Every year we run one of our most underrated trips, both from a fun and culinary point of view, our yearly jaunt to Palawan and El Nido. We basically spent a week eating great food, and drinking on boats.
Can’t say fairer than that!
Here’s how our week of island hopping panned out –
How to spend a night in Ermita?
We start in Ermita in Manila due to its number of bars and proximity to the airport. We ate at Cowboy Grill, probably the best restaurant and live music venue in Ermita, that is also one of the least seedy ones too, which is nice. I went for a classic pork sisig. Sisig is served on a hot plate, and is basically bits of animal, with an egg. A solid dish.
We visited several places before we finished in the notorious LA Café, the bar that stays open 24 hours.
The next morning was not the easiest we have ever had (hangover anyone), but we made it to the airport and eventually to Puerto Princesa, and on to the Underground River. Apparently, it is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world! We liked it!
At night, we went for the classic and headed out to try Tamilok which is a woodworm. Is Tamilok that bad? Yes, it is disgusting.
We then headed off for the lion’s share of the trip via a 6-hour drive to El Nido. We were staying in beachside huts overlooking some of the most stunning scenery Palawan has to offer. Orange Pearl Beach resort is a bit out of town, but the views more than make up for it.
What’s Island Hopping in El Nido like?
When you do it with YPT we get our private boat, stock up with lots of booze, and then go snorkeling and visiting islands. Many of said islands now have bars, with the bar on Helicopter Island, El Nido, Snake Island, and 7 Commandos Beach being some of the better ones. In fact, there are even mobile bars with dudes selling drinks in Kayaks. You never need to go thirsty.
And the food is AMAZING! Our boat crew cooks up a storm of pork, chicken, and freshly caught fish. Words truly cannot do it justice.
Our last night in El Nido is spent on Nacpan Beach. If you like undiscovered beaches, then sadly you are one year late with Nacpan Beach in El Nido, but it still makes a nice getaway.
El Nido airport is small, to say the least, but they have direct connections to Manila, Angeles, and Cebu.
For our last night in Manila, we had the best cocktails in Manila, at the colonial era Manila Hotel.
A very condensed version of what 9 nights, 10 days looked like for me, but seriously Island Hopping in Palawan is probably my favourite trip of all that we do.
Forget Street Food, it’s all about the beach and boat BBQs!
Gareth Johnson is the founder of Young Pioneer Tours, a published writer, and all round entrepreneur. He enjoys street food, and encourage others to get paid to travel the world.