Searching for Sea Urchins

Stunning view from our Siquijor cottage

Stunning view from our Siquijor cottage

One of the biggest surprises about the Philippines has been how unique and distinct the personality of each city and Island we’ve visited has been.  For the last few days, we went from a relatively busy and touristy side of Bohol (Pangalao Island) to Siquijor which for better or worse, seems to be virtually untouched by tourism, and finished out trip in Dumaguete, a vibrant and easy going college town with great bars and lots of young people.

Off course, it’s a preferred way to travel, not being harssed to buy trips and widgets and every corner. However a part of me also definitely feels for the people here as I observe the downfall in tourism the country seem to have taken as a result of the recent floods.

What the Philppines tourism authorities have not informed people about is that the island regions of the Visayas as naturally protected from most of the typhoon activity that impacts the north, as have been untouched for the events of the last few months.

The bright side of this is that if afforded us with a lot of great conversations with locals about topics they think about or would like to discuss with foreigners . We had a very interesting chat with a father/son team running a convenient store, in which the dad was convinced that the California Sequias where one of the seven wonders of the world, and was happy to hear that the tree which you can drive a car through is still there, alive and kicking.

No See Urchin, but at least this weird, Poi like snack came along

No See Urchin, but at least this weird, Poi like snack came along

One of the obsessions we formed at the island came from a sign on the wall which displayed “shoes must be worn while swimming because of see urchins”.  Of course, sea urchins locally called Sulawekee (or Uni as we know it in San Francisco) are among one of our favorite foods, and chasing it down became a full time job whenever I hear that it’s nearby.

We asked a few of the restaurants who told us that they didn’t serve it, but it can be obtained easily from the fisherman.  Unfortunately the fisherman told us “ No Sulawekee” in a few visits we made them.

After Kayaking around the waters (which are too shallow for swimming) we confirmed that there were many sea urchins in the water, even if we were ill equipped to catch them.

If only we took that guy up on his good price one a fishing net and machete!

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