As we travel, our bodies experience various stress levels, since we are outside our comfort zones. We commonly experience stress during long queues, long commutes, delayed flights, physical exhaustion, dehydration and many more. I belong to a backpacking-style travel community in the Philippines, and we travel reasonably. Often, I neglect ample nutrition and would just consume any cheap finds just to fill my hungry stomach. Hence, there are situations I get sick after an episode of travel.


Travelling and exploring supplemented with quality meals would help you enjoy and maximise fulfilling your travel itinerary. That is why Palaweña would include customization of meals when you arrange with them, without sacrificing taste and nutritional quality – within reason.

With special attention to natural and physical wellness, it is ensured that your sustenance is of high quality, both in flavour and nutrition. Having a good quality meal would also help you have a quick recovery after a day of fun activities. In order to meet this objective, they only have to source ingredients available from the nearby community, and if available, commission locals for their catch of the day.

Adding to the aspect of wellness travel is the relaxing leisure journey, by letting Palaweña do all the worrying and preparing for you from the moment they receive you until you part ways. I remember when we are at the beach house, we are accommodated and treated like family. I did not feel that it was a business, but rather, an exquisite and legit leisure island life experience.

During our Balabac tour, we are served with freshly made beverages and prepared dishes, the moment we set foot on the island up to our island tours. I love the fresh fruits, vegetables and grilled seafood. And the freshly brewed coffee we have every morning is a perfect pick-me-up!

Here are the dishes served to us during our Palaweña exploration in Balabac for three days:


To fulfil the quality meals during the tour, Palaweña would let an onboard chef travel with you during the island tours. Chef Mohammed Saed Sali, or Chef Moh, in short, would whisk his way to prepare and cook your meals as you roam around and enjoy the crystal clear waters of Balabac Island. We enjoyed watching him do his magic and showmanship with his makeshift island kitchen. I was particular about how he does his plating style and indeed, the choice of dishes that are appealing to an island’s adventure – seafood!

Chef Moh had a decade of experience including many years as Chef de Partie on a cruise ship. He happily walked me through his culinary background, and what interests me, is that he is a self-built chef. He never had formal education in Culinary, but started as a rudimentary kitchen helper, and worked his way up the culinary corporate ladder – earning and learning his skills the traditional and hard way.

Additionally, Chef Moh is of Islam Faith, hence, an understanding of the diversity in mind by his employer, Ms. Wineth. One of his favourite dishes to prepare is his version of Sambal Chicken. He is also a local of Balabac and truly loves his new role with the Palaweña team. Understanding the travel service ecosystem he is into, Chef Moh loves doing the farm-to-table process. He is a green thumb himself, and he is happy to work at a farm also.


Malinsuno is one of the nearest inhabited islands near Pandanan, less than 10 minutes boat ride away. I remember, after our first day of island hopping activity, Chef Moh invited us to join him in scouting for fresh seafood finds. Upon docking at the island’s basic port, we welcome with clear waters but with a deep receding shoreline – it was high tide then. We trailed after Chef Moh trying his luck if there are fresh squid caught that day.

Malinsuno Island taken from Pandanan Island through a 300mm lens.

The first try was a fail, but when he tried another supplier, he stumbled on fresh squids and octopus. He purchased them instantly and brought them back to our accommodation. Served during our second dinner was really a sumptuous squid and octopus recipe we easily consumed to the last piece – Squid and Octopus Kare Kare. Yum! The sauce is indeed full of flavour and the seafood portions are tender.

Isla Malinsuno houses the barangay hall, however not yet fully electrified and we have seen many deep wells as their source of fresh water. I wonder about its potability.


We live in a digitally connected world where information is instantaneously available at your fingertips. You are able to read this because you have access to the internet.

Normally, cellular signal is virtually nonexistent on Pandanan Island. There is nothing but mother nature with you. Distant cooings from the nearby forest, waves crashing, faint mumbles of the locals, rare barks of domesticated dogs, the rustling of the leaves and the sweet symphony of the wind. These are the perfect ingredients for mother nature’s therapy, ready for your consumption.

A real testament to this is when I learned to fall asleep without holding my mobile phone. Blissful nights and peaceful sleep were attained. No blue lights. There is also one night when we slept under the stars, a few strides from where the waves crash and lullabies by the symphony of the wind and seawater. Aren’t these too your required treatments for anxiety and depression? I, currently battling depression, and this experience truly helped me move many strides away from it.

It is important that once in a while, we detach from the stressful world we are currently existing in. Relieve yourself of the stresses and issues hounding your day. Let Mother Nature work her way through you as a remedy for your tired body, mind and soul.

Have a Palaweña get away and return with a recovered and healthier perspective.

Contact Palaweña through below channels:


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