A ran across a lone vendor out of several hundred vendors in several markets in Bohol that had a basket of dried whale meat for sale. Now before we all get judgmental about this, first let’s talk about some context. In several parts of the world, whale meat was considered for hundreds of years, as a source of protein and nutrition. Whale meat was plentiful at one point in time, preserved nicely in salt, high in fat, etc. So from the Atlantic to the Pacific, North to South, there is a history of consuming whale meat. Such is the case in certain parts of the Visayas as well. So yes, it now seems reprehensible to consume such a large yet gentle creature, but it isn’t as outrageous when you have some context from which to view this issue…
Dried and salted whale meat is apparently grilled (not sure if it is re-hydrated first) and chewed on like jerky. It can also be prepared by other dishes but fewer and fewer folks seem to know how. Hopefully, as that culinary knowledge dies out, then there won’t be any demand for the whale meat. From the little marine understanding that I have, apparently the strait between Bohol and Cebu is deep, dark and cool and filled with lots of whale food (how come we don’t feel as bad for the bijillions of plankton or little shrimp that whales inhale like Marketman downs Diet Cokes?), hence their passing through the area on their annual migration runs.
I have a question mark on the local name “sanga” for the whale meat, as I had an old post with Manta and Stingray meat (also dried) where they were locally referred to as “Sanga & Pagi” so frankly now I am a bit concerned that at least one of the names is wrong. Or hopefully, this isn’t actually whale meat. Have any thoughts that would be helpful?