One of the places we visited during the Soccsargen Experience Tour II was the Alsons Aquaculture fishery in Sarangani Bay. In this pristine water and scenic location, Alsons produces "Bangus" or "milkfish" by the millions by breeding and culturing it to an almost perfect quality and size incomparable to other bangus caught in other places.
|Photo from Sarangani Bay Website|
Named after the marine sanctuary where it is located, Sarangani Bay is the biggest milkfish hatchery in the Philippines capable of producing 1.2 billion fry each year or almost 50% of the national bangus intake of the whole of the Philippines. The Sarangani Bay aquafarm covers "300 hectares of pond and 20,000 cubic square meters of sea cages" according to their website.
The complete cycle and process that each cultivation of bangus was thoroughly explained to us, from the hatching of the eggs, to the storing of healthy eggs in warm temperature, to the rearing period until it reaches the fry age after 21 to 25 days. After which, the bangus goes through a final process that includes deboning vacuum packing before it gets ready to be exported to other countries and locations locally.
60 % of the milkfish are exported to other countries while 40% are sold locally. Choices abound through different packaging and milkfish finished products ranging from 'Marinated baby milkfish', 'smoked boneless bangus', 'bottled milkfish' and other fresh frozen milkfish products.
It was a great opportunity for me to see another side of this part in Southern Mindanao, aside from the usual places to visit in Sarangani, General Santos and South Cotabato of which the Soccsargen Experience Tour wanted us to experience, we also got the chance to drop by a place that contributes a lot to the community like the Sarangani Bay fishery of the Alsons Aquaculture Corporation.
A little bit of knowledge picked up on a trip is always a welcome opportunity plus the fact that our gracious host from Sarangani Bay served us with a massive plate filled with fried bangus, shrimps and sinigang sa bangus complimented by a set of fresh mangoes and bananas that we all happily feasted over spirited conversation about fish cultivation and breeding.
The Sarangani Bay fishery operated by Alsons Aquaculture is truly one of a kind, being the only 'farm to market' fish processing plant in the country this is where the bangus were hatched, fed and grown, processed and packed at once.
Bangus is one of the staple food in every Filipino household and its reach has further expanded by virtue of this fish processing plant. Filipinos from all over the world and those from other countries can now enjoy bangus almost as fresh as if they just bought it in a market near their place.
The SEX Tour was organized by the Soccsksargen Bloggers (www.soxbloggers.com) with GenSan News Online Mag (www.gensantos.com) spearheading the project.