It is a thundering beauty, a marvel of the modern world that is Ambuklao Dam. A beautiful monstrosity, so to speak, amidst the ruggedness of the Cordilleras. But beyond this structure, with the dammed up Ambuklao River behind it, tilapia, those mainly African cichlid species, in fishpens has flourished.
It is then no surprise that traveling the backroads of the Cordilleras, especially following the stretch of the Ambuklao River, tilapia is being sold in several points. And for the visitor, this can be a surprise as, in my case, I didn’t imagine that it is a flourishing industry.
We stopped at the Inidian Viewdeck (Ambuklao, Benguet) and the spread of such scenery is just jawdropping. Yes, on a beautiful day, the ruggedness of the sparsely covered mountains can take on a dramatic look as the river snakes beyond the horizon and Mt. Pulag, the highest in Luzon looms in the background.
Below the deck, one can see dirt trails etched on the mountainside while fishpens are properly delineated with the ubiquitous rectangular forms on the river surface. I took pictures as well as absorbed the view. Observed the clouds coming down and kissing the mountain tops.
Along the roads were signages of tilapia for sale. As it was nearing lunch, we stopped at one such point and bought a few kilos. Fresh. Live and still wiggling wildly when scooped out of the net. When we did arrived at our destination half an hour later, the spit was prepared, hot coals a glow as the tilapia, now cleaned and salted was brought on the grill. It was a decidedly delicious lunch.