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Fishing in the Philippines

Watch your step on the old bamboo boat docks in the southwestern Islands of Leyte Philippines
Watch your step on the old bamboo boat docks in the southwestern Islands of Leyte Philippines

Fishing On The High Seas

Fishing, a constant game of cat and mouse, is a way of life in the Philippines. On any hot and muggy afternoon, fisherman prepare their boats for the night a head.  Sleepy villages come alive as blocks of ice are hauled aboard these small wooden fishing boats. Sometimes it is made even more difficult, as the boats may be bobbing at the end of a very old rickety bamboo dock. These docks are still in use and these skilled fisherman maneuver them with care. Not much room for error!  Fishing is a way of life here and the docks are just a minor inconvenience. By night fall these wooden boats will be out to sea…. heading toward one of the many coveted fishing grounds.

Bangka boats have bamboo outriggers to give them stabilization in the rough waters of the sea. Bangka fishing boats usually are no more than 30 feet long.  These small fishing boats  work the reefs during the sultry nights. These fisherman are bound for the rich reefs in the China Sea. Here they hope to encounter blue marlin, red grouper, yellow-fin tuna and lobster to name a few. Many are the species of fish that call these reefs home. Fishing the reefs is the life of a Philippine fisherman. These reefs are a haven for those who make their livelihood from the sea.

In a time where often there are International disputes and international poaching in the reefs, these fisherman are on the front lines.  Many days they return to their ports with fewer and fewer fish. Fishing is a way of life and fish is the main source of protein eaten in The Philippines. So generation after generation of fisherman make their way out to sea each night. Their hopes……. to haul in as many fish as they can.

Fishing is the main source of income for many of these tiny villages.  Rice farming is also a major resource and a close second. They have no other industries to fall back on. You are either a farmer or a fisherman. If you are the son of a fisherman……you fish. If your father was a farmer….you farm. So down at the sea shore a community waits each morning, to see the fishing boats return to port. They have fished all night and hopefully they will bring back many mackerel or octopus.

Down on the docks in the small fishing village are wives who have waited all night and now look for their men to come home. These may be sleepy villages, but they are wide awake when the call goes out ……the fishing boats are coming! The fishing families are a unit, as the women wait to mend the nets that were damaged in the night.  The boats will once again dock at these small bamboo docks, the fish are hauled in and sold. Restaurants and markets are eager to get their share, of the catch of the day. Fish is eaten by most of the local population. Good fresh fish is a must, if you want to stay in business.

The sons clean the boats for the next night and the fisherman go home to sleep. All too soon it will be time to do it all over again. This is the life of a fishing village in The Philippines.

Published on March 25,2017 at:

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