©Stella Kalaw



I saw three men and a boy walking slowly along the beach. One of them carried a knife and a thin, wooden stick. This man poked holes in the sand and then moved on. Sometimes, he would stop and dig a little deeper using his hands. I had to find out what it was they were looking for. The group was collecting sea worms for kinilaw, a Filipino cooking method similar to ceviche. One of them showed me the small holes that dot the fine, white sand. He said the sea worms were just below the surface. One full container was enough to feed a small family.

Kinilaw or kilawin- a dish similar to ceviche, made by marinating uncooked fish or shrimps in vinegar and seasoning with salt, black pepper, etc. eg. kilawing dilis, hipon, tanguingue (sa gata: with coconut milk) (Doreen Fernandez)



©Stella Kalaw
It was quite windy when we arrived in Boracay for a good friend's wedding. The boat ride to the island was choppy. It reminded me of a ferry ride I was on that shuttled locals and tourists from Dakar to Goree Island several years ago. My traveling companion, A and I were lucky enough to catch the last scheduled trip that evening. Unfortunately, a storm was brewing out at sea and the gusty winds created waves that intensified the rocking motion of the boat. A was a member of the UC Santa Cruz sailing team so she was used to these conditions. I looked at her and she was very calm. I, on the other hand, was a nervous wreck. It was the longest 25 minutes of my life.