Finding the Dream Island

About a year before I made this page, when helping a woman with her resort in Borneo, Malaysia and having seen how she mismanaged her operations, the first seeds of thought were planted that I could run my own resort. My quest for the perfect beach island thus began.

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My first prospect appeared about half a year later on the beautiful Perhentian Islands off the coast of northeast Malaysia. Getting tired of expensive beer and other matters in Muslim Asia, I soon found myself in the Philippines, where I instantly fell in love with the people, the more than 7,000 paradise beach islands, and abundant and inexpensive beer.

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Have done some island hopping and tons of these undeveloped beaches everywhere.

In my quest for an undeveloped paradise island, it occurred to me to make these pages, to help like-minded travelers island hop their way through this beautiful country. Not only could this turn into a future source of income, but it would further motivate me to explore the islands, where I could inquire into the purchase of a small boat, build up my network of island hopping homestays, and search for a property owner with whom I could work out a profit sharing plan.

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Having purchased three portable solar panels and other gadgets to make my island excursions possible (they usually have very limited times when they run their power generators), I was ready to embark on my journeys from the island launching pad where I had nestled for the previous two months. First destination, island no. 1, a quiet fishing village from where I hoped to migrate to the second village on the island – my first new exploration.

I was staying at the Captain’s house (each village has a mayor, governor, captain and so on), who was responsible for collecting all the fish caught in the area to sell on the streets of Manila. He said he had some government business to do in the regional hub and suggested I join him on his mission. I soon found myself in San Miguel.

This small village lies on a larger island about half way between El Nido and Coron, two popular tourist destinations, while the main ferry stops there between the two. Because this region is in general a very popular tourist destination, a stable and clean area of the country, and because the Philippines is destined to become a major tourist destination, this stopping point has excellent potential. Entire islands in the immediate area have already been bought up by the French, Chinese and British, who are now busy building their high end resorts.

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At the captain’s house, helping them peel freshly picked cashews.

As I strolled my way through the friendly streets of this San Miguel, one older gentleman bolsters, “Where are you from?” We quickly became friends, he loved my idea of building an eco-resort with a profit-sharing plan, and soon enough was introducing me to his six siblings, with whom he owns an entire island of 100 hectares.

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Stilt town extension of the village of San Miguel.

But before we could all go together to scope out his island, he took me to his father-in-law’s plot of land, which I aimed to call Patoyo Paradise, 18 hectares on an island only 20 minutes away by boat. 1km stretch of beach glory, his father agreeing to let me start building as soon as I obtain a permit from the government. They seem to like my idea and agree that it is better to develop and hold onto their treasure islands rather than sell out for short term gain, but leave nothing for their descendants. My spiel and charm are working!

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Plenty of room to develop on his 1km stretch of pristine beach.

island-hopping-philippines-other-island-310320152643A week later we check out his own island. Three big boats show up carrying a family of around 40 people, there to celebrate the departure of one of their clan, who is set to find work as a nurse in Saskatchewan, Canada. I was accepted heartily by everyone and immediately felt like a part of the family.

In about a month I expect two paychecks to come in and when I should go to the big city for my next two-month visa extension. It is at this town that I will apply for the permit, withdraw enough cash from the entire area’s only ATM machines, and stock up on solar panels, power tools and other important supplies before heading back to paradise and start building. I shall keep you informed!

Update

Well, it was only a day later, but I received a text message from the wife of Henry that I should call his sister, and was provided with a very long number. I asked if the number was in the Philippines and she said “No, Japan. Wait, I will find out when you should call.” In about an hour I was informed that I should call at 11am. But I had already made arrangements, and besides, I explained that by around 10am every morning my batteries run dead and I cannot call until after noon, when they turn on the local diesel generator.

We got back from our exploration and I wrote that I am ready to call, asking when is a good time. Again I was told 11am, and again I explained why that time is not good for me to make a Skype call.

The next day Henry shows up and sadly says that there was a dispute and the deal is off. Apparently this woman feels the world revolves around her and is disgruntled that I did not fall down to my knees and jump at her every beck and call. Women are empathic creatures, designed to nurture their children with life-giving milk from their breast, but can otherwise be suspicious, vindictive and spiteful, their decision-making based on emotion and shouldn’t mingle with the men’s world of simple business logic. Everyone else in the family is keen on the plan.

Anyway, the owner of the hotel I’m staying at mentioned he owns an island and that he too might be interested. We went to check it out and it was even more beautiful (pictures at the bottom), also with full mobile signal. The previous mayor of the town, he managed to accumulate enough funds to purchase the entire island for 75 million pesos (about 1.5 million USD). Maybe not to be the most trusted, but he sounded nice on the phone, and at least this way no woman can meddle in our simple business dealings. Will keep you informed!

[Good news! For additional update, refer to first comment below.]

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Friendly people in stilt town, San Miguel

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Basketball court next to stilt town at low tide.

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Village at Captain’s house.

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Henry who introduced me to everyone.

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Five hut village next to our property where I can buy fish from the locals.

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Some caves around San Miguel.

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The property that is now a no-go, but apparently the property next to it is a possibility.

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Some jungle huts I stayed at in Indonesia for inspiration.

Following, pictures of Henry’s island, 100 hectares and completely owned by the family. They all seem to like me, but one hour boat ride from San Miguel and no mobile signal, which will require a larger initial investment for satellite. At least a backup plan, or later project.

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The island’s full-time guardian and his hut. All these islands seem to have such free dwellers.

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Our latest prospect, the 75 million pesos island (click top picture to zoom in):

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5 thoughts on “Finding the Dream Island

  1. Hi. I’m one of the grand daughter of Basilio and Mamerta Castolo whom you mentioned the owner off your 1st prospect island (Patoyo). I did asked my mom and my lolo Basilio (grandfather) and it was like a misscommunication on our family’s side and also error from my lolo. The woman in Japan (my aunt) is so busy working and wasn’t able to communicate and deal with you well during that time. And I personally, apologize for what happened. And still, the island in patoyo is open for selling for those individuals who has a heart for an ocean and eco.
    Thank you so much.
    Hope to see you soon when we have our vacation in Linapacan, Palawan.
    Especifically in Patoyo whom we treasure and love so much.

    Also, uncle Henry – my aunt’s husband.

    • Cool. I’m developing Ben’s property on the other side of the island, but my wish is actually to develop many beaches, because I think it is a shame for Filipinos to sell out. One generation will have a nice house, car and big lcd panel in their living room, but then their grandchildren will have nothing. But if I develop it with profit sharing, they will have some income, which over ten years might add up to what they would sell it for now, and they could keep it. Or sell it anyway. If they sell it after I develop it some, they might get a better offer. But I encourage all not to sell. Eventually I’d like to put a construction team together and develop many islands in a natural way. Once people see how I build, I think more will be interested. It would be such a shame if this beautiful area turned into the trash of El Nido and Coron, and a shame to sell out to foreigners, because you will forever stay poor this way. This is a very unique area and you all should keep some faith and gain greater fruits in the future.

      • Nice to know your good and pure intention to a foreign land. But with ours, the family really decided to pursue selling the area. But still hoping one of these days, they’ll suddenly change their mind. Thank you for these. I just saw earlier this ad/blog when i was searching for different things to do while staying in Patoyo this mid year. Looking forward to visit Mang Ben’s area when it’s developed already.
        Thank you and God bless.

        • Will be nice to meet you too. Hopefully by the time you come I’ll have at least one kitesurfing board!

  2. You can choose among PAL, Seair, Airphil and Cebu Pacific. If you trveal by boat, there’s no direct route from Clark. So you have to trveal via Manila port.

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