Lobster and Coconut Crab in Batanes

Batanes cuisine is very simple. Its remote location meant that most of the ingredients must be sources from within the islands, or it’s going to be really expensive. A trip to the market was rather uninteresting. There was only a small selection of vegestable, and an even smaller, though more exotic selection of fishes. Pork and beef are available, while chicken is near scarce and expensive — Php 190 per kilo!

However, eating out in Batanes can be quite exciting: lobsters are cheap and coconut crabs are available!


Frustrated by our failed attempts to dine on lobsters during our trip to Coron, Palawan, Gail and the rest of the group are hankering for lobster. Hearing that lobsters go as low as Php 300 per kilo, we know we just have to have lobsters in Batanes! The odds were in our favor, and we were rewarded with a very generous helping of lobster. With help from Tita Remy, our housekeeper at Novita House, she sourced out three kilos of lobster for our dinner on our first night in the island. Cooked simply by steaming, the lobsters were juicy and very meaty.

Next to the lobster, we were also looking forward to trying the tatus, the local parlance for coconut crab. Again, through Tita Remy’s help, we were able to arrange for a lunch picnic at Sabtang’s white beach. For Php 250, we dined on fried fish, steamed sigarilyas and the highlight of the meal: coconut crabs.

Yummy coconut crab

The tatus is unlike any other crustacean I have ever seen. Rather than being err, wide like other crabs, the coconut crab has a longer body, with a sac at the rear end housing the aligue that is reminiscent of a spider’s. The crab was meaty, with a distinct flavor. Though it was only steamed, the meat has the faint taste of coconut milk, the effect of its penchant for coconut. It is said that coconut crabs can climb coconut trees to get the coconuts, and using its large pincers, it tears off the coconut husk and uses the smaller pincers to pull out the coconut’s flesh. Apart from coconuts, the tatus also feeds on fruits and organic materials.

Priced at Php 600 per kilo, the coconut crab is a rather expensive treat. But never mind the cost; the delectable taste of this crab is worth every peso.

RCJ’s Food Hut
Romy Cielo – Manager
Sabtang Island, Batanes
Email : romycielo_55@yahoo.com
Mobile Phone : 0916-854-8285 / 0921-715-4919 / 0916-674-2344

Thanks for sharing the contact info, Melo!

18 thoughts on “Lobster and Coconut Crab in Batanes”

  1. Isn’t the Coconut Crab an endangered species?

    I understood that most developed, enlightened countries had stopped harvesting that particular crab.

    Living in Maryland (USA), I really love crab, but I would never eat an animal that is on the verge of extinction.

  2. Wow!!! Healthy pa, you get to it coconut along with it! hehe. Seriously, the photos look delish which Im sure ganun nga…great shots, nakakatakam!

  3. has this docchuck never heard of google? practically every site i checked that the search engine coughed up using the keywords “coconut crab + endangered” yielded results that said the crab was neither threatened nor endangered -.-;;

    this fella needs to get off his high horse and get some basic facts straight before spouting off nonsense about “developed, enlightened countries”. this post was about food; it did not contain a single insinuation about how civilized people of a certain country are based on what’s on their plate (because if it were than the “almighty” US of A would be the most uncivilized place on earth — they did after all, create MCDONALDS) until he showed up.

    unless this troll can back everything up with something more substantial than his personal claims, he should keep baseless, high and mighty comments to himself.


  4. pabayaan nyo na. amoy-lupa na si doc chuck. actually projection yun, sya yung endangered and malapit nang maging extinct. hahahaha! sorry for the ad hominem, i couldn’t resist it. he sounded like he knew what he was saying. but hey, thank him for the hits!

  5. Does this “magnetic_rose” TROLL not know how to read?

    Yes, even we Ph.D.s get annoyed when confronted by ignorance and name-calling, “magnetic_rose” .

    YOU really need to brush up on keeping your mis-directed anger under control.

    Kindly read the following, “magnetic_rose”, along with DOZENS of other similar evaluations:

    “That’s why in many places, like the Solomon Islands, this species is endangered. There are laws limiting the number of egg carrying females and the size at which they can be collected and exported. In fact, human consumption exterminated long ago this giant crab from Borneo, Indonesia or New Guinea.”


  6. DocChuck
    The reason why people are reacting negatively to your comment is not because of what you’re saying but how you’re saying it. Has it occurred to you how condescending and arrogant you sound? Instead of getting your point across and successfully managing to win people over to your side, you have instead alienated everyone who is not from your developed, enlightened country.

  7. Well said, Kaoko. I’ve always wanted to go to Batanes and have a taste of coconut crab and other seafood.

  8. Who gives a ratz azz if this ugly azz thing goes extinct or not? Extinction is part of nature and man is part of that same nature. Coconut crabs goes extinct……………….go ahead, give me “doomsday facts” on how it will effect the world. Its effect will be NADA, NOTHING, NIEDE, STUGATZ, MIERDA, get it?

  9. ahm… for me coconut crab is very delicious ..some article in the internet says that coconut crabs are endangered species in Batanes. well my answer to that is the coconut crab is not easy to catch up . they hide themselves in the dark. and coconut crab are not allowed to be traveled outside the vicinity of batanes.. i tell you btanes is a beautiful place for you to visit ..

  10. THE COCONUT CRAB is CLOSE TO BECOMING AN ENDANGERED SPECIES!!!! the coconut crab (Birgus latro), also known as tatus in Batanes, is a threatened species. According to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, “Buying, using, gathering, possessing and/or transporting [this] species are prohibited under Philippine laws (Republic Act No. 8550, Sec. 91, 92 and 97; Fisheries Administrative Order 202 and 208) and international treaty (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, CITES).”

  11. Unfortunately the tatus/coconut crab is in fact a threatened species in the Philippines according to BFAR below (but in areas that have no human population their numbers are relatively stable. Coconut crabs have already disappeared in heavily populated areas, specifically Borneo, Indonesia, and New Guinea).

    Especially since farming them has proven difficult. According to the sources below the sensitivity of their molting stages and their unusual mating habits are just two obstacles against their farming and subsequent enjoyment by locals and tourists alike. This saddens me, mainly because I want to try them lol.



    Hopefully the local government of Batanes has already curbed any possibility of their disappearance in Batanes? Maybe that’s why they’re so expensive?

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