Everybody knows about IT Park’s lifestyle hub Sugbo Mercado. This food park is one of the Cebuanos’ favorite go-to food trip spots. It is a relaxing place for you to sit down and pass the time after a long, busy day. But what if you don’t live near IT Park? What if you live in Lapu-Lapu, or somewhere near the airport? Or perhaps you’re renting an AirBnb in the countryside? Luckily, food parks have become more popular than ever, and Sugbo Mercado has brought its trademark chill eating experience to Mandaue City.
The Market is Sugbo Mercado’s container van food park located at the North Reclamation Area in Mandaue City. Opened in 2018, this unique food strip mixes exotic and appetizing meals with a cool warehouse setting. It’s like they set up a night market inside a factory and opened it for the rest of the community. If you are running out of things to do in Cebu (although that’s impossible), then The Market may just give you a Sugbo Mercado experience like no other.
SUGBO MERCADO IN MANDAUE CITY?
With the number of fast food chains and restaurants available in the city, going to a food strip becomes a unique activity for those who want to try something new. Some also say that a food park may be the best place to unwind in Cebu, particularly for adventurous eaters and food enthusiasts alike.
There are tons of fusion food, classic favorites, exotic delicacies, and cultural culinary feasts in The Market. If you want dessert, maybe get some ice cream, cake, or milk tea. Test out different versions of your childhood favorite snacks or learn a lesson about Filipino barbecue. With prices fairly compensated for a young worker or budget-minded traveler, you barely need to shell out some dough when visiting this unique food strip.
The great thing about food parks like The Market, though, is that it brings in some attention to detail for Instagram lovers out there. Not only will you be killing it with your food porn game, but with your architecture and travel photography game as well. The container van aesthetic makes you feel like you are outdoors in a backyard barbecue with your friends. A food park in Cebu is merely an open space with some wooden chairs and tables, surrounded by many tenants. The Market manages to bring that classic setup to Mandaue City, but with a more memorable execution compared to its bigger brothers.
There are several advantages to the design of The Market. One is that it is roofed. The Sugbo Mercado does have areas that are covered with tents, but with the place always packed, some customers will have to resort to staying in the open area. When unexpected showers come, rain will definitely hinder your experience. With The Market, the whole strip is covered, so you won’t have to worry when it starts raining.
The atmosphere is energetic with many barkadas (Cebuano term for group of friends) just hanging out and enjoying the food in front of them. You can always find time to unwind and chat with the people in your life that you love the most. In fact, there are some stalls that sell alcohol. So if you are itching for a cold one, this would be the place for you. Always remember to be a responsible drinker, especially since you are in a public setting.
There are some similarities other than the food in Sugbo Mercado that have been carried to its branch in Mandaue City, and that is the live band. Along with places like Handuraw, Cubana, and Marshall’s Irish Pub, a food park is a great place for a live band in Cebu. You can say that it is karaoke night every night at these food parks because of the vibes that are brought about by the soothing voices of the singers or the expertise of the acoustic instrumentalists. They might even play songs that you haven’t heard for a long time, giving you a quick trip back to the past.
Speaking of karaoke nights, the busiest time for most food parks is when the moon is out. The Market is open from late afternoon until late into the evening. The afternoon is usually very peaceful with some hungry customers looking for a quick snack, but you will definitely feel the open space come to life when the sun goes down. This should be on your list of Cebu nightlife hotspots, especially when you go to Mandaue City.
The Market is not far away from Mandaue’s premiere mall, Parkmall, so if you want to commute, that should be the route you will be using. You can also use Google Maps or Waze if you will be bringing your personal vehicle. They also have a parking area available.
Additionally, Sugbo Mercado, The Market’s parent company, is welcoming entrepreneurs to sell food at their food parks, so if you are interested in selling your one-of-a-kind recipes, you can go to their website, as there are details on how to apply. This could definitely be a good avenue for you to start a business in Mandaue City or in Cebu, and make a name for yourself in the island’s culinary underbelly.
Who knows how long these food parks will continue to grow and multiply? With the success that they have garnered since the inception of the Sugbo Mercado, it is unlikely that we will see a stop to the ever changing phenomenon which is the food park. The Market in Mandaue is just one of the many alternatives that spawned after the success of its predecessor in IT Park, but differentiates itself with an enduring design that has captured the eyes of tourists and locals respectively. With choices of food that are just seemingly endless, these are gold mines for anyone who wants a quick meal to enjoy with friends and family, and it is an experience you will definitely remember.