Before Salcedo Market, before Legaspi, the Lung Center and the Centris markets, there was AANI -- or the Agri Aqua Network Inc Week-end Market. This market has seen quite a number of venue changes from Magallanes in the 1990s to FTI (Food Terminal Inc) to the TESDA compound and back to FTI again. I've been going to this market for many many years, and now, it's a lot closer to home.
The market opens bright and early on Saturdays and Sundays. By 7:00 a.m. the parking lot is full. Since the market is open till 1:00 p.m, regulars like us know that the best and freshest buys are to be had early in the morning. And yes, around closing time on Sunday, when vendors are packing up and looking to get rid of the last pieces at very good prices.
There's something for everyone at AANI -- from cute bunnies and poor ghastly multi colored, dyed chicks ...
To puppy dogs in cages...
There is quite an expansive dry goods section at the front of the market.
Where everything is sold from clothing to bags to shoes to DVDs...
And yes, quite a number of used household items. There are a number of stalls selling Japan surplus goods too.
I enjoy checking out the wide variety of plants. There are both fruit bearing trees, gumamelas, bouganvilleas, roses, sampaguitas, jasmine and rosal ... you name it, you can find it here.
There are also herbs and even cut flowers.
Many of the vendors at AANI come from places like Batangas, Laguna, Pampanga, and even Baguio to sell their fresh produce.
You can find many kinds of fruits in season at AANI. This is where I get my annual pajo fix from a suki who comes all the way from Batangas.
Sea food is fresh and varieties are extensive. While the Seafood Market in Baclaran has better quality, AANI will do, in a pinch.
There are even live fish for sale.
Not to mention whatever cut of pork, beef or chicken you may want.
If you have a hankering for longganisang Lucban or Vigan, or from Alaminos, Pangasinan for that matter, this lady sells different kinds of longganisa from all over.
My particular favourites are the kakanin and kalamay vendors. I can never go without buying suman, puto, biko, kutsinta ... you name it, they have it here in AANI.
Another suki, who hails from Bulacan, always sets aside kesong puti and putong pulo for me every week.
Here's another of my favourite vendors -- Tita Norma or Tita Norms as the sign says, hails from Sorsogon and sells authentic Bicolano home cooking.
I love her laing which has the right spicy kick plus her pinangat and all her other gata infused dishes.
Tita Norms always makes sure to add a little bit more when I buy -- that is what a good suki is for!
The queues can get to be quite long particularly on Saturday mornings.
Aside from Tita Norms, there are quite a number of other vendors who sell cooked food -- to take home or eat right there.
Fancy some lechon? You can get it chopped and ready to eat or packed in a plastic container to go.
There are outdoor grilling stations where the ubiquitous BBQ, chicken inasal, inihaw na panga ng tuna, inihaw na bangus, etc. are cooked -- everything is fresh, hot and delicious.
Since moving to its more permanent and bigger space last year, AANI has added a tented area where tables and chairs have been set up. Buy your cooked food or order from the ihawan and they'll bring it to your table. It's always a lively, loud, friendly scene with families and friends coming together for lechon kawali, pork barbecue, sisig and other frighteningly high-cholesterol food so early in the morning.
There are quite a number of cyclists who reward themselves after a week-end ride with
a pig out at AANI.
In between bingeing, how about some fresh buko juice to somehow cleanse the system?
The crowds are heaviest at mid morning -- literally and figuratively. Not a vacant chair or table to be had -- everyone's chowing down and enjoying the AANI week-end experience.
See you next Saturday!