top of page
  • Writer's pictureKirk

Milk Fish in Dagupan

I enjoy travel more to the remote areas of the world. Places where I can experience unique things to me. Big cities can be great also, but they lack the appeal of smaller towns and villages. Mostly because, for me, it is easier to interact with the locals in the smaller villages of the world.

In this post I will share with you a unique lunch I shared with some of the locals in a place called Dagupan in the Philippines. The village is located about six hours drive north of Manila. Now, it takes much longer to drive in the Philippines because of the roads and traffic. The location is only about 140 miles from Manila, but it can easily take over two hours just to escape the city!

I decided to pay the $100 cab fare for the relative comfort of driving there. A real bargain since the cab driver had to do the drive back with no paying passenger, so basically he received $100 for a 12 hour drive! I did tip him an equivalent of about $20 so he was happy. The tip was likely as much as he made in a day anyway.

But the focus on my post was on a lunch I enjoyed with a couple of locals. One of the men was named Robert but I don't recall the name of the other. They had told me that the area was famous for milk fish. Something I had never heard of before.

They further informed me of the best place to eat it. I was excited to try it so I invited them along for a free lunch which they were very happy to participate.

The photos below are of the meal at the restaurant by the water:

Above is Robert in the white shirt and I'm sorry I don't remember the name of the other fella who is there. But as you can see, we certainly had plenty to eat and enjoyed our meal.

I know that milkfish is a big thing in the Philippines, but I can't really understand the appeal of it. I mean it wasn't a bad fish, but it was a bit bony for me. And the fish itself looked quite ugly. But since I'm not eating the ugly, it didn't taste bad.

But the setting was really quite nice. Each table was set in its own separate gazebo area with direct access to the water. You could actually see the milkfish swimming by you, so I'm assuming that all of the catch was fresh. It really was quite a peaceful setting.

I don't recall the exact cost of the meal but I expect it was well below US$20 for three of us to eat all that we wanted to that day.

These are the things that I enjoy most when I travel to another country. To meet with locals, and to do what locals do. Now this is not something that locals do on a daily basis, to go out to eat at a place like this. In fact, this is beyond the capabilities of most of the filipino people. But they do, on occasion, indulge themselves to these treats. And I know these guys were quite grateful to be treated to this place and to meet somebody from another country in person. Just as I was privileged to be in their company for this period of time.

When I departed Dagupan, these guys convinced me to take the bus back. It certainly was much cheaper as the cost was only about five dollars or so. But the trip was much longer. They're not very good at keeping schedules in the Philippines and this bus ran about two hours behind schedule. I think they make a lot of impromptu stops based upon who knows what?

The bus ride back was a bit comical, though, because all of the locals joining on the bus avoided sitting next to me. Filipino people are really quite shy, and they are timid around Westerners. So I enjoyed a seat to myself all the way back to Manila while all the other seats had multiple people in them.

I'll post more on my trip to Dagupan in the future as I come across more of my pictures from the trip. Usually most the stories I write here come from the memories of the pictures that I see.

6 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
Mike Wells
Mike Wells
May 19
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

It's great that you mingle with the locals and you and they are comfortable with each other's company. The fish was quite ugly but what a lot of food for the price. Goes good when your on a tight budget

May 22
Replying to

People enjoy meeting others from other cultures

bottom of page