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Trip report Jan 2014, Philippines

digga | Jan 23, 201403:04 PM

Here's a trip report in real-time (easier to remember details that way). Started by transitting through Manila via Tokyo late (no meals except for a simple hotel breakfast of steamed fish and garlic rice).
Unanticipated overnight stay in Sablayan. A sympathetic local took us to a locals' restaurant. We learned that Sablayan is Philippines' newly anointed Tuna Capitol so naturally we order tuna. Grilled tuna belly with tomato salsa and sizzling tuna that was vaguely Italian, with olives and tomatoes smelled great. Unfortunately, in both preps, the tuna was way over-cooked. But we were hungry so we cleaned our plates.

Pandan Island - Only one place to stay here, at the rustic "resort" (not your typical resort). We took 2 dinner buffets here. First night was a disappointment: a mild but comforting crab and corn chowder; fried fish (meaty white fish but again, over-cooked...perhaps this is the Fillipino style?) and calamari (rubbery); chicken curry (B said this was good); flavorless veggie medley mush of carrots and bean sprouts; Western-style salad; rice. Fortunately, we made liberal use of a couple of wonderfully piquant sauces - a spicy vinegary one with plenty of chili pepper and a fiery-red chili paste. Second night was what I was expecting: our first taste of sinigang (deliciously tangy seafood soup with sliced radish and tomato); whole fish simply grilled in banana leaf (again, cooked just a bit too long for our taste, but quite good anyway); beef stew with green peppers that B really enjoyed; a very good pumpkin curry. Cook must have been not working the previous night or just had an off-day!

Puerto Galera - We're here to dive/snorkel, not to hang out in Sabang, which is quite icky. We ate at Tamarind last night since we took out too many pesos. My steamed fish came with a delicious coconut cream sauce. B had the spare ribs, which looked big, but they weren't very meaty. But he said they were delicious. He chose the Texas fries option (they turned out to be steak fries). Overall, pricey and just ok, but the location is nice and away from the Sabang "action."

To be continued....

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