Saturday, February 23, 2008

Manila - Part Two

Manila is a sprawling urban jungle. It isn’t exactly a place for a walking tour. Ching arranged for a mini-van tour that could whisk around the city and then out to the suburbs to visit a cousin’s fish farm.

We started off the morning at the “wet market.” This indoor market is one of the largest in Manila. You can buy rice and dry goods, but also fresh meat, sausages, vegetables and fresh fish. By fresh fish, I mean live fish. I wandered around - careful not to slip on the wet floor - while I filmed the vendors and sounds. It was a great market. It didn’t really smell much. Not rotten at least. The fish and meat vedors had chopping blocks where they were cleaning and filleting fish and butchering the meat. Those blocks didn’t look too sanitary. Other than that, the market was pretty clean. The floor was slick and wet though – hence the name, “wet market.”

In the afternoon, we traveled a bit outside of metro Manila to visit a cousin’s fish farm. We rowed out in canoes, through the pens, out to the caretakers hut. You need someone to look over the pens at all times so people don’t come in and steal your fish. This is also where the fish feed is stored. This farm raises milk fish – the national fish of the Philippines. They mostly feed on stuff (seaweed, plankton?) in the water, but they are also fed Cheetos. OK, not exactly Cheetos, but the mills that make the Filipino snack chips, cheese puffs and other salty snacks, donate the seconds and expired stock to the fish farms. Nothing wasted, right?

We had a couple of fishing poles along and managed to catch a couple of small fish before rowing back to land.

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