Carbon Market: A Modern take of Cebu's Heritage

in Architecture+Design7 months ago

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The Carbon Market is Cebu’s oldest and biggest farmer market on the island. It is not just a market but a vibrant community of vendors selling fresh goods. Besides, it is a place where history unfolds and witnesses the city’s progress. Cebuanos named the market after Cebu Railroad’s coal depository in the 18th century. Its location is at the final station of the old railway in the area where they stored the coals to power the steam engine of trains. It is over a hundred years. It earned the reputation as the go-to place of the locals. Throughout the years, it continually reflects how Cebuanos daily lives.

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The Carbon Market entrance in downtown

Carbon is a typical Filipino market where items offered range from fresh food products to handicraft materials, similar to Divisoria in Manila, where different products and services are available. If we want to get fresh vegetables from the south or the dried fish from the north, it is a must place to go. The wet market in Carbon has several varieties of fish, seafood, and meat products. There are vegetables and fruits as we walk around the alley and corners of the market. The entrance has handicrafts and flower vendors. The Carbon Market opens trade as early as 4:00 AM when most fresh vegetable arrives at the market, and it operates till night. Farmers from rural areas gathered in the market to sell their products at a very affordable price. They have the fresh quality of the fruits and vegetables.

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The Carbon Market is getting a makeover with various million-peso projects under the Public-Private Partnership between the Cebu City Government and local developer, Megawide. These projects feature architectural masterpieces that adapt to the rich heritage of Cebu. The Modernized Carbon Market improves several areas near the Carbon vicinity that will boost trade and tourism of the city. The new market will form a heritage district with the restored Compania Maritima and innovated Freedom Park.

The ceremonial groundbreaking happened in late March to kick off the P5.5-B rehabilitation project of the Carbon Market. Megawide envisioned it as the first-ever world-class public market in the country. The market and its design celebrate the culture, tradition, and heritage of the city. It uplifts the livelihood and inclusive growth for Cebuanos with the transit-oriented development approach of Megawide to boost tourism and the economy in the province of Cebu.


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The modernized market will have six blocks, which will develop in phases. Each block has diverse retail, leisure, and service features. The plan involves the First-world Carbon Public Market, Wholesalers’ Hub, Lifestyle Village, Boqueria, and the Premier Galleria & Airport City Check-In. These six blocks enable to boost the number of tourism activities in the area, which help grow the city's economy by leap and bound. Besides, it features a waterfront activity plaza, a 24/7 Market, and the Sto. Niño Chapel and Park, where a figure of the Sto. Nino de Cebu at the center plays the metaphor of watching over the people.

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The priority is to deliver the new and improved public market and provide easy access through an interim transport terminal. The market operation stayed to the LGU, but the maintenance will be to Megawide. The planned design primarily focused on preserving the current vendors while improving overall facility and systems. Megawide plans to put train tracks around the market to organize the karumateros or kargadors who bring in supplies to the vendors. A separate traverse line accommodates local or foreign tourists to move around the market.

The construction of an integrated transport hub, which will house all modes of land transportation as well as a new ferry terminal, will enable passengers to take a water taxi through the channel to Mactan Island and link directly to Mactan-Cebu International Airport, is also a priority in ensuring easy access to Carbon. Cebu's local governments have long seen the water taxi as a viable option. Local governments in Cebu have long viewed the water taxi as a way to relieve traffic congestion for the general public. Megawide incorporates it in the plan.

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The development will also feature an in-city check-in facility, similar to those in Hong Kong and Japan, where travelers can conveniently check-in their luggage and still enjoy Carbon hours before their flight before connecting seamlessly to the airport. When completed as scheduled, Cebu will have the first In-City Check-In facility in the Philippines. Besides, the project includes an in-city check-in facility, similar to those found in Hong Kong and Japan, where passengers can check their luggage while still enjoying Carbon hours before their flight before smoothly connecting to the airport. Cebu will have the first In-City Check-In facility in the Philippines if everything goes according to plan.

The architects draw inspiration from Cebu's heritage in designing the facades and defining its architectural style. Wood is a prominent design element in the proposed construction, with weaving patterns and textures highlighting Cebu's world-renowned weaving and furniture-making industry on each building. The entire development has an open and expansive feel to it, evoking memories of old Cebu, thanks to its low-rise structures. The main entrance to the 24/7 Market, which will welcome tourists as they enter the block, is built in the form of the puso, Cebu's popular hanging rice.

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The proposed first-of-its-kind Carbon Public Market would have an industrial architecture with Cebu weaving elements. The structure's architecture would be inspired by the old Carcar train station. At block 3, the wholesalers' hub will house the market's souvenir and handicraft shops, as well as the area's famous export overrun (ukay-ukay) shops. On the other hand, F&B outlets will be located in the lifestyle village in block 4. It will also feature well-known domestic and foreign supermarket brands. The block will be based on Cebu's popular hanging rice. The structure would also have the familiar puso weaving pattern and form.

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At block 5, the boqueria will be modeled after Europe's iconic "boqueria" shops. There will be open/pop-up shops on the block, which will have a bright and colorful ambiance. In addition, the building will have alfresco dining and a view of the sea for tourists. Premium and high-end stores and retailers from around the world will be housed in the Premier Galleria. We can locate it at block 6. In addition, the building will feature a bar that will serve both local and international visitors. The Airport City Check-In function will be available in the Premier Galleria's guest lounge. This ensures that customers who are flying out of Carbon Market will check in while still in the guest lounge.

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Again, Cebu's Carbon Market is the island's oldest and largest farmer's market. It's a place where history is made and where the city's progress can be seen. These ventures have architectural masterpieces that pay homage to Cebu's rich history. The Modernized Carbon Market boosts a number of places in the Carbon vicinity, which would help the city's trade and tourism.


Note: The architectural rendering is publicly released by Megawide as early as February this year. The images in the text is from The Cebuano, which the author edited in Canva.

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From the name, I was expecting it to be more about carbon itself but it was a farmers market.

I haven't heard of a water taxi system but I think is an interesting way to take advantage of the water to transport both goods and people.

It’s about time the Carbon Market in Cebu City gets renovated and become modernized ! I’ve personally roamed its inners streets, bargained with merchants, and shopped from their stalls several times. In fact, I’ve noticed the dilapidated, unsafe, and unsanitary conditions of the place. No wonder, crime has proliferated there, as a result. Plus, this commercial zone is right across a major educational institution. I’d highly recommend for the old market’s demolition and the rebuilding and construction of the new one to commence immediately.

I agree. It is really timely. The current Carbon Market has unsafe and unsanitary conditions. This project will boost the economy and tourism in Cebu, and, at the same time, address the safety and sanitary issues of the market.

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