Workawayers! My name is Lawrence
I am now currently looking for CREATIVE AND ARTISTIC WORK AWAYERS who would love to help me do artwork in our place and help me change the vibe of my place to an island social hostel.
Accommodation and food included with provisions for vegans and vegetarians, do let me know if you have any allergies.
I am looking for volunteers who are open minded, passionate and who can contribute to my project and want new and exciting experiences.
READ MY STORY BELOW -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It all started one beautiful morning at a friend's homestay in Nacpan Beach. I never get hangovers and yet here I was, lying in a small bunk covered in sand with a banging hangover. I vowed to never drink again. I rolled out of bed and made my way to the beanbag lounge.
I starfished on the beanbags and reflected on my life choices... then the others emerged out from the dorms looking wrecked. I was relieved that I wasn't the only one who went hard last night. I lay there staring at the many dreamcatchers hanging above me, thinking about last night.
A friend of mine had told me about these islands north of El Nido hidden away and virtually untouched by tourism. She told me to check it out before I booked my next flight out. She told me it was paradise... that's a phrase I hear often here in Palawan. I was getting ready to leave Palawan but I couldn't get that place out of my head and the way she described it. The hangover wasn't helping I needed to fix this...
Then inadvertently, I spoke into the air. "Would you guys like to come and check out this island with me?"
I had not meant to speak my thoughts out loud but there it was hanging in the air. Then there was silence. I was, a complete stranger inviting a random group of people to a remote island I have never been to. Their reaction was priceless. This was my Di Caprio moment, I would have burst out laughing if it wasn't for the headache holding me back.
The silence was broken when someone replied with a look of wonder "an island?". We sat debating how this was going to work... it was nice to see the look of excitement building up as we all contributed ideas to form this private expedition. Everyone dropped their plans in a heartbeat. We organised this trip together dividing up the tasks to gather water, food, hammocks and tents. One couple overheard the last part of our conversation the next day and joined us immediately. I laughed at the notion that every traveller in Nacpan would join us if delayed any longer.
So... we set out together 9 of us and 5 scooters, everything about that day was great. The drive, the convoy we made, one of the guys balancing two large water containers, working our way out of the usual tourist track. It was only until we left our bikes behind and boarded the boat, that we realised we knew nothing about each-other.
We boarded the fishing boat and visited several uninhabited islands along the way. They were all beautiful but then the last destination... paradise. That's a hard word to use when you're in Palawan but it really was and it was ours for the next 5 days...
Before the boat could land on the shore, half of us had already jumped off to be the first to run on the beach shouting like crazy people forgetting our stuff on the boat.
The fishermen dropped us and all of our stuff off and looked doubtful about our chances of survival. The girls ran off enthusiastically into the water with three pronged spears my local friend had made for us on the spot... I was grateful that my Filipino friend had agreed to join us... I was especially relieved when the girls kept presenting him with strange looking things asking if they could eat it.
The girls never managed to catch any fish, our beautiful cooking fire... left empty, we refused to open the canned stuff... then like a ghost, the village chief appeared out of the forest. Perfect timing! He came into the light of our fire holding two huge fish and told us all about his village on the other side of the island. We listened to all his stories as we happily ate up the fresh fish.
We spent a week on that island and became close friends sharing things about ourselves that only our best friend's knew. I swear it was the closest I had come to forgetting about my life outside of the island. Time felt different there, we measured our days with the height of the sun and the falling of the moon. You could see the stars as clouds of light in the sky. Everywhere I turned I found paradise, fireflies, lights in the water at night. Then the time came... the sadness could be felt in our camp... we discussed about leaving the island.
Though half of us wanted to stay we could not let the others leave without trying to spend as much time together as possible. So that's it. We all left. None of us spoke to each-other on the boat ride back to the mainland. All I did was sit at the back end of the boat, watching the island grow smaller until it vanished.
We were all back on the usual tourist route and it felt weird seeing other travellers. Ending up in EL Nido Town we again had to endure the endless wave of vendors trying to sell us things we didn't need. It was just another concrete jungle, the very same thing we had tried to escape in our own home countries.
That's the worst thing about travelling, it's the saying goodbye part. It was that moment that I realised it wasn't the island that was paradise. It was being with all these incredible people on a journey which made the whole experience paradise. Me by myself on an island would have been a nightmare after a while with no one to share it with.
Never forgetting those experiences, I tried to think of how I could work here in Palawan. Of course I needed to start a business but what kind of business... It was then I decided I would open up a hostel. To my surprise my local friend told me that the island where I kept "kidnapping tourists" was being put up for sale. That was a hard thing to hear. I spent months trying to find some place else but there was nothing which felt right. I packed my bags to leave and was looking to sell my motorcycle and go to Siargao the surfing capital of The Philippines. It was then that my Mum asked me, "why don't you stay and do something on the island?". I knew which island she meant, she was also aware that it was for sale. Without thinking, "No".
I later discovered she had gone ahead and had bought the beach where we stayed! Who even does that! I was so conflicted now. I seriously weighed up all the pros and cons. I didn't want to ruin it. I wanted it left alone, beautiful and perfect. But... can I possibly do something there that doesn't ruin it but instead open it up as an eco hostel...?
I ended up staying longer in El Nido, finding refuge away from the busy town in Nacpan Beach. I met a really nice family who treated me like a son and I rented their cute little cottage in the back of their house. I spent a few weeks there trying to figure out what to do or where to go next. While eating in a local cheap pizza place, I met some really cool people from the same hostel nearby. I promised them I'll only come out for one beer. Several beers and a couple of shots later, it happened again... I took them all to the island...
I met so many incredible people on my travels, all of them encouraged me to make a place for them on the island (of course)... so there you go. I must have lost my mind. The craziest, most challenging project I have ever done. Over the course of the next two years, I spent time working on the island project, steering my way through a typhoon of challenges and equally beautiful moments. Now it's almost finished.
Welcome to the first and only Island Hostel in Linapacan, Palawan.
Cooking / shopping
We have an amazing beach nestled in a cove and a "home reef" lies just 100 meters from our shore. The area of Linapacan where our island is situated has been classified as a bird sanctuary. Tourists are rarely found in the area as development has not come to this region.
Linapacan has said to have the clearest waters in the Philippines. From personal experience I have been able to see entire reefs just from standing on the prow of my boat. Bring a snorkel and you will find turtles, mantas, staghorn corrals and if you're lucky baby sharks and dolphins.
A village lies just 25 minutes north from our beach where there is also a small elementary school. Fishing and coconuts are the main source of income for the locals. There are numerous situated islands around us with beautiful features, each with it's own vibe.
We have plenty of things to do and your day will never always be the same. You will be able to experience a lot on our island.
Painting beautiful designs, birds and animals in our place. I am looking for creative people to make suggestions.
1. General help in and around the hostel.
2. Helping with the garden, growing stuff and picking veggies.
3. Expedition hosting, helping to make all our guests feel comfortable while island hopping.
4. Greeting and meeting guests as they arrive and providing information.
5. Painting, Making things and decorating our place.
English, Basic Tagalog
We have dormitories, in the coconut farm (harvested coconut trees) so no falling coconuts. These beach huts are located just a stone's throw away from the ocean and are well ventilated and will have fans installed soon. You will be given your own hand made bamboo pod bed with a mattress, clean sheets a pillow and a mosquito net.
We have a small solar system which we have only recently installed and we are just testing out the system now... You can charge your devices in our place. Phone signal can be found if you walk to the end of our beach or go to the top of the hill. We will be installing wifi soon but this will be limited to just a few hours each day so go and speak to each-other!
TOILET & SHOWER:
Our communal showers and FLUSHING TOILETS (separate male and female) are located a couple of minutes walk from the dorms but please go easy on the pipes as excessive toilet roll use will clog the only toilet we have and will result in a crappy day for all of us. We do have a spray gun also which you can use...
At the moment due to the drought Palawan is experiencing, we have had to replace the showers with water barrels which you can use to wash yourself. This is also a good and responsible way for us to conserve water.
We have a beautiful outdoor kitchen where we cook. A standard breakfast will be provided for you along with lunch and dinner which we provide for all our staff. We can also discuss ways in which you may like to prepare your own food and we will do our best to cater to your dietary requirements. There are fruits, vegetables and meat which can be bought from the village or in the port. We buy purified water from the town as we do not drink the well water.
Travel arrangements will need to be discussed in advance of your stay due to the remoteness of our island.
There are three ways you can get to our island, Barangonan.
1. Take a ferry from Manila or other major ports (Cheapest Option but Longest) and go to either:
I am not sure of the prices but I believe they are around (2,000) pesos and 24 hours depending on your ticket class... If you go to Coron, you will have a chance to see some of the best dive spots in The Philippines and the most iconic Ocean Lagoons in the region. It does not have many beaches though... you will get plenty of beaches in El Nido and Linapacan...
From Coron you can take a separate ferry to El Nido from the port I can come and collect you in my car then to our boat to take you to the island.
ii. PUERTO PRINCESSA
I have my own native fishing boat which takes roughly an hour and a half to get to the port. We travel to and from the island back to mainland El Nido. Initially transport to and from the island will be provided for by myself. We will try get back to the island every day depending on our bookings... but for now, I tend to go back to the mainland either once or twice a week depending on the work that needs to be done. For this reason I do need you to be slightly flexible and cooperative when it comes to getting around.
1. If you go to Puerto Princessa, you can take a passenger van (500 pesos and 6 hours) which goes up to El Nido Terminal. From the terminal I can collect you in my car or you can chill in El Nido and visit this world famous destination which inspired the film, The Beach.
2. Fly to Puerto Princessa Airport and Take a pre-booked van with us outside the terminal entrance (600 pesos and 6.5 hours) to San Fernando Port. This is the most direct route and the best value option if you want to skip the tourist route and come straight to the port where our boat will be waiting to take you to the island. I will need to know when you intend to arrive in PPS Airport as the van will need to be booked specially with us and the boat will need to arrive on time.
i. For me this is the best value option.
3. Fly to El Nido Airport (usually most expensive option but check prices)
I can then come and collect you from the airport in my car.
Volunteers and helpers on their time off can do the following:
1. Snorkel in the different reefs.
2. Work on your tan on our beach.
3. Visit the village.
5. Join our island hopping tours.
6. Diving in Sibaltan, El Nido.
7. Be part of our events.
8. Watch a movie in our beach cinema.
9. Visit Shark Island
10. See the mangrove forests and hike other islands.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Up to 5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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