Story by Yellen
D. Dequito (14 years old, from Lucena City), illustrations by Anthony
C. Quejado (15 years old, from Paranaque). Originally written in Tagalog
and translated to English by Marne Kilates, this story first appeared
in Mga Anak ng Dagat (Children of the Sea) published by the Fisheries
Sector Program, Department of Agriculture
Mom and Dad sounded excited as they told Rosana the news. "We're
going to our hometown in Sariaya, Quezon to spend the summer. You'll love
it there. It's close to the seashore," said Mom.
But Rosana wasn't too sure. She would miss her friends, and she didn't
know a soul in Quezon. "I'd be bored and lonely," she said.
"What's so special about the seashore anyway? What do I do there?"
The trip seemed to last forever. Row upon row of houses, coconut trees
and wooden tracts of land sped by in an endless blur and lulled Rosana
Then, suddenly, they were there. Rosana woke up to a vast blue sky spotted
here and there with clumps of clouds. Everywhere there were tall coconut
trees, and Rosana could hear the distinct sound of water breaking against
the rocks though she couldn't yet see the sea. Aunt Belen and Uncle Narding
and cousins Russel and Liza came to meet them.
"I'll take you to the seashore this afternoon," Liza offered
over a sumptuous lunch of shrimps, crab and milkfish.
And so, after lunch, Liza and Rosana were at the beach. Rosana had taken
off her slippers, the better to feel the wet sand swirling in the rushing
and receding of the frothy waves. "This is fun!" she said, marveling
at how her feet sank in the sand, leaving tracks that were too quickly
swallowed by the rushing crystal clear water.
Then she saw the seashells. "Look!" she cried excitedly. "They're
so pretty! They're so big and shaped like fans!"
"You'll see a lot of clams and seashells here," Liza assured
The following morning, Rosana met Maricar and Reynaldo. They were children
of fishers and they were Liza's friends, so they all went for a swim at
the beach, a place they knew so well. Lisa taught Rosana how to swim,
Maricar showed her how to float on her back, and Reynaldo taught her to
"Do you always swim here at the beach?" asked Rosana.
"Only when the tide isn't too high," replied Maricar. "During
high tide the water is too deep."
"We don't go too far out to sea at high tide," Reynaldo added.
After swimming, they all went to where the fishermen were hauling in their
catch. Intrigued, Rosana went closer and heard the fishermen and some
other people talking to each other in whispers.
"What is that lady whispering to the fisherman?" she asked.
"Why do they have to whisper to each other?"
"That lady is a wholesaler. She buys a fisherman's entire catch if
the fisherman agrees to her price," Maricar explained. "The
wholesaler who offers the highest price gets the goods."
Over the next several days Rosana met more new friends, all of them children
of fishermen. They'd play hide and seek or chase each other, or even write
words and messages on the sand. Rosana particularly enjoyed playing on
the beach, making miniature castles and mountains out of sand. Sometimes
she'd even dig small rivers out of the sand, where she and her new friends
would sail tiny boats made of coconut husk and paper. Or she flew kites.
One evening Rosana saw her Uncle Narding and cousin Russel preparing to
go fishing earlier than usual. "Why are they leaving so early tonight?"
"There's a full moon," said her Aunt Belen. "Here people
believe that they'd get a big catch when there's a full moon."
And indeed, only a couple of hours later, Uncle Narding and Russel were
back with a big haul of fish.
"Wonderful!" Aunt Belen exclaimed. "We have plenty of fish
"Can I come along when you sell the fish?" Rosana asked.
"Of course! Liza and you can come with me tomorrow," her aunt
All too soon it was time to go back to Manila.
"I wish we could stay longer," said Rosana's father.
"Yes," her Mom agreed. "Two weeks is too short."
"So it's been two weeks?" Rosana said in wonder. It didn't seem
like two weeks. Time flew so fast she never had the chance to get bored.
She was never lonely, so busy was she meeting new friends and discovering
and learning many new things.
"When are we coming back?" she asked her Mom and Dad. "I
want to go back to the shore and play on the beach."
"We'll be back. We'll be back, that's for sure," her Mom and
is a Sea Squirt?
Sea squirts are marine
organisms belonging to the family Ascidiaceae. Though seldom noticed or
distinguished by casual divers and snorkelers, they are highly interesting
and important. They are diverse and colorful, and inhabit all types of
marine habitats. They filter bacteria from seawater and can store heavy
metals in their tunic (a flexible external covering or 'exoskeleton').
A number of important products have been identified in sea squirts, making
these organisms a good candidate for discovery of potential medicinal
compounds from the sea.
This page is for you.
If you have any poetry, artwork, photos, comments, experiences about the
sea, news, suggestions, questions -- anything at all that you would like
to say about our ocean -- send it to
and we'll post them on this page. Don't forget to tell us a bit about
yourself (your name, age, the name of your town or city and the name of
Adults who write for
children are most welcome too!