Fresh off the Boat

fishermen

One of the great things about island life is seafood fresh off the boat.

While staying at a small resort on Bantayan Island Philippines I was on the beach next to where the fishing boats come in. Having watched this daily ritual for a couple of days I ask the girl at the front desk of the place I am staying if they will cook some fish for dinner if I buy it. Once agreed I am off the next day to do some shopping.

Fish Monger

Every morning between 7 and 8am the boats arrive with their catch of the day. The fishermen beach their boats and begin stacking the catch into a bag or small net that they can bring onto the beach and have the women sort and weigh them.

lady selling fish

Occasionally you might see someone walking into the surf to negotiate directly with one of the boats or perhaps they had a special order that was filled. Pesos and fish exchange hands and another hard day at work is culminated in enough to feed the family for a while.

Meanwhile the women at the fishing shack are busy stuffing different types of fish into bags weighing one kilogram each. From here they either sell directly to those that come buy, send over to the market in town, or walk around to the various resorts and restaurants in the area selling them out of a basket to anyone interested.

After picking out three fish weighing a total of one kilogram I hand over payment equal to $3.20 USD. Now I am sure I got the foreigner rate but still not a bad price.

I stop by the front desk and drop off my bag of fish and she tells me they will grill it around 6 pm that evening.

Bantayan is a great island to explore or just relax on the beach but all day I keep thinking about fresh fish. I even stop by the market and pick up some fruit and a few items to go with dinner.

grilling fish

Arriving back at my room I am greeted by the sight of the grill being brought out and the fish getting prepared. Now I am more of a fish filet kind of guy. Here on the island the fish is cleaned, scales, head and fins left on and stuffed with onions, garlic and native limes then grilled.

grilling fish

After what seems like three hours of me watching the fish being grilled, which in reality is about twenty minutes, the girl begins to plate the goodies. Knowing I can’t eat three fish I tell her one is for her and the other staff to add to their dinner.

Grilled fish

The finished product

Soon fresh grilled fish straight off the boat arrives on the table along with slices of chilled fresh pineapple and mangoes. Too bad we don’t have smell-a-vision at this point because it smells good.

Cracking open the fish the garlic, onions and lime come drifting out and even though it was grilled on a makeshift grill and served at a bamboo table on the sand it might as well be in a fancy restaurant with white tablecloths. The sweet pineapple and mangoes are the perfect side dish along with ice cold San Miguel Pilsner beer.

Pineapples and Mangoes

There is nothing better than eating fish straight off the boat.

Oh and as a side note I decided to stay on the island a few more days and moved to a different resort with a better beach. I am writing this now while sitting on the beach having a fresh pineapple shake and shrimp tempura.

Island life sucks doesn’t it?

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Beating the heat in Manila

I originally wrote a short note about this place but since my last trip I thought I would expand just a little.

 

Manila Restaurant

My last trip was to the Philippines and I stayed in Manila for awhile. Every time I am in Manila for any length of time and need a place to just relax this is it.  I love this place, the people are friendly, the food is great, and the weather… well if you can stand ungodly humidity during the middle of the day it’s good. One of my favorite places to beat the heat while in Manila is a restaurant in Makati City’s Green Belt 2 named Spicy Fingers.

Cold Beer
Local beers and a selection of mixed drinks are 40 pesos, or around $0.90 USD every day during the extended happy hours of 12 noon to 6pm. There is no better place to cool off and do a little people watching. They have an outside area cooled off by overhead fans and an inside dining area. I usually stayed outside and enjoyed the cold beer and talking to people.

In the evening there is usually live entertainment and the food is great.  They also have a lunch special with  eight or ten menu items for about about $3 USD.  If I remember right the lunch special runs from 11am to 3pm.

Spicy Fingers Makati

Trust me I don’t like the humidity so I became a regular there almost daily. With a mixture of beers and Tequila Sunrise’s I had no problem beating the heat. I am not sure, but I saw several people on their computers so they might have free wifi also.

Green Belt is huge with all kinds of shops, restaurants and stores both upscale and typical Mall stores that you can spend a lot of time just hanging out there.

If you find yourself in Manila for awhile and just want to chill out for a bit then head over there and tell them I said hi. And no, I didn’t get paid to write this I just really like this place.

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