Two Ways To Make Money In Lapu-lapu Production

A common species of grouper or lapu-lapu cultured in the Philippines.
A grouper being cultured by Dr. Ruben Tan of Macalelon, Quezon.


There are at least two ways of making good income from growing lapu-lapu or grouper. This we learned from Dr. Ruben Tan who dropped by our farm in Teresa, Rizal last July 28, 2019 to buy grafted exotic fruit trees for planting in his farm in Macalelon, Quezon.

He passed by our place after delivering 300 pieces of live lapu-lapu to a customer in Chinatown in Manila. Would you believe that the 300 pieces, each weighing at least 500 grams, were worth P140,000? Yes, because a kilo sells for P750 today. Earlier, Dr. Tan said, the going price was higher at P800 per kilo.

There are several kinds of lapu-lapu and this one is one of them. It is not the kind cultured by Dr. Tan.

CULTURING BIG FINGERLINGS – What are the two ways of making money in lapu-lapu production? One is buying the so-called Tiny Lapu-lapu Fingerlings which could be had for P1 apiece. Dr. Tan does not buy this kind because a lot of them usually don’t survive. There’s a lot of morality.  But somebody from Daet, Camarines Norte has mastered the culture of the tiny fingerlings which he grows into 5-inch size. That’s the size that Dr. Tan buys for his own production of market-size lapu-lapu. He buys each one at P60. The guy who has mastered the culture of the small fingerlings is making good income. It takes about four months for the tiny fingerlings to become 5 inches.

Dr. Tan said that the fellow from Daet is fortunate because he can get supplies of the tiny fingerlings from different parts of the country. He explained that the fingerlings are available at different times in different places so that he has a supply throughout the year.

GROW-OUT OPERATION – The other way of making money is growing the fingerlings to market size of at least 500 grams each. That’s what Dr. Tan  has been doing the past many years. When we met him at our farm, he said he will soon order 2,000 5-inch fingerlings which will cost him P120,000. He does not mind the cost because the 5-inch fingerlings have already learned to eat trash fish and there is a high rate of survival.

Dr. Tan cultures the fingerlings for about five to six months before they become marketable. He feeds them with trash fish which costs him P20 to P30 per kilo. Two 5-inch lapu-lapu fingerlings will eat 7 kilos of trash fish to attain a weight of 500 grams each.  That means P140 to P210 worth of trash fish to produce one kilo of lapu-lapu. Since feed is the major expense in production, the profit margin is high. Dr. Tan’s fishpond for lapu-lapu is beside the sea. He draws sea water for culturing his grouper

Dr. Tan is a doctor of medicine who renders medical service to his community as a public service. He charges only P50 for consultation. He is into other projects like bangus and crab culture, cacao and mango production. But he is best known for his lapu-lapu. He is a pioneer in the business for which the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources gave him an award in 2002. He used to have a lucrative egg layer production but he gave that up because it required too much daily attention. Even during Christmas or Good Friday, you have to collect the eggs and sell them within a few days. He thinks that’s too much for a senior citizen like him. He is now 77 years old but in good health and still very strong.

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