Tag Archive | "Palawan"

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Bona’s Chaolong: Vietnamese Pho in Palawan

Posted on 19 September 2013 by Dreidel Regala

Did you know Palawan was once home to many Vietnamese people? After the Vietnam war, the people of Vietnam took on the open seas until which their boats led them to the Philippine shores. They were called boat people and many of them found refuge in Palawan for some time.

And so that became the start of the Vietnamese food culture in the country – Chaolong.

I’m a big fan of Pho Bo (a beef stew noodle dish), well it’s actually my favorite amongst all noodle soups. So when I got to Puerto Princesa I was very curious about how this locally made Pho would fare.

If the recipe came from Vietnamese people themselves then it should be good.

I arrived in Puerto Princesa around 9 am. Since I still got an hour to spare before my transit to the next destination, I decided to go look for the best Chaolongan in town. So I asked everybody – tour guide in the airport desk, manong guard in the airport lobby, another manong near the tricycle stand, kuya tricycle driver. And they all said Bona’s Chaolong. Wow Bona is really popular so I told kuya driver to bring me there pronto!

The way to Bona’s is not easy to remember because kuya driver made a lot of detours due to road construction but what I’m sure of is that it’s a long walk from the airport. There are however other chaolongans around so just ask for the nearest one if you don’t wanna go farther.

Inside the kitchen of Bona's Chaolong

Inside the kitchen of Bona’s Chaolong

When I got to Bona’s, a modest but busy eatery welcomed me. As early as 9 am people were coming in and out already. The menu only had noodle soup and french bread plus a variety of those but I guess you wouldn’t be ordering anything else besides Pho so.

Pho Bo in Bona's Chaolong

Pho Bo in Bona’s Chaolong

The taste? It’s nice. Sweeter than the commercial ones I’ve had in Manila but I liked it. Not much going on the dish itself though but it kinda reminds me how that Pho I had in Saigon was simply made too. Try it and be the judge yourself.

From what I heard chaolongs in Palawan are no longer operated by native Vietnamese (they already left) but the recipe should be from the boat people at the least.

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10 impressions on El Nido town

Posted on 10 August 2013 by Dreidel Regala

When visiting El Nido Palawan, staying in the town is the more obvious choice. There are of course options in staying somewhere else like in the neighboring town of Corong-Corong for a more relaxed setting or if you are fancy go to Miniloc or Lagen islands. On my short visit on this somewhat isolated place, I chose to stay in El Nido town and here are my impressions.

1. It’s not remote.

I always thought that El Nido would look very primitive considering its distance from the city. But as our van enter the town and I watch through the window, several concrete houses and some vehicles welcomed us.

2. Dramatic town rocks.

In the backdraft of the town stands several limestone rocks that are just so wonderful to look at. It’s like it welcomes the visitor into a new world. I have no idea if you can climb these though but if you can then I’m pretty sure the view from the top will be wonderful.

El Nido town

El Nido town

3. Central.

If being on the center is a concern then staying in El Nido town is more than appropriate. This is because most happenings are there already. Another advantage is that you will not have to pay for expensive tricycle rides to get you in between the towns. We went to Marimegmeg beach a mere 15 minutes ride away and it costs 150php per way

4. Work on electricity.

While the issue with electricity (power cut from 6am-2pm) varies from person to person, I still think it should be improved. I can actually live with the current situation cause it forces me to go out more rather than hang in the bedroom but now that El Nido is gaining popularity the demand for full coverage will definitely increase as well.

5. Afternoon start.

When I visited in July, I noticed that most (if not all) restaurants open after lunch. I’m not sure if this is due to the electricity cut since it only comes back around 2pm or because it’s the low season. But when I got to talk to the manager of one of the restaurants he said it’s a common thing that restos open late. Don’t worry though cause you will most likely be eating your lunches in one of the islands anyway.

El Nido island hopping lunch

El Nido island hopping lunch

6. Food can be expensive.

Okay so in general there can be methods to keep it low like eating in carinderias but the curious diner in me really wants to try out some restaurants and to my surprise costs can be more than 200php on a set meal. I was really shocked when I first saw the prices in the menu but maybe it also became an issue since we ordered separately rather than share just one. On the good side though their serving is really big, perfect after a whole day on the islands.

7. Not available menu.

This may be another effect of a low season visit – food joints running out of their menus. It can be annoying but I guess they really can’t do anything about it since supplies come afar and markets open once a week only as I heard.

8. Bacuit bay.

The picture of Bacuit bay every second is just awesome. There may be plenty of boats docked there all the time but it doesn’t matter cause the view is just beautiful. One thing I noticed though is that the waters in front of the beach is not really clear.

Bacuit bay El Nido

Bacuit bay El Nido

9. Beach and dogs.

El Nido sure loves their dogs. I saw so many roam the beaches in both Bacuit bay and in Marimegmeg beach. Don’t worry though they aren’t the aggressive kind, they just wanna lay in the sand.

Dogs of El Nido

Dogs of El Nido

10. Awful road to El Nido.

Not really within the El Nido town but I just wanna add that the highway going there is just bad. I think I will not get used to the idea of a 1.5 hours of rough road ride so hopefully this can be resolved soon. It looks though that the local government is working on it already as I saw several road works so keep it up guys!

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I am heading to El Nido – Join me!

Posted on 22 June 2013 by Dreidel Regala

Destination: El Nido, Palawan Philippines

Date: June 29 – July 3 

It’s saturday already woohoo and 7 more days then I’ll be seeing the famed El Nido! So who’s going to be there too???

Island hopping is probably the main to-do in El Nido. Blessed with islets, limestone rocks, lagoons and gorgeous waters, the town of El Nido will surely invite every visitor to take that boat ride to explore.

Big Lagoon in El Nido.

Big Lagoon in El Nido. Photo courtesy of El Nido Resorts.

The island hopping tours are being offered everywhere in the town and I noticed that the prices are pretty standard. There are different packages with different sets of places since it will be impossible to visit them all in one day. Oh just look at that picture ain’t it magnificent.

Under the surface is a different world as well. El nido‘s underwater life is a sight! Snorkeling and diving are must dos too.

Dive with the turtles in El Nido

Dive with the turtles in El Nido. Photo courtesy of Submariner Dive Center.

It has been raining lately in the country but I sure hope that the sun will be in El Nido when I’m there. Come on let’s go!

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Episode 15: Nearing the end

Posted on 09 January 2013 by Dreidel Regala

Check out PHL360.com for more videos

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Episode 7: PHL360 in El Nido, Palaui & Maria Cristina

Posted on 10 September 2012 by Dreidel Regala

Check out PHL360 for more episodes

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Stranded in an island

Posted on 22 July 2012 by Dreidel Regala

El Nido is found in the northern part of Palawan in the Philippines. And although it’s not a straightforward journey to this paradise, it is famed for its picturesque limestone rocks and rich marine life. The province is so faraway from the metropolis that modern facilities are limited or missing (if you really care about that). There are modest inns in the town proper to complement your native experience which is just a boat away from the islands.

But what happens when you go on the extreme side and decide to rough it under the moonlight and go camping in one of the islands? Let’s find out…


 

Taken from PHL360

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