The waters off of Palawan are rich in sea life.  Mangrove swamps protect the fish nurseries.  In some places the reef is still intact, though it is always threatened by dynamite fishing, careless boatmen whose anchors destroy the coral and now by global warming.  The fishermen may notice a decline in the catch, but the casual tourist can only admire and enjoy this bounty.

Lina and her sister Edna remember harvesting octopus, squid, shellfish and sea weed from the shores of Cebu when they were little girls.  They lived very close to the beach and would run down to swim and play.  Edna would lie down in a bangka (a fishing boat with one or two outriggers), make a shade canopy of coconut leaves and take a nap.  Papa would know to look in the boats when it was time to wake her.

So Lina takes a special delight in coming back here to enjoy the fruits of the sea.  They connect her to memories of an idyllic time in her life.  And they are delicious!

Here are photos of some of those gifts of the sea.  As I took them, I remembered walking through a fish market in Croatia some 20 years ago with my friend Paula.  I exclaimed about the beauty of the fish ranged in front of us, and she commented that, as a vegetarian, she also felt sadness to see them dead.  I confess to feeling some of that too as I look at these photos.

Seaweeds!

Seaweeds!

Seaweed

Clams

Clams

Cockles and Mussels

Singing “cockles and mussels, alive, alive-o”

Urchins

Urchins

Squid

Squid

Shrimp

Shrimp

Lobster

Lobster

Fish1

Fish6Fish2Fish3

Fish4

Bangus or milkfish – the national fish of the Philippines!

Fish5

Unicorn Fish

Unicorn fish

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