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Updated: Sep 22, 2023

After COVID-19 was sort of finished putting the fear of God into everyone around the second half of 2021, the city came out of hibernation and the eagerness to be busy filled the atmosphere. One particular part of town that was given new life was Molave Street. What used to be an empty lane that no one paid any mind to is now a destination for the curious, the scene kids—is this still what we’re calling them?—foodies, coffee aficionados, and anyone with a free afternoon all thanks to Willow Hoods.

Photo from Molave Community Marketplace FB page

It all started with Willow’s motivation to drive higher foot traffic into his barbershop, Workshop.Studio. The Coffee Mobile got the ball rolling and eventually, more food entrepreneurs joined in. The whole thing began taking shape, which prompted Willow to establish its own brand, calling it Molave Community Marketplace (MCM). Willow describes MCM as “a free space for people who want to test their passion project—from selling street food, coffee, film cameras, vintage stuff, and even new or used clothes.”

Photos from Molave Community Marketplace FB page

As a musician, barber, entrepreneur, and father, Willow has always been a purveyor of community building. It was felt in the underground punk scene of Cebu City x years ago—shoutout to those who know x. And now it can be felt in the city’s bustling pop-up scene. “By definition, a community is a social group whose members have something in common. And for me, I'm proud to say that MCM is shaped by waves of different communities, including people who love classic motorcycles, art, film cameras, vinyl, graffiti, Japanese denim, tattoos, music, vintage stuff, clothing, cycling, skating, and so on and so forth. And they’re all connected by their love for food and being surrounded by like-minded individuals. And you see and feel that when you come over,” Willow shares.

Willow Hoods, the man behind WWorkshop and MCM.

Willow’s steadfast subscription to the punk mentality of PMA (positive mental attitude) is palpable in MCM. The energy is light, easy, and nonjudgemental. If you’re having a not-so-great day, head to MCM to get a mood lift. Willow adds, “I want MCM to be a place where positive and forward-thinking conversations happen. This is the only place in Cebu where you get to see and talk to the brand owners and hear their stories.” This is probably the most meaningful and distinct contribution of MCM as a pop-up market. Plus the food and coffee are great.

Photos from Molave Community Marketplace FB page

MCM’s popularity has been rapidly increasing. It’s where you take your guests if you want to look cool and “in-the-know.” It is, as trying-to-stay-relevant millennials would call it, fire! (So it’s a ‘fire’ place?) Willow hopes it would attract more international visitors as well. But then again, the man behind the marketplace does not have any concrete plans for MCM. He shares, “MCM is always in a state of flow; same with my expectations with the vendors. Their schedule is up to them because I see MCM as a place where they can test their projects, make mistakes, and do it better. So that one day when they join the big leagues, they are ready. MCM is just happy to be part of their story.”

Photos from Molave Community Marketplace FB page

Whether it is a safe space for brands to test-run their products and services or a destination to be shown off, MCM will continue to provide a haven for the hungry and thirsty. It’s like hanging out in your friend’s living room with other cool people, while indulging your munchies and enjoying great conversations.

Molave Community Marketplace is open Fridays to Sundays. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

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