16 September 2008

Pasig Fishing

The universal male chillingest activity.

A few steps away from tony Rockwell is the part of Pasig River that flows through Guadalupe Viejo. A welcome change from the conceptual stores and plastered sales smiles is the company of a bunch of men who are looking to catch hito, dalag, and tilapia from the murky waters of the once-mighty ilog.

Moral support.

"But I thought this river was dead?", I asked. A chorus of protests ensued. Just the other day, said one of the men, he caught a 4-kilo hito here. This is where dinner comes from, everyday. I nodded and noticed how the once-unbearable stench of Pasig River had mellowed to a faint, disagreeable smell.

A predator threads his hook with some prey for a predator that is his prey.

Healthy pink worms!

They breed the earthworms in broken, plugged up sinks, filled with moist soil and dead leaves. They thread these on hooks and cast them close, reeling in when barges pass and create waves in their wake.

A passing barge gets heckled by my companions. Some kids jump in to swim after it.

Human beings traditionally settled along waterways for their advantages of trade, mobility, leisure, easy laundry, and food. These days, only the brave acquire the latter three from it. One would particularly cringe at the idea of eating fish that feed on the refuse of industry, households, and the human body.

But really, this is how food is supposed to be-- free, and, if possible, acquired along with some serious bonding and companionship. A place where pollution makes this impossible (or unacceptable) is no place to live at all. Here, in the heart of dirty, crusty, smoky Manila, live the last hunters of the metropolis.

What's your name and will you be back?

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