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Find produce at the peak of freshness and meet the people who grow your food at this weekend market in ARCA South.


A Feast for the Eyes and Taste Buds

Find produce at the peak of freshness and meet the people who grow your food at this weekend market in ARCA South.

Published July 17, 2018


Organic, plant-based and healthy diets have reached new heights of popularity in the last couple of years. And, for many, there is no better place to get fresh and local produce than a farmers’ market. You get seasonal produce at the peak of their freshness, at reasonable prices. In Taguig, people come in droves during the weekend to inspect the wares on display at the AANI (Agri-Aqua Network International) Weekend Market in ARCA South.

AANI has been around for some time now, way before the farmers’ market trend started sprouting everywhere. It used to operate from the TESDA grounds at South Superhighway Service Road before moving to their current location, which accommodates a bigger crowd and offers more parking spaces.

Naturally, the market is teeming with farm fresh fruits and vegetables, sold by the very people who grow and harvest them. It is a pleasant surprise to find some uncommon items here like katmon, a fruit endemic to the forests of the Philippines, which can be used as a souring ingredient. Its acidic juice can be mixed with sugar to treat a cough and fever.  One can also find fresh pili nuts, batuan which is another souring ingredient Ilonggos use in their local dishes like cansi and KBL (kadyos, baboy, langka), and tapang usa (cured deer meat). There is also an abundance of fresh meat, seafood, and poultry. Native chickens are sold in cages.

Explore the market further and you’ll come across several non-food items vying for your attention. There is a section selling fashionable clothing tiangge-style. Animal lovers will overdose with cuteness once they spot various breeds of adorable puppies, kittens, and birds that they can get as household pets.  Some stalls sell simple house decorations and even second hand furniture. One can find potted herbs, flowers, and ornamental plants to grow in their own homes, and gardening enthusiasts will find everything they need here including seeds and seedlings, mixed soil, and organic fertilizer. The purveyors are also known for sharing gardening advice and tips.

Most visitors come very early in the morning to get the best finds. If you do, make sure to bring small bills for ease of transactions. Some people jog around ARCA South or walk their dogs before dropping by the market. You can even join a zumba class if you need to work up a sweat. After your workout and shopping, you may enjoy an early breakfast of delicious food choices from the various stalls inside AANI.

Ate Anna, a long-time vendor in AANI, sells a variety of colorful and delicious kakanin (rice cakes) that she makes herself. Sold mostly for P35 a piece, her puto, biko, and leche flan (caramel custard) are always a hit with customers. They are so good that they sell out everything by Saturday.

Another popular spot is Glenn’s Bibingka − and, boy, do they serve mean bibingkas (rice cake cooked in clay pots). It is a mouthful of tender, fluffy rice cake with the right balance of sweet and salty. Their piping hot bowls of batchoy soup (noodle soup), an Ilonggo favorite made with liver, pork innards, meat, chewy noodles topped with fried garlic bits and crushed chicharon (pork cracklings), are to-die for.

Right across Glenn’s is Bunso Barbecue. The pork barbecue, their best-selling item, is moist and flavorful. Customers also go for their tuna panga (jaw), tuna belly, chicken barbecue, grilled bangus (milkfish), and everyone’s guilty pleasure, bagnet (crispy deep-fried pork belly).

You might also want to try Venus’ Organic Lechon (roasted pig). This sinfully yummy Pinoy favorite hails from Mindanao and costs P800 per kilogram.

AANI Weekend Market is open every Saturday and Sunday from 5am to 2pm. It is definitely worth a visit to get fresh food at a cheaper price than the supermarket, while supporting small farmers and local businesses.


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