I still carry inside my head very hazy memories of a family trip to the Taal-Lemery area back in the early or mid-sixties. I could not have been more than 5 or 6 years old at the time. My mother used to be so fond of what she used to refer to as the “muslo,” the giant trevally which, as I understand it from people I know from Taal, is also called the “maliputong-labas” if caught outside Taal Lake.
It was likely because of this fondness that, one day, we all got into the family’s Batman-style 1958 Ford and made the trip to the Pansipit River. It has been more than half a century since, so whatever memories I still have are really extremely vague.
We went to this resort along the river where there were many bamboo and nipa huts and other day tourists like ourselves. The memory I have with the most clarity is that of my mother pointing out the fishes that were leaping from out of the water, I suppose as they migrated upstream. There were also fishermen trying to catch fish from the river.
Today, while reviewing one of the countless digital documents in my hard drive, while trying to search for something totally unrelated, I inadvertently chanced upon a short write-up on a resort in Taal called the Pansipit Fishery. Because both my parents passed on years ago, I have no way of verifying that this was the same resort we visited all those years back in the sixties. I do have a gut feeling that this was.
There are no references over the Internet about this resort, so I have no way of knowing if it still exists in the present day. There seems to be no logic in attempting to paraphrase such a short write-up just to avoid copyright infringements, so I lifted the text from it in its entirety, with an annotation at the bottom of this page to give respect to the author(s). I did break up the text into paragraphs for easier reading and edited for grammar where necessary.
THE PANSIPIT FISHERY1
“One of the spots within easy reach is Taal-Pansipit Fishery. Tourists coming from all corners of Luzon visit and crowd the place on off days and holidays.
“For more than a quarter of a century, Pansipit Fishery has been a place worthwhile seeing and living (in). There are beautiful spots which induce visitors to take kodaks2 and cameras with them to have something which will serve as a reminder of a visit to this fishery.
“The fish coral3 where the fishes ready for sale are kept, which is the shape of a heart, is so interesting to see for there are the fishes going all around the coral with parts of their backs4 out of the water.
“Outside this coral are the main streams where the other fishes which cannot be accommodated in the heart-shaped enclosure are kept. On one side is an enclosure with a bamboo floor partly submerged in the water where eels of different sizes are (kept).
“About fifteen meters from the fishery was the hotel equipped with everything except an orchestra, whose place is being taken by a piano and an available pianist.
“Excursionists, parties and balls often made reservations in this hotel but sorry to state that as a result of the Japanese occupation, the hotel and equipment were reduced to ashes as a result of the Japanese atrocities.
“In this fishery are caught fishes which are not found elsewhere. From the start, this fishery was handled by the corporation which gives the highest bid during the auction sale.
“The greater part of the annual income of the municipality is derived from this fishery. In July 1948, the municipal governments of Taal and Lemery ran the fishery and because of the entry of a good school of fish, the following is the income for the past three months:
“From the above figures, one can deduce that the Pansipit Fishery is a great asset to the two municipalities of Taal and Lemery besides being a place of beauty.”
Notes and references:1 “Pansipit Fishery,” part of “Historical and Cultural Data of Taal,” submitted to the Philippine Government between 1951 and 1953 by the Department of Education District of Taal, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
2 Kodak, as most readers probably know, is a camera brand.
3 The use of the word “coral” by the author is erroneous. Corral would have been more correct, even if the word really means an enclosure for livestock.
4 The author likely meant the fins of the fishes swimming in the enclosure.