With my continuous visit to Bohol province, I certainly had fallen in love with the famous island. Apart from its known Chocolate Hills, Tarsier Sanctuary and white sand beaches, I also fell in love with other towns like Anda which is situated in the eastern part of the island. Other than Anda, I recently visited Candijay town where I was able to meet seaweed farmers and fishermen in a rural area, I’ve seen no tourists who drop by the time we stayed in the place for a day, it was a privileged that I surely love. This seaweed farm will give you an awe of its nature surrounding the area, on the farther part, there’s Kawasihan sandbar plus a sanctuary to enjoy from.
The town of Candijay, by far, had blown me from its simple living. I know there have been many places that have seaweed farming in the country, like Siquijor, Leyte and other nearby islands. I only visited quickly the farm in Siquijor but never got to indulge with how they do it, for there was no one available to show us by the time I was there. I can say Candijay seaweed farm was my first encounter which offered the best spot.
The life of the people in this small village is purely seaweed farming and fishing. They just recently started accepting tourists to showcase their work, but, they don’t often receive visitors as it’s certainly far from the famous place of Panglao and Bohol countryside tours. If you are staying in Anda, I would highly suggest coming check this place, you may be able to help grow the small business that these people aim.
Seaweed farming has its important benefits. This kind of business builds the life of the people here, it takes a lot of work, yet, creates more income for them. Best months as the farmers mentioned is during January-June, other months can be low, but can still compensate the needs of the people.
We started our journey early in the morning as we were informed by the tourism and our main driver that the road going there is rough and might take us more than an hour of travel from Anda town.
When we arrived, we were warmly greeted by the “bantay dagat” or local coast guard in the village with other residents, who set our food and tour us to their main waiting area. They gave us information about the entire place, what to do and where we are heading.
The Candijay’s seaweed farm doesn’t only maintain seaweeds, they also have ‘bangus’ fish or milkfish cages in the marine water, these are already big grown fish. The small fish or younger fish with less than 30 days old were nursed at the pond first and be transferred to these marine or salt water when it’s more than 30 days old . Their pond is located near the villager’s houses which are about 2 km from the fish cage. Milkfish is widely known in the Philippines as it is our national fish.
We were first introduced to their fish cage, they showed us how they feed them and how huge these fishes are. The cage can be toured with the small “Bangka” or fisherman’s boat, directed us to the place and let us walk in the pathway made of huge bamboo woods.
After the Bangus fish tour, the captain of the boat slowly sailed to the working field, exposed us to the wide seaweed farm. They also shared how members of the community equally divide their duties to each farmer and planting process in the overwater huts stationed meters away from each other. They still practiced the “Bayanihan” that we Filipinos commonly do for the community and I’m so proud of their commitment to the neighborhood. We paid attention to their words as they revealed to us the process. After which, we proceed to one of the overwater huts, where a 21-year-old planter was busy with his work. We went up to his hut, examined what’s in the planting area while explaining to us how it should be done, from collecting the seaweeds to drying it from 1-3 days (sometimes more days during rainy season). There are different kinds of seaweed of which we saw 3 at that time. It has rich color after it is dried and the weight changes as well. Every overwater hut is owned by one family with their relatives. They stand for their program which helps the livelihood for them to know and understand where these seaweeds should go and who their immediate customers are. They mentioned they had their annual seminar in Cebu City and it is through that seminar that they were able to know what are the benefits of seaweeds, how it could help and motivate them as farmers. It was then I knew that there are some international brewing company blend seaweeds as an add-on ingredient to their beer, it is not only made for raw food like we Filipinos or Asians usually do, it is also used to mix jelly candies, chips and many others.
These locals do not speak fluently in English but I admire how passionate they are about sharing everything they know about their farm, regardless of their basic English knowledge. They are even open to any suggestion that we like to point out for them to improve their service and most importantly their lifestyle, they extend to answer our questions. I salute these people for thinking that way.
Astound by all the learning we gained that day from these locals, that we thought we got everything. We were even mesmerized as we headed our way to the sandbar, it was absolutely beautiful. I mean, I’ve been to many white beaches in the Philippines, yet, I also never knew that there is a beautiful place as far and as remotely settled as in Candijay town. Although we arrived timely on a high tide, yet, our eyes captured each of its corners. It was an islet I never knew existed. The Kawasihan white sand bar which is familiar only to the residents of this town is pure bliss. I think, it will be more captivating if the tide was low as the white sand will be visible and can be played in. No matter which time of the day you may visit, high or low tide, I bet you will be amazed like what we experienced by its unique beauty. The clear sky blue water that was surrounded by mangroves, a nice and huge resting place to have the picnic in, I know that’s a local experience that one must appreciate and love.
We were also able to check their marine sanctuary, there were different kinds of fish and the corals are so alive. It may not be as beautiful as Pamilacan and Balicasag island, with massive corals and different kinds of fish, however, it is well protected and magnificent underwater creatures that you shouldn’t miss to try.
One full day on this farm, lunch by the hut in a white sandbar, snorkeling in the rich marine sanctuary, wandering around fish cage and seaweed farm, will make your day more productive.
I hope you get the chance to visit the place, it will help big time to the local.
If you plan to visit the farm, please contact Fred of Candijay Tourism through their site: http://candijay-bohol.gov.ph/ or through his contact number +639178975572. Fred helps the local people on this village.
Author: Ferna Mae
Ferna is from the Philippines who travel spontaneously. Thrives to be more independent in her own skin. She first traveled The Philippines before she embarked to other countries. She believes that by traveling, her undying crave for learning excites her in a more profound way. Her flexibility had proven her that time is genuine. As a former tour guide in the Philippines, she hopes that her travel experiences will give value to the aspiring travelers. Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org,