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Fisherman in Palawan

What’s It REALLY Like To Be A Fisherman in Palawan? This Story Will Surprise You

Fisherman in Palawan
Fisherman in Palawan

Forget postcard images of pristine beaches and swaying palms. While Palawan is a paradise, it’s also a place where everyday people work hard to forge a living from the sea. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be one of these fishermen, waking before dawn and facing the unpredictable ocean for your family’s survival? Well, buckle up, because I’m about to take you along for the ride.

The Day Begins: Stars Fade, Nets Unfurl

My day as a Palawan fisherman starts… while you’re probably still asleep. Around 4 AM, the sky is still a deep indigo, and the roosters are just starting their morning chorus. My hands, rough from years on the water, are already busy checking my net and the small “banca” boat that’s my lifeline.

It’s a quiet time. The air is cool, and that familiar smell of salt and a hint of fish hangs just above the water. While tourists think of Palawan as a vacation spot, for us, the ocean is our workplace.

Out on the Open Sea: A Fisherman’s Gamble

With the first light, we’re off. My cousin, Benjie, helps man the banca. We motor to a spot only the experienced fishermen know about. Today, it’s all about handline fishing – just a line, hook, some bait, and a whole lot of skill. You never know what you’ll pull up – maybe a tasty grouper, maybe just seaweed. That’s the thing about this life, it’s a constant gamble against the sea.

Back on Shore: More Than Just Catching Fish

Hours melt away with the pull and release of the line. But being a fisherman isn’t just about the fish. As we haul in our catch, I’m also watching Benjie. He’s young, just starting out, and he wants to learn the old ways. I teach him how to read the currents, signs of good fishing grounds, even how to mend the nets properly. This knowledge is my legacy, just as important as any fish we might sell.

Palawan’s Markets and a Fisherman’s Pride

By noon, the sun’s high and we’re back on shore, baskets filled (hopefully!). There’s a quick lunch, then some of the catch is off to the local market. Seeing our fish displayed, people eager to buy – there’s a certain pride in that. You’re not just making a living; you’re feeding your community.

Community Spirit: Beyond the Boats

Afternoons are a mixed bag. Mending nets, chores… sometimes, if the catch was good, a nap in the shade. But afternoons are also about community. Maybe there’s a meeting about sustainable fishing, ways to protect our waters for the next generation. Or maybe we’re helping a neighbor fix his roof. In Palawan, the fishermen aren’t just individuals; we’re a lifeline for each other.

When the Sun Sets, a Fisherman’s Day Isn’t Over

Some folks might think the workday ends as the sun dips below the horizon. Not for us! Often, that’s when we fix the boat or prep gear for the next day. And hey, if you’re lucky enough to have a little extra to sell, then Green Gecko Expeditions is always looking for fresh seafood for their trips between Coron and El Nido. Those tourist dollars go a long way.

Finally, Rest… Until the Sea Calls Again

Dinner’s the best part – fresh-caught fish, rice, laughter with the kids, stories with the wife. My bones might ache, but my heart’s full. Soon, it’ll be sleep and then… tomorrow, it starts again.

More than Postcard Palawan

Being a fisherman in Palawan is hard. The hours are long, the work unpredictable. But there’s a simple honor to it, a deep connection to the natural world, that I wouldn’t trade for anything. So next time you bite into a delicious piece of fish in Palawan, remember there’s a story behind it – a story of hard work, tradition, and the enduring spirit of these island communities.