Asian markets are an intense mishmash of colours, smells and sounds. Exotic produce rubs shoulders with the surging crowd that throbs and pulses through small networks of alleys hidden by awnings and chaos. Vendors shout as traffic buzzes at your back. It’s hard to just stand still and not be affected by the relentless movement of the human rapid.
I remember my first market experience. I was in Chennai, India. I remember feeling tense as I stepped out of my air-conditioned 5-star sanctuary and onto hot, dusty pavements.
The first thing that hits you is people staring and the sense that the locals don’t just ‘go for a walk’. This makes you feel a bit like a white western idiot abroad who must look so out-of-place. The key to getting over this is simply… Don’t care. Embrace the experience and forget what other people think. In my experience, the locals are always happy, smiling people who would love to get to know you and have their photo taken.
In Manila, the market (or palengke as they call it in Tagalog) is no exception to the usual Asian-style market chaos and is a colourful experience to embrace. For now, check out my mini gallery below to experience the colours and characters of a local market in Metro Manila.