22 Mar2010

Catching Shrimp…

by Marketman


If you had asked me a week ago if it was relatively easy to catch wild shrimp by hand, I would have given you a real roll of the eyebrows. But I would have been dead wrong. :) One of our first stops on the tour of Coron last week was Kayangan Lake, a stunningly beautiful lake that has a high mineral content and slightly salty water, which makes me wonder if it is somehow linked to the sea. I did a post on it a couple of years ago, here. We reached the lake at about 745am, about 15 minutes BEFORE it officially opens. The caretakers are pretty nice and allowed us to start the climb to get to the lake despite the early hour, and with no other bancas in sight, I knew we would have the lake to ourselves for some time. There were seven people total in our group and after wading in the cool waters of the lake, we stood gingerly on the sharp rocks near the dock. The Teen noticed that something crawled over her foot and she jumped back into the water, and we bent over to inspect the rocks more closely…


Imagine our surprise and delight when we spotted shrimp that were about 2-3 inches long, scurrying over the rocks, or peering at us from darkened nooks and crannies! We had brought along some bread to feed fish and decided to see if shrimp could be fed as well. Yup, they like pan de sal. And lots and lots of shrimp started coming out of their hiding places to have a taste of bread! The shrimp were incredibly trusting, scurrying over our feet, legs, palms, arms, etc. It was a bit disconcerting to have them on your skin, but we were all amazed to be witnessing these shrimp up close and personal. I hope it wasn’t a bad thing to feed them some bread.


We managed to “catch” several of the shrimp by gently grasping their bodies, but after a quick photo placed them right back in the water. Maybe the shrimp were used to the tourists and they were well aware that their antics could result in an easy meal, but we were amused nonetheless.


And just so you get a glimpse of what effort is sometimes required to get the photos for a post on this blog, one of our group had to position himself gingerly on a rock with some bread, the teen is in the water on the lookout for shrimp and I am bent over with my camera taking dozens of shots hoping that some of them will turn out well. One slip on the sharp rocks and there goes the camera… Some of you might be wondering why I thought this experience worth posting about. While it may seem inconsequential to most, it is precisely little moments like these, enjoyed with family, friends and wonderful crew, that are burned into my personal memory banks and which will give me pleasure again and again until a giant shrimp eats me or I otherwise depart this planet for other destinations… :)



  1. Fabian M says:

    Not a good idea to feed creatures food that isn’t a normal part of their ecosystem. Glad you enjoyed Kayangan Lake this time around, MM. :) I actually find that the lake has improved over the past years, contrary to what normally happens when a site gets popular. I think the Tagbanua are doing a good job.

    – Fabian

    Mar 22, 2010 | 8:48 am


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  3. Marketman says:

    Fabian, I have to agree with you on the feeding. We (the Kid at 3 years old) were once feeding pigeons in Central Park and this older lady came up to us and said we were giving them constipation. Had to bring bird seed the next time around. :) Because the sites on Coron island managed by the Tagbanuans are remote and there are few settlements nearby, they are kept in reasonably good shape. Recently, some legal activity has racked up their lawyer’s expenses (I think this had to do with pursuing a claim to regain Calauit) so they have increased visitor fees by a LOT. Having said that, I don’t mind the higher prices if they continue to manage their resources well.

    Mar 22, 2010 | 9:03 am

  4. Joyce says:

    whoa! first time i’ve seen shrimp out of water always thought shrimp lived primarily on the sea floor.

    Mar 22, 2010 | 9:53 am

  5. Lunedi says:

    I’m actually admiring the water’s clarity more than the shrimp, although I agree that this is some experience!

    Mar 22, 2010 | 10:29 am

  6. Mom-Friday says:

    Looks like happy friendly shrimps! I was expecting to see freshly cooked/steamed shrimps as I was scrolling down through this post, hehehe…
    This experience is really worth posting, allowing readers like me to live through such “adventures”, which is very amusing and inspiring at the same time. Thanks for sharing :-)

    Mar 22, 2010 | 11:22 am

  7. Mom-Friday says:

    by the way, I noticed on the 2nd picture…is that a ‘talangka’ or hermit crab crawling beside that shrimp you caught there? :D

    Mar 22, 2010 | 11:24 am

  8. Mimi says:

    Reminds me of the time my son went prawn fishing for the first time. We paid $12 per hour to rent the pole/hook and smelly bait. Took 3 hours to catch just one! I told my son that next time we just buy prawns from the wet market with that money. But it was an interesting experience for us. Prawns look beautiful gliding in the water.

    Mar 22, 2010 | 11:35 am

  9. Nina says:

    Did experience the pedicure by cleaner shrimp while in Barracuda Lake. It feels that you’re having a pedicure with their nibbling on your toes or are they trying to push you out of the narrow boarder towards the middle that abruptly goes down to 60 ft. or so where the thermocline, helicline and supposedly the barracuda are?

    Mar 22, 2010 | 11:53 am

  10. Isa Garchitorena says:

    As your resident wildlife expert (as I nominate myself), I have to agree -don’t feed wildlife. ( and only you can prevent forest fires!) they are very well equipped to survive on their own, even if you feed species appropriate food, you can create a dependence on humans that is just never a good idea. I have to say though kudos to you for the lengths you will go to get the shot! (and showing off your guns!)

    Mar 22, 2010 | 12:43 pm

  11. Marketman says:

    Isa, yes, I buy the credentials fully. And promise never to feed the wildlife again. :)

    Mar 22, 2010 | 1:11 pm

  12. erleen says:

    I went to Coron with your posts as my main guide. It took me almost a year but it was really worth it. The waters there were so clear and calming. I liked it so much.

    Mar 22, 2010 | 1:32 pm

  13. myra_p says:

    MM, you should get an Olympus uTough camera — shockproof and waterproof. You could have taken macro underwater shots of the shrimp.

    Mar 22, 2010 | 1:33 pm

  14. tintin says:

    WOOOOOW! Ganda ng view… This and that of the previous post.. hope to see Coron too. Thanks MM, for the “trip”.

    Mar 22, 2010 | 1:42 pm

  15. Marketman says:

    myra p, on my “wishlist” is a Lumix with Leica lens. Not outrageously expensive, but fantastic macro shots and incredibly amazing photos in low light… I am an “instamatic” kind of user for the most part… :)

    Mar 22, 2010 | 1:49 pm

  16. tamale8888 says:

    Wow, I usually only see live shrimp in supermarket aquariums.

    I’m goin’ to Busuanga 3rd week of April. I can hardly wait now! *:)

    Mar 22, 2010 | 2:29 pm

  17. Larees says:

    I miss Palawan, specifically Kayangan Lake! My HS friends and I were there last March 09 and I agree with you re the Tagbanuas managing the islands quite well. My dad brought me there when I was about 7yrs old (my lola hails from Taytay, Palawan) and Coron became my benchmark for beaches.

    Mar 22, 2010 | 2:44 pm

  18. atbnorge says:

    Kapag huhuli ako ng hipon sa Oslofjord, huhuli muna ako ng mackerel o kaya ay tahong—baits from their own habitat para hindi ako punahin ng iba, hehehe. Then the crustaceans (not only shrimps but small crabs and sometimes lobster) come to Mamma!

    Mar 22, 2010 | 3:59 pm

  19. tamale8888 says:

    The Lumix DMC-TS2 seems interesting. Looks tough enough but user-friendly (I’m basically point-and-shoot. Talk settings and lighting to me and I go catatonic).

    Mar 22, 2010 | 4:20 pm

  20. Brian Asis says:

    Those were some amazing shots :D I miss snorkeling and just waiting for the fish to swim along with me :D

    Mar 22, 2010 | 8:46 pm

  21. Ejit says:

    I’ve been to Kayangan Lake and it’s definitely a must-see place in Coron. My mistake though is that i stayed in an expensive resort which is not worth it. I should have searched for an affordable place to stay in Coron town and rent a banca for island hopping which is way cheaper. Aside from the fact that off-peak season could save you some bucks, you’ll be very lucky to have this place all by yourself even for an hour or two just before the other tourists arrive.

    Mar 22, 2010 | 10:27 pm

  22. corrine says:

    Was in beautiful Coron 2 weeks ago. There are so many real estate constructions going on and I am afraid that the last frontier will soon be gone. I hope not. :(

    Mar 22, 2010 | 10:45 pm

  23. Footloose says:

    You need to be an adept of tai chi chuan to catch shrimps bare handed.

    Mar 23, 2010 | 9:35 pm

  24. traci says:

    some of my best memories are of crouching by tidepools in La Jolla with cousins and intently watching the mini-ecosystem in them. memories of a lifetime indeed!

    Mar 23, 2010 | 10:25 pm

  25. traci says:

    some of my best memories are of crouching by tidepools in La Jolla with cousins and intently watching the mini-ecosystem in them. memories of a lifetime indeed!

    Mar 23, 2010 | 10:25 pm

  26. Lee says:

    Hello Marketman… I bought a lumix fz35. Nice camera, easy to use and takes decent shots.

    Mar 23, 2010 | 11:19 pm

  27. Betchay says:

    Cann’t help but noticed the blue Roxas band!

    Mar 24, 2010 | 1:44 pm

  28. meh says:

    I echo Fabian and Isa’s comment to not feed or disturb the wildlife! I’m not very familiar with the geology or ecology of Kayangan Lake, but there’s a good chance that the shrimp you met there might be endemic to that lake, having evolved there millions of years ago, and found nowhere else on Earth. Let’s respect them — as well as all the efforts of the Tagbanwas to protect their lands and waters : )

    Mar 29, 2010 | 4:09 am

  29. dave de vera says:

    All your good thoughts regarding the way the Tagbanuas have managed the lake will surely be sincerely appreciated by their leadership and I volunteer to convey these to them. It has been a loooong struggle working w/ them gain legal recognition over their ancestral domain and to establish a lake visitor program. It has not been easy and they still have a lot to learn, but positive reviews like those posted here surely help. BTW, most of the income from the visitors fees of the lake are spent to support the studies of 11 Tagbanwa students, while the rest are used to defray medical/hospitalization costs of any Tagbanua from Coron island. Whatever remains are reserved for emergency loans for livelihood. Lastly, A modest Tagbwanua Heritage center will now welcome visitors of kayangan Lake!

    Apr 2, 2010 | 8:21 pm


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