Visiting the fish market in Panabo, Philippines

Fish Market Panabo featured image

I always enjoy visiting fish and fruit markets whenever I arrive in a new town, regardless of its location or size. From the colourful and perfectly clean market of Valencia to the busy, crowded and noisy Asian markets I always find great pleasure in walking between the aisles, admiring their wide display and socializing with the vendors. From all the fish markets I’ve seen so far, Philippines’ markets are by far my favourites and no matter how many of them I visit I still want to visit more.

So, after I got the chance of visiting Agdao Market in Davao, some smaller markets in Manila and Palawan, and the New Fruit Market of Panabo, today I finally got the chance of paying a visit to the Old Market of Panabo.

At 7:30 in the morning, together with Steward Joseph, a very good and loyal friend – who had to act as my bodyguard – we went out of the port, embarked in a yellow tricycle and went to the fish market. We had a short shopping list in mind – which included fish and shrimps for the coming barbeque party – but my strongest desire was to mingle with locals, socializing, taking photos and observing Filipino vendors and buyers during their usual routine.

Fish Market Panabo

The first moment I stepped inside the market, I felt tens of eyes focusing on me, tens of faces smiling towards me and many voices inviting me to try this or buy that. Because I didn’t want to upset anybody, I had to walk between the aisles at slow pace, admiring all stacks of goods, smiling and taking lots of photos, asking polite questions about the name of this fish, or the price of the other.  Some of the vendors asked me to photograph them together with their products and I had to show them the picks as well on the tiny display of my camera.

Fish Market Panabo

Fish Market Panabo

Fish Market Panabo

Panabo Fish Market is not a very big market, but the display of fish and seafood we saw in the morning was incredible. This was due to the fact that it was early morning and the fishermen had just brought in their night captures – as I saw many vendors bringing fresh fish directly from their cars – but also to the fact that today is the first day of Easter Holiday and everybody wants to buy fresh fish for Good Friday. In the market I saw the biggest fish ever – a huge 200 merlin fish already cut in pieces – hundreds of tuna fish (blue fin tuna and yellow fin tuna – some of them in whole piece, others cut in fillets), malasogue, grouper (lapu-lapu), parrot fish, smaller size fish (like milk fish or tilapia), shells, shrimps, squid, fish eggs, seaweeds and crabs.

Fish Market Panabo

Fish Market Panabo

Fish Market Panabo

Fish Market Panabo

Fish Market Panabo

Fish Market Panabo

Fish Market Panabo

Fish Market Panabo

Fish Market Panabo

The cheapest kind of fish cost only 1$/kg and the most expensive fish fillet was 8$/kg. After we made sure that not a single table was left unnoticed and all the vendors caught a good sight of me, we chose our favourites and bought everything we wanted from two nice lady vendors who made me promise that next time I would come again and buy from them. They didn’t care when ‘this next time’ would be – maybe next month, or maybe in a few years – but they promised they would give me big discount.

Before returning to the vessel we made a last stop in a flower shop where I paid less than 6$ for three pots of tropical plants in bloom which will decorate our cabin. The two ladies in charge of the small conservatory like shop offered me lots and lots of big flowers – all very cheap and beautiful – and they were very disappointed when I chose only the smaller ones.

Panabo Flower Market

Panabo Flower Market

With our fresh fish, shrimps and my precious flowers we went back to the vessel and said good bye to Panabo. We are looking forward to coming back here.

 

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