a spear fisherman hunting for breakfast


Photographer: Carla Abanes

Location: Badian, Cebu, Philippines

Website: Just Travelling Solo


A spear fisherman hunts for breakfast

This photo was taken in Badian, Southern Cebu in Central Visayas, Philippines. I was just doing my usual morning ritual of watching the sunrise with a hot cup of black coffee. The tide was low and the water was very clear, you could see fishes the size of my palms playing near the shoreline. Just then, from the corner of my eye, came a man, slowly walking and wading in the water, about in his forties, skin browned with age and sun, muscular and holding a long spear. He was just standing still at one point, avoiding to make any ripples, then suddenly, quick as lightning trusted his spear into the shallow clear water. From his actions, I was guessing he didn’t catch the fish. I suddenly sat up, seeing all this action before me. I have never seen spear fishing before, let alone a spear fisherman! 

As he was walking to the other side of the beach, I immediately stood up, ran towards him, signaled to him, and he looked at me and stopped walking. I said in local dialect if I could take his photo. He nodded and smiled. It was then that I took this shot. I asked him if I could wade with him into the water while he was doing his traditional way of fishing. He politely said no. He said that It would disturb the water and scare away the fishes. He was hunting for his breakfast and lunch. “Wa pa koy pamahaw mam.” (I haven’t had my breakfast yet) He said. He bowed and walked away.

My heart sank at this. There I was just waiting for a perfect photo. He was waiting for the perfect fish to come along. I got my perfect photo. I prayed the perfect fish to come along for him to trust his spear into. I wished him an abundant catch. As I turned around, I said to him “Salamat kaayo, manong. Puhon makakuha ka ug daghan isda” (Thank you very much, I wish you will catch many fish today.) This photo and this entire Cebu trip, has humbled me too many times. I want so many things in life, more gadgets, more travels, but this man was just looking for his fish for breakfast. 


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