Did you know Palawan is the best island in the world, and has been for the last four years? What I don’t know is who actually makes these lists, and what are the criteria? Did the Isle of Sheppey get a shout? What about Coney Island? Did you see the effort the Warriors had to take to bop their way back there? It was a lot. But I digress; Palawan really is quite nice, which is why I go island hopping there every October.
I’ve mentioned in many an article how bad Filipino food is, which might be harsh, but in my defence check out my “tamilok” article – a delicacy you can try in regional island hub of Puerto Princesa.
So, whilst there might be many reasons that Palawan got its moniker of “better than the Isle of Wight” for many reasons, one of them is surely the town of El Nido and the island hopping it offers.
This year marked our fourth year of island hopping in El Nido, a town which has changed massively since we first started going, with our local partners adding a boat, 2 bars, a hotel and a restaurant during that time – a real signifier of how much the town has developed. So development means better food right? It means more food, generally Western and of poor quality. There’s the odd gem, such as Havana Bar, which serves Mexican food, or the random Odessa Kitchen that serves well, bad Ukrainian food, with bad draft beer.
Is there any food worth eating in El Nido? The main reason for coming to El Nido is for island hopping, and when you book a tour or your own boat, part of the price includes your lunch, which is a beach BBQ with freshly caught fish, rice, spicy sauce, and the freshest mangoes of the region.
The beach BBQ – with our guys, at least – is genuinely off-the-grid good, and we always keep the cooler filled with ice and the best rum of the Philippines – Tanduay. It’s no Havana club, but so long as you remember that drinking on the beach at 10am makes you a pirate and not an alcoholic then you will be just fine.
And if your needs are somewhat higher brow than drinking rum from the bottle then there’s now a few beaches that have bars on them serving Mango Coladas and Daiquiris.