The Taklobo of Camiguin

On the southern coast of Camiguin there is a gorgeous stretch of blinding white sand and clear turquoise-colored water, but Kaliba beach is a private sanctuary and thereby closed to the public—unless you cough up the admission fee, of course.

I was outraged at the pricey admission fee, but after we’d finished our tour of the sanctuary I was slightly mollified, knowing they were putting most of the admission fees to a good purpose.

Tridacna Gigas, or the giant clam, is the largest living bivalve mollusk, capable of reaching 4 feet (1.2 m) and more than 440 lbs (200 kg). Despite its average life span of 100 years or more, it is an endangered species, partly due to its sensitive growing conditions, and mostly because it is coveted for several reasons: it is considered a delicacy in Japan, France and S.E. Asia; the adductor muscles are believed, by the Chinese, to have aphrodisiac powers; and the black market sells the shells for decoration purposes.

The giant clam sanctuary monitors the breeding and growth of clams from its earliest stages to adulthood, transplanting them from salt-water tanks to shallow waters then finally “into the wild,” where hopefully the adult clam will be able to adjust and survive.

Typically clams fasten themselves to one place and spend the rest of their lives in the same place, but because of many damaging factors— changes of current, changes of water temperature, less/too much this or that, and more stuff I couldn’t possibly know about— survival conditions for the clams are less than favorable.

Thus the need for giant clam sanctuaries.

A guide led Xiker and I to the spot where the adult giant clams lay under the ocean’s surface, and damn, it was like something straight out of the movie, Cocoon. The visibility of the water was excellent and I was amazed at how huge those clams grew. Their colorful mantles twinkled at us from 20 feet below, and we kept diving to get a closer look at the behemoths.

After a long while, the impatient guide prodded us on and we swam to the shallows, to observe the teenage clam farm. Though less impressive, we were able to better admire the illustrious mantles… but dammit, I didn’t know until AFTER we got out of the water that the round holes were anuses— so I took like, a zillion pictures of colorful buttholes. Sigh.

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waiting for us at the entrance
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words of wisdom
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egads, how gorgeous is this
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aquarium
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a tiny one no bigger than my thumbnail
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the giants.
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the medium-sized ones
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caretaker’s hut
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