If you are driving towards Metro Manila coming from Cavite, there is no way you cannot miss the stilt bamboo cottages off the coast of Bacoor. These stilts are here for a reason: to attract mussels and oysters, which is the primary livelihood of the people living close to the area.
One friend who is a Digman local said that it was possible to come and spend a day on one of the many stilt structures that stood around Bacoor’s seaside. We immediately said yes as this is one place I’ve wanted to visit and it’s not far from where we live.
Getting into Digman
The trip took us an hour to get to Digman. The place is also famous for it’s Digman’s Original Halo-Halo, which we visited after the trip. We parked our vehicle at an Elementary School, and we went to our friend’s house, where the boat was waiting for us.
As we walked towards the house, the roads became narrower, and we ended up walking along with narrow bamboo and wooden passageways that ran among the houses. The houses and narrow passages were like a maze. For someone who is not familiar with the place, you could easily get lost. Eventually, we made it to the house, and their family was so lovely and welcoming and had everything prepared to bring to the bamboo cottage on stilts.
Bamboo Stilts in Bacoor
A few minutes after, we hopped onto the boat and started our journey to one of the bamboo stilt cottages. We were very excited as this was new to us. The water was calm, and all you could see were bamboo that sticks out the water. These bamboo stilts are being used to grow mussels. And since it’s a farm, you will find them everywhere! It’s like you are in a different world.
When we arrived at the cottage, I couldn’t figure out how we would reach up there and how they did even built a cottage like this in the middle of the sea. But, they helped us out, and we clambered up to the cottage safely. That was fun!
We all know that Bacoor’s seaside is not as clear and clean compared to other coasts we have in the Philippines. As I was on the boat, it is evident that you could find some rubbish floating around the sea. We were told that it was always like that when it’s low tide, and at high tide, they disappear. And it’s true! Because just before lunchtime, I didn’t find any rubbish floating around, so we decided to come down and swim! We had a great time swimming!
Since we are already in the water, I borrowed a mask to check what was below the cottage’s surface. At first, I felt terrified because it was dark, and with mussels around the bamboo poles, it was like swimming in a different world. I wish I knew how to harvest, but I’d instead leave it to the experts. Just be careful as these mussels are quite sharp, and you may not be aware that accidentally touching these might end up in a scratch and blood.
But anyway, we were fortunate that the weather was good, so we started barbecuing, drinking, and chilling right in the middle of the sea with friends. That’s basically how we spent our day.
Cooking up some freshly picked Mussels (Tahong)
Since it’s a mussel and oyster farm and we have some locals with us there, they decided to dive into the waters and collected some mussels for us. It was quick; they took some water from the sea, boiled it up, and put the mussels in there. And after a few minutes, we got our freshly cooked mussels, and they were delicious!
Getting to know the local fishermen
It was late afternoon, and you can see that the rain was coming, so we decided to head back to Digman. When we arrived, I met some local fishermen for a drink. During our drink, I had the opportunity to know more about their daily lives as a mussel fisherman. It is a tough job, and hats off to these people that despite struggles and difficulty, you could still see the smiles on their faces and that positive attitude that life has to move on no matter what happens.
Our trip to the mussel farm and getting to know some of Digman Bacoor locals was total immersion. I’ve learned to be grateful for what we have and never lose hope that things will be for the better at the end of the day. We had fun, and we had a great time. We will come back and maybe do something more to help them.