top of page

Filipinos ate galunggong under Marcos

Filipinos consumed an average of 8 grams of galunggong (roundscad) a day in 1982 during the term of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, according to a nationwide nutrition survey by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI). This debunks the claim that Filipinos didn’t resort to eating the fish when Marcos was president.

Galunggong was the second most consumed fresh fish after tulingan (mackerel tuna) based on average consumption per capita a day, according to the survey.

High production of galunggong also made the fish “the principal catch” during the Marcos administration, according to a study by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in 1975.

The same study found that more than 30% of about one million tons of fish produced in 1970 were two species of galunggong. Fish supplied more than half of the country’s animal protein at the time, the study showed.

Due to improved fishing gear, annual total catches of galunggong soared from 18,985 tons in 1956 to 150,713 tons in 1970 – an almost 700% increase.

Marcos was president from 1965 to 1986.

In a video posted March 7 on Facebook, a supporter of presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. claimed:

Noong panahon ni Marcos hindi tayo kumakain ng bituka ng manok. Yung galunggong nga hindi pinapansin. Oh tumanda ka, tanong ko sayo, kumakain ka ba ng galunggong? Puros karne. Balewala yang galunggong, pinagmalaki ng mga foreign. (sic) Ang galunggong, hindi na mabili ang galunggong ngayon (During the time of Marcos, we weren’t eating chicken intestines. Round scad weren’t being eaten. You grew older, let me ask you, were you eating round scad? It was mostly meat. Galunggong was nothing. It was being boasted by foreigners. Now, we can’t even buy galunggong.)

The video also included the text: “Bwisit talagang EDSA 1 yan (I hate EDSA 1).”

While no equivalent study on chicken intestines is available, surveys conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Center (now the FNRI) from 1959 to 1968 identified “chicken organs” as sources of protein in some parts of the country. The findings of these surveys are in a 1979 report on the nutrition assistance extended to the Philippines by the United States government.

The supporter, however, was correct in implying that galunggong has become less affordable.

The price of galunggong has increased every year since 1990. It has gone from P26.06 in 1990 to P150.23 a kilo in 2019, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

The video has garnered more than 400,000 views, 23,000 reactions and more than 2,000 comments. (CC)


bottom of page