Category Archives: Food Trip

El Nido Getaway 2015!

The PAGASA has announced that rainy season has started already. Summer may be over,  but I had a meaningful rest and recreation during the Holy Week when Vimala and I went to El Nido, Palawan. It is dubbed as the Best Beach Destination in the Philippines, and true enough, it is something worth the travel. Vimala is my Indonesian best friend who came to the Philippines just to visit me, so I chose to bring her to El Nido.

El Nido lies in northeast Palawan. The main gateway to this paradise is Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Vie and I was able to book an AirAsia flight in the morning of April 1, we arrived by lunch time, had a quick break and took the van to El Nido. It took us about 5 hours before we arrive in the small town of El Nido.

5 star custome service, affordable and comfortable

Vie and I have been travelling together since our Korea days, and we are very particular with the hotel/inn we’re staying at. In El Nido, we were able to book Swiftlets Inn. It is a relatively new hotel, originally with just 4 rooms. Upon arrival in El Nido, we were dropped off at the terminal, took the tricycle (50 pesos) and checked-in. We were surprised that they have a new floor with additional 4 rooms. We were booked in room 7, which is really spacious, with clean bed linens and a bathroom where you can freely move. They also got a flat screen TV and power plugs all over the room (a must nowadays!) What’s a plus point of this hotel is it is strategically located in the middle of El Nido; 3 minutes from terminal and 5-7 minutes walk from downtown. And free breakfast! You are also far from the noise in the streets. The customer service is pleasing, we had a really good stay here. You can check TripAdvisor for other reviews here.

Awe-inspiring, breathtaking 

We booked for Tour A and Tour C for the island hopping. For Day 2, we started with Tour C because there was the news of a typhoon coming, and since Tour C is farther, we went there first. We had a very kind tour guide and boat men, so we felt secure all the time.

The first destination was the Helicopter island, with that name because it looks like an helicopter from afar. This is the inspiration for the movie The Beach. It is a good place for snorkeling.

My favorite though is Star beach, where we stayed longer because we had lunch here. The boat men prepared the lunch, with seafood overload! 😀

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After Starbeach, we went to Secret Island. The name fits because you need to enter a small rocky entrance before getting in. It was our least favorite – it is too crowded. One foreigner even said “It’s chaos over here!” Haha!

Then Matinloc Shrine. It is a small island with a huge house that was abandoned. We went up to see the captivating view of the ocean.

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We were able to return in El Nido proper by 4pm. After a fun day (we got tanned!), we decided to walk to the hotel. We tried the Crepes and it was good. Go grab something as snack.

The following day, we were booked for Tour A. The good thing about our travel agency (Create Tours) is that they pick us from our hotel via a motorcycle. Oh diba may sundo pa! After our sumptuous free breakfast, we were fueled to enjoy the rest of El Nido.

Tour A goes to Small and Big Lagoons, Secret beach and Seven Commandos Beach.

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Small lagoon is enjoyable via kayaking (300 pesos). But it also gets crowded. I love Big lagoon better (in the photo), though we didn’t stop to swim because it was low tide.

Swimming with Nemo and Friends

One of the highlights of my El Nido trip is my snorkeling experience for the first time. I love beaches but I can’t really swim in deep waters. But one of our tour guides, the 18 year old Richard told me “Mam, akong bahala sayo I will hold you.” Naks! Pero true enough, he helped me. He was the one holding the Go Pro we rented (1,000 pesos) then took these beautiful photos. I was amazed at God’s wonderful creation deep down.

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Tour A  ended in Seven Commando’s beach. It is a huge one, with cottages and a restaurant. Vie and I was able to rest and enjoy; she joined a bunch of tourists playing volleyball.

We arrived in El Nido proper at around 5pm then rested in the hotel. Then my college friend Ate Rej texted me to go to Las Cabanas resort because no one should miss the El Nido sunset. It was almost 6 so I rushed and took a tricycle (150 pesos). Whew! It was a beautiful sunset.

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 Restaurants to try

We did not crave much seafood because the lunch during the tours is just crazy awesome – squid, grilled fish, shrimps and mussels. So when we were at downtown, we decided to check two restaurants for dinner – Art Cafe and Altrove Trattoria. Both are really good and affordable. In Art Cafe, we tried their paella while we had pasta and the oven-made pizza in Altrove. The vibe in these restaurants is cozy and comfy, good to cap a day of beach hopping.

Go and save for El Nido trip!

Look for seat sale and book a ticket! The Philippines is such a beautiful place, with nice beaches and people. But the experience in every travel is worth every penny. I will share to you how much it cost me to enjoy this wonderful creation:

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Thanks, El Nido! It was a blast! 🙂

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P.S. All photos do not have edits. See, ganda talaga sa El Nido!

Samgyeopsal all-you-can in Sinchon!

If you ask me what is my favourite Korean food, my tummy and heart would agree that samgyeopsal tops the list. Maybe because it was the first Korean food I tried here, or because of the frequency of eating the Korean barbecue that I have conditioned my mind “This is the best.”

My friends and I go to the BBQ restaurant near our school until we discovered this haven in Sinchon. Seoul National University is so far from downtown Seoul, we have to travel at least an hour to reach that place. But that is always worth the time.

So here in this restaurant (which I actually don’t know if it has any name, we just call it “THE Unli BBQ place”), you enter, choose where you’ll be seating for two hours or more, then go to the bar and get any meat you want.

This is inside the “restaurant”. It is not that fancy,well-lit, foodie haven that you expect. It is small, but I think this is close enough to what we normally see in the Korean dramas, where the actors would drink Soju ’till the credits. 😀 And as the tarpaulin displays, it is 8,000 won per person (around 7 dollars, and 300 pesos).

Beef, chicken, shrimp, or pork; you’ll be the one to surrender. 

Samgyeopsal won’t be complete without these sauces. My favorite is the one on bottom left, it is called ssamjang.

This is how the pan on my table looked like tonight! YUMMY!

One secret to make the samgyeopsal food trip really enjoyable: bring as many friends as possible. Trust me, you wouldn’t enjoy it by yourself.

So here’s the gang with whom I shared tonight’s food with:

If you happen to be in Seoul and you want to experience the real food trippin’, try to go to this place. Your tummy would be satisfied without hurting your pocket.

How to go there: Subway Line 2 (Green Line) Sinchon station, go to exit number 2. Walk straight for 10 minutes until you see Adidas, and T-World, then turn left. You’ll see restaurants all-lined up. On your right, you’ll see a big barbecue place, not that one 😀 but the second one. The owners are at the entrance trying to persuade the people to come. Give in and enjoy!

P.S. We came there tonight with a reason: to celebrate our good friend Johanne’s birthday. And since we’ve been coming to the restaurant in a big group, they were kind enough to give us cola and makgeoli as service. 🙂