Cooking on vacation, another way to explore the Philippines

2015-01-31_Relax._El_Nido_PalawanShirin Bhandari puts on her chef’s hat and shares some of her tips and tricks on cooking while you’re on vacation

RELAX. All photos provided by Shirin Bhandari
Traveling around the popular beach vacation spots in the Philippines usually means unwinding, picking a package at a resort, boat trips, ordering in, and spending way more than you should for wonderful seafood.
Why not give cooking while on vacation a try? I did just that on my trip to Palawan – and I got a lot out of that experience.
Here are photos from my recent trip:

If you have time to kill on your trip, the technique is to load up on the free hotel breakfast before your boat ride. But the more interesting second step is to explore the local market and look into what the island has to offer.

Rise early, and walk around town. The best deliveries of fruits, vegetables and seafood come in the morning. Watch the fishermen go out to sea, ask what is in season.

You will learn more from a local than reading a guidebook. Listen. And as my Nana used to say, seafood is excellent during the months with an “R” in it. Lay off it otherwise.WATCH AND OBSERVE. Fisherman heading out to sea. All photos provided by Shirin Bhandari    WATCH AND OBSERVE. Fisherman heading out to sea. All photos provided by Shirin BhandariBefore leaving the city, we made sure to pay for that extra baggage allowance on the plane! No room for regrets. If you love to cook, bring your favorite herbs and spices. The wet markets in most island towns only carry the basics.

Ask. Does your inn have a kitchen that you can use? Offer to pay extra for this – you will be pleasantly surprised with what you can hash up.If this is not an option, your guide and boatman might be able to supply a grill, or a few pot and pans.HOT! South Indian style Curried Prawns and Crab on Malcapuya Island, Coron Palawan. All photos provided by Shirin Bhandari   HOT! South Indian style Curried Prawns and Crab on Malcapuya Island, Coron Palawan. All photos provided by Shirin BhandariIf you’re going on an island holiday, you might go island-hopping.

Day trips usually start with the farthest island first, so you’ll have enough time to prep on the boat. Marinade, chop, peel!ISLAND FEAST. Cooking with my guide Jonas and our boatman on Sangat Island, Coron Palawan. All photos provided by Shirin Bhandari    ISLAND FEAST. Cooking with my guide Jonas and our boatman on Sangat Island, Coron Palawan. All photos provided by Shirin BhandariGRILLED GOODNESS. All photos provided by Shirin Bhandari   GRILLED GOODNESS. All photos provided by Shirin Bhandari

Explore, jump into the water and snorkel! Do what you came for and travel (ideally) with a group of people who feel as you do about travel.
SUNSET DREAMS. Nothing beats a view like this. Photo by Shirin Bhandari  SUNSET DREAMS. Nothing beats a view like this. Photo by Shirin Bhandari

Share and talk. You’ll be surprised preparing a meal is just as fulfilling. There might be a few who sit and demand to be fed – the types who should be thrown overboard! Bring back your trash though, of course, once the party is over.

Swim, eat, drink, and be merry. – Rappler.com

Shirin Bhandari is an artist, writer and jewelry designer. She graduated from the University of the Philippines with a degree in Fine Arts. She established her accessory and handicraft store Sundari in 2005, and supplies her designs to Rajo Laurel and the Ayala Museum. She’s lived in India and Manila and enjoys travel and dabbles in photography during her free time. Follow her onFacebook and onInstagram

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *