Sea urchin

Luscious sea urchins anyone? Swaki ta bai!

Pour some vinegar and spoon some!

Pour some vinegar and spoon some!

Yes, 23 years ago, I first stepped foot on Camiguin’s popular White Island. And 23 years ago, a friend from our group dug into the sand, got swaki (sea urchin), cut it into two and I had my first taste of the salty sweet morsel that drives Japanese crazy. Uni, as what they call them.

Twenty three years to the present, I once stepped into White Island and this time, I was with a friend. Just the two of us and planning to enjoy the white strip, the cool water and just savor an away time. But a man with a basket came near.

Swaki bai, Sea urchin sir.

Well, at P20, its still a steal and from what I gathered, these were freshly dug from the sand. And who wouldn’t want to have a taste of gonads of a sea creature? I got two, one for me and my friend. The vendor happily got one. Put down his basket and with a knife, he struck the widest part of the hapless sea urchin.

Crack! With his hands he parted the two halves. Bits of seaweeds that the creature ate and digested and those yellowish gonads sticking to the inner walls in five strips. With a few drops of vinegar, he gave it to me with a plastic spoon. I took a spoonful, took a bite and was relishing the freshness. Indeed, it was so good. Too good to pass.

Have you tasted this one, fresh?

Yummy sea urchins!

Yummy sea urchins!

Sea urchin in a basket with a plastic bottle of vinegar

Sea urchin in a basket with a plastic bottle of vinegar

Cutting  crosswise the sea urchin

Cutting crosswise the sea urchin

Are you ready to eat these delicious morsels?

Are you ready to eat these delicious morsels?

The popular multicolored parasol in White Island. It's also where most of these vendors get their sea urchin.

The popular multicolored parasol in White Island. It’s also where most of these vendors get their sea urchin.

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.

One Comment

  1. Estan Cabigas (@EstanCabigas)
    December 13, 2014 @ 10:24

    Luscious sea urchins anyone? Swaki ta bai!: Pour some vinegar and spoon some!
    Yes, 23 years ago, I first stepp… http://t.co/Gybt0poXhT

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