This article is part of a regional reporting project in partnership with GoUNESCO, a UNESCO New Delhi initiative.
The Philippines has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world and its marine life is no exception.
One interesting find in Philippine markets in the Ilocos region is “Ar-arosep,” a local term for seaweed, sea grape, and green caviar.
Only seasonally available in high-end restaurants overseas, the Philippines is lucky yet again to be gifted with Ar-arosep that is best known to treat thyroid disorders. That is an advice taken from local elders who have precious wisdom passed down from generations.
Water pollution is the major threat to the increasing fall of Ar-arosep.
If you pass by Ilokano markets, be sure to look for this navy green, bush-like presence. It’s best enjoyed fresh with sliced Ilokano tomatoes (tiny but very sweet).
Why I love it: ar-arosep represents one of the few unspoilt beauties still available in the Philippines. It serves as a reminder that in the midst of commercial fishing and industrialization, there lies survivors that find their way into local markets.
As with any cultural element in the world: Do not quickly assume. Make sense of the why behind the what first and while you’re at it, get lost and find yourself. Happy travels! 🙂
P.S. The keys to sustainable travels are universal: take public transportation | stay in accommodations where cooking is allowed (private or shared, it doesn’t matter) | walk as much as you can | wake up early | stay away from guidebooks | immerse yourself in the local language, culture and history | visit local cafés | know that the possibilities are endless | listen to your gut ❤