Caramoan Series

Caramoan | A Lonesome Bangus in Matukad Island

Friday, December 07, 2012Ryan Mach

There are two interesting versions I heard on the legend about the lone milk fish in a hidden lagoon in Matukad Island. The first version was relayed to us several months back during my first trip in Caramoan. I don't remember who told it to us but I suppose it's one of the boys who helped us climb the steep rock formation to see the famous, huge milk fish. In the first version, there was a fisherman who went fishing but didn't catch anything. In an act of desperation, he decided to catch fish the easy way out by taking the milk fish. He brought it home, cooked it, the whole family ate the fish and they all died - apparently from poisoning.
The second version, this time told by a different person, basically has the same plot but with a different ending. Fisherman went fishing, didn't catch any, speared one milk fish and took it home. When he got home, he found out that his son's dead - backside had a hole, same area where he stabbed the fish.
I'm sure there's a third version, even a fourth, who knows but regardless of the number of variations, it's clear that this legend's there for a reason - to warn anyone that taking the milk fish away from its rightful place is a deadly idea. And it does the trick - no one has ever tried taking the mysterious fish away from its abode.
Seeing the fish is one of the highlights in Matukad Island. The interesting tale sure adds to the charm of the already charming place that is Matukad. Guides share this legend to their guests and guests whose curiousity got sparked always end up seeing the fish. But the usual reaction upon seeing the poor, solitary creature borders on disappointment - "Yun na yun?" as if they expect to see a gargantuan milk fish  or a talking bangus. Such letdown probably stems from the fact that the risk involved in seeing the fish isn't worth it.
Ang effort naman kasi talagang umakyat! Climbing the sharp-edged limestone cliff is not for the weak. The climb can be as steep as it can get and there's a big chance of hurting yourself from those sharp rocks. One false step and you can fall off. Getting bruises is a normal affair.
Interestingly enough, everyone in our group was ballsy to try and see the hidden lagoon and the giant milkfish that resides in it. Some of them didn't have any hiking or climbing experience and yet they're able to get back down in one piece. Just goes to show that as long as you're careful, you'll be fine. Going down is equally hard as going up. The trick is to have a sure foothold, a firm grasp and a calculated step.
Photo taken by my good friend, Jhyng
There are two rewards that await at the top. One is seeing the giant bangus swimming alone in a lagoon; the other prize is the breathtaking seascape and panoramic view of the nearby islands. But then again, you don't need to climb the cliff to enjoy Matukad. The powdery white sand and crystal clear water are enough reason to sing praises to the island.
Next up: Lahos Island

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