Second shopping spree – main hut on its way

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Some important improvements during this period. One massive drag of the mountain internet café was that it took half an hour before I would cool down enough and sweat stopped dripping down my arms so that I could begin working on the computer. There was almost no wind, flies would tickle their way relentlessly along my skin, and I couldn’t find a very comfortable position – but the view was nice.

One day it occurred to me that it would be worthwhile to walk the extra half hour to the other side of the island, sit in the shade under a humungous tree, and dip into the ocean any time I wanted. And there was an added bonus – I discovered a half decent store along the way which actually sold beer. This of course required a civilised pitstop on my daily excursions, and I managed to befriend the owner, who gives me a meal for free and agreed to deliver goods to my camp at a reasonable price.


New internet location on the other side of the island, although now a 55min walk.
Czech couple guests enjoying a cool dip in the foreground, where the best snorkeling is.

Meanwhile, seems my solar setup has intrigued some people enough to purchase their own system from a travelling salesman. With leasing payments it actually works out to the same price as mine, but at much less than half the capacity. Covet thy neighbour’s property. The caretaker’s wife came begging to my first two guests for a thousand peso loan for the initial downpayment. I explained that my guests will be staying for only a few days, but she ignored me and kept staring up at them in the typical, pathetic Filipino begging way, hand held out and cupped upwards. I lent her the money and sent her on her way, but that combined with their pig eating all my efforts at building a compost pile, their little yappy dog exchanging lengthy, loud conversations with the local toad and gecko at obscene hours of the night, their laundry often sprawled out drying between several coconut trees and their occasional bloody harvest from dynamite stick fishing convinced me they will have to go. The owner agreed. Living for free off the land, they also eat all the coconuts, which I would like to sell to guests instead, and they burn the remains with fallen coconut branches, which I would like to reserve for our evening campfires. Fortunately, the owner has another property on the same stretch of beach, so it is good that their departure has been set into motion.


One of the locals who likes to come over occasionally and help out for free. Here handpicking
nice coloured rocks and seashells to line the property’s pathways.
Elegant solution to get them off the beach (picture below).

But not before I successfully test out an all important purchase to be sent in from Germany – a high powered router mobile signal receiver which can broadcast highspeed internet throughout the camp. The internet café’s migration to cool waters has been very welcome, but it costs me an hour for each leg of the journey, not to mention all the beers I end up consuming at the store half way there.

island-hopping-philippines-kitesurfing-kiteboarding-resort_150620152860As usual, synchronicity played its guiding hand in my affairs. When I stayed at the owner’s hotel before starting this project, I began to sleep on a mattress out on the balcony, since I found myself waking up in a bed soaked of sweat after the village’s diesel generator turned off at midnight and the fan no longer functioned. The mattress on the balcony was an elegant solution, but after three days my laptop did not want to wake from sleep in the morning. My guess is that leaving it on the concrete balcony floor after watching a movie the night before could have caused some internal condensation by the early, cooler hours of the morning. Fortunately, it did wake up after fiddling with it for half an hour and just before I was about to abandon all fiddling efforts to take a highspeed boat to an island in the north, so that I could fix it and finish a job I was already committed to. After some research, I came to the conclusion that one of the many sensors were acting up, as Apple loads the device overboard in an attempt to avoid forced repairs under warrantee. So now I have to leave the laptop in the sun for about ten minutes every morning before starting work. Or if there is no sun, then hold it over the fire or a gas stove.

My phone also started acting up and stopped working completely, forcing me to move forward with plans to take the boat to Coron and then Manila, where I would make a major shopping trip and extend my visa for a full six months. If the power receiver works, I will have highspeed internet in camp and will be able to stay put for half year. Without internet in camp, every day I must circumvent half the island and require the services of the caretaker’s family to watch my equipment while gone.

Meanwhile, the owner mentioned he will be taking his boat to Manila around this time to deliver the monthly supplies of dried cashews and squid. I will therefore be able to come back with him with my hearty shopping load, and have already found a couchsurfing host where I will be able to stay for free.


Furthermore, the owner (Ben) seems to be getting increasingly interested in the project, seeing all the work I have accomplished so far, and has offered to hire a carpenter to speed up construction of the first hut. That too will be crucial in raising my comfort level as the volunteers and I have been forced to retire to our tents or bob in the ocean during rainy times. Having a dry place to hang out at and the spacious attic for my own room, together with high speed internet in camp, will be a major improvement. Not to mention that, at a few points, the wind became so strong overnight that it practically broke my tent. It almost entirely collapsed while I was frantically pushing up against the wind-facing wall with my hands, water dripping all around me. I purchased a new tarp for the tent full of equipment and used the previous one, which was practically ripped to threads by the nightly gales, to construct a wind barrier and protection for my tent. But that now makes crawling into the tent quite awkward and uncomfortable, dragging in a lot of sand in the process. Or the sand flies are an annoyance, crawling through the screen into my tent while attracted to the reading light or light from computer monitor when watching a movie, jumping off the keyboard into the movie screen and forcing me to smear up the monitor as I squish them with my thumb.

Many factors are severely dampening the comfort level, but an Ozzie volunteer should be arriving not long after I get back and bringing with him the first kiteboard, so things are looking up!


Was running out of pathways so started moving the beach rocks to as a border here. 


Since there are SOOO many rocks, decided to bury them deep into the sand.
But after removing all that sand, where to put it?


How about on the path between the rocks to make it fluffy and soft!?
Love how all this is so far costing me absolutely nothing.


Eventually want to propagate the local flowers so that they line all the pathways and fill the property.


Seedlings for propagation started by the Czech volunteer, using the rotting remains of an old coconut tree for soil and cut remains of some of the many plastic bottles littering the neighbouring property.


The Czech volunteer fisting a 1L bottle of local beer while celebrating a town’s birthday on a nearby island.


First volunteers, a Portuguese couple here making preparations for dinner.


My tent did not hold out too well during the first major storm overnight. Had to push against the front with my palms while fearing that the poles will snap and water dripping on me through the roof.


The tarp over the other, equipment tent got loose and almost ripped apart flapping in the wind.


Purchased a larger tarp for the equipment tent and moved the ripped tarp as a protector over my own tent.


Shopping for construction material and equipment in Manila. My couchsurfing host did not like me walking around the city barefoot and dragging my dirty feet into his pristine clean house, and lent me his white socks since it hurt wearing sandals due to all the infections on my legs from sand fly bites. 


One major success in Manila is a six month visa extension.
Now I can buckle down in the trenches and start a long stretch of serious construction!

Next page in story Next: Party in Manila, Ozzie brings 2 kiteboards
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Home » Palawan » Patoyo » Second shopping spree – main hut on its way

05:51 03 Apr 24
I give 5 stars because they actually helped me to arrange the tour to Balabac in last minute. However, because the money wired through the local bank in my country took time to be processed, so i missed the boat due to peak season as many people paid before my money was received by the tour guide.As most of people usually feel, once your money has been transferred out to someone you do not know, you probably frustrated that your money would not be able to be refunded.But not in my experience. I dont need to be worry, the owner refunded me the money he has received (minus the bank fees). He promised to refund me and he did it. It was around 18.700 Pesos.So, eventhough i didn't manage to go with the tour, but i am really satisfied with their legitimate and great business practice. Hopefully, people will try their services and not worry about their legit business!Thanks a lot!
Chloe BlanchardChloe Blanchard
13:38 27 Mar 24
The most wonderful experience from booking to beach! Karel and Mel were so fast and responsive to my very last minute trip over the holidays. We booked a private boat for two and could not have been happier with our four day trip! We didn’t think about anything other than snorkeling the entire time. Linda, our captain, cooked wonderful meals and took us to totally empty beautiful beaches. We loved staying the night in Pical especially! Wonderful to experience the Philippines this way! Will come back again and would recommend to anyone!
hotel luci del farohotel luci del faro
08:13 31 Jan 24
We booked the 3 day 2 night expedition, from Coron to Sibaltan.First of all the booking part was really simple. I organized this trip to the Philippines last minute for my family (my parents and my uncles) but Karel answered all my questions very quickly and really made everything easier for me. It was an incredible experience. Albert, our tour leader, is a wonderful guy, always smiling and ready to help us. They assisted us in everything and really took care of making everything go smoothly. The accommodation on the islands is as spartan as you expect but the location of each hut alone is worth the trip. The wonder of nature was then added to the goodness of cuisine. It's really difficult to argue how you can cook all that goodness on a boat.If you are looking for an authentic experience, in contact with nature, off the beaten track, this company's private expedition is certainly for you.
Kate BrownKate Brown
00:22 27 Oct 23
What an unforgettable experience! We did a two night (3 day) island hopping tour from Sibaltan to Coron. Everything was so well organized and the boat crew were amazing and really made sure we had a great time. The accommodation was rustic, but added to the authentic experience of the Philippines. Karel always responded to any queries we had promptly. Our boatman, Albert, was the most amazing chef and we enjoyed every meal. The crew taught the kids how to fish with a line which was their highlight of the trip. They took us to the most unbelievable snorkelling spots along the way. Would highly recommend this trip.
Ian PascualIan Pascual
02:43 10 Aug 23
One of the most amazing, unforgettable things you can do in your life
Lou PrataliLou Pratali
11:04 25 Jul 23
This is a must to do!!Super ultimate tour is the best with Kayangan and barracuda lake, twin lagoons (my favorite), coral garden (blue fabulous coral) were the best. It’s really worth it to pay for private tour (3500 to 4000 PHP). You will also have to pay for entrance fees (150 to 200PHP by location) and eventually shopping at the market - must do (count 300 for 2 for fish, pork, fruits and vegetables, water).
16:11 07 Feb 23
I was looking for a personalized excursion to the stunning Bacuit Gulf.Based on the comments, I contacted Mel.Very responsive, very efficient and perfect organization.The on-board staff were very friendly and very helpful.And I'm not even talking about the meal on board...a marvel.In all fairness, this excursion will remain an excellent memory and I cannot recommend Mel and his team highly enough.A big thank-you.
Alyse TarbottonAlyse Tarbotton
23:48 30 Aug 22
This tour went well above all our expectations! I couldn't recommend this enough! The boat crew, captain and tour guide were nothing but amazing, everyone was so kind, helpful and friendly. The crew knew the best spots to visit that weren't overcrowded with tourists, 3 times we were lucky enough to have whole islands to ourselves! It was my partner's birthday while away and everything went above and beyond, bonfire, cake, birthday card, singing and celebrating with us.If you love camping this is definitely a tout you should do, it has been the highlight of our trip!!
Danish KayaniDanish Kayani
10:24 31 Oct 19
Coron is the best place i have ever seen.. picturesque. Beautiful. Peaceful
We booked a 4 days/3 nights private boat trip from Coron to Sibaltan. The organization went very well from the beginning, the owner answered to all my questions, and we were able to choose which islands to visit and where to sleep. The first night we slept in a bungalow in Banana Island, the second we camped in Araw beach and the last we slept in a seafront bungalow builded on a tree in Pical on Iloc Island.The islands in that area are the most beautiful islands I have ever seen, with clear water, lots of coral reef and fishes to see, white sand and almost deserted. The crew was very friendly and polite and they organize every single meal and for camping they give you a tent which was just perfect! This was our highlight in our 2 weeks in the Philippines and I wish I had booked a longer trip. A private trip gives you the freedom to decide where and when to go.
Gérard Benoit
Gérard Benoit
I was looking for a personalized excursion to the beautiful bay of Bacuit. Seeing the comments, I contacted Mel. Very responsive, very efficient and perfect organization. The crew were very friendly and very helpful. And I'm not even talking about the meal on board...a marvel. In all fairness, this excursion will remain an excellent memory and I can recommend Mel and his team highly enough. A big thank-you.
André Mardoñal
André Mardoñal
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The island world of Linapacan between Coron and El Nido with the clearest waters in the world is truly a dream for itself! Without a boat you won't be able to see it! But what this boat trips makes so amazing is the crew! Once you come on board they might be shy in the beginning but will make you feel welcome and home from the first moment. Not only that they are looking that you sit comfortable all the time, they will prepare fresh and delicious food what the buy from local markets. They know the best spots and most beautiful islands and will bring you to places where you get this "Robinson Cruisoe feeling". Every day you visit 3 to 5 spots for snorkeling, enjoying a beach or exploring a little island. The accommodation we had was good and simple. We slept in bungalows and tents right at the beach. Sheets and towels were always provided and sometimes towels. After a while you feel like a family on board. We loved living the boat life didn't wanna leave! If you doubt take a longer than shorter trip! For any questions please message me.
Sarah Uhan
Sarah Uhan
All in all it was a really great experience. It's a once in a lifetime thing to do and you won't get more authentic and basic Philippino experiences anywhere else. We were not so lucky with the wind and waves so we couldn't do all the stops we wanted to unfortunately. So be aware that especially the months from January to May can be very rough on water. But we still saw some great places Benji took us. Benji and his family was very nice and they did everything they could. The food was amazing - always freshly made in authentic Philippino style and way too much for the 2 of us. Make sure to bring enough cash - many of the islands cost extra (entrance fee) and be aware that any kind of accommodation and food (200php per meal) is not included in the boat fee. Also the deposit and commission fee for the agency are a little over the top, especially since the crew does not get any of it. The costs all in all are rather high for phillipino circumstances especially given the basicness of it all. However if you think about that all 5 boat people (in our case) live off of the boat fee alone, you spent the money willingly. Be aware though that accommodation and sanataries are very basic if even existant. So you gotta have the right mindset. Bring tissue, sanatiszer and earplugs to get some better sleep. Another feedback I have concerning the size of the boat. I don't think it is sufficient for more than 4 people. If the weather is like it was these days, you always have to sit on top and it was already a little squeezy with us 2 and 5 boat people. So I guess 4 guests can be fine but more than that won't have the space. There is different boat sizes but make sure to talk about that with Karel in advance. Other than that it was really worth it and we got to see so many great beaches and reefs which we could have never been able to visit without the tour.
Eric Liu
Eric Liu
It was scary to book a 5 day trip with no places to stay confirmed or a strong itinerary. And in the Philippines, communication is difficult. But that is part of changing mindsets to a rural island mindset. In the end, everything worked out. We had some tough moments with bugs. But we also had some amazingly beautiful secluded beaches, the best snorkeling in the world, relaxing on the beach, and freshly made food on the boat while docked at beautiful places (better than being on land). Note, we went with Benji. Recommendations: - you must get a local SIM when you arrive to make sure pickup and everything works out - some islands have bugs - use bug spray! Pros: - a fraction of the cost - away from the crowds - can customize what you want - just ask! - a truly local experience - saw a REAL rural town Cons: - locals aren't really polished tour guides - if you don't ask for it, you won't get it, need to be pretty proactive - pretty simple "activities" - no frills like bathrooms or kayaks etc.
Ángela Deand
Ángela Deand
We can't be more grateful to have had the opportunity of experience the peace in Patoyo Kitesurfing Camping! Spending two weeks in Dimancal Island, gave us the chance to experiment the rural and traditional way of life, in touch with the nature and people. We have learnt how to cook with fire, how to open a coconut and how to survive in an environment where for a time we forget about unnecessary needs, just to focus on enjoy the small details and pleasures of life. Mentioning too the amazing snorkeling and beautiful islands around this place, which make it unique​ and special. It is a lovely option if you are running away from tourists and overcrowded places in the Philippines. You will find yourself in the middle of virgin beaches and nature, surrounding​ by charming people. We will definitely come back!
Caroline Danielle
Caroline Danielle
We haven't done a Tao tour, but I would suspect that this is a cheaper version of the same thing. Our boat operator (Benji) and the entire crew were were fun, friendly and made an effort to ensure we had a good time. If you get a large group of people together it can be a really inexpensive alternative to other Coron-El Nino and vice versa island hopping tours. The food was good, but more expensive than as advertised by Karl. The price quote we got was 100 php a meal, but the boat charged us 200. Since the food was good we didn't mind the extra expense, but it is important to keep in mind if you're on a budget. Definitely plan for some incidental spending. Our boat did have some mechanical issues and as a result we ended up being stuck in the same place for longer than we wanted to be. That being said, little could have been done about it and the trip was fun nonetheless.
Hauk Are Fjeld
Hauk Are Fjeld
If you believe that doing the touristic tours in El Nido and going to "The hidden beach" takes you off the beaten path, you are wrong. There are lots of beautiful places in Palawan, but few of these places are without any other tourists. If you want to spend some extra effort on getting away from the tourist places, and don't mind a little "primitive" living, Island Hopping in the Philippines is definitely something you should check out
Arnold Cabiguen
Arnold Cabiguen
The snorkeling in this area is phenomenal. Clearest waters in the world. I guess it's because there is relatively such lower tourist traffic through here, and the locals really protect the reefs!
Karel Kosman
Karel Kosman
Love it so much, just had to say it twice!

We are a family operation managing private custom boat tours in the beautiful Palawan area, and are happy to help travelers with their plans through the country, having traveled a lot of it ourselves and planning to visit it all.

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