Bringing fish catch to homes fresh via fish liner or walkathon: Agusan del Norte, Philippines in focus
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In many rural areas in the Philippines, fresh fish catch does not usually reach the communities and homes because of transportation and accessibility constraints. As a result, the fish catch that comes to rural areas had already been either smoked or pickled or salted or processed in some other ways. Many enterprising sellers, not only the big-time traders but also retailers, have made several attempts to reach the rural communities in the Philippines immediately upon getting their share of fresh fish catch, but these only resulted in heavy competitions to the disadvantage of the retailers or the small-scale vendors who could not easily access the rural areas due to inaccessible road conditions. For this reason, retailers or small-scale vendors have rethought of the ways on how to reach the rural consuming public in no time, and this paved the way for the conceptualization of the “fish liner” or “walkathon.” Innovation and a showcase of modern Filipino resiliency, a simple motorcycle which is eventually the most convenient transportation that could easily reach the rural areas, has been remodeled into a vehicle for transporting fresh fish for sale. Although “walkathon” refers to a walking marathon, the locals in Agusan del Norte use it to denote an ingenious means of transporting and vending fresh fish catch. A “fish liner” on the other hand, is also a coined term to denote transportation of fish by land, just as an airliner is an air transportation system or a sea liner for sea transport. For the “walkathon” or “fish liner,” two styrofoam boxes which could accommodate a maximum of 50 kg each of fresh fish, are set on the right and left sides of the motorcycle and another on the posterior edge. Using a plastic straw, a weighing scale is tied in the middle of the two boxes. A megaphone is also set in between the right box and the box on the edge. A wooden frame is constructed and fitted on the motorcycle to provide stable support for the boxes. These “walkathons” could be found roaming not only around the streets and main thoroughfares of Agusan del Norte but most especially in the rural areas of the Province.