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The Fisherman on Virgin Island

17 February 2013 5,531 views 21 Comments

While on assignment for Mabuhay Magazine, I chanced upon this fisherman on the Virgin Island in Bohol. He was harvesting sea urchins, which he said he would sell to tourists for P20 each. He already had bucketfuls of it in his small boat, but I can still see a lot of the scary, spiny things around him.


The fisherman scooping up sea urchins.

According to the fisherman, he wasn’t even the first one there. Others had come and gone much earlier. They would all come back the next day to get more.

Aside from sea urchins, though, he was also on the lookout for the big, brown starfish, which were also aplenty on that side of the island. He would get the fleshy part of the starfish and use it as bait for when he goes fishing later in the day. He would then sell the starfish shell to the tourists.


Solitary boat on Virgin Island.

Virgin Island is one of the destinations included in the comprehensive list of places to visit in Bohol this summer. Read it in the March 2013 issue of Mabuhay Magazine!

 Aleah Taboclaon is a freelance writer and editor. She likes running (completed one marathon, training for the next!), diving (PADI open water diver), and traveling with her Kindle. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. You can also email her; she would love to hear from you!

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  • Shalu Sharma said:

    Nice photo of the fisherman. I do not know what sea urchins are, are they like fish or some other sea creators? The solitary boat is quite interesting, looks like a different kind of boat. Thanks for sharing these photos.
    Shalu Sharma recently posted..10 things you will hate about India

  • Kat said:

    This is really interesting! I imagine this kind of lifestyle would be really difficult though.
    Kat recently posted..Love Letter #2, Wada, Chiba, Japan

  • Aleah said:

    @ Shalu Sharma: Yeah, sea urchins are another kind of sea creatures. They have a black shell with long spines that can really hurt. They’re usually eaten raw, best with vinegar.
    @ Kat: Most fishers’ lives are difficult. They earn just enough for the next day. If the sea stops replenishing its resources, they’d have no other ways to make a living.
    Aleah recently posted..Snapshot Sunday—The Fisherman on Virgin Island

  • Marisol@TravelingSolemates said:

    Hi Aleah, those photos are beautiful. I have not heard of Virgin Island in Bohol. I wish I can get hold of a copy of Mabuhay magazine here in NY. I didn’t know that it sea urchins grow abundantly in our country. I’m sure tourists especially from Europe would be delighted to buy those for only P20 each. They’re so expensive in Europe and even here in the US. I wish all those hardworking fishermen bountiful catch.
    Marisol@TravelingSolemates recently posted..Vietnam: Trekking in the Off-The-Beaten-Path Hilltribe Villages – Day 1

  • BUCHOK said:

    Hi Aleah, haven’t heard about Virgin Island in Bohol. And thanks to this so I can add this place to my July-Bohol trip adventure. Thanks. BTW sea urchins are very familiar to me since i grew up in the province. Hehe. Most of the time perfect for rice meal.

  • Aleah said:

    @ Marisol: I find P20 each already expensive haha Those fishermen really work so hard. That’s why I wish the sea continues to give them bountiful catch!
    @ Buchok: I just ate a sea urchin once and never again haha. I actually hate them. They look really mean!!
    Aleah recently posted..Snapshot Sunday—The Fisherman on Virgin Island

  • James said:

    Hi Aleah, it’s nice stumbling on your blog. Solo travelers like you are inspiring.
    James recently posted..The Taxi Driver as Face of a City: My KL Experience (Part 2)

  • grasya said:

    virgin island is my favorite islet.. never thought it has a private owner, hopefully the owner wont ask tourists for entrance fees when they further develop the place.

    and sea urchins are real yummy! ^_^ you make me want to go back to Bohol again
    grasya recently posted..Travel has taught me how to love

  • Aleah said:

    @ James: Thanks, James. I hope to see you here again on my blog :)
    @ Grasya: I was very surprised too, to see the no trespassing sign on Virgin (Pungtod) Island. They don’t have the write to ask for entrance fees. They don’t own the beach, it’s still public property. Good thing eh? hehe
    Aleah recently posted..Snapshot Sunday—The Fisherman on Virgin Island

  • Salika Jay said:

    The photo of the boat makes the boat looks like something high end. Nice capture.
    Salika Jay recently posted..Udawalawe National Park Photos, Sri Lanka

  • Phioxee said:

    virgin island is one of our top preferred place to visit this summer. teka minomonitor bah nila if kumukunte yung starfish at sea urchins? baka biglang mawala kasi eh.
    Phioxee recently posted..Boracay Island – Exciting Trip with Friends

  • Aleah said:

    @ Salika Jay: Thanks. Love it too!
    @ Phioxee: I know. I don’t think so, but as long as they don’t abuse the ocean, it will keep on producing for them.
    Aleah recently posted..3 Days in Nha Trang, Vietnam

  • Photo Cache said:

    tourists would gobble up the sea urchins for that price. may be he should up his price :)
    Photo Cache recently posted..Bangladesh: Market Scenes

  • Joshua said:

    I like the pics! I have yet to visit Bohol but I’d like to go there as soon as I can. Looking forward to that post and article about Virgin Island.
    Joshua recently posted..Snapshots Cambodia

  • Aleah said:

    @ Photo Cache: It’s actually already expensive for locals haha I agree they should increase though. Sea urchins are so expensive in the cities!
    @ Joshua: It’s mentioned in the March 2013 issue of Mabuhay Magazine. Do get a copy!
    Aleah recently posted..3 Days in Nha Trang, Vietnam

  • JJ said:

    Two things I learned from this article:

    1. I previously thought that Uni (sushi) was the only way to eat sea urchin. Now I know better. :)

    2. that Mabuhay mag has an Ipad mag app! And what’s even better? the issues are FREE downloads!!! the March 2013 issue is still not available though.

    Thank you for this blog post Aleah!

  • Aleah said:

    @ JJ: Yeah, their app is free. Too bad it’s not available for Androids!
    Aleah recently posted..Where to Stay in Manila—MNL Boutique Hostel

  • Bonzenti,Con Tour (@Bonzenti) said:

    This morning, I asked our Student Trainee about the one of the best spots in Bohol, and she replied “Virgin Island”. Virgin Island can only be accessed with due permission from the owner. Is that right leah? Anyway, its still one of the best destinations in Bohol today.:-).

  • Aleah said:

    @ Bonzenti: Hi Kuya Bon! It’s true that there’s a private owner, but the beach and the sandbar is still public property. No permission needed to go there :)
    Aleah recently posted..Best Day Trips from Manila

  • Slow Day at the Pamilacan Island, Bohol | Solitary Wanderer said:

    […] The Fisherman on Virgin Island Danao Adventure Park in Bohol Taking the Plunge in Danao […]

  • Beyond the Tragedy: Bohol Revisited | Solitary Wanderer said:

    […] Panglao, you can rent a boat to go to Virgin Island or Pamilacan Island. Virgin Island, also known as Pungtod Island, is mostly submerged underwater during high tide, but when it’s low […]

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