Growing up in a small coastal town in the Philippines, I spent my early childhood years cutting classes to bathe in rivers. The weekends were spent with an early morning swim in the sea. I didn’t have any idea that there were white sand beaches then. Our beaches in our part of Northern Mindanao were anything but white, but it didn’t make a difference to a young kid like me. All I knew was how much fun I had floating on the water, and baking under the sun. I didn’t even have to put on any sunblock or sunscreen. Sunburn was something that came naturally if I overdid swimming so I always knew when to stop.
The river near my place was also a place where the neighborhood ‘labanderas’ would wash their clothes every weekend. There was not much talk then about how detergents would poison the rivers. Going to the river to wash was something that was done for generations. I do not see these labanderas now when I go back to the province but the bridge which used to shade this labanderas and which people used to cross from the main town to a little barrio was still there.
It was this bridge where I learned how to fish. Back then, the only fishing rod I know was the bamboo kind. You tie one end of string to the end of the bamboo, put a hook a the end of the string, skewer a little worm with the hook and you’re good to go. I only caught little ibis then but with volume this little ibis fishes were something that can actually provide a meal for a small family.
Years have passed and though I am living in a big bad city now, memories of me fishing on that river has remained fresh as if it’s only a weekend ago when I last cast my bamboo rod and felt the tugging of those little ibis fishes. So when my friend invited me to go fishing with him one Saturday night in a bar, all those fond memories came flooding back in. My friend, along with his wife has become quite enamored with fishing and every chance they get, they fish.
Now the problem with being in the big bad city is that opportunities for a good fishing experience is few and far between. I thought the only way that I could do some respectable fishing was to get out of Manila and go to the neighboring provinces where the rivers or the lakes has not gone the way of the Pasig river. I do know that Subic could be a good fishing spot having seen a few folks casting their rods there whenever I pass by the place.
After my friend’s fishing invitation, the subject has been coming up regularly overtime we and some other friends with us meet up. I even went so far as to propose to my own circle of friends that we go on a fishing trip. I didn’t have any idea yet as to where to go but it seems the idea has hit a receptive audience. I guess in their case fishing evokes of Ernest Hemingway and his Old Man and the Sea, although truth be told I don’t have any fantasies of doing battle against a huge sea monster. If I can get my hands on a little fish that would look appetizing on a grill, then I would be happy.
My first fishing trip in Manila came a few weeks after my good friend’s invite. We were supposed to go to Pulilan as recommended by another friend but as that other friend could not make it to our impromptu trip, we followed another friend’s advice and went to Lakeshore instead. Lakeshore, if you haven’t gone up North in your life, is in Mexico. The one in Pampanga, not North America.
I think it’s one of the few privileges in life when you are able to live in a subdivision, or a community, if you will, that has a fishing spot. Some subdivisions might offer a tennis court or a basketball court, but rare is a subdivision that has its own lake for fishing. Of course we’re talking about Mexico here and not Mandaluyong (though you’re very much welcome to fish in the Pasig River if you must).
We arrived at Lakeshore shortly before 5 in the afternoon. The lake, which is the subdivisions fishing spot is pretty, scenic even. And with a few tents by the lake, I am inclined to believe that it is a very popular spot for weddings. When we went there, there was in fact a wedding going on. I assumed that it was a rich couples wedding judging by the three helicopters parked beside the tent.
Unfortunately for us however, we arrived too late for our fishing plans. Lakeshore does not allow night fishing and they close at 6 pm, which made our three hour drive from Manila futile. But nevertheless, after seeing the lake, I knew that it would only be a matter of time before we make a comeback. If only we didn’t have to drive that far.
Next up! Good fishing spot in Manila, Philippines.