The Bangus or Milkfish is one of the most common fish you’ll find in the Philippines and Dagupan City in Pangasinan has some of the best the country has to offer. Located in Pangasinan along the Lingayan Gulf, Dagupan is home to an abundant number of fish ponds sculpted out of the mangrove swamps. The brackish water, where fresh water and salt water meet, provides the perfect breeding environment for the bangus.
While walking on the local beach along the row of family cottages, you can sometimes run into a few boats and their crew willing to take you out on the water for a leisurely cruise. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get to check out one of the near-by fish ponds to see the various stages of bangus farming.
The basic construction of the fish ponds is simple. Long bamboo poles stuck down deep into the mud create barriers and mark off territory and fishing nets are attached to keep the fish with those barriers. Each pond is divided up into smaller areas to group them by what developmental stage they are in.
Once the fish mature and have gotten too big for their ponds, it’s time to harvest! Harvesting hundreds of full-grown fish fighting to get out of a net is not an easy task and requires a decent amount of manpower to handle it. Harvest time is always a family affair so all hands on deck!
The guys on the boat were even kind enough to give us a great lunchtime treat that ended up on the grill! Served with steamed rice, fresh tomato and calamansi, and… Auntie, can you pass me the patis??