banana cues sold at one of the food stalls in the Public Market.

What’s a public market without cheap street dishes? You can go to several mobile stalls that sell famous delicacies like balut and banana cue. You can even buy meals as several stalls sell food with puso for those on a budget.

Speaking of budget, there are also eateries inside Freedom Park. They are very popular as you can spend less than 50 pesos for a good meal. That already includes soup and drinks. The homemade dishes are delicious, and the vendors are very friendly and nice towards their customers.

Fruits and Vegetables

Banana cues sold at one of the food stalls in the Public Market.

Of course, since it is a public market, there will always be fruits and vegetables. You have many to choose from, and if it is too expensive, most likely you will be able to find something cheaper anywhere else within the market.

The market comes to life at night, with more people coming in past 6PM. Sunday mornings are also very busy with market goers buying their essentials for the week.

One of the busiest days of the year are the days leading up to Holy Week. Cebuanos mostly buy ingredients for their famous Binignit. This is a soup-like dish filled with fruits and vegetables that is commonly made during Holy Week. This dish is really popular during this time of the year because most Cebuanos abstain from eating meat during Holy Week.

Fresh Food

A stall sells fish for market goers to cook at home.

Finally, Carbon is also popular for being a hub for delicious food you can bring home and cook for your family. Food like fish, chicken, and pork are very common around the market.

There is a wet market where you can buy fresh fish and seafood. This is found at the back of the market, but you won’t need to go that far since there are several stalls stationed near the entrance.

There are a lot of things you can do at the Carbon Public Market. It is historically known as a great hub for commerce and economy at a local level. All things considered, it is a proper Central Visayas tourist attraction.

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