NAVOTAS

Days start unbelievably early in the area best known as the “Fishing Capital” of the Philippines. Navotas is a place surrounded by water on almost all sides, and is home to a thriving fishing community. More than fifty percent of the residents earn a living from fishing or fish-related industries such as making patis (fish sauce) or bagoong (fish paste). In the ever-pulsing Navotas Fishing Port, sea creatures may be seen swimming, crawling or chilling on ice. Flurries of buyers and sellers in the biggest port in the country breathe life to this area at any time of the day. Navotas has also gained popularity among anglers who say that it’s a good place to catch Threadfin Salmon (mamale) and Trevally (talakitok). Unlike most parts of Metro Manila, however, Navotas does not boast of any modern malls or high commercial towers. Residents are used to shopping in the numerous open-air public markets such as Agora. There are also numerous sari-sari stores where residents can get a kilo of rice, a sachet of coffee, or a bottle of vinegar. Navotas has become notorious for flooding, especially during the rainy season. Navotas is home to one of the most expansive (and most photographed) slum areas in the Philippines. Hardships and struggles are very real in this gritty neighborhood. Some would say that it is too cramped, and possibly too dangerous — ah, but there are others who think that it’s all part of the charm.
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