Palawan has always been my dream destination. I been looking forward for that day to come. And finally that day came. I bought the ticket three months before our scheduled trip, which means I had a lot of time to research. One thing that caught my interest was their famous tamilok. Like my father, I always wanted to try exotic food, even just a bite.
In Palawan and Aklan in the Philippines, the shipworm is called tamilok and is eaten as a delicacy there. Shipworms are not worms at all, but rather a group of unusual saltwater clams with long, soft, naked bodies; they are marine bivalve molluscs in the family Teredinidae. They are notorious for boring into (and commonly eventually destroying) wood that is immersed in sea water, including such structures as wooden piers, docks and ships; they drill passages by means of a pair of very small shells borne at one end, with which they rasp their way through. Sometimes called "termites of the sea", they also are known by the common name "Teredo worms" or simply "teredo", from the Greek language "τερηδων", via Latin. Eventually biologists adopted the common name Teredo as the name for the best-known genus.---WIKIPEDIA
I saw someone selling Tamilok at Baker's Hill during our City Tour, but I want to try the fresh one. Fresh from the mangrove. They said I could buy one in Sabang, and since Sabang is part of our itinerary, it wouldn't be a problem.
Underground river tour, as well as the Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour is in Sabang. Some tourist went to experience the Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour while waiting for their turn for the URT, or they do it after. Well, since we're not lucky enough to get a permit for the URT, we just enjoyed ourselves with the Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour.
When our tour guide knew that I wanted to try the tamilok, she then went looking for dead mangrove branch which she thinks houses the tamilok. When she found a couple of big mangroves, she brought it with us to the receiving area. They cut open the mangrove, and there it was. The slimy and shiny tamilok.
I was so sure that I wanted to eat one, but when I saw it inside the mangrove, I had second thoughts. Why was it different from the picture?, I thought. Our guide reassured me that it's safe to eat it, and there were a lot of people did it before me. I then asked how the taste was. She said it tasted like an oyster. Ahh.. Oyster.
I love seafood, so this tamilok wouldn't make me back out especially when it tastes like an oyster. After our guide cleaned the Tamilok, it started to look exactly like the one I saw in the picture. She put it in a sauce pan and put some salt and vinegar. Parang kinilaw lang. And then serve it in front of me.
I trust what the guide told me about the tamilok and pick one from the sauce pan. Indeed it tastes like raw Oyster. I can't believe I love it, and actually go for a second round. Yup! I ate two tamilok. One is twice longer than a Mongol pencil.
I was really proud of myself for being able to do it. I convince my brother and cousin to try one. But they chickened out. Well, not my lost. They just missed one exciting exotic food in the Philippines.