August 13, 2017

A Guide to Common Fishes in the Philippines

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  • The Philippines is not only a country reflected on well-preserved artifacts, canvases, fabrics, or chiseled molds, with a history worth revisiting, but a country also known for its rich marine biodiversity.

    It is no wonder that indeed, there are various kinds of fishes that can only be found here in the country, making it stand out among other countries in the world. To give you an idea regarding popular types of local fish in the country, we have listed some that would also be of great use in your next market hunt, together with their distinct characteristics and market price.

    Alumahan (Long-jawed Mackarel)

    These species belong to the same fish family as tunas. They are common in many salty reefs.

    The alumahan fish is available in public markets usually priced at Php 90 per 1/2 kilo and in supermarkets, usually priced at Php 275 to Php 278 per 1/2 kilo.

     

    Bisugo (Small toothed Jobfish)

    These species are commonly found in tropical and salty waters in the Indian and Western Pacific ocean, which vary in sizes as well. They are relatively popular in the Philippine market because they are versatile in almost any dish.

    The bisugo fish is available in public markets usually priced at Php 45 per 1/2 kilo and in supermarkets, usually priced at Php 275 to Php 368 per kilo.

     

    Salay-Salay (Yellow tail Scad)

    These species are small and somewhat easy to catch although their meat is slightly coarse. They belong in the scad family, and are known for the distinct yellow details in their bodies and tails.

    The salay-salay fish is available in public markets usually priced at Php 180 per kilo and in supermarkets, usually priced at Php 238 per kilo.

     

    Galunggong (Mackarel Scad)

    This fish is extremely popular in Philippine markets, especially with the masses as they are relatively inexpensive and remarkably tasty. They are found in salt waters especially in Northeastern Palawan and in Navotas-dubbed as the country’s fishing capital.

    The galunggong fish  is available in public markets usually priced at Php 60 per 1/2 kilo and in supermarkets, usually priced at Php 198 per 1/2 kilo (Big size) and   Php 173 per 1/2 kilo (Regular size).

     

    Salmon (Threadfin Salmon)

    This kind of fish is known for their body designs. They are common in saltwater and popular in the Philippine market because of their flavorful meat.

    The salmon fish  is available in public markets usually priced at Php 32 per 1/2 kilo and in supermarkets, usually priced at Php 197 per 1/2 kilo.

     

    Bangus (Milk Fish)

    Many people consider this fish as the Philippines’ national fish. Having a silvery scales and milky white bottom are what makes it distinct and attractive.

    The bangus fish  is available in public markets usually priced at Php 65 per 1/2 kilo and in supermarkets, usually priced at Php 165 per 1/2 kilo.

     

    Dalagang Bukid (Goldband/Yellow tail fusilie)

    This fish got its name because of its unique red color. The color red is often used in describing Filipina farm girls wearing a wrap-around skirt in the province which is usually colored in red.

    The dalagang bukid fish  is available in public markets usually priced at Php 90 per 1/2 kilo (big sized), Php 60 per 1/2 kilo (regular sized) and in supermarkets, usually priced at Php 240- Php290 per 1/2 kilo.

     

    Dilis (Anchovy)

    This type of fish is extremely popular in the Philippine market especially with the masses for it is affordable and are very small. They are common in shallow reefs in almost any reef in the country itself. They are filter-feeders that open their mouths as they swim.

    The dilis fish  is available in public markets usually priced at Php 40 per 1/2 kilo and in supermarkets, usually priced at Php 195 per 1/2 kilo.

     

    Loro (Parrot Fish)

    Filipino fishermen usually have difficulty catching this fish because of their unique diet and coral-crunching teeth. What makes this fish special is its colorful scales and parrot-like teeth, thus earning their name for it.

    The loro fish  is available in public markets usually priced at Php 40 per 1/2 kilo and in supermarkets, usually priced at Php 228 per kilo.

     

    Tambakol (Skipjack/Yellowfin tuna)

    This fish is commonly found in the depths of waters since they are known to dive deep; you can sometimes fish them along the surface. They mainly feed on schools and squid but it is to consider that their diet also differ from time to time.

    The tambakol fish  is available in public markets usually priced at Php 50 per 1/2 kilo and in supermarkets, usually priced at Php 585 per kilo.

     

    Danggit (Rabbit Fish)

    This is a Filipino favorite fish often eaten by Filipino families during breakfast. They are found in many saltwater in the country and are extremely popular in the Philippine market because of their expensive value, and also because they are easy to prepare and cook.

    The danggit fish  is available in public markets usually priced at Php 215 per 1/2 kilo and in supermarkets, usually priced at Php 135 per 1/2 kilo.

     

    Kanduli (veined catfish)

    This type of fish belong to the catfish or hito family. They are found in tropical marine waters, especially in salty environments. They are found in the Philippine market either alive or dead, and often mistaken for a catfish or hito.

    The kanduli fish  is available in public markets usually priced at Php 35 per 1/2 kilo and in supermarkets, usually priced at Php 120 per kilo.

     

    Maya-maya (ruby snapper)

    This type of fish is popular in Philippine markets due to their delicate and flavorful white meat. They usually vary in size that can either be small or big. They are known for their vivid and distinct red color and are commonly found in salty environments and shallow reefs.

    The maya-maya fish  is available in public markets usually priced at Php 90 – Php 110 per kilo and in supermarkets, usually priced at Php 58 per kilo.

     

    Sapsap (Ponyfish/ Slipmouth)

    This type of fish is usually characterized by their slimy bodies, small scales, and a widely extending mouth. They only grow under six (6) inches in length. Because of its abundant population in its natural habitat- the shallow coastal waters. This feed is also usually used for various food cuisines especially in the country.

    The sapsap fish  is available in public markets usually priced at Php 25 per 1/2 kilo and in supermarkets, usually priced at Php 386 per kilo.

     

    Tulingan (Mackarel Tuna)

    With its vertical stripes at the back, deeply forked tail, and a small velvety touch of scale, this fish is usually found offshores of both temperate and tropical seas commonly swimming with a school across the deep ocean.

    The tulingan fish  is available in public markets usually priced at Php 60 per 1/2 kilo and in supermarkets, usually priced at Php 195 per kilo.

     

    Hiwas (Splendid Ponyfish)

    This type of fish is usually found in muddy, salty waters and often in deep waters. They are often mistaken for the sap-sap fish due to their similar features- flat body, big head, and nuance difference in their color.

    The hiwas fish  is available in public markets usually priced at Php 35 per 1/2 kilo and in supermarkets, usually priced at Php 156 per kilo.

     

    Lapu-lapu (Coral trout/ Red grouper)

    Groupers are high-valued type of fish because of their white, flaky flesh which are usually distributed in markets either dead or alive. They are commonly found in saltwaters and are hard to raise because of their carnivorous nature, while being active during the night.

    The lapu-lapu fish  is available in public markets usually priced at Php 300 per kilo and in supermarkets, usually priced at Php 558 per kilo.

     

    Salmonete (Red Mullet)

    This type of fish have  distinct bright colored scales and is often characterized by a pair of chin barbels. They are sometimes distinguished having a double beard on its lower lip. They also possess a deep, elongated body; forked tail, and dorsal fins that are widely separated.

    The salmonete fish  is available in public markets usually priced at Php 15  per 1/2 kilo and in supermarkets, usually priced at Php 80 per kilo.

     

    Tawilis (Sardinella tawilis)

    This type of fish are migratory fishes that can only be found in the Philippines, in lake Taal, which is the 3rd largest lake in the country. This specie is the only fish belonging to their genius that live entirely in fresh waters.

    The tawilis fish  is available in public markets usually priced at Php 25 per 1/2 kilo and in supermarkets, usually priced at Php 98 per kilo.

     

    Tilapia (Mayan Cichlids)

    Covering the 4.30% of the inland contribution of fisheries last 2016, this fish is obviously one of the most abundant kind of fish that can be found in the Philippine archipelago. The term “tilapia” however, covers nearly hundreds of different species in general.

    The tilapia fish  is available in public markets usually priced at Php 30 per 1/2 kilo and in supermarkets, usually priced at Php 108 per 1/2 kilo for the small size; Php 138 per 1/2 kilo for the regular size and; Php 148 per 1/2 kilo for the big size.

     

    What do you think of these common fishes found in the Philippine archipelago? Share your thoughts with us below!

               
               
    Recent Comments

    Why emphasized Filipinos renamed fish? All different countries has their own name on anything, that is the reason we have an international language that can be translated into what we call into English or American name. It’s the saying not every thing are the same or not anything are equal . Just learn it in Englis and match it with your own name in your own country.

    Anonymous
    4 days ago

    i love your article very informative especially the english names but i was confused since the one that you included here as danggit was we what used to call as Kitang.

    Anonymous
    2 weeks ago

    It is not rabbot fish you’ve shown in the picture, instead Scatophagus argus (Linnaeus 1766) locally known as kikiro.

    Anonymous
    2 weeks ago

    It is not rabbot fish you’ve shown in the picture, instead Scatophagus argus locally known as kikiro.

    Anonymous
    2 weeks ago

    YOUR TAMBAKOL IS NOT YELLOW FIN TUNA IN YOUR PICTURE .YOU ARE SHOWING A CHEAP VARIETY OF TUNA CALLED GULISAN OR GULYASAN IN BATANGAS.
    YOUR PICTURE OF TULINGAN WHICH BELONG TO THE TUNA FAMILY IS WRONG.TULINGAN DOESN’T HAVE SCALES NEAR THEIR TAILS.YOU ARE SHOWING A MEMBER OF SCAD FAMILY.PLEASE CORRECT SO AS NOT TO CONFUSE READERS.

    Anonymous
    2 weeks ago

    For people who ask why the Philippines use names not used in other countries for fish, I imagine for like ‘salmon’. Fish common or market names are arbitrary across the world from country to country even with common languages like English. Names like cod, bass, bream etc may refer to fish completely unrelated from one part of the world to another. I’m in London, when we order fish internationally, suppliers clarify and label with the scientific names of the fish species so there is no mistake.

    This article can be improved by adding the scientific names. The other quoted names in English are not really helpful. For example: the salmon or threadfin salmon pictured is known as mackerel for other English speakers in UK or Australia; skipjack and yellowfin are two different fish and are sold in Philippines as two different fish, tambakol is not a catch-all term. Nevertheless, its a good effort and thanks for the work put in.

    ★★★★
    3 weeks ago

    it is sad that TAWILIS is now marked as endangered. let us not over consume out marine resources, please.

    Anonymous
    3 weeks ago

    The salmon here is not a threadfin salmon neither a salmon. It is a scomber japonicus a.k.a chub mackerel. When used in tinapa. The fish have been sold in metro manila as “salmon” which is confusing. Occassionally, I even see a fish about the size of a bangus marked as “SALMON TUNAY” and I don’t have an idea what type of fish is that. I think the name salmon have been heavily misuse to gove the customer an impression that they are premium fish. And for the writter, please do more research and don’t relly on fish vendor’s knowledge. Good job for the accurate prices. I just passed by this page because I would like to know if the naming of galunggong babae or lalake is due to sexual dimorphism, or if they are completely different species.

    ★★★
    4 weeks ago

    Salmon =/= Mackarel and Mackarel =/= Scad

    a month ago

    Very well presented, very useful. Thank you.

    Anonymous
    2 months ago

    Best to include their scientific names. Citations are important too. 🙂

    ★★★
    3 months ago

    The Kanduli picture does not look like catfish.

    Anonymous
    3 months ago

    How can Filipinos rename fish? Why not use the correct name for the same fish recognized in other country’s?

    Anonymous
    4 months ago

    amazing,,,,

    Anonymous
    4 months ago

    ano ung isda na parang nakababad sa orange pag binili sa palengke? not sure if nakababad sa carrots.

    Anonymous
    4 months ago

    Tulingan does not look like that. 🙂

    Anonymous
    4 months ago

    Those are not danggit (rabbitfish), the ones pictured are kitongs (scats)…..Scatophagus argus – dung eaters. ^_^

    Anonymous
    5 months ago

    Skipjack and yellowfin are different, skipjack is gulyasan and yellowfin is tambakol. Tambakol is more expensive than gulyasan, tulingan doesn’t look like that. Critics are necessary if there are mistakes, blogs like this are created to inform people not confuse them, but thank you for the effort and info.

    Anonymous
    5 months ago

    I really liked it. Knowing the different fish will help me shop. To the critics, prices become outdated quickly but are useful in understanding the difference in price of different varieties.
    I would give this 5 stars if the article included which fish had large bones and thus easy to eat.

    ★★★★
    6 months ago

    Super! Nice overview! superb pictures! Well organized! Down to the point! Thanks!
    Bart – Belgium

    Don’tt worry about the comment of some people! People who do nothing, who make no website,
    who can’t do an effort….have the most critic remarks! Focus on the good comments! It’s superb,
    believe me! (and I am a writer-author, so I can know it! 🙂 )

    ★★★★★
    6 months ago

    the picture of tulingan fish shows “galunggong babae” tulingan fish is a lot more comparable to tambakol..

    Anonymous
    6 months ago

    what is Patikan fish

    Anonymous
    6 months ago

    You better get your price facts straight.

    6 months ago

    That is not tulngan pictured above.

    Anonymous
    12 months ago

    the genuine tawilis (the freshwater fish found in taal lake) is a lot more expensive than their saltwater cousins. their price is around P150 per kilo in batangas province, probably twice that in metro manila- if you’re lucky to find one.

    Anonymous
    one year ago

    ’twas ok..some errors in spelling and grammar but acceptable.
    yellowfin (and possible others) were erroneously named.
    the yellowfin tuna is a much more expensive, tastier and MUCH larger fish.

    ★★★
    one year ago
    What do you think about this article?
    ★★ ★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★

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