Ever Heard of the Maya-Maya?

A maya-maya fish on the chopping block at the wet market in Antipolo, Philippines.

It’s a big ugly bastard of a fish, with it’s big head being the biggest part.  If I laid my hand across it, from the bottom of the head to the top, my fingers wouldn’t get past the eye.  I was kind of shocked when I saw it laying there, not so much just because of its size, but because of how disproportionate it is.

Despite it’s odd appearance, it made a might fine soup.

The Antipolo Wet Market

In the Philippines, most sizeable towns have a wet market, which is known locally as a palengke.  When you want to go to the market, you can tell the driver of your transportation of choice that you simply want to go to the palengke and they’ll know what you’re talking about.

The wet market in Antipolo is pretty big.  It actually has two floors, but the second floor is mostly dry goods and household items.  The real wet market is on the lower level.  It reminded me of the wet market in Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia except bigger.  We saw plenty of sea food, from shrimp to huge fish, as well as pork, chicken, and veggies.

The prices at the wet market are usually the best you can find in town.  We got a kilo of pork for what would be about 4 USD.  I guess it’s because there’s very little mark-up for land rental and employee compensation.  The sanitary conditions are a bit questionable by my American standards, but if all the people I saw in the market are any indication, no one dies eating food they bought there.  Or at least, not any more than at any other place.

If you plan on living in the Philippines for any length of time and you’re interested in getting good deals on food, you should make it a point to visit the wet markets.  I don’t know if there are any in Manila, but I assume there would be.

Here are some photos of the place so you can get a feel for what to expect if you ever visit a wet market in the Philippines:

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(Note: I’m testing a new format for uploading a lot of pictures. Hopefully the watermark doesn’t show up huge on the blown-up image after clicking the thumbnail!)

Sentosa’s Underwater World

My wife and I last went to Sentosa in September of last year.  We showed up in the late afternoon so we didn’t get to do much, but we had a great time and planned to go back.

Today, we finally got that opportunity.

Our main objective for the trip was Underwater World.  The first time we went there I was really interested in it, but we ran out of time.  Later, I saw photos from someone else’s trip and got even more excited to go.  So, we headed straight for it.  The line to get tickets was rather long, but it only took about 20 minutes to get through.  Afterwards we took a short break to get something to drink before heading into the Underwater World area.

In the entrance to Underwater World there are a lot of tanks built into the walls where you can view some of the smaller fish.  There’s also a petting tank and a “feed the manta ray” tank.  That one was pretty interesting.  The rays in it were so used to being fed by people that if you stood near the tank they would come over to you and half flop out of the water expecting you to drop food.

After you pass into the main exhibit area the tanks for the fish get larger.  One of the more interesting tanks had Japanese Giant Spider Crabs in it.  Full grown, their front claws can be 6 feet across or more!

Just past the crabs is an area with a lot of jellyfish that are neat to look at.  One of the tanks, with the jellyfish shown in red in the picture above, rotates the ambient lighting in the water and as the lighting changes the color of the jellyfish changes.

One you go through this area you can head into the underwater tunnel.  The underwater tunnel is a long tunnel with a plexiglass dome so that you can see the fish all around you and above you.  There is a travelator along the left side and a regular floor along the right side, so you can either ride through and look around or jump off to snap a few pictures.  While riding through this area we saw a lot of large and small fish.  We also saw some divers in the tank feeding the fish.  You can see some shots of the fish in the tunnel-tank below.

(We calld this guy the “Nom Nom Nom Ray” because he was constantly munching on something and grinning at us!)