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Island Hopping in the Philippines
Average rating:  
 4 reviews
Feb 8, 2023
 by Gérard BENOIT
An excellent memory

I was looking for a personalized excursion to the beautiful Gulf of Bacuit.

Seeing the comments, I contacted Mel.

Very responsive, very efficient and perfect organization.

The flight attendants 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.

Feb 3, 2023
 by Delphine

The tour was amazing! The crew was great, the locations beautiful ! Everything was perfect 🙂 thanks for organising.

It was the best experience we had in the Philippines by far , so thank you again.

Lee G
Jan 9, 2023
 by Lee G
Surprise proposal tour

Contacted Mel for a surprise proposal in Philippines and Mel not only met expectations but exceeded them! She was prompt in her responses and costumer service was out of this world. Mel assisted in arranging everything from the proposal location, decoration, photography. Mel was super organized in putting everything together, I wouldn’t change a single thing. I would not hesitate to book them again or recommend to friends. One of the best vendors we’ve worked with! I want to thank Mel and the team! Such an amazing experience!

Lots of love Lee & Patricia

Alyse T
Aug 30, 2022
 by Alyse T
The Best island hopping experience !!

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!!


4.9/5 from 16 reviews on Google

5/5 – We loved every moment of our trip!! It was the highlight of our time in the Philippines. We loved it so much in Pical that we decided to stay there for two nights and traveled straight to Coron on the third day. We enjoyed getting to know our boat crew- Rubin, Jake, and Jude. The food was more than we could have ever hoped for!! I think fish and rice does not really describe it well. Theresa, Rubin, Momo and the other cooks made the best Filipino food we ate on our entire trip. We did not need to bring anything extra with us since there were a few shops in the town selling snacks and bottled water. The Captain’s Hut in Pical was absolutely beautiful!! We slept on clean mattresses with a view of the ocean and a breeze blew through our hut at night. No blankets were needed and there were mosquito nets over each bed (not that bugs were a problem). We just let the crew recommend our island stops and we were amazed by the beauty. They were very careful to make sure we were safe and comfortable. The town of Pical made us feel welcome. We played volleyball with them one evening. We had a quick tour of the local high school and loved visiting with the local children.

5/5 from 11 reviews on Facebook

5/5 – Marcogliese

Just came back from a Island Hopping trip with Benji and his crew, from Sibaltan to Coron. At the begining we were a bit confuse about what will be happening. we finally all met the morning before leaving in Sibaltan, we were 5 altogether and each of us had a bit of information, and nobody was there to give us the information. But once we were on the boat, we forgot all about this because the whole trip was just amazing. It was one of the best parts of our travels in the Philippines. Beautiful lonely islands and beaches. Very good snorkelling into the crystal clear turquoise water(but bring your own gears, the one on the boat are not so good). Freshly cooked food, very good accomodation. Do not expect luxe, but dream come true YES. It was a wonderful experience!

5/5 – Caroline

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.

5/5 – Paul

The best way to get to know the Philippines! Way batter than the crowded island hopping tours in el Nido where you rush from island to island not being able to appreciate the beauty of the Palawan area! If you are looking to get of the beaten path, great snorkeling and explore amazing islands and beaches without annoying Asian tourists with gopros and lifevestes, this is the place for you !

Customer testimonials regarding the kitesurfing nature camp I started and operated for two years

On Tripadvisor

5/5 – Wanderlust Paradise

This is a place that every wanderlust should go and experience! The place has a lot of surprises to bring to anyone who would like to be one with the nature and find serenity.

5/5 – Beautiful untouched paradise

Amazing snorkeling in this part of the Philippines. We really enjoyed this piece of paradise where at times we were the only two non locals in he island

Or on this Tripadvisor

5/5 – Loved it! 10/10

Amazing place, “last” paradise in the wold!! 😉 If you like camping, you`re going to love this place. And even that you`re not a big fan of camping, you can still stay easily couple of nights here. So quiet and peaceful place. You can just stay in a hammock whit a good book or go to explore islands nearby. Snorkeling was an amazing as well. Definitely recommend this place to everyone who wants to see something else than a fancy room in a fancy hotel! 😀 Tnx Karel!!

5/5 – 7 days on a remote island

Don’t think I have ever been more back to basic than this. Loved it. Last week i slept in a tent, learned how to make a fire and open coconuts with a machete. Enjoyed reading my book from a hammock. ^_^ The snorkeling is really nice. The sunsets are crazy beautiful.

If the touristy ABCD ‘island hopping tours’ don’t appeal to you, don’t hop on them. Live on one;)

5/5 – Lost in Paradise

Stunning island, the clearest of water, a plethora of sea treats, a plethora of travelers, living on an empty beach, cleansing the body, serenity far from chaos. A complete soul charging and spirit lifting place that trumps the big names and dull claims. This is a place like no other. A must do.

5/5 – Truly a paradise

Beautiful Island, in the middle of no where, surrounded by several other island, great for snorkelling and exploring! Feels like you are in paradise, so unreal! Golden beaches, cooking on fire, camping in the jungle – perfect! Currently, no showers or toilet facilities but it’s part of the experience. You can also get tasty fresh fish from the locals!

Would recommend 100%!

5/5 – Paradise amidst crystal-clear water

A little hard to get to but really worth it! Be aware that it is very basic living and you provide for yourself, but opening coconuts on the beach and watching the sunset around the campfire that your dinner is being cooked on, makes up for the hole in the ground.

Karel is a very nice and interesting guy, you’ll enjoy your time with him!

He has quite a few tents with mattresses along the beach. Most of them have shade and little “front yards”. Feels private and is very pretty and charming.

The beach is beautiful and the water amazingly clear! Awesome snorkelling around the island! He can organise a boat for 1500 for you to take you island hopping and snorkelling or rent out his masks for 50Pesos.

4/5 – Really nice place off the tourist path

I stayed five days at the place (at the new place in Dimancal Island as the owner had to move several months ago). It is lovely and I can really recommend it to nature loving people who want to escape the crowds. We slept in tents and cooked our food over open fire. The food depends on what people bring as the next store is 40 minutes away by boat – so if you want to eat something special (like chocolate ;-)) make sure you bring enough of it. If you bring food or other stuff for building the resort the owner will refund you the money you spent – he is a really honest guy!

5/5 – Very nice island

We spent 3 nights in this beautiful place in pattoyo island. We slept in a tent and interact with the only family living in the area. Everybody living in this beach are genuinely friendly and warmhearted. They came every once in a while to check if we were ok or if we had food.
The beach its beautiful and we were the only “tourist” staying there at the time. We cooked our own food because the owner was away for few days. The tents were cozy. The only minus we found its that some days were very windy. But the day that was calm the snorkel was great. I recommend this place to nature lovers and off the beaten track backpackers

On Facebook, or another Facebook

5/5 – I spent 10 days on Dimancal island and I had a really good time with Karel and the crew!
I really enjoyed cooking good meals on the fire.
Dimancal is also a very nice spot to go snorkel since the reefs are well preserved and spared from tourism.

5/5 – I loved it! Truly paradise which totally blow your mind!! Go and see, if you don`t believe.. ;D

5/5 – Don’t think I have ever been more back to basic than this. Loved it. Last week i slept in a tent, learned how to make a fire and open coconuts with a machete. Enjoyed reading my book from a hammock. ^_^The snorkeling is really nice. The sunsets are crazy beautiful.

If the touristy ABCD ‘island hopping tours’ don’t appeal to you, don’t hop on them. Live on one;)


Or you can check out the 65 positive reviews on my couchsurfing profile, as I love to host travelers whenever I can (or you can view here if you do not want to set up an account with them).

There are more reviews posted in the comments below.



  • Carsten

    I stayed with Karel on Patoyo Island for a week, helping out with some little projects at the continuously growing resort. It is a great place, natural, no tourism, loads of possible activities, many places to explore, beautiful sunrises, some amazing thunder storms to watch every now and then and more. Good thing most of the rain and storms actually passes by the island, so even during rainy season there’s plenty of sunny hours.
    Karel also is a character with a vision and new ideas popping up all the time. I’m eager to see how the place will develop. Even though Patoyo Island (Linapacan) is between El Nido and Coron barely any tourists get off the ferry. So for now it is still a place off the beaten track (on the beaten track), but I’m sure more people will learn to appreciate the beauty of the area soon.
    Take care and good luck, see you next time. Cheers

  • Peter

    I stayed on Linapacan, an island close to Patoyo where Karel is developing his Kitesurf resort. I never actually met karel but he seems like a great guy that is keen to show travelers the more wild and non-touristy side of the Philippines. Karel gave me some contact details of some people he knew on the island and I managed to arrive there and get some accommodation (staying with Ben). Linapacan (between El Nido and El Coron) is well off the beaten track with very few tourists (if any at all). Although I had bad luck with the weather when I was there I managed to do a bit of snorkeling which was great and go on a fishing trip with a local where we ate the fresh catch for lunch. If you decide to go to Linapacan, you’ll get the chance to have a very different traveling experience as it’s only just being discovered. Just try to avoid the rainy season as you might get stuck there if they have typhoons (I was stuck there a few days because the boats couldn’t leave).

    Thanks Karel and good luck with everything!

  • Amaris and Mark

    Dream Beach Paradise!!!! Karel is a super chill guy and we had an amazing time with him on his island paradise. If you can make it out here, we highly believe it is worth it.

    We stayed in tents right on the beach front and the water is so crystal clear, the whole setting looking like it was straight out of a movie set. I felt like that girl on blue lagoon. 🙂 Each morning we woke up to watch the sun rise over the most unbelievably crystal blue water, drank right off the tree fresh coconut juice and ate the meat, had just caught fresh exotic fish, and snorkeled our hearts out.

    Beyond the beauty of the island, the most rewarding experience I had was meeting the locals. A lovely caretaker family also lives on the island with Karel. Ben, the land owner, has them on the land to care for it and they mostly live off the land and the fish their son catches. They are very friendly. The wife speaks English and her name is Nicy and her husband can’t speak due to a stroke, but he is very kind and will try hard to communicate with you through body language. Many times throughout our stay they would bring us fish their son had caught that day. They also have three adorable grandchildren that are very happy to play with you but might be a little scared at first. On the weekend we also had a sweet time with the older children that come home from school just for the weekends. They loved to play volleyball and are interested in whatever you are doing. We did some decorative crafts with one of the girls named Trinidad. It was so great to see how eager they are to learn about you, see what you are doing, and practice their English. I think Karel and all the visitor’s he has have great opportunities to have helpful and positive impacts on the people here.

  • Wolfgang

    He is living on a nice small island called Patoyo. Between Linapacan Island and Busuanga Island (Coron). It is an adventure to get there and you should count at least 24 hours. If you have bad luck the engine of the ferry is broken and you could have to wait for several days.
    Anyway, Karel is a friendly guy building up a nice jungle resort at the nicest place in the Philippines. For now you sleep in tends but soon there will be bamboo huts. The coast is eastwards so every morning you wake up with a really nice sunrise. And in the afternoon sun is not burning down on you to hard because the coconut trees are giving shadow. There is a local fisherman who can bring you around the islands for island hopping.
    Better think about what you want to eat and buy in princesa or wherever you are before. In San Miguel, closest little town on Linapacan island is not that much. 🙂
    I had a really nice time in the nature of the Philippines without loud traffic or annoying TVs etc. Just the island, you and the locals!!
    Thank you very much Karel!

  • Estefania

    Me and my boyfriend stayed in pattoyo for 4 nights. We loved to be off the beaten track in Linapacan surroundings. We cooked our food in the traditional way and enjoyed some snorkeling and hiking. We did not met karel until we came back to san miguel town but he is a nice guy and we enjoyed a lunch together

    • sailorsam

      Sorry I was away construction shopping but glad you enjoyed your stay in this lovely paradise and that we managed to hook up for lunch!

  • Ramona

    We stayed with Karel on his island for one week in January 2016. The island is beautiful, snorkeling is great right in front of the camp. Because the island is small, and apart from Karels camp there are only two little native fishing villages, it is a quiet and relaxing atmosphere, which was fine for us. Every night we lit a bonfire on the beach, looked at the amazing stars above, drank rum like ‘real pirates’ sometimes, or listened to someone playing the guitar. You can hike up the little hill (wonderful view from the top), try fishing, or swimming to one of the surrounding islands.
    One advise: on your way there, make sure you stock up on food or snacks or alcohol or anything else you might desire during your stay with Karel, because what makes the island so charming (no shops, traffic, crowds of tourists) also means that these items are hard to get while you are there.

    • sailorsam

      Yes, it is important to be in contact with me, preferably by text phone message, so that I can organise a boat for you to get here to the island and give you a shopping list. One house in this little community near us sells cigarettes and matches – that is it. But the locals are fishermen families and we often get fresh fish, squid, octopus and sometimes even giant lobsters from them. But veggies have to be brought in from the mainland, although we are starting to grow our own.

  • Leroy

    If you want to experience what it is like living on a deserted island (well almost deserted) then this place is perfect. It is very far from the crowds of El Nido. Linapacan is the closest major island with people who are not used to seeing tourists. Everybody will try to talk to you. There is a cheap hotel and there is an amazing reef next to the harbour where you can snorkel.

    Karel just moved to the new island, about 20 minutes from Linapacan, when I was there in December. There is still a lot to be done, but the place is definitely beautiful and has a lot of potential. It was tough living there, but it was a once in a live time experience to cook food over the fire, use water from a well to take a shower, and to watch the stars at night. I also appreciated that Karel told me some stories about his life and we visited two islands on his small boat. I could only stay for 5 days in the end, because of a typhoon, but it is an experience that I will remember.

    • sailorsam

      Sorry you missed out on the “typhoon” Leroy. Yes, it got a bit windy, but then the eye of the storm passed right over top and it was kind of exciting – absolutely still air. Otherwise this area rarely gets such events. Enjoy your travels.

  • Sarina

    First of all, this is possibly one of the most beautiful and untouched parts of the world. Your journey itself as you make your way to this project will take you to wonderful places off the beaten track and we were met with the most friendliest people along the way.
    Camping on the island was magical, going to sleep under the brightest night sky and waking up to the sunrise- the lack of mosquitoes means you can sleep right outdoors which is really special. The vibe is extremely chilled and each night is spent round the campfire with music. While there are kites up for rental – it is not so accessible as no one to teach you and it seems the winds are unpredictable so not well suited for beginners. We had been really excited about this element but it had not been possible. However that aside, it was just incredible and we had the best time . Thank you Karel and hopefully we’ll be back again!

    • sailorsam

      Finally had some experienced kitesurfers pass through, they confirmed that this island does not get enough wind, at least this time of year, but we explored a couple of nearby islands and the success was bombastic. Will post videos and pics soon. Really wide fluffy beach that dips right away into the ocean, so no corals and good for beginners to body drag.

  • Astrid

    Karel cultivates happiness through a relaxed atmosphere and being an advocate of mindful living.
    I enjoyed learning how to make tables, shelves etc out of bamboo, utilizing and upcycling other natural materials found on the island.
    I also stumbled upon a nest of turtles hatching on the beach, so if your a nature lover, keep your eyes peeled. More importantly, this shows that the island is important ecologically for the turtles, so some beach cleaning wouldn’t go a miss.
    I loved cooking over the fire, swimming and ‘washing’ in the sea everyday.
    I was never bored in paradise and found ample space to meditate and read a lot, which really helped me find some serenity in my life and with my own thoughts.
    Highly recommend for those looking to hangout, learn something and chill.

    • sailorsam

      Thanks for your great visit Astrid. The locals were warning us about a bee’s nest in an old coconut, but I will try to prevent them from doing anything to it. Where there are bees, there are flowers, and eventually honey. I want to bring in some birds to the island as well, and your helping all those baby turtles dig their way out of the sand will certainly make the place cheerier.

  • sailor sam

    A 5/5 star review made by a person who stayed for five weeks in the little resort I started in the area:

    This little group of islands was the real main goal of the trip and it was just to my taste. A group of remote islands far away from mass tourism like the overcrowded and dirty El Nido.

    Stayed on this beautiful Island (Dimancal Island) for 5 weeks. Explored all neighboring islands.
    Freediving, spearfishing and relaxing. Beautiful snorkeling spots, pristine beaches, coral gardens and varied possibilities for kayak excursions as all islands are within reach.

    Mango trees with three delicious sorts of mango fruits. Coconut palms, wild bananas, pineapples and cashew trees in the forest.
    No nasty blackflys and no tourists, its the pure paradise.

    There is a freshwater well not far from the kitchen. The water is good for washing but not for drinking, let Arnold bring you clean water. On the other hand the well water must be filtered and boiled.
    Pay the local boys to pick the delicious coconuts for you. The mature mangos can be easily picked up from the ground early in the morning. Love this place.

    When i’m in the philippines again i’ll stop by.
    Pleas let the camp unspoiled and simple as it is.

  • Dario Faraone

    I had the pleasure to deal with Melson there in El Nido, he helped me a lot in the organization of the proposal plan i had for my girlfriend, it was hard because of the weather it was very close to be cancelled, but he gave me plenty of solutions with no extra charge and at the end she said yes! It was amazing m, a dream on earth. He was very pleasant and on that Papaya beach he did a great job of organization and coordination. Thanks Melson and Melasel to have gave me the chance to gift my girlfriend an unforgettable afternoon, we’ll be back in the Philippines and we’ll set up some tours with you guys.
    Thanks, thanks and still thanks!

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