#TunaExperience

I HAVE family and their friends visiting from the US this week. It’s a full week.

Prior to their actual visit, Ate Malu Digal Lungay, the leader of the group, in mid-April and early May had already articulated their wish to imbibe the #TunaExperience by visiting the General Santos Fish Port. Who wouldn’t?

Everybody is excited to see how the huge tuna catches are unloaded from the mother boat – Unay, expertly carried by the fishermen on their shoulders, and brought to the fish port for the usual procedure.

For a better appreciation of what goes on inside the General Santos Fish Port, I suggest you purchase the coffee table book – “Tuna: At the Heart of General Santos”, published by the SOCSKSARGEN Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries, Inc. (SFFAII). What goes on inside the Fish Port is captured in the pages of the coffee table book in great photos and very informative captions. There are feature stories, too!

In May, I requested the assistance of Virgie de Dios, SFFAII Project Officer, to help me arrange with Paris Y. Ayon, Officer-in-Charge/Administrative Services Division/Unit Head, Foodsafety and Environmental Management Unit of the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority, General Santos Fish Port Complex, for the reception of my guests. Paris was very accommodating and made arrangements right away. I am a grateful client.

Everything settled, I also booked my guests at my most favoured hotel in the city owing to their Fisherman’s Grill and Piano Bar.

Ate Malu and Uncle Benjie Lungay – youngest brother of my Mum;  Orlando (I used to call him Nong Lando while I was a kid visiting my grandparents’ home in Balilihan, Bohol every summer and December) Chatto and wife Josie Llorente; Bernard “Jun” Digal; and their driver Raymond arrived on Tuesday evening. Shiloh Ruthie met with them since my asthma is visiting these days.

On Wednesday morning, they woke up early. I also did. I had to orient my son Hezekiah Kit who was tasked to serve as guide of the party. They assembled at Sydney Hotel and off they left at six in the morning to reach the Fish Port by 6:30 a.m. The early time would ensure that our guests will capture the actual unloading of big tuna catches, the weighing, the grading, the classifying, the gutting, the trading, and the flurry of activities that lend character to the General Santos Fish Port.

It was a fun activity for our US-based guests and they appreciated the nuggets of information acquired albeit for a very fleeting time, and of course, not to be missed, the ubiquitous photo shoot! The fish port adventure ought to be seized in pictures, I tell you.

After all this excitement, the group proceeded to Fisherman’s Wharf, also located inside the Fish Port complex for a taste of freshly-caught tuna. Alas! Sashimi wasn’t available yet but big tuna heads were – which are yummy for sabaw (soup), and thus our guests savoured the tuna soup with gusto!

Following the fish port experience, they travelled back to the city, rested a bit, then proceeded with the itinerary arranged for them back in May as requested by Ate Malu. Hezekiah, the guide, embellished the itinerary by taking them to Plaza Heneral Santos, the Sangguniang Panlungsod, two city malls, and of course, the Pacman Tour. Tuesday night, my daughter Shiloh also brought the pack to a mall. 

To complete the #TunaExperience, by evening I brought them to the seventh floor of Sydney Hotel and served them delicious Sashimi, grilled Panga and Tuna belly, Imbao soup, Bagaybay, Guso, Tilapia, finished off with fruits, and washed by soda.
My guests obviously liked the acoustic singer. They easily remarked, “This kind of performer is good for cruises”. They should know. They’re all recently retired and have been touring parts of the world. They are all in agreement that Filipino performers are doing the rounds in cruises. That’s the Pinoy talent for you!
The General Santos Fish Port is located at General Santos Fish Port Complex, Barangay Tambler, General Santos City. It is managed by the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority.

I also wish to thank Edmund Dale C. Manimog and Security Guard Arbin O. Pleños for the very snappy facilitation and assistance. The guests are very impressed. Kudos to you guys!

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

What excellent Sashimi dishes they serve in world-class restaurants, once rested on the strong and tired shoulders of a Filipino fisher.

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For comments, you may reach the writer at [email protected]./PN

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