I was so lucky to share this trip with 24 other amazing guests, 12 awesome crew members and 1 adorable little puppy (Bross “The Experience Dog”).
Bross “Bruce” loves to cuddle and bite your toes
If you go on a Tao trip, you’re most likely to have a smaller group with 1 boat and up to 12 guests. But as it was Chinese New Year, we doubled up and basically did a floating flotilla around the Palawan islands. It was super fun to actually have such a big group and great to be sailing in tandem.
Last day on our Tao Flotilla
My fellow guests and new friends came from 7 different countries (Philippines, Scotland, UK, France, China, Israel, Russia, Canada, Switzerland, Poland, New Zealand and USA) It took awhile for us all to get through singing our national anthems to each other 🙂 I was the only one rep’ing the US! We all got along so well – everyone was super chill – and had a blast.
A Game of Uno in our Private Lagoon Basecamp
Our great leaders – the Tao crew – made every day so fun for us all. They have the best personalities and these guys can literally just look at each other and start laughing. They are all funny comedians – always telling jokes and singing english songs to us and replacing words with our names – “I wanna dance with you Bonnie”. haha. I’ll miss their fun positive energy! Salamat (thank you) guys!
Beyond just the people on the boat, everyone I met in the Tao community was very kind. Tao is uplifting these rural island communities by introducing a new economy for villagers facing a declining fishing business. We saw first hand how difficult it was to find fish to eat in this area of the South China Sea. We had to eat pig and chicken the last two nights as we couldn’t catch any fish and no local fisherman had caught any either. 20-30 years ago this area was teaming with fresh fish that could be eaten as well as tropical aquarium fish. But it’s really declined and is no longer a stable business for many on these remote islands. With tourism growing in the Philippines, large resorts are buying up the land from these villagers who are happy to sell it and move away to bigger islands.
Tao is different in that for the last 10 years they have been establishing relationships with local villagers who directly support and work for Tao while still living on the rural islands. Tao employs 300 people who work on the boats and base camps to support the 13 boats that they have constantly sailing through the Palawan islands.