Like many other beautiful and enchanting places in the Philippines and many other countries around; Dos Hermanos also has its own inspiring legends - stories that are really nice to hear first hand from the locals in a particular place. Old folks believe that Dos Hermanos is the manifistations the two brothers' promise to stay together for a lifetime - Dos Heramanos is a Spanish word that means two (dos) brothers (hermanos) or in tagalog “mag-kapatid na lalaki”. According to stories there are two young brothers who lives there, the two go to fishing for their living and they are very well known to be very helpful and kind with each other. It was told that since their parents left them early when they were kids they already learned to live and depend on each other, thus they’d promised to stay on each other's side forever.
The wind and waves on this side is really harsh especially in time of amihan or North East Monsoon and I can’t imagine how unforgiving it can be during a stormy day. Storms came in stories unexpectedly like how a storm came in a bible story in the middle of the ocean while a boat is sailing, this two brothers had gone the same trouble when they went to their usual mundane of fishing. The storm hits them and the two brothers got lost in no where. Later then, while concerened locals are busy on their search for the two, a pair of islets grew near the shore. It grows together, looks like a twin, grows with each other’s side and is staying there forever – just like the two lost boys promise =). (This tell-tale was a story told by the owner and manager of casa Consuelo while we hiked to get the best panoramic view of the Island and the Blue Lagoon)
We enjoyed the story and it ended just right when we arrived the peak, we enjoyed the scene and rested for a bit with the cold fresh morning breeze. After gaining enough energy we head back our way to Casa and had some refreshers.
Before the sun gets scorching hot and the water starts to rise in the early noon we went out and head closer to the island. Along the way is a mixture of sharp and slippery dead coral rocks in a couple of inch deep water. We roam around and enjoyed the view, then we head to the hidden bat cave at the rare side of Dos Hermanos. We were warned to be very careful and attentive on anything around us because more dangerously than slipping on the sharp rocks is being bitten by a white banded snake.
While the hike to the hill provide us the breathtaking panorama of the cove, this walk had shown us how lively the sea life around the island is. We bumped to some creatures that I have only seen there and they inspired me to learn how to swim and see the world under water, they made me think that there are more to discover in the world under the sea.
Aside from the adorable little sea creatures resting in the shoreline, sneaking on us behind the rocks and the seaweeds; here, we also shared our day with the locals who has a quite and interesting life like those of the sea creatures. They were already there as early as seven in the morning, walking and checking the rocks with a spoon and their fishnets. Some comes alone while some have the entire family with them including their dogs . They were there doing their jobs in the entire morning till noon whenever the tides are still low – this becomes their everyday routine, the reality around the island.
So, what makes them very busy peeking on the rocks? - I wonder. I get closer, asked and found out they are gathering mussels and golds. Gold? Yeah – golds! But not the gold that we usually have on our jewelry. These locals are gathering a kind of sea weeds that abundantly grow in the shore clinging on the rocks. The collected sea weeds are being processed to make “Gamet” – a black wraps known as the Japanese nori used in miso soup and other Japanese cooking. While there, they also peek for hiding "tahong" small green asian mussels - localy known as "Saitil" using a spoon to detach them from the rocks where they are strongly attached.
The collected seaweeds and mussels are being sold and sometimes saitil serves as their vayan for a meal. The green asian mussels according to one of the local are sold for 15-20 pesos per can (cheap considering the effort of gathering them). On the other hand the sea weed is processed into gamet which the 5-6 inch thick bundle can be sold as high as 800.00 depending on the quality. A price which is very reasonable because of the work needed to do it, a price that is definitely more to what you can gain from selling the local tahong and other local products - the reason why the locals call gamet as the Black Gold of Ilocos.