Let me start by saying that travelling as a Vegetarian or Vegan in the Philippines has its challenges, but it is definitely possible! Throughout my 6 weeks here, I have been blessed with finding some very delicious restaurants, colourful fruit and veggie markets/stands along with an abundance of fresh young coconuts!
Do not let the lack of plant based menu items hold you back from travelling here. The Philippines is one of the least built up places I have travelled to and is home to some of the nicest people in the world. The islands I visited are so incredibly lush and abundant with waterfalls, beaches, secret lagoons and unique mountainous landscapes. Plus, I can finally check this off my bucket list: staying in a waterfront cottage on private beach…for less than $50 CDN a night!
When my my partner Jack and I decided to take this trip, there were not many online resources on vegan travel in the Philippines. Trusting this inspires you and guides you during a happy, healthy and holistic trip through these incredible Islands.
My first tip: Eat a lot more fruit than your used to! For most of our trip we’d wake up and drink a coconut water (mixed with spirulina we brought from Canada) followed by some fresh hydrating fruit like watermelon. In the afternoon, we had a mix of seasonal and local fruit like mangos, bananas, pineapple, papaya, jackfruit, or chicos (similar to sweet bosc pear, also known as nispero in Central America) or coconut meat! Dinner would be time for the restaurant (and some times a home cooked meal at our airbnb’s). This is such a nourishing and hydrating way of eating. The tropical fruit here are fresh, local and therefore high in nutrients. With the hot weather, it feels so good to eat a more cooling diet. And if you plan to do lots of activity during the day, especially swimming, it’s nice to feel a bit lighter.
Moalboal Fruit Stand
You can’t miss it. It’s right on the national highway soon as you turn into the city, next to city hall and the round about. There is also a much larger fruit and veggie market just behind the stores on the main road (national highway), but we were quite happy with what we found at the main fruit stand. Epic yellow watermelon (and red too), mango, pineapple, pomelo, jackfruit, soursop, coconuts, you can also find apples and oranges.
Known as one of the best restaurants in Moalboal, and it has about 8 vegan menu options featuring local veggies like eggplant, carrots, purple sweet potato, okra, pumpkin, peppers and green beans.
What we ordered… Yellow Vegetable Curry w/ rice; Veggies in Peanut Sauce; the vegan eggplant dish dish.
Tip: portions are small so you may want to order 3 dishes for two people if its for dinner.
+ We absolutely enjoyed playing with all the available board games like scrabble, uno, connect four and jenga while waiting for our meal!
What we ordered...Thai Red Vegetable Curry, Indonesian Yellow Curry, Vegetable Tempura.
Insider’s scoop: Great portion sizes! The red curry was very tasty and a perfect balance between sweet and spicy- definitely more flavourful than the yellow. I wouldn’t recommend the tempura it was very oil and was battered really thick, not like the traditional style.
Free-Diving Planet (hostel + free dive training center)
What we ordered...Sweet potato fries and greek inspired quinoa salad, Teriyaki Veggie Noodle Bowl, Superfood Soup with moringa leaves, carrots and pumpkin.
Insider’s scoop: Pretty Plain, but was happy to be eating quinoa. The noodles were delicious. A bit more expensive than other restaurants.
This was one of the best meals we enjoyed during the trip, we’re probably biased because we LOVE Indian food and hadn’t had any during our trip yet. But really, this was authentic, tasty, Indian Cuisine and very well received by our bellies! It’s a must for any vegan or vegetarian travelling through or to Puerto.
Tip: Definitely order the naan with chutney. Great price, good portions. nice decor and they do take out! A must for vegans and vegetarians visiting puerto princesa.
What we ordered… Tempeh Fries, Veggie & Rice Jambalaya, Vegan Burritos
Insider’s Scoop: The best thing was the tempeh fries! The rest of the meal was decent, but nothing remarkable. I was a bit uninspired by the menu that seemed to use a lot of canned veggies.
You can find these pretty much everywhere on the side of the street and they are always abundant. There is also a bigger town market as well. During our time near Puerto Princesa, we did a 6 day self guided silent retreat and fruit cleanse. We had so much fun transporting our giant fruit haul in the tricycle!
Greek Salad (with or without feta cheese), and a lot of other salads to choose from.
CORON (town proper)
Fruit and Veggie Stands
Walk down to the waterfront, at the end of Don Pedro Street, 2 block to the left, to find lots of fruit and veggie stands and fresh coconuts.
Food Court in the local market (down by the water at the end of Don Pedro Street)
You have no idea how blessed and lucky we feel to have found “The Harvest Bowl.” This is one of our favourite meals in Canada where we make many versions of this “Buddha Bowl.” This restaurant is probably one of the pricier ones of our trip, but so worth it. We also enjoyed a garden salad that actually included an abundance of fresh leafy lettuce (a rare find that was most welcomed!).
What we ordered…The Harvest Bowl: Served on a bed of brown rice and topped with sprouted mung beans, thinly sliced cucumber and coconut meat, homemade marinated slaw, crunchy chickpeas, cashews and the best ever creamy coconut thai curry sauce; Garden Salad with honey mustard dressing; Calamansi juice with honey.
Insider’s Scoop: The bill adds on an additional, mandatory, 10 % service charge, so be sure to keep this in mind based on your budget. See the full menu
This was one of the first restaurants we found online with veggie and vegan options. It offers a variety of choices like curries, pesto pastas, salads, fried rice and canton noodles.
What we ordered (went went here twice!)… Canton Veggie Noodles; Creamy Pumpkin Soup with coconut milk served with a delicious homemade grainy rye bread; Sweet potato chips with homemade salsa and homemade mustard (the best!); Mung Bean and Chickpea Curry with Garlic Rice (our favourite dish).
Tip: #1. Order the homemade mustard, it will be the best one of your life! #2 Go for an early dinner. There are only a few tables and it gets busy, so to avoid waiting in line go around 5 pm.
Insider’s Scoop: The Canton noodles are quite good and the portion size is massive, but we later found out by reading some packaging in the store that the noodles are made with yellow food colouring, so we avoided them during our 2nd visit.
Muslim Halal Food Stall
*This was our first Island visit, and I wasn’t take food photos at the time..sorry!*
Mini Fruit Stand
Where to find it: At the town square (you will see a public pool), Turn right off the main road, at the health clinic, drive along the water for less than a minute – you will pass people doing laundry in a small river, and then you will find the market where you can buy local watermelon, mangoes, pineapple, bananas and veggies.
This was our go to place on Siquijor….we must have gone at least 6 times during our 10 day stay. They had so many choices, the food is incredible, good portions, above average prices for Siquijor but comparable with the rest of the places we visited, live music, comfy couches, fire dancing night and more!
What we ordered… Singaporian Red Vegetable Curry (daily special), Fresh Rolls, Green Sala, Roasted eggplant in coconut cream, Grilled Veggie Burger (they were out of banana bloom as indicated on the menu), Sweet Potato Wedges.
Tip: Do yourself a favour and order a fresh Pineapple Juice – Probably the only ‘not watered down or blended with ice’ juice/shake we had during our entire trip.
+ You can find a shop, owned by baha bar, across the street selling some fruit and veggies and other staples if you want to cook at your place.
The Mediterranean Restaurant (yep that is what its called)
What we ordered…Hummus, fresh veggies and homemade pita, Absolutely Divine Sautéed Okra served with quality sea salt.
Tip: Super small portions for these 2 dishes, think of them as appetisers or order one per person.
Saki (part of Hillside Village)
This place is a gem. We came across it when we spent one afternoon driving around most of the island and up into the mountains toward the forest. We absolutely loved doing this and highly recommend it. We found Sake, just past Infinite Heights resort, at the top of a hill with an epic view. This authentic Japanese restaurant had an extensive menu, and quite a few vegetarian options- with the option to make them vegan.
What we ordered…Vegetable Tempura with Moringa, Pumpkin, Jump Oregano Leaves and Eggplant, Green Tea Soba Noodle Soup
Tip: Go for the the panoramic view and the beauty of driving up the mountains!
Thanks a lot for this list! My wife and I are going during Chinese New Year next year to El Nido and Coron, this list is going to be a life saver for us!