PAGE FROM THE PAST: We are reprinting this article originally published on November 27, 2007 in our i-Report page.

FISH IS our number one source of protein and, next only to rice, fish and other marine-based products like clams, seaweed, and prawns are the food we eat most often. Actually, we love seafood so much, we can no longer count the ways we enjoy eating what we harvest from the sea. We have fried tinapa paired with fresh tomatoes and garlicky sinangag (fried rice) for breakfast, sinigang na hipon or bangus (shrimps or milkfish in sour broth) for lunch, and steamed crabs for dinner. There are the reliable fish balls and prawn crackers for snacks, and perhaps even a sardine or tuna sandwich for those who have to have something heavier in between meals. When we drink with our friends, among the pulutan (bar chow) could be baked tahong (clams) and grilled tilapia.

Many of us, however, may lose their appetite for seafood if they knew what is also in the waters from which those good eats come. Says the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in its National Water Quality Report for 2001 to 2005: “(Most) surface and coastal waters are under severe environmental stress from point sources of pollution. Human settlements, farming, and industry all contribute to pollution of water bodies.”

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THE FRESHEST catch from the sea in Guimaras, Western Visayas | Photo by Julius D. Mariveles

FISH, fresh from the sea, in Guimaras, Western Visayas | Photo by Julius D. Mariveles

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