The wanderlust in all of us knows that a memorable vacation is not only about the sights we see, but also the flavors we savor. Palawan, being a destination for diverse travelers, faces the challenge of satisfying the appetite of all guests with a wide array of cuisines and dishes.
Travelers often experience an insatiable food-related wanderlust, as food plays a significant role in their travel experiences, such as exploring diverse cuisines and discovering unique cultures and traditions.
In response to this demand, the Wanderlust Bed and Breakfast launched a café bar for the general public. In mid-April, the management made the decision to transform the place into a hub where people can taste a diverse range of regional and international cuisines.
“About 90 percent of our guests here are foreigners. On the other hand, not all Filipinos are experimental eaters. We have to put a balance between the foreign guests and the walk-in diners who are mostly locals. Many foreigners ay comfortable pa rin sa dishes nila, something that they know. Kasi yong Filipino dishes, hindi nila alam,” said Wanderlust founder Andrea Trinidad.
The menu at Wanderlust has now been expanded to include all-day breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner, providing diners with more options beyond just a few selections and cocktails. Wanderlust is renowned for its fusion of cuisines, which allows diners to savor a variety of cultural flavors and culinary experiences.
In addition to the beloved silog, Wanderlust aims to provide guests with a range of options to kickstart their day, including an American and Continental breakfast served as early as 7 a.m.
Vegetarians will find plenty of food options at Wanderlust, including the must-try Gnocchi Pomodoro and Andrea’s personal favorite, Ciabatta Caprese.
Wanderlust also offers domestic guests a taste of their home province through the regional dishes served. For instance, the Visayan humba is prepared with a dry and sweet twist, providing a unique spin on the traditional dish.
As Wanderlust continues to develop its menu, it will also explore other dishes, such as the Kapampangan sisig. As a wanderer herself, Andrea sees it as an opportunity to share her fond travel memories through food.
“The concept of our hotel really came from all my travels,” she said.
To make diners relate to those experiences, she incorporates good food into their menu, like the best-selling lumpia with a sauce made of mango salsa, bolognese, and bulalo.
Andrea sees Wanderlust’s dishes as an opportunity to contribute to the city’s food tourism industry and attract more visitors as it continues to recover.
Supporting local producers
High standards for both ingredients and methods of preparation allow diners to quickly and accurately identify their meals. Guests will always remember the abundance of Palawan’s resources thanks to the cashews hidden inside several of the dishes.
Cashews not only give their cuisine its identity, but also provide local farmers with an opportunity to earn a living. It is manufactured by a cooperative of parents whose children have special needs.
Its most popular dish, steamed Barracuda, is sourced directly from Jacana fishermen, while vegetables come from local farmers such as Yamang Bukid.
“I just want to also emphasize that we are trying to help the community. Gusto rin namin na sa Palawan mo lang din ito matitikman,” she said.
The interior of the place features materials purchased from the producers of round basket trays, known as bilao, which impart a sense of warmth and “homey feels” to visitors, while also showcasing native Palawan products.
Even the materials used in the interior of the place are bought from the makers of round basket trays, or bilao. They bring “homey feels” to guests and also introduces Palawan through the native products.
The café bar is not just a spot to eat but a place to host events, with a maximum capacity of 50 individuals, including its outdoor space.
Green food packaging with Bee
Andrea’s heart for environmental conservation remains even when she runs her own place.
Every room is equipped with refillable bottles containing organic shampoo and shower gel. Additionally, in collaboration with Bee, takeout orders are packaged in a sustainable manner using bagasse containers, wooden utensils, and compostable kraft cups with lids. This environmentally conscious approach helps reduce waste and minimize the establishment’s impact on the planet.
“We really push sustainable practices because we live on an island, and nakikita ko na it’s really sad na may plastic na nakadikit sa magagandang mangroves or corals. It’s really sad to see those things,” she said.
Wanderlust Bed and Breakfast is a 12-bedroom boutique hotel that opened in December 2022 and gives tourists the comforts of home while staying in Palawan. Its strong WiFi connection is also ideal for remote working setups.