November 14, 2017

Cebu Lifestyle

Experience to catching an octopus together with local fishermen in the Philippines islands

Hello everyone, as promised, today the story will be about how I went to catch octopus with the local fishermen!

What??! Asti just got a new job as the “fisherwoman” after studying English in 3D Academy?? No!! Here’s how it all happened!

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Last Saturday, when I went and searched for the place to buy the food for my “Living off USD $2 per day challenge”  I got acquainted with the vendors of seafood. It was just a joke when I asked them whether it was possible for me to get on the boat with them to see how do they caught all these crazy seafood. To my surprise the vendors told me “YES”!!! Well that’s how friendly the locals are to the foreign tourists. They are more than happy to share their lives with me without expecting any incentives. It was an act of pure kindness and hospitality! Also as I’m seen as a harmless lady to them, so no one will mess around with me and they are happy to show off a little bit of their fishing skills in front of me. They also promised that they’ll treat me the octopus once they get it! WOWOW!!!


Initially I was scared as I’m just a woman and not a fan of fishing. Yet curiosity kills the cat.

Well it didn’t kill me but it certainly took precedence over me and I decided to try. Someone probably would say that it’s a crazy idea to go out with the fishermen to the sea. Yet, life is an adventure on its own, why not take some rides of people (This time from the fishing boat :P)

So in the morning, I went by taxi at 3 am to meet the group of fishermen.

Dark and scary, on the shore I saw the fishermen’s boats. In fact there are only the fishermen’s boats there at this wee hour. There were men laughing together in the boats. On my boat there were 3 people. Everyone jokes about different things and no one wants to sleep. At first I was quite afraid as you could imagine – me alone with a bunch of guys! But after awhile I was calmed and relaxed because everyone was clearly not going to force me to do anything, as it was necessary for them to work and catch the fish for their livelyhood! As I put on my life jacket, I saw that the fishermen started praying. Well ocean is unpredictable. It seems like it’s a ritual for the fishermen to pray every time before they go and explore the unknown and untamed sea. I didn’t go into details to ask them what are they praying for. Maybe safety? Or maybe fortune? To pray that they will get a big fish today? Well, in a breeze we set out for the sea. Ocean here we come!

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Of course, fishermen went to sea not only to catch the octopus.

But to catch these sea reptiles, it’s quite some work for the fishermen.

They have to firstly use various stones, empty shells and some debris found along the coast to build a cozy refuge for the predator. Then they will put the bait inside the refuge to lure the octopus in. For bait, a chicken bone, a small piece of white cloth or a fragment of marble will do. Light things shine in the water and thus, attract the attention of the octopus. The cephalopods eat practically everything in the world. Hence crustaceans, mollusks, seaweed, and shells are used to cover their lairs.

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After setting up the traps for the octopus, the fishermen do what they are here to do – to fish. They started putting up the nets to catch the fish. After that, we went back to where the traps were set up. What we found there would make you laugh. With all the hard work we only got three octopuses of very small size. I was really disappointed. After seeing my face, those fishermen joked with me and naturally on arrival they gave me these octopuses, of which I prepared at home and safely ate them, quite tasty despite being small.But their catch of fish and shrimp was great.

In order not to distract them from work, I decided to swim in the sea where there were no fishing nets. The nice swim brought compensation for the unsatisfied fishing of octopus. Surprise awaited me on the beach. When we returned, the fishermen on the beach made a real sashimi from the fresh fish. As everyone was hungry, it was very tasty. What they said is so true — hunger is the best sauce of food! I admire that they can enjoy the fish and make it taste like a real Japanese sashimi, despite the fact that they are fishing everyday. It’s a real romance having those sashimi with the real fishermen. Even though I did not pull the net and participate in the hard work, I truly enjoyed their hard work by eating those sashimi “hard”! :))

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A side story, those unpleasant smell of fish really stick with me. I washed for a long time back at home and until now I still felt like I smell like fish. Now I understand why they said “It smells fishy” when they are describing a suspicious situation 😛


But nothing can spoil my sensations from the sea and from what I saw and felt at that moment. I learnt a lot from the local fishermen by joining them for the sea trip. It was a truly amazing experience.  I will try everything new more.

Come to join us with your ideas and we will definitely learn English and try something new together :))

 

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