METRO MANILA | Getting Fishy at the Navotas Fish Port

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fresh Seafood at the Navotas Fish Port

It was as it was the first time I visited Navotas City’s fish port some years back. The sky was heavily overcast and the heavens threatened to spill down cats and dogs. Like the first time, I was with a group of photographers. And like the first time, we were undaunted by the weather. Even with the promise of wet cameras, we went ahead to the largest seafood market in Metro Manila.

Red Tide Warnings at the Navotas Fish PortA board similar to movie marquees indicated we were almost at Navotas City’s fish port. Instead of movies going to be shown, it instead announces which bays are affected by red tides. I was unfamiliar with the areas listed; I simply hoped that the crisply fried fish I happily ate for breakfast were not from those waters.

Boots On at the Navotas Fish PortAfter securing our permits, we were given the go ahead and was even assigned a guide to help and guard us around the port. I’m not sure if one can simply walk in and take photos inside, but we were a big group, like fifteen-people strong big, so I guess permits were worked out in advance.
Kids Having a Ball at the Navotas Fish PortThere’s also a security concern when shooting at the Navotas Port. I distinctly recall an incident during my first visit; I was taking photos of some of the kids playing around (which won me a nod at the SKWWPW by the way) when my camera was almost literally taken out of my hand by a certain vagrant in the area.

There were also not a few incidents of pickpockets in the port itself, the fish vendors being the victims. Care and alertness should be exercised when visiting.

Fresh Fishes at the Navotas Fish PortAfter a brief briefing, we all went in and dove into basins after basins of sea bounties. I’m no market person, so I really cannot name the gaping multitude of fishes filling pails and all sorts of plastic containers in the port even if my life depended on it.

Heck I wouldn’t know I was looking at a galungong if it wasn’t all fried and crispy.

Tiger Prawns at the Navotas Fish PortSo I tried to chatter up the vendors along the port. Asking the names of that weird looking fish and that strange shrimp, which was no shrimp at all it turned out. It was a prawn, a tiger prawn to be exact. How to differentiate it for the normal non-tiger ones? The stripes on its back, the friendly seller relates to me.

Uncooked seafood 101 for me.

The Strange Curacha at the Navotas Fish PortThere are peculiar looking fishes, and then there are the really bizarre ones. Take the super delicious curacha, which can almost compare to that of the more expensive lobsters. Uncooked, it looks like a strange cross between a cockroach and a crab. It just looks so… alien, for lack of a better description.

Resellers Buying at the Navotas Fish PortOur group arrived a bit late so we didn’t catch the initial barrage of seafood being dumped in the port during the early hours of the morning. But still, there’s so much to see and photograph. The bulungan sessions, where a group of resellers outbid each other for the freshly arrived bounties by whispering their price to the seller, were already few and far between however.

Manila Bay from the Navotas Fish PortAdjacent to the fish drop-off shed is the waters of Navotas City. It’s still part of Manila Bay and as you can probably guess, it’s as polluted as heck. I was however relieved to find that it wasn’t as full of floating garbage as was the first time I saw it a few years back.

Business Done at the Navotas Fish PortThe Navotas fish port is not a beautiful place; it is wet, slippery and ranks very much of the sea. It’s not a place where a tourist may want to wander; in fact it’s not the safest place to be walking about. But it’s still interesting to visit such raw places once in a while, to see the other side of the sunny bright green parks, to get down and dirty, or should I say fishy? You come in smelling of expensive perfumes, you come out smelling like sushi; and it ain’t a bad experience at all.

Navotas Fish Port
Address: Lapu-Lapu Ave., North Bay Blvd., Navotas City
Open Hours: Open 24 Hours

GPS Coordinates: 14° 38' 31.69", 120° 57' 3.97"
View Location on Google Maps: Click Here

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  1. Your street photography skills is as always! SUPERB! :)

  2. Excited for my curacha from my friend whose visiting from Zamboanga..mukha nga xang alien.

  3. Nice pictures! Around what time did you go?

    1. Hi there, I went to the Navotas Fish Port at around nine to ten in the morning :)

  4. Hi! So we have this investigatory project about this body of water, and we need the sample water from this port. I noticed that one from your pictures was an area whereas we could possibly and easily get water, Can you help us by giving us instruction of where exactly is the are of that picture? or perhaps, may you give us your instructions of how you get there and advises when going to that port. Btw, you're photography skills are great! <3

    1. Can you help us by giving us instruction of where exactly is the area*** of that picture?

    2. Hi, the photos are taken exactly right on the Navotas fishport :)