Tilapia frys from Bicol Regional Fisheries Center washed by Bebeng

Attentive participants listen to the information imparted by experts and technicians of the Bicol regional fisheries center in Fabrica, Bula, Camarines Sur.
Attentive participants listen to the information imparted by experts and technicians of the Bicol regional fisheries center in Fabrica, Bula, Camarines Sur.

By Bob Adupe

The recent typhoon (Bebeng) hit the streets of Calabanga and poured enormous flood water on our living rooms. The storm also drained out about one thousand tilapia fingerlings me and my kumpadre seeded on the portion of the creek at the back of our house we purposely protected in the hope of testing how the fish will fare in our locality.

How we were able to get a thousand tilapia fingerlings went this way. It all began when I visited my neighbor and Kumpadre Noel one night. He related that the next day he will attend a seminar in tilapia farming in Bula town. I volunteered myself in joining which after confirmation from the barangay chairman generously allowed me to join the group. The chairman opted to accept enthusiasts other than barangay officials thereby boosting the number of attendees.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Regional Office 5 gave an open invitation to barangay officials for a one-day learning orientation at the Regional Freshwater Fisheries Center in barangay Fabrica in Bula, Camarines Sur.

We were eleven in the delegation, the very first from our town to attend this kind of seminar which could help participants understand the salient facts about fish (tilapia) production in the local areas. The group was composed by barangay chairman Salvador Malate, kagawads (Corazon Tordilla, Domingo Borja, Ruben Salao), barangay secretary Joaquin de la Cruz, sangguniang kabataan member Adonis Aguilar III, four members of tanods (Carling Barrogo, Noe Paa, Cesar Casili and Jigs Cordero) and myself.

Part of the infrastructure/ facilities of Bicol regional fisheries center.

We traveled about one and one half hour to reach the place. The area was so wide and has the complete facilities and structure to use and conduct in the development and study of freshwater fish. We rested awhile under a nipa hut for a few minutes and consumed our packed snacks. We knew beforehand that the orientation was free and we have to provide for our own snacks and lunch.

The seminar proper started at about 9:00 o’clock A.M. with the singing of the national anthem and an opening prayer. Training technical assistant Andres C. Camacho and one of the 3 speakers acknowledged our presence including others who came from other provinces within the region: Camarines Norte, Albay and Sorsogon. A total of 44 attendees were present.

The facility is the biggest in the entire Luzon, we were informed, it can accomodate and ready to cater to seminarians coming all the way from northern Luzon down to the Bicol region. It’s main objective is to extend support and assistance to freshwater fish farmers, more specifically those engaged in the tilapia (common name for nearly a hundred species of cichlid fish from the tilapiine cichlid tribe) culture. The personnel are geared at sharing technical information on how to gain (be productive) at a shorter time of (fish) stocking.

I learned there are four types of tilapia in the country. The initial stock of thirty five fingerlings came from Thailand way back in the 1950’s. It was brought to the Philippines for further study and test on whether the specie is suited to local climate for propagation/ culture. And the rest is a footnote to the progress of tilapia raising history in the country.

Interesting and really educational topics on feeding habits, temperature tolerance, water quality, site selection for pond raising, construction tips of ponds, stocking and more were discussed. Participants’ questions were answered in between the topics, too. The lectures were delivered in Biclish (a combination of Bicol and English) which catched the enthusiasm of all attendees. By the way, there was only one fan in the room which was quite not enough to ventilate the area.

Participants were given time to get a first look at the facilities of the center.

We had a 27-minute film showing of the different species of tilapia and hito (pangasius). We toured the facility afterwards which included observing tilapia in various stages of growth from frys to adult, displayed in experimental cages. The area exhibits various stocking techniques, too.

During our lunch break we were on excursion mood because of the surrounding, the taste of adobo, gulay na natong, pansit, hamburger and refreshments making us feel more excited. Mr. Camacho joined our group including four other attendees.

Each participant was given 500 tilapia frys (3 to 5 days old) sealed in a plastic filled with oxygen. It was so the fingerlings will not suffer shock during the travel from the source to destination. We were informed the frys will survive 14 hours inside the plastic sheet, though, which we paid for P16.00 only. I presumed all of us were glad for the free frys and the technology transfer, everyone were eager going back home dreaming of a backyard tilapia fishpond. I thought of seeding the frys on the creek my kumpadre and me will reclaim and protect.

Fast forward today, I couldn’t believe how the flood washed our plans in an instant. But then, we can start all over again and be prepared next time. The center sell frys for P0.50 apiece. Just an afterthought, I wondered how many of the 5,500 frys given to our barangay will survive on the waterways of our town.(https://cbanga360.net)

Photos by Bob Adupe

6 thoughts on “Tilapia frys from Bicol Regional Fisheries Center washed by Bebeng”

  1. I want to read more informative post, like this one. What a waste for the thousand(s) of tilapia frys. I suspect some would thrive on the creeks and adopt well on the locality. Long ago, the rivers and creeks of Calabanga abound with fish like gurami, puyo, talusog (mudfish), hito (catfish) and eels. Now, rarely we find/see them.

    1. @maurico marquez: You can inquire from the Regional Freshwater Fisheries Center which is 1.2 km from the Maharlika Highway at Portico, Fabrica, Bula, Camarines Sur. It is 9 km from Pili, 24 km from Naga City and 437 km from Manila. The center endeavor to produce Excel tilapia fry and fingerlings, carp, aquarium fishes, giant gourami, Pangasius, and giant freshwater prawn. The center is under the Bureau of Fishiries and Aquatic Resources of the Department of Agriculture. The bureau has offices in San Agustin, Pili, Camarines Sur, The only contact phone we can provide is that at the office of the director (054) 477-0559 and the assistant at 054-477-7365. Try their E-mail Address at region5@bfar.da.gov.ph

  2. I want to ask how many fingerlings can we put in a 180sq.m fishpond with 80cm depth?
    The schedule of seminar..and what are the requirements needed during seminar …thank you so much…hope an immediate response..God Bless

    1. @Mr. Trillanes: We are not in a position to give you any technical answer to your query. But we assure you the BFAR personnel who are more qualified and trained can give you as much information that you need. Please have time to contact them, using the address, phone number and email address we have provided on the previous message above. Thanks.

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