Posted by: Jimely Flores | May 28, 2016

Philippines’ sardine supply chain: consumed product

Sardines in the Philippines is more known for its canned product-form in tomato sauce rather than part of the fresh fish commodities, when people refer ro the word sardines (sardinas) it almost always refer to those in cans sold in almost all stores in the country from the sari-sari community stores to the high end big supermarkets in the metrropolis. Cost of canned sardines typically sold in mass markets ranges from PhP10-20 depending on the size and type of the sauce used.
Another process product sardines is known for is salted dried. Salted dried is a way of processing the sardines and other highly seasonal fishes that needs less capital input. This is very common as a community small-scale industry. The main ingredient needed here is just plenty of salt and sunlight. There were however cases that even salt is not plenty enough to supply the needs of the fish salted and dried industry. Usual market prices is PhP200.00 per kilo but due to its saltiness one could only eat 2 or three pieces a meal. Dried salted sardines just like its canned form is found in most markets and one of the favored fish delicacy in remote landlocked areas.


Dried sardines

Going up the ladder of market value, still another commonly known process product of sardines is salted-smoked. This product is more expensive than the first two forms. Distribution is also more limited because of its shorter shelf life. Prices per kilo in the local markets ranges from 300 and up per kilo.
The most expensive product out of the sardines is the bottled ones. The bottles are usually with oil such as corn, canola or olive oil. Cost per bottle of only about 8-10 ounces ranges from PhP80-120. Customers patronizing this sardines product form are mostly the middle class and the elites.
Fresh whole sardines is also sold in the local market and groceries but such are not so common and abundant and its price is way below most of the other types of fish. In markets near the landing sites prices could go as low as PhP10.00 per kilo and in the metropolis as high as PhP100.00 per kilo in the big supermarkets.

Posted by: Jimely Flores | November 4, 2015

Miracle of life!

After a month-long of continous traveling, on the last few hours remaining, strange searing steady pain in my abdomen started. It accompanied chilling and a slight fever. I first thought its because of the food or water, but the symptoms seemed changing in a different direction.
Alarmed with the unusual circumstances, I went to the emergency department of a hospital. This is my second time to go in the emergency, first is my ear-intimate experience with a garden ant.
Its a learning experience how the doctors were eliminating the probabilities. Being a science practitioner, understanding what they were doing was a relief and the assurance that I wont be haphazardly subjected under the knife unnecessarily. Though I still fear the possibility of being opened, I tried focusing on getting well and let the experts do their job knowing the best will come out.
Meditations and prayers from real friends and family won. The inflammation is only some decimal fraction below the operable limit and my body and spirit are fighting the infection amazingly so well. After a few days, the doctors and nurses had to say goodbye and the friendly smiles and good wishes they send my way are treasures that will help in my recovery.
As I am writing this, I could only feel gratefulness for all the care of the hospital health practitioners and doctors, my mother, nephew, sister and some friends personal care and company, and my sisters and friends and others (church members) and the universe prayers of good wishes and fast healing and recovery. For me its another miracle of life and I am very thankful

Posted by: Jimely Flores | October 30, 2015

Rabbitfishes (danggit) for sustainable plate series

Danggit or rabbit fishes in the Philippines are one of the fave breakfast main courses cutting across all classes of the society, from the really rich folks to the marginal ones. It is served in the most expensive hotels and resorts and also in the carinderias and turo-turo food outlets.

Rabbitfishes just like other fishes are high in protein (21 grams/100g raw), less fat (0.3g/100g raw), less calorie (98/100g raw). A preferred source of protein and calories from meat.

Unfortunately for the Philippines, most of the danggit sold in the market are juvenile individuals, with very high salt content (as mostly dried) and post harvest preparation are not within accepted clean fish preparation standards. Most of the dried species served for breakfast are mixed of Siganus fuscescens, S. canaliculatus, S. guttatus and a few individuals from other species. Length at maturity of these species are 5.6cm for S. fuscescens, 22.6cm for male and 23.9cm for female S. canaliculatus, and
Most of the individuals served for breakfast are less than the indicated sizes of maturities. The length at maturity indicates that at that size, 50% of the population are mature and have the capacity to spawn at least once before they are caught and cook. Not catching these fishes before they reach the length of maturity is important for the sustainability of these very valuable resources. The danggits are mostly salted and dried, with the salt content a thousand higher than the salt needed by a healthy person. Post harvest handling and preparation is way below the standard, washed and dried in unhygienic environment.

Personally, being a field person, I avoided buying and eating dried danggit. I know I was missing so much but thanks for responsible and sustainable mariculture by isdafarms, I could now eat dried and marinated danggit/samaral without burdening my conscience and worrying about my health. Isda farms are culturing samaral/danggit in the waters off Rosario, La Union using the technology of submerged rope framed cages (a more natural method for a happier, healthier fishes). The fishes are supplemented with their natural foods. The company though very small is helping in the creation of livelihood in the small community. Recently, I bought a kilo of their dried danggit/samaral and half-dried (lamaya) marinated in the local Iloco vinegar and garlic. Its a fantastic gastro experience. Finally I will not be missing the joyous experience of eating one of the great Filipino breakfast dish. But so far, I will limit my experience to something trusted, the isda farms samaral/danggit products.

Posted by: Jimely Flores | September 29, 2015

Through my mind’s eye

4. I was never impressed by titles like Attorney, Ph D., etc.; I have met smarter and more intelligent people from the ranks of ordinary fishers, farmers and street vendors. Title and education is never a measure of intelligence.

3. I am wary of people who brags they live strictly with integrity.

2. I believe that people who opted to be single should not be discriminated. Equity.

1. When I don’t believe in something or when I am not impress, do not expect me to talk at all.

Posted by: Jimely Flores | June 22, 2015

Philippine blue swimming crab at risk

Posted by: Jimely Flores | June 21, 2015

FishFood Security: why is it an omnipresent dilemma?

Food security has been the mission, vision, goal, objective of most entities, from an individual person to small group of advocates to local national international global universal and planetary organizations from time immemorial up to the present and for sure until the future.

Is it just a goal, vision, mission, objective? Its actually a problem that needs solving.

Its an omnipresent problem burdening the highly sentient beings in a planetary scale.

Is it really that hard? Great innovations, high falutin complex equations, well-dressed and glib politicians are still groping for the answers. Why? Because most of the solutions are too complex that the simple basic foundations are missed.

As simple example. In one small bay, the fishes caught are getting smaller, rarer and worst polluted with heavy metals and carcinogenic compounds. Great famous highly esteemed scientists, money-laden organizations are pouring in. Solutions given: ban and prosecute the commercial fishers, give guns and patrol boats to drive away the blasters, poachers, illegal fishers, put up market sheds in the community, stock enhancement and other high-falutin solutions. Still the problem remains. In my solitudes, this simpleton mind keeps bugging me, why complicate things when the problem is simple. Look and count the number of good municipal fisherfolks operating in the bay, too many of them really and one of the solutions is to reduce their numbers irrespective on what fishing gear they are using. Look at the household and personal waste thrown in the bay, even the pigs refuse to swim on them, simple solution is to reduce wastes whether its biodegrable or not.


Infant Trichiurus spp. Dagupan market


Municipal fishing boats

Posted by: Jimely Flores | April 26, 2015

The burden of knowledge

In these jungles of concretes
I walk purposely
Unmindful of the loud cars, big advertising screens and classy worldly wares of this age.

I walk and gaze at the faces I meet
Are they as disturb as I my spirit?
I look at their body forms, gait and aura
Are they carrying heavy loads just like me?

Weighing heavily on my shoulders
Dried baby Trichiurus species (100g)
Bought from a trade show I love to visit
And the memories of the happy marketer’s faces

Running in my head, clouding my face
Scenario of the future
With a sad face, I told the lady seller
I hope these fishes are not targeted this small



Posted by: Jimely Flores | March 15, 2015

Caught in a Frenzy of Spawning

In all of the places I visited and will visit, the traditional markets are one of my fave places. It always a place of wonderful discoveries and sources of fabulous collections.

Just recently, having nothing to do, I hitched ride with a friend on his way to the province and asked to be dropped in one of the major fish landing centers of the country. Using my old reliable tablet as camera, I went around in search of a good dig. And WHOA this is what I found, bunches of same sizes Panuping (Lethrinus lentjan). Suspecting it was caught from a spawning aggregation, I bought some few kilos, have them iced and proceed to the bus station through a tricycle and rode the first bus out.

Arriving, though tired, I immediately proceeded into disecting my loot fishes. And YES ALL OF THEM ARE GRAVID AND READY TO SPAWN, my suspect that they were caught in the frenzy of their spawning aggregration is validated. I hope I could further validate them by diving in the area but alas, I was not able to extract the exact site where the fishes are caught. Getting such information needs time and entails gaining the trust of the fishers. I hope the Universe will soon guide me again in the place.

Having witnessed once a spawning aggregation of groupers is addicting. I would like to see such wonderful, joyous event once more.
image Letrinus lentjan (Panuping)

Posted by: Jimely Flores | March 14, 2015

Mindful living in fisheries

Its midnight. I’m tired but my mind seemed not to want to rest. Thoughts keep on darting in and out.

One thought is particularly lingering, the thoughts by a good person I just talked with. Am I not tired advocating for realistic policies in the field of fisheries resources sustainability and environmental protection? Yes I had my moments of darkness and will have them again, when all hopes and sanity seemed out of place, when being alone and ridiculed is the norm. Yet I could not stay there, living means hope, hope means faith, faith means intelligence and intelligence create action.

Mindfulness, pushing to stay at the moment despite the heavy cloud of lethargy, is the secret. Most of the time I forget but the flittering moments of awareness are always my friends.
image Refmagnets arranged by artistic big hands

Posted by: Jimely Flores | March 13, 2015

Fisheries Policies and Laws Need Paradigm Shift

The Philippines was once a major contributor to the world total fisheries production. Since about 2 decades ago, the annual landings have consistently been decreasing. Ironically, Paper Policy-wise, the Philippines almost look good and competent in managing its natural resources. The commonly given reason for the stark inconsistency is, policies and laws are not strictly enforced or enforcement is weak.

Yet, I have some reservations with the word ‘enforcement’ anyway. Is that not where the weakness is coming from? We are supposed to be at the age of information, and knowledge is empowering. Yet our mindset is still on the use of force. We need a radical paradigm shift, from creating our policies to be enforced into creating policies that encourages compliance. With the opening of market opportunities, knowledge and abundant information, incentives is the name of the game. Policies that were strategically created on the framework that following it will benefit more the resource users at a certain time in a language they understand is much better than laws and regulations that are imposed through the barrels of guns and chasing boats.


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