So it turns out one doesn’t need to go to Oslob to go whale-watching. A six-meter long balyiran (whale shark; butanding in Tagalog) got trapped in the lambaklad in Malabor (in Tibiao, Antique) this morning (May 5, 2014, 6:00 AM). It was released back to the sea. As the fishermen drew the nets open, they were whispering to the giant creature “Bring more fish! Bring more fish!” for luck. I got to touch its sandpaper-rough back as it glided its way past and out the nets. The fishermen say whalesharks are a fairly regular visitor in the coast of Malabor. But for someone like me who saw the creature for the first time, it was all surreal. – Emmanuel Lerona
The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is a slow-moving filter feeding shark and the largest known extant fish species.
The lambaklad, a huge stationary fish trap (one of the largest in the country), is derived from the Filipino words lambat (meaning “net”) and baklad (meaning “corral”). The 50 m. wide and 200 m. long, double-decked bamboo raft, is manned by a 21-member buso (fishing crew), led by one maestro (master-fisherman). Two row boats are also used in the fishing operation.