19 Apr2012

We had requested a “picnic lunch” on the beach while on our recent stay at Miniloc Resort, El Nido, Palawan. This is what we got. FABULOUS. With the entire Dangun beach to ourselves, our small party of five which included Mrs. MM, MM, The Teen and two friends from the Northeast United States was presented with this amazing spread. We had actually spoken with the chef the day before and requested a much more modest selection of dishes, but it seems they couldn’t resist pulling out all the stops. The hotel’s Resident Manager, Noel, had recognized us from a previous stay at Amanpulo, where he used to work, and I can’t help but think he made sure we got a great lunch… though everyone we talked to seemed to think this was just their normal picnic lunch set-up… :)

The setting was a table set under the cooling shade of a large tree. Our feet were on the sand, and as the gentle waves hit shore, you could feel the water between your toes if you were on one side of the table. Placemats, cutlery, linen, china and glasses were set, along with a table centerpiece as well!

You couldn’t ask for a more spectacular view than this. Of course our two guests got the best seats at the table. It was not only their first time to Asia and the Philippines, it was their first time to have a sit-down meal literally on the beach!

We started with some cured or smoked fish, probably tuna, served with lemon honey mustard sauce. I thought they were slices of sashimi gone bad when they first arrived, but their color was actually a result of the smoking and curing. Delicious.

This was followed by an utterly superb shrimp kinilaw or ceviche. Unlike the fish kinilaw that we make at home, where the vinegar just barely has time to kiss the fish, this one had been marinating for a while, and the shrimp was “cooked” all the way through. It was the first time I have had shrimp kinilaw and I thought it was absolutely brilliant. Will have to try my hand at making this, but it was just really addictive. The texture of the shrimp was a little rubbery in a nice kind of way, and the balance of sourness and saltiness in the marinade had Mrs. MM and I taking some of the marinade to add to some of the grilled items that appeared later… a really nice unexpected sawsawan or sauce!

We had several kinds of bread and breadsticks…

…an eggplant salad, several generous “cones” of rice wrapped in banana leaves…

…a ratatouille style dish…

…a salad of locally grown (ginormous and rather bitter) arugula tempered with a sweet mango salad dressing. I don’t normally go for sweet dressings, but with the bitter greens, this was a welcome pairing…

…next appeared some inihaw na pork chops, done just a few meters away on a portable grill, as well as some grilled chicken inasal.

Just when you thought you would burst at the seams, a platter of alimango or mud crabs, and several grilled fish was presented by the waitstaff!

Followed by some stuffed squid! Yowks! :)

A refreshing fruit platter had watermelon, mangoes, bananas and pineapples. A cooler with water and sodas kept us hydrated throughout or stay on the beach.

Our waiter Jobeth, and Chef Boyet who made sure we had a truly memorable meal and experience. Two other crew members were in the shadows and photo-shy… Many thanks to the folks at Miniloc for arranging such a wonderful “picnic”! :)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. joeL says:

    MM, and now i’m wondering how much it would cost for a party of 12…just to experience what you have just done. Simple & Exclusive! Thanks for sharing.

    Apr 19, 2012 | 5:33 am

     
  2. la emperor says:

    WoW! What a treat!
    On a side note, good thing they did not slice your kryptonite, the pineapple!

    Apr 19, 2012 | 5:46 am

     
  3. edee says:

    oh my, that is some picnic! …… simply fabulous! :)

    Apr 19, 2012 | 5:46 am

     
  4. bearhug0127 says:

    Now drooling…….

    The food is so mouth watering and the photos are fantastic!

    Apr 19, 2012 | 5:56 am

     
  5. Akeeno says:

    This is awesome! A sit-down lunch on the beach with a very nice table setting. I like the choices of food especially the smoked fish with lemon honey mustard sauce, shrimp ceviche and the arugula with mango salad dressing. Thanks, MM. :)

    Apr 19, 2012 | 6:03 am

     
  6. bakerwannabe says:

    Oh the food! La dolce vita.

    Apr 19, 2012 | 7:14 am

     
  7. Betchay says:

    This is picnic??? I think it’s a buffet lunch in some 5 star hotel!!

    Apr 19, 2012 | 7:25 am

     
  8. Jeff says:

    wow!

    Apr 19, 2012 | 7:28 am

     
  9. F says:

    How’d the girls from the Northeast find the spread? I feel that it is my obligation to serve Filipino food whenever I have foreign guests. Unfortunately, many are less adventurous than others and my duty to be a good ambassador for my country has to be tempered with the need to be a considerate host

    Apr 19, 2012 | 7:34 am

     
  10. HRH WQ says:

    The staff at El Nido Resorts, from the bangkeros, guides, wait staff, housekeeping etc are a cheerful and efficient bunch. Our group of 20+ had arranged for a picnic lunch in one of the islands (name escapes me now). Under a canopy of low-lying branches, they set up banig mats on the sand, placed bamboo papags on top of the mats for our tables (it was one loooong table) and brought a whole lot of throw pillows for our tushies. We ate seated indian-style by the water. And the food, oh the food! Very similar to what you had – fresh seafood, inihaw na baboy and manok, fresh salads and fruits. A perfect picnic! After that hearty lunch, some of us couldn’t stand up as we were sooooooo stuffed!! We could’ve literally rolled off into the water for a quick dip! I guess for our group it was a logistics nightmare for the El Nido crew but they do it so well! You get really good value for the money you spent :-)

    Apr 19, 2012 | 7:41 am

     
  11. kcmc says:

    memories of summertime in the philippines…the beach,the food,the view—such is a simple but bountiful life…now, am longing for home in this dreary and cold grey weather up north..its supposed to be spring now but winter still has his hold..at the moment im imagining the warm,tropical weather in the equator :)

    Apr 19, 2012 | 7:45 am

     
  12. PITS, MANILA says:

    It’s an awesome spread with a more awesome background, MM! Your guests are sure to be sated after. I still keep on looking for “buro” and remembering that it didn’t “grow” on you, hahaha!

    Apr 19, 2012 | 7:58 am

     
  13. Liz says:

    Hi MM we were in Miniloc a few months ago and had lunch at that same Beach! Though it was just mé and my husband the food was abundant and glorious. We also had the grilled seafood, bbqued Meat, tuna ceviche (instead of shrimps), veggies and a lot more! Fantastic!!

    Apr 19, 2012 | 8:24 am

     
  14. andrea says:

    thank you, Mr MM, for this post – we’ll be having foreign guests soon and we are bringing them here. Am sure your guests enjoyed it.

    Apr 19, 2012 | 8:39 am

     
  15. scott says:

    what a wonderful host you were to the teens friends MM. I am sure they enjoyed the trip to the Philippines and were happy to be away from the cold weather in the Northeast!

    Apr 19, 2012 | 8:58 am

     
  16. ami says:

    I’m sure that the Teen’s friends would be raving about how fabulous your family’s hospitality was and how beautiful our beaches are.

    Rather curious how the Teen became friends with those guests in the first place if they haven’t been to the Phils yet. Are they random chat friends on the internet or people she’s met on one of your many holidays in the US. So trusting of their parents to allow their kids to wander off to such a far place.

    Apr 19, 2012 | 9:38 am

     
  17. Pam says:

    Ooooh. I love this!!! Better yet, can’t wait for you to share your experiments on that shrimp kinilaw.

    On a not-so-related note — I wonder if you’ve tried this experience I’ve read from one of the late Doreen Fernandez’s books. She was on a boat, on the waters of Iloilo, with some friends. With their bare hands, they would catch the still-alive jumping shrimps, immediately dip them in vinegar, and eat them. From the way I read this, this was ultimate freshness and deliciousness to the max.

    Apr 19, 2012 | 10:17 am

     
  18. Mari of NY says:

    oh my!!! had flashbacks really of our lunch at Entalula Beach… and although our lunch was not as grand as your picnic lunch is, it was really a delicious one. The staff really at El Nido Resorts are the best!

    Thanks for sharing these photos.

    Apr 19, 2012 | 11:10 am

     
  19. julie says:

    still praying to be able to get to the beach sometime soon with my kids.. thank you so much for sharing the beautiful photos of the sea and the white sand MM. It’s the nearest I could get to the beach for now and i really appreciate the views.I’m sure babalik-balikan ko itong photos specially when city scenes get a bit too much. Sobrang ganda!! I truly wish more Filipinos can get to see these places.

    Apr 19, 2012 | 11:56 am

     
  20. cwid says:

    A piece of paradise. Thanks for sharing.

    Apr 19, 2012 | 12:06 pm

     
  21. tintin says:

    i would love to be friends with the Teen… haaay…

    Apr 19, 2012 | 12:26 pm

     
  22. bagito says:

    When will the adoption papers be finalized kaya? What do you mean you don’t know what I’m talking about? Di ba aampunin ninyo na ko ni Mrs. MM? ;)

    Apr 19, 2012 | 1:18 pm

     
  23. mrs.hoover says:

    yumyum is all can say on the food. it’s making me drool, so early in the morning here. wish i am there.

    Apr 19, 2012 | 1:24 pm

     
  24. chreylle says:

    really awesome setting,. may i know how much will be the cost for a setting like that?

    Apr 19, 2012 | 2:05 pm

     
  25. tisay says:

    nice photos…gutom lang ko da…

    Apr 19, 2012 | 2:29 pm

     
  26. Elodie Amora says:

    What a beautiful setting for a picnic. This is paradise for me :)

    Apr 19, 2012 | 2:54 pm

     
  27. Dogbone says:

    Amazing!

    How long did you stay at Miniloc?
    And how much did the whole thing cost? (Ballpark figure?)

    Thanks!

    Apr 19, 2012 | 3:09 pm

     
  28. Yvette says:

    Amazing. I know I will be vacationing there during the rainy season (June and July), but pictures like this keep me looking forward to fresh food – FRESH seafood and so much more. A great introduction to those that have never been to the Philippines for sure!

    Apr 19, 2012 | 3:10 pm

     
  29. Marketman says:

    chreylle and dogbone, they didn’t charge extra for the special lunch. Rates at El Nido include meals… so this was simply in lieu of a lunch meal for us. Their website, here, is spectacular, and has more details. To give you a short answer, rooms would start at roughly $400 per night for two people, including meals. Flights are extra. Pricey, but worth it, in my opinion.

    Apr 19, 2012 | 3:21 pm

     
  30. britelite says:

    So right MM!

    Apr 19, 2012 | 4:42 pm

     
  31. marissewalangkaparis says:

    WOW!!!!!

    Apr 19, 2012 | 6:38 pm

     
  32. natie says:

    You had me at Ceviche…..oh how glorious!!! some things are worth the price–this is one of them…

    Apr 19, 2012 | 10:00 pm

     
  33. rosedmd says:

    Yummy!!!

    Apr 19, 2012 | 10:16 pm

     
  34. Katrina says:

    I’ve been wanting to go to Miniloc for many, many years. I know that there are cheaper resorts in Palawan, or even in El Nido, but I feel like when I go, I want to do it right. I really hope I can, while it’s still as good as it is now.

    Apr 19, 2012 | 10:43 pm

     
  35. namor says:

    Just a few questions if you don’t mind – does the price also include kayaking? Were there baby sharks around Miniloc? They’re suppose to be harmless, but how big were they? I heard that whale sharks can also be spotted there…
    Hopefully we’ll be there in May! :-)

    Apr 19, 2012 | 11:37 pm

     
  36. Luna Miranda says:

    wow! eating this fabulous meal with an amazing view, it’s heaven on earth! the shrimp kinilaw is mouth-watering–this is how we make kinilaw at home [in Negros].

    Apr 20, 2012 | 12:31 am

     
  37. Matilda says:

    Oh, the shrimp ceviche! The last time we had this at ( a Makati resto ) was a big disappointment for the price of P495. Glad to know yours were fantastic.

    “To give you a short answer, rooms would start at roughly $400 per night for two people, including meals. Flights are extra. Pricey, but worth it, in my opinion.” —couldn’t agree more!

    Apr 20, 2012 | 1:03 am

     
  38. Lannie says:

    MM, THANK YOU for sharing this! I’m running out of ideas on what to do when we’re in the Philippines and since we’ll be going there with some friends from NL this year, this is an excellent experience for one of our weekends.

    Apr 20, 2012 | 1:13 am

     
  39. gm says:

    we had our honeymoon there! we never thought of going abroad and we sure were blessed :)
    i also noticed most of the people going there are honeymooners from all over the world. probably only 10% were Pinoys during our stay. i’m now missing the beach picnics and buffets of el nido :D thanks marketman for sharing :)

    Apr 20, 2012 | 7:52 am

     
  40. boopsie says:

    What a wonderful and accomodating resort! Superb service too!
    there are some things you really cant do at home. you just have to outsource it!

    Apr 20, 2012 | 12:16 pm

     
  41. gerry says:

    MM,You have shown us Paradise ! How do you compare Amanpulo to El Nido

    Apr 21, 2012 | 2:01 am

     
  42. Marketman says:

    gerry, they each have their charm and strong points. Amanpulo for more seclusion, quiet and luxurious cocooning… El Nido for the more active. With the Teen and friends in tow, Miniloc was a good choice. But for other purposes, Amanpulo would likewise be spectacular. We have been to either several times now, and love both. :)

    Apr 21, 2012 | 2:28 pm

     
  43. Grace says:

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful experience, MM! How I wish I can go to Miniloc, too!

    Apr 22, 2012 | 9:08 am

     
  44. Berto and Kwala says:

    The view alone is priceless! The food looks sumptuous too! Thanks for sharing!

    Kwala

    Apr 22, 2012 | 9:37 pm

     
  45. rita says:

    if those weren’t the best looking seafood feast, and gorgeous scenery i’ve seen, i don’t know what! glad you all had a blast!

    Apr 23, 2012 | 5:29 am

     
  46. RAS says:

    I missed the password posts. Too bad.

    Apr 24, 2012 | 8:24 pm

     
  47. maricar says:

    hi MM…..so true…el nido is so breathtaking….we also just came from there but we stayed at the lagen island……would really love to back….staff are so friendly and efficient……

    May 9, 2012 | 3:53 pm

     
 

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