The scallop capital of the philippines


Scallops are in abundance on Gigantes Island in Iloilo, in the Visayas region of the Philippines. This shell fish can be prepared in every conceivable manner, and during a recent trip of 4 days I enjoyed this delicacy thrice daily. The brightly colored, symmetrical, fan shaped shells litter the sand everywhere, and are valued by shell collecting tourists who visit. Shells have been used since ancient times as motifs in art, architecture and design. Here though, they are just crunchy reminders of an island covered in a landscape of sea sculpture…

scallop walls

The scallop hunters rise early in the morning with their nets and gather in their catch to return before the middle of the day…


Once ashore, it seems the entire fishing village participates in splitting open and removing the insides from the shell. Then, the meat is further separated from the non-edible substance that is re-used as bait for catching fish later on. Nothing is wasted…




A lot of work goes into collecting enough scallops to generate a single kilo, which is sold for about $3. This is their daily routine and sole means of income; a routine broken by the Saturday evening dance where everyone gathers to celebrate another week of what seems like struggling survival.


The people of Carles on Gigantes Island North still suffer from the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda which destroyed or severely damaged their houses and boats. Over 90% of the homes on the island were destroyed and the beaches are littered with broken boats, and the inhabitants await relief to help rebuild their livelihood…


You and I know that you cannot buy scallops for $1.50 a pound in the supermarket…


Until next time…

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