cuyofishing01

Early fishing in Cuyo

The Cuyo Loop
Cuyo is in blue
In October of 2006, I visited the remote islands of Cuyo and Culion in Palawan for a photography assignment and passed Negros and Iloilo in transit. This is my account of that journey.

This is the 7th of a seriesEarly one morning, just before sunrise, I woke up early to take a short walk and take photos along the shore where a fishing boat was beached into the shallow water for a few days already. After a few minutes of seeing, composing, setting and clicking, I started to notice a group of fishermen starting to pull at a rope. They were trawling the shallows and this got me curious since I haven’t seen this before. I went to them and started shooting. There were about 10 – 15 men waist deep and pulling the net.

It was a big net that the first time I saw it, was stretched probably a hundred feet at both ends with the edges kept afloat with rubber cylinders. The men pulled and tugged and seeing their efforts and faces, it seemed, quite heavy.

For the next 30 minutes, they were drawing the net closer to the shore as the area within kept getting smaller and a circle is coming to form. After a while and the catch can already be seen at the center. Fishes of different sizes and types and colors and forms started to splash about as the area holding them started to get smaller. It was a frenzy.

The catch was not that big. The fish caught were usually small but there was a sting ray that one fisherman quickly grabbed and cut the tail to avoid being hit by the poisonous spike (above). There even was a small marine snake that another grabbed and flung far into the water and promptly swam off.

After the catch has been aportioned off, the net is gathered and folded and dried for the next day.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications.

He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces.

I’m open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

9 Comments

  1. The Islander
    July 1, 2008 @ 10:24

    di ba sting rays are considered not suitable for catching? kyutan raba ko ana nila.

  2. donG hO
    July 1, 2008 @ 12:15

    estan, pwede ba kitang i-feature sa blog ko this month? kailangan ko ng mga certified backpackers. kasama ko kayong ififeature nina oggie, ferdz at ernrico dee (byahilo). dati sa ibang blog ko pinopost pero ngayon sa blog ko mismo.

    ok lang ba?

  3. estan
    July 1, 2008 @ 13:01

    the islander, i’m not so sure about it bai pero sting rays are also delicious fish which is known as qiampao in Cebu.

    Dong Ho, no problem for me. Just contact me via email.

  4. donG hO
    July 3, 2008 @ 14:03

    salamat estan. finalize ko lang mga tanong. maraming maraming salamat.

  5. Nomadic Matt
    July 6, 2008 @ 22:15

    cool photos!

  6. iva
    July 23, 2008 @ 17:32

    ang ganda ng mga shots mo dito, lalo na po yung first two photos. astig.

  7. Pink Ink
    July 30, 2008 @ 14:37

    Great photos! I traveled to Cuyo in April last year…kind of like a personal pilgrimage to ancestors. I loved it.

  8. estan
    August 26, 2008 @ 13:40

    pink ink, glad that you’ve been to this remote place. not too many travelers come here.

  9. » Langyaw #02: Cuyo | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    December 20, 2010 @ 9:50

    […] #01 and focuses on this far flung town. From everyday objects to the massive fortress-church. From fishermen early in the morning to a lazy afternoon with some children playing. Or an amble within the quaint […]

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