I have friends in Laurel, Batangas whose houses are just a few meters away from the shores of Taal Lake. I've actually been there twice - summer of 2000 the first time and fiesta season of the following year the second time.
I was in awe to see a Styrofoam box full of such big and live fresh-from-the-fish pond tilapia during my first visit. The box of fishes became our dinner, our pulutan came nighttime, and our lunch the following day.
Needless to say, I looked forward to again indulge in such big tilapia on my second visit. But it was the town fiesta and the locals seemed to focus more on pork and chicken to offer their guests.
It was during that second visit, though, when I experienced going in one of the fish ponds in the middle of the lake. It was owned by one of my friend's cousins and I remember being ecstatic when I saw their little kubo in the middle of the lake. They even let me swam in the fish pond saying it's still safe cuz it's not yet the harvest season. They explained that during harvest seasons, the fishes have already grown big that being attacked by a school of tilapia could actually kill me.
It was the last time I went there, though. I still have communication with my friends from Laurel until now, but invitations to come over became elusive as they got busy with their lives (read: getting married and raising a family).
Anyway, it was such a sad thing that that exact lake which is part of my happy thoughts of Batangas is now home to dying fishes. I guess I won't be looking forward to eating tilapia from there anymore in many years from now.
I just hope people would not only think about making money but also think about the harm they do to the environment in the process.
Building fish ponds had given these people money, but building too much of it had taken their income away.
Now what is that phrase about too much of something? Or is that a song from Spice Girls? Well, even too much love will kill you, right?
Anyway, I hope we support this campaign against irresponsible fish farming. GMA News and Public Affairs is really incomparable (at least locally) when it comes to things like this.