San Pascual | Balinsasayaw House: Home to 80,000 Swiftlets

Close up with a couple of swiftlets
Close up with a couple of swiftlets

At the towering limestone cliff walls in Palawan or high up the ceiling in the deep cave chambers in Cagayan, I have seen harvesters risk their lives climbing sharp walls or hanging by the ceiling supported only by a rope in order to gather the swiftlet bird’s nest. The swiftlets locally known as the Balinsasayaw uses their saliva to build their nest. When the nest is submerged in water, it becomes gelatinous and has been used as an exotic ingredient by the Chinese in their Bird’s Nest soup for over 400 years. People risk their lives for this as this lucrative nest cost about US$2000 per kilo. A house however in San Pascual, Burias Island in Masbate have another story. There is a Balinsasayaw House where an estimate of 80,000 swiftlets live right under their basement.

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