SMDC's Good Guys Market connects displaced farmers with residents of its condo developments
Libertine de la Cruz and her family used to spend weekends traveling to Tagaytay to get their fill of farm-to-table food. But during the first few weeks of lockdown, they have had to make do with ingredients that went through life-lengthening processes, devoid of the savory taste and nutrients of a fresh pick.
So it was a breath of fresh air when she saw a market set up one Sunday in March at her Breeze Residences home in Roxas Boulevard.
The Good Guys Market is a weekend market set up by SM Development Corporation (SMDC) to connect displaced farmers with consumers through SM Foundation’s Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan on Sustainable Agriculture program, which links around 26,000 small-scale farmers directly with consumers.
Libertine now looks forward to Sundays, eager to make discoveries at the market that would enable her to plan her family’s culinary treat for the week. This Sunday, she is whipping up a fusion of Filipino and Greek-Italian cuisines: Ensaladang katuray and a pasta dish of fresh basil, tomatoes, and feta cheese tossed in olive oil.
She may sound like one, but she is not a professional chef. She simply loves to put together things and transform them into pieces of art, like the wind chimes made of wine bottles, painted in different colors, that adorn her dining room.
“This is why I love my home. I do not feel like I have been in isolation for the last three months. I am able to do so many things, enjoy all of life’s pleasures from pre-quarantine days, and to be very productive,” she says. “In the morning, I wake up to the beautiful Manila Bay sunrise. From my balcony, I have a view of the clear blue skies, and down below are blue waters from our property’s swimming pools and the greenery that covers them.”
Two major considerations in her choice of Breeze Residences were proximity to her workplace at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), and the view of the Manila Bay sunset. Her family has been enjoying their unit for almost four years. The lockdown has made them love their home even more.
“It is perfect for a work-from-home or home school arrangement,” she says.
Her workdays are usually packed with Zoom meetings and signing of papers. She loves the fact that CCP is only a few minutes’ walk away from her home. The messenger has easy access to her for papers to sign, which can be a lot in a day. She uses the eighth-floor grand lounge area as an extension of her home office. This is where she signs documents and meets with her assistant.
Before the market was introduced, she and her husband had to go out to buy groceries in bulk, so that they could minimize trips outside their home for necessities. But with The Good Guys Market every Sunday, they no longer have to risk going out. She also has extra time on her hands to indulge her other passions, especially cooking. “Whatever condiment or ingredient I need to complete the day’s culinary adventure, I can easily grab at the Alfamart downstairs,” she says.
Apart from the joy of finding rare gems like katuray flowers or catimon mangoes, there’s another reason she loves the market.
“Not only do I get a regular supply of healthy, organic, fresh produce and some rare finds, I am also able to contribute, in my own little way, to making the lives of our farmers a little better, especially at this critical time.”
But it isn’t just the farmers she is helping. A regular customer at the market, Libertine buys in bulk even when there are only three people in her household—she, her husband, and their daughter. It turns out that she regularly gives the Breeze Residences’ security personnel cooked meals.
The Good Guys Market is part of SMDC’s The Good Guys campaign, which was rolled out in 2019 as part of the company’s community-building program. The Good Guys brings together communities and promotes healthy, happy, and thriving neighborhoods. The weekend market has been servicing six SMDC properties in Metro Manila—Sea, Shell, and Shore Residences in the MOA complex, Breeze Residences along Roxas Boulevard, Trees Residences in Fairview, and Princeton Residences along Aurora Boulevard.