Previous posts have introduced you to our surroundings, but I haven’t talked much about what we actually did during our time on the “Marooning” island. Today’s topic: eating.
The idea was that this vacation would be part survival and part relaxation in isolation. In practice, this meant that although we were on our own private beach, no food was provided for us (except clean drinking water and ice for the cooler that was delivered every few days).
Before we left, we envisioned fishing and collecting fruit and going to a nearby market to buy rice and maybe some veggies. We could cook on the gas burner provided for us, or else we’d just rough it and make our own fires. Just to make sure we had enough to eat, we did pack some quinoa, pasta, black beans, red beans, canned tuna, canned other stuff, a sauce, a bottle of mixed herbs+salt, a bottle of syrup to have flavored water, and a package of gummy sour fish for when we needed a sugar fix.
Actually, what we had envisioned didn’t turn out to be our reality, but that’s the fun of adventure travel! There had been a brutal typhoon the previous year that had downed the fruit trees (with the exception of the coconut trees), so collecting fruit was a no-go. That just meant buying more at the market. We were provided with a spear gun as fishing gear, but the fish were too small to be had by this method. So that meant buying some at the market, as well.
So, this market. Where was it? How did we get there? There was a small fishing village across the open sea from our beach, but we never ended up braving the waves to get to that one. Instead, the hotel frequently had boats going to “Local Town” on which we could hitch a ride, and “Local Town” had a market.
We ended up going to the market at “Local Town” twice, once at the beginning of each week we were there. This allowed us to buy delicious local fruit like mangoes and pineapples, along with other basics like rice, potatoes, apples, bananas, cucumbers, carrots, and onions. On our first trip to market we also bought fish to last us a few days.
Both times when we were at “Local Town” waiting for the return boat, we had time to taste some Filipino dishes like Pancit Canton, Pancit Bami, (noodle dishes) and Halo Halo (dessert). Yum! It was especially nice to have someone else cook for us and not to do the dishes!
We also had the option of eating a buffet meal at the hotel. We did this twice, once after we kayaked around the entire island and once after a morning of SCUBA diving. Here again, it was nice to eat our fill and not have to clean up afterwards.
During the second week, instead of buying fish from the market, we bought even more locally. From our bungalow, we spotted a fishing boat very close to shore. We kayaked out to the fisherwomen and bought 6 fish from them.
They had more luck catching fish than we did because they had a net! 🙂 The women on the boat were very warm and friendly.
The meals we prepared for ourselves were simple but filling. I don’t remember any specific lunch or dinner combinations because nothing was stellar, but we never went hungry.
In the kitchen, we stored things ants couldn’t penetrate on the counter and everything else in the ice-filled cooler. The only problem was that our ice would melt completely every 3 days. This meant that we had to protect our food from the water (which probably ended up being our biggest challenge).
Take our cereal, for example. For breakfast, we had brought along a package of cereal that we would eat dry. That worked well until the rat (oh yeah, forgot to mention him as one of our land neighbors!)
opened ate through the package and spilled a large part of it. We recovered what we could and stored it in a plastic bag in the cooler. This system worked well until one of our last days when somehow the plastic bag got a hole in it, and we awoke one morning to soggy cereal…! David wanted to ask for bread to be delivered, but we had a package of quinoa left so we had what we now call our “survivor breakfast of champions” for the remaining mornings: quinoa with fruit accompanied by hot chocolate. Sooo tasty!
For a vacation where no food was provided, I was never worried about having enough food or going hungry. In fact, we ended up bringing some of our canned food back with us because we had too much!