If you would like free accommodation in tent and half price off renting any equipment (if not used by guest), please apply through the usual websites such as workaway or helpx. Below is an old autoresponse for applying volunteers, to give you an idea.
Here is a video submitted by one volunteer:
And here’s a video how the volunteers went on a local island hopping tour:
To spare you a lot of potential reading, will list the most important points first:
- Toilet is a hole in the ground, several places, hidden behind a wall of coconut branches and leaves. Now we also have a porcelain toilet in a coconut leaf shack (to flush must bring a bucket of water), but I personally prefer the ocean.
- Tents only for now, but most have a mattress, some have pillows, and you can help bring the rest.
- Electricity only 100w solar at the moment, so you can charge your stuff during the day, capacity permitting.
- Perhaps some of my ways may bother you, or vice versa. In short, do you mind staying with Tarzan? Details at the bottom of this letter or before “How to get here”.
Volunteers recycling glass bottles collected from the beach to serve as a table and barrier to stop people from walking along beach ledge to keep it as a separate platform. Volunteers are told some basic concepts but given free reign to beautify the area according to their creative energy and inspiration.
On the flip side though, it is a wonderful paradise beach island (check out this video), declared clearest waters in the world, hundred of undeveloped paradise beach islands to explore in the area, and live along a strip of three breath-taking beaches on which reside simple Filipinos who probably do not have any electricity, children play naked, shower by pulling up bucket from local well, no TVs, and who survive each day by eating local coconuts or whatever they catch from the sea. 200 hectare island full of monkeys, jungle paths throughout. Sunrise directly opposite the beach, purple sky when sun setting on other side of the island. A truly magical place.
Building trails up mountains in the jungle so guests have something to do.
Help bring something
One thing you could help out, if you so choose, is to bring something that I cannot so easily buy here, such as:
- second hand windsurfing kit
- fancy spices like cumin or caraway seed (preferably in bulk), Dijon mustard for making salad dressing, thyme
- ultimate frisbee
- if possible lots of rolling tobacco, filters and papers, such as from Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur. Drum and Rizla are good, otherwise just ask what is good.
- aloe vera seeds, to help all the whities who come here and burn their skin, or scratch up when renting a motorcycle.
- cash if you have a PayPal account and I have funds in mine, since the nearest ATM machine is in Coron, a 6 hour boat ride away.
- if you are a coffee drinker (I am not), I can tell you where you can get some good stuff on the way and teach you how to roast fresh beans on the fire.
Almost anything can be built from nature or recycled.
Next project is to tie together fishing nets washed up on the beach, for a proper net.
I can buy these from you as soon as you get here (except the coffee), but this is strictly just an idea. The shops in this area are rather limited and not everything can be brought in through ebay. Please first ask me to see if I still need any of these or if I have the funds.
For food, I will be getting regular boatloads for myself, including a few cases of beer (I could never survive without), but the local village is limited for veggies supplies, so I request volunteers to bring as many veggies as possible. I can give you instructions on the best places to shop in Princesa, otherwise some veggies can be bought in Coron or El Nido, but those, once again, are pretty limited.
Our budding kitchen area. Hardly ever rains, now with tarped roof for when it does.
You can rent my banca boat for 250p to explore the surrounding islands, or borrow my fishing gear to help reduce your food costs (I’ll buy the fish from you).
Drinking water is brought in from a delicious well on our boatman’s island, but if do insist on bringing in bottled water, please make it the 4-5L ones so that we or the locals can put them to good use.
There is EXCELLENT snorkeling here and tons of islands to explore. I am an easy going guy and I’m sure you will really enjoy your stay here.
- Most important work is cooking and keeping the place tidy, then about an hour a day of creating pockets in the jungle to make room for more tents and beautifying the place using natural resources. Those who stay longer and prove capable can learn how to make furniture out of bamboo, or do more fun, artsy stuff like hang seashells from tree branches. A bit hard to get to so you should try to stay longer to make it worthwhile.
- Building the garden (if you could bring seeds that would be great), compost pile (need to fence it off against the local pigs and chickens etc.), creating offshoots of natural flowers on the property so the whole property is full of flowers along its paths.
- Networking with locals to teach their children things or languages, and explain to them how they can make money from guests.
- Help me make videos, my hobby. Can be skits we make up or whatever. Youtube videos are always a good promotional tool, help push the website up in the rankings, and may inspire guests to get involved. We’re all here to have fun!
- Anything you can think of too add an artistic or warm touch to the place.
- And what I was thinking of for the long term, a yoga teacher with some profit sharing plan. Possibly short-term if there are paying guests. The sky’s the limit and let your ideas flow!
We mostly cook food on the campfire, often fresh fish given or sold to us by locals, and there are tons of free coconuts to be had. The local selection of veggies in San Miguel is very limited. Whatever you manage to bring in we’ll split the costs between us. Coron is an excellent place to get mangoes and tons of other stuff, since it is only a boat ride away (Princesa is much farther and warrants a stopover in El Nido and other places).
So many shells, so many things can be done with them.
Can you live with Tarzan?
These are some of my habits, ways of doing things and pet peeves. It’s a long way out here, so best you know what to expect so that you can decide beforehand if it is worth it.
- Most of the nutrients in carrots and potatoes (even cucumbers) is in the peel. If you remove 85% of the pesticides, you also remove 85% of the nutrients, so it is a pointless exercise. Not to mention that they probably do not use pesticides here as most is grown by local farmers. I just wash and scrub them in the ocean with my bare hands.
- Salt is a disinfectant, soap is not. The quality of soap is to separate oil from water, so it is not necessary to obsessively compulsively wash everything with soap (a simple rub in the ocean is enough), but if you really feel the need, you are welcome to do the dishes. Furthermore, youngsters these days are growing up with asthma and all sorts of allergies because they grew up in a sterilised environment. It is healthy and natural to expose yourself to the elements – consider it like a natural vaccine. I almost never get sick.
- Other qualities which annoy me is even a sliver of pretentiousness, or generally self-serving nature. I want to build a community of mutually respecting people, a little bit like a rainbow gathering, and intend to apply the same screening to paying guests. I earn good money online and don’t pay rent here. I don’t need my paradise spoiled, but hope you can be a part of it and I love to host people.
Things to do
I have many musical instruments so musicians are welcome for evening entertainment around the campfire, otherwise I have good music with sound system.
I’m on a small island with about 20 locals (fishermen families). Easy walk to the other side. Completely rural with freely wandering chickens and pigs, no concrete in sight. There is a local carpenter who builds boats and you are welcome to hire locals to teach you their skills (such as how to make a roof out of coconut leaves). Otherwise I have a lot of construction skills I can teach you if you stay longer term.
Then there is beach volleyball, basketball with the locals, badminton, jungle trails we’ve built on this and surrounding islands, or go on a cheap local boat tour (300p per person). Caves to explore on another island, two shipwrecks with two private local divers with gear. Then of course kitesurfing, but the gear is expensive and I have to rent that at full price (about 2,500p per day). I’m also building up a paper and digital library.
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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.