There’s a well-known explorers’ maxim that goes: ‘take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time’.
Coconut crabs, locally known as tatus in Batanes, are capable of opening coconuts – thus the name – by methodically cutting a hole on the coconut shell with its big pincers.
The tatus used to be one of the most sought-after local delicacies, but because of the alarming shortage, tourists are discouraged from requesting for them.
In fact, these coconut crabs have recently been declared ‘threatened species’, which means “buying, using, gathering, possessing and/or transporting” the coconut crabs is now illegal.
Allowing them time to reproduce to a healthier number will give the species a better chance at survival.
Don’t despair: lobsters or payi are good alternatives. Let the restaurant know in advance so they can prepare it for you.