MASANTOL: Crab Capital Of Pampanga

Masantol through which the big Pampanga River passes is the province’s undisputed crab capital. Mangrove crabs (formerly called mud crab) are a major product of fishpond operators who manage no less than 12,000 hectares of ponds, according to Crisanto N. Lapaz of the provincial agriculture and fishery council (PAFC).

Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Paule show their 700-gram crabs which are exported at one thousand pesos per kilo.

The areas along the river used to be planted to the traditional rice and other crops like corn and vegetables. But when saline water started coming in from the sea, the farmers could no longer grow the crops they used to plant. That’s when they shifted to operating fishponds.

According to Lapaz, there was a tremendous financial improvement in the lives of the residents. Raising crabs, bangus, prawns, tilapia and other species proved to be much more profitable than planting rice. That’s because the fishponds produced high-quality crabs, prawns, bangus, tilapia and other minor species.

Prawns are also produced at Arthur Paule’s fish farm.Here, Dr. Rene Sumaoang who supplies PCM organic fertilizer to fishpond owners in Masantol shows prawns grown with crabs.
DPWH UNDERTAKING WIDENING – At this time, however, some of the fishpond operators are affected by the widening of the river being undertaken by the Department of Public Works and Highways. The agency has already demolished a number of fishponds to give way to a bigger outlet of water from upstream during the rainy months. The activity is also aimed at minimizing the effect of the flow of sea water towards the upper reaches of the river.

Annie Gabriel from Santiago City, Isabela, visited Arthur Paule’s fish farm dUring harvest time last May 31, 2017. She loves crabs just like her husband Eugene and daughter Asset.

According to Lapaz, he and his fellow fishpond owners believe that the right thing for DPWH to do is to dredge the silted river so that there is a free flow of water from the upstream and thus avoid flooding of areas along the way.
One observation is that the river upstream such as in the Calumpit area is too narrow so that when flood waters from the mountains cascade down, much of the water spills to the areas on both sides of the river, causing a lot of flooding. The solution, according to Lapaz, is dredging the silted river. He and his companions claim that the DPWH should have conducted a dialogue or consultation with them so that a solution to the problem could be properly addressed.

Arthurs’s harvests are loaded in banca for delivery to the market.

PROGRESSIVE FISHPOND OPERATOR – Anyway, we were able to interview one of the successful fishpond operators in Masantol. He is Arthur Paule who is in his mid-30s. His ponds are not at the edge of Pampanga River so they are not affected by the widening being undertaken by the DPWH.

Arthur started operating his fishpond seven years ago, starting with just 1.5 hectares. Before that, he was into network marketing of herbal products. But since he was not making any headway financially, he decided to go into fish farming.

Blue crabs are a bonus to Arthur. They just entered his ponds by themselves. A kilo sells for 160 pesos ex-farm.
He was correct in his decision. His operation has already expanded and has become lucrative. From his start of 1.5 hectares, he is now managing 70 hectares. His main products are mangrove crabs and prawns. He particularly loves growing crabs because they are less expensive to produce than other species because he does not have to feed them with commercial feeds. He feeds them with shells gathered from the sea which are relatively cheap.

He stocks his ponds with crablets that are as small as the fingernail costing five pesos each. There are bigger ones that cost him P15 apiece. In four months of culture, the crabs may attain a weight of 700 grams each. That is the particular size that most buyers prefer, especially those who export the same to Hong Kong.

Biya is another bonus crop from Arthur’s fishpond.
Compared to prawns, crabs have less mortality. Only about 70 percent of the crablets usually survive but that is already a very good percentage. It is a very profitable rate. In the case of prawns, he said the survival could be only 20 to 30 percent. Still, he can still make money from prawns. His prawns command a high price of P1,000 per kilo.

Jason Javier and Zac B. Sarian with their own crabs at Paule’s fish farm.

He also grows bangus in a smaller scale together with the prawns and crabs. And there are “volunteer” crops that simply entered his ponds like blue crab (alimasag) and biya. The blue crab sells for P160 a kilo while the “biya” sells for P120 a kilo.

Chicken adobo and steamed crab for tasting by visitors.
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8 thoughts on “MASANTOL: Crab Capital Of Pampanga

  1. Gandang umaga!

    Could you please advise me of mud crablet hatchery in the north particularly in Pangasinan area? I am exploring growing same in our fishpond in Lingayen.

    Thank you.

    1. Sorry, we don’t know of a source of crablets in the North. Maybe you should consult the BFAR office in Pangasinan. We don’t know their contact number, however.

  2. Is mangrove farming suitable in fresh water pond too? I am acquiring a tilapia pond and thinking to fatten mud crabs instead

  3. Hello Mr. Sarian,
    Would like to get contact person name and mobile contact number on mud crab farm. For farm visit and product information.
    Thank you

    1. Sorry, I don’t have the fellow’s contact number but maybe Dr. Rene Sumaoang (0917-848-3658) can help you because his salesman is supplying the feeds for his bangus and prawns.

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