Fishmongers and Fishwives in Coron…


There is something fascinating about markets, period. The hustle and bustle, the crush of people buying and selling, the bargaining, the mountains of produce on offer, the thrill of finding something you want, etc. I suppose that’s why I call myself Marketman and I named this blog, because I happen to be enamored with markets. The produce section is by far my favorite area in most markets, though the seafood section comes a close second. Meat sections are sometimes quite interesting, but for the most part, they are my least favorite area to except in far flung cities that I don’t get to visit often and who have different cuisines and ingredients from our own. Next to the producers or growers or hunters and gatherers of food, I am likewise fascinated by the vendors like these fishmongers and fishwives caught on bits and bytes on a recent trip to Coron…


Here a relatively small tuna (10+ kilos or so) is cut into slices and it’s head split into two, probably for soup. It’s a bloody task.


For some odd reason, fish blood doesn’t bother me as much as seeing land animal blood.


With crates filled with lots and lots of newly landed fish, this fishmonger and butcher specialist will be busy for most of the morning!


On another morning, at the exact same spot and with the same sampaloc chopping board (notice how big that tree trunk must have been!), another fishmoner is decapitating these enormous talakitoks or jacks. He is also helping the fish get rid of it’s splitting headache… :)


Despite all the hacking and gore, the market was very clean and it didn’t smell bad at all. Tile counters and floors appear to be washed out several times a day, hence the truest example of a wet market…


The knives used are enormous and constantly being re-sharpened…


And in case you were wondering about the title of this post, female fishmongers are properly referred to as fishwives or a fishwife. I would have thought they were fishmongresses, but a quick check suggests otherwise. While actors and actresses still exist, actresses can also just be referred to as actors. And while stewards and stewardesses are still flying our friendly skies, that terminology has somehow become politically incorrect and we now have to say flight attendants instead. But I think Dukes and Duchesses survive the title evolution. As do Princes and Princesses. Emperors and Empresses. Kings and Queens. Barons and Baronesses. Heeheehee. But after just watching the movie “Clash of the Titans” which I thought wasn’t very good, the one thing I took away from that film, was the term “Demigod”… Now that’s a designation I could live with…. :) I JEST, of course. :) Oh, and would my off-spring be “quartergods”??? Hahaha.

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24 Responses

  1. Delightful post, MM – we love wet markets and the vignettes you share – of fishmongers (what knife skills they have!) and lato gatherers and lumpia wrapper makers at iba iba pa – add into the mix your play on words – how so that a ‘fishwife’ has such a derogatory connotation, pero ‘fishmonger’ sounds respectable – papaano ba yan? And many people walking around, the demigods and demigoddesses who feel so entitled!

  2. Ha, ha, ha. I can hear you MM laughing at your own joke.

    Like I tell my hubby, “mababa lang ang aking kaligayahan”, being thrilled and as fascinated as you hovering around the wet market and produce section, or just browsing in the international section of specialty groceries, or being at the beach to welcome the catch of the day. I make it a point whenever I can to visit the markets in my places of destination, sometimes being able to buy and savor favorite fruits not in season whenever I am back in Pinas such as atis at their peak in Rio de Janeiro. In Melbourne I went to 3 markets in one day and shopped crazy for fresh veggies and tropical fruits. In Puerto Princesa, a trip to the market is a must for my off the beaten track tour for guests.

    Thanks for sharing and for the vicarious experience thru your blog.

  3. I LOVE wet markets!!!! no trip home would be complete without frequent visits to one nearby. love the fish section!!!!

  4. There was this fellow who once referred to you as a blog god hereabouts. He vanished or was vanished, for some transgression.

  5. Footloose, hahaha, good one. And he still lurks you know, unable to resist the lure, but since I may only have “half-powers” he is welcome to visit if he remains quiet and behaves himself. :)

  6. You are in a good mood MM….

    I am quite fascinated with markets myself…Cannot seem to pass the week without a visit, even if it is only the local talipapa.

  7. hahaha…footloose, you beat me to it! shhh….he clashed with a titan!

    MM, from talakitok to demi-gods….happy Sunday, indeed!

  8. Who will not behave when one is reading such a wonderful blog about “people and food” and people who comment with appreciation regarding such “food and people”? This blog is a celebration of both. Mayroon lang talagang kung minsan ay nakainom ng marami tapos sisirain ang okasyon!

    I love it when you jest, MM…and when you rant, oooh, holy Neptune! hahaha!

    @Lee, bravo!

  9. My Dad lived with his brothers in one of two Bungalows in the fishing Village of Mahim, on the coast of Bombay. I too spent most of my afternoon of Primary School on the Beach thereabouts.

    Most of the Elder fisher-folk still remember my Dad who passed away when he was 90. And whenever I pass by the Wet-market call me – Baba (tagalog – Bata), please come and buy this fresh Sea Salmon, no need to pay now.

    In UAE I prefer to clean the fish I buy myself, unless its a 25-30 Kg KingFish or 10-15 Kg Lapu-Lapu, where I can buy steaks or fillets.

    Somehow the smell of the Sea and the Fish will always fascinate and live with me. I could consume Fish everyday of my life without tiring of it.

  10. Thanks for sharing MM…such an interesting topic and you’ve even enriched my vocabulary

  11. Excellent Blog. Love the wit.

    Yeah. Markets are excellent. Gives you a good pulse of a place.

    The fish section of the markets in Puerto Princesa have excellent choices at rock bottom prices. Most fish can be had for way less than how much chicken costs. I have altogether stopped eating chicken.

    More power to your blog. Keep em cookin’

  12. Hahaha… you really have a way of seeing and saying things MM. You are just so effortlessly funny.:)

  13. hello Millet… to think that this Lee wrote that comment on a Sunday, you know, that day after Sabado. :)

  14. apparently, not all Lees are made equal, our Lee is more equal than others…
    (he finds joy in power naps not logo-naps)

  15. Quartergods! Hahaha! I was asking my boyfriend the same thing after watching Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief! My exact words were, “If Percy weds the daughter of Athena and they are both demigods, what do you call their offsprings? Quartergods?” Nice one MM! Great minds?

  16. i came upon your website by accident and have enjoyed reading most of the topics. I enjoyed very much your post on fishmogers and visiting market in general. it reminds me of my younger days. i make it a point to visit philippine market everytime i go home. again thank you for an excellent and entertaining website.

  17. Been reading your blog for a while now … I am from Culion but in South Africa now, Im happy that you like Palawan. Its been 5 years and ang dami ng bago in Coron and Culion. Thanks for posting some pictures.

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