Makati <ma-ka-tee> is the financial capital of the Philippines.
Makati <ma-ka-ti> means being itchy.
Makati <ma-ka-ti> is also the term for low tide.
The signpost shown above–exposed during makati–is used to guide the locals away from the bahura <ba-hu-ra>, underground rock formations, during madalem <ma-da-lum>, or high tide.
Such signposts are important especially when rocks have been deliberately planted to create fish traps.
Any fish caught inside these rock formations were trapped during makati. They were vulnerable to capture until the next madalem.
I had never stumbled upon a live cowrie until my host picked up this beauty.
Many inhabitants of the intertidal zone are echinoderms. Last month I had reviewed a similar intertidal zone in Bancao-Bancao. This time, in Bisucay island, I encountered new creatures–animals that I had never seen before.
Incidentally, two of this guy’s arms are regenerating (the shorter ones).
Sand dollars are a type of Sea Urchin. The typical sea urchin resembles this.
There were large colonies of the nasty type shown above. Back in 2005, in Coron, I learned that this type–locally called tayong <ta-yong>–was harvested for food. My hosts in Bisucay island were not impressed. Anyone that had to harvest something that was so difficult to harvest and that yielded so little that was edible was truly desperate. They steered me to the alternative–a sand dollar locally called tirik <ti-rik>.
I tasted several. It tasted like it looked: salty and slimy. It’s definitely an acquired taste. Also, I was cautioned about its high cholesterol. That makes sense. The internal organs of most animals are high in cholesterol.
I had never seen so many types of sand dollars in one beach as I did here.
None of these were edible according to my hosts.
These are the beautiful skeletons of this animal.
These skeletons are very fragile. When dropped, half the time they will drift to the ground. By the same token, the slightest pressure will shatter them.
The tirik was just the appetizer.
It was time to eat our “vegetable,” a cucumber–a sea cucumber to be exact. The edible kind is called a batunan <ba-tu-nan>. The inedible ones are simply called balat <ba-lat>.
I had previously written about commercially-harvested sea cucumbers.
My host started scraping the skin of this long batunan.
After scraping off the skin, the animal is cut up. The pieces tasted very salty but did not have much “give” (unlike octopus which has a rubbery texture).
Another first for me was seeing these beautiful specimen:
The mouths of brittle stars and basket stars are located on their underside. They have no anus, so wastes are also expelled through the mouth.
To be continued
I’ll continue this next time. Our banca is in danger of running aground. The tide is dropping (makati) and I’m still here at the Internet Cafe! Later…