—–Continued from Part 1—–

After choppy ocean waves made me seasick, vomit, and then pass out on our 2 hour boat ride from hell, I awoke to landing at a different beach to meet Frank for lunch.


I was so glad to finally make it to shore again and stand on solid ground. Frank’s friends cooked us a fish and rice lunch. I ate a little but still felt pretty sick from the boat ride.

After lunch we got back on the boat and headed for the now closeby Waniban Island.

Waniban Island near Mati, Philippines


As we got within view of Waniban’s white sand beaches I immediately knew that the 2 hour boat ride was worth it. We had this pristine island all to ourselves.


Crystal turqoise water. Check. White sand. Check. Uninhabited. Check.

Waniban Island near Mati, Philippines


We hang out on the island all afternoon swimming in the turqoise water, playing in the white sand, and exploring this small piece of paradise.


No one lives on the island but there are huts for the caretakers who occasionally stop by.

Waniban Island near Mati, Philippines


Also it turns out that the locals take pets they don’t want to care for to the island to abandon. We saw a lonely dog, several small goats, and heard the cries of many stray cats coming from the hillside. Waniban was an island of lost pets.

Waniban Island near Mati, Philippines


As the sun started to set we unfortunately had to say goodbye to our white sand island paradise and head back to mainland Mati. Luckily the waves were much calmer now and I didn’t feel the urge to share my lunch with the fishes.

Waniban Island near Mati, Philippines


Have you ever wanted to have a beautiful tropical island with white sand beaches all to yourself?

Waniban Island - Mati, Philippines

I got the chance of a lifetime to take a wild day long boat trip from Mati, Philippines to the uninhabited Waniban Island.

The previous night our motorbike got a flat tire and we were forced to pull into a tire shop to repair it. At the tire shop we met several Filipinos including the owner Frank who was quite friendly.

We talked about the lives of people in Mati, a very rural area, compared to what I experienced in Davao. I found out that workers at the local mall in Mati get paid 80 pesos ($2.00) for an 8 hour workday with no compensation for food or transporation.

The entire week I was in Mati I only saw one other white person and it was some creepy old guy. The Philippines southern island of Mindanao has a reputation for being unsafe for foreigners. The topic of safety came up and Frank said he knew some people in the Muslim extremist groups, but Mati was safe and I was protected with him. At the time I thought little of it because everyone in Mati had been so nice and friendly.

Frank offered to take us on a day long boat tour with his crew to the beautiful and uninhabited Waniban Island for 3500 pesos (about $80). Of course my girlfriend and I jumped at the opportunity.

After Frank’s wife cooked us a delicious Filipino fish soup breakfast, we departed Dahican Beach on a small Banca boat and headed for the beatiful white sands of the deserted Waniban Island.

Dahican Beach - Mati, Philippines


The scenery of the Mati shoreline was spectacular and some of the best I’ve ever seen in the world. Very few people live in Mati and so it is almost full natural beauty.

Near Masau Beach - Mati, Philippines


The water was calm for the first 30 minutes, but as the wind speed picked up the waves kept getting bigger. Soon our boat was bouncing up and down like some endless water roller coaster. It wasn’t long before I started to feel sick, like really seasick.


My stomach couldn’t take it any more and I vomited over the side of the boat. All the delicious breakfast I had eaten earlier was now shared with the fishes. My energy was sapped and soon I passed out on the boat from exhaustion.


—Continued In Part 2



Become Brad Pitt With A Plane Ticket To Davao

What if I told you there was a beautiful place where it’s cheap to live and everyone treats you like a celebrity?

Mati Sleeping Dinosaur Island Philippines

Such a place exists, and it has a name: Davao, Philippines.

Davao is the third major city in the Philippines behind Manila and Cebu. Almost no foreigners go to Davao because it is located on the southern island of Mindano, which is notorious for having a terrorism problem. However, the terrorism problems are on the other side of the island. The city of Davao itself is actually quite safe (much safer than Manila or Cebu) because the Davao City Mayor ruled with an iron fist and cracked down on crime hard.

Davao’s city mayor helped make the city safe, clean, and well off economically (compared to the rest of the Philippines). I can’t stand being in Manila for more than a few days because it is so polluted, crowded, and unsafe, but Davao has more of a small town feel and is actually quite pleasant to live in.

The people of Davao are friendly, honest, and surprised/happy to see a foreigner in their city. I could count the number of foreigners I met while in Davao on my two hands. You are instantly promoted to Brad Pitt status the second you step off the plane.

You will be the center of attention everywhere you go and girls will swoon for you. In the checkout line at the supermarket the cashier girl asked me if I would marry her (I politely declined). I am a decent looking guy, but nothing like that would ever happen in America.

This is one of the benefits to having a location independent lifestyle – you can live and set up businesses in different places depending on what suits you best. According to the Five Flag Theory of organizing different parts of your life into different physical locations, Davao would be a “playground”.


Cool Stuff To Do In Davao:

Party on Torres Street – Grab a beer for $1 at the bars/clubs and experience what it’s like to be Brad Pitt for a night. The nightlife in Davao is small but fun and (in my opinion) preferable compared to most of the Philippines where girlie bars are the norm.

Evibe Club Davao Philippines


Kadayawan Festival in August – this “king of festivals” is a huge deal for Davao and the Philippines. There are lots of events during this weeklong festival such as float parades, concerts, and people dancing in traditional tribal wear in the streets.

Kadayawan Festival Davao Philippines


Visit Samal Island – This is a cool place for a day trip and it is just a short ferry ride from Davao. The scenery is nice and there are several resorts to hang out at. The beaches are small though and travelling around the island on motorbike is not pleasant. My friends and I rented a boat with a local tour guide to go island hopping which was cool.

Samal Island Davao Philippines


Weekend Trip to Mati – called the “Boracay of the South” and for good reason. Mati is exceptionally beautiful and the Dahican beach is better looking than your desktop background. Unlike Boracay almost no foreigners know about Mati and it’s inexpensive. The bus ride to get there is 4 hours from Davao, but well worth it. In 2012 an airport in Mati will be finished and I expect it will bring a lot more visitors.

Dahican Beach Mati Philippines


Best Places To Stay in Davao:

Short Term – Ponce Suites Hotel
I was really impressed by this unique and well-run hotel. The owner’s son is a prolific artist/sculptor and his work fills the premises. Ponce Suites is within walking distance of downtown and a great value for the price. For 700 pesos ($17 per night) you get a good-sized room with a comfortable bed, A/C, hot water, and TV.

Don’t stay at Magallanes Residences
It is really difficult to find a good available apartment in Davao. I’ve actually changed my mind – don’t stay at Magallanes Residences apartment complex because it is pricey (lots of hidden fees) and not a good value.


Every Rose Has Its Thorns – The Downsides Of Davao

Even though Davao is pretty awesome, there are negatives lurking underneath that become more apparent the longer you stay there.

Filipino food is mediocre. There are some good dishes, but in general the food is unhealthy and there is a real lack of vegetables. The food just can’t compete with cuisine powerhouses like Thailand or Indonesia. Expect occasional intestinal discomfort.

Lack of expat community. There are almost no interesting expats in the Philippines compared to a place like Bali. As my TMBA boss and mentor Dan Andrews said – “You are a rockstar at a concert that no one cares about.

You will be stared at wherever you go and even though the people are friendly, after a while it can get annoying to answer the same “where are you from?” “why are you here?” type questions over and over again.

It can be really hard to get work done. The lure of partying, cute girls, and island adventures can be really distracting. After a while your mindset changes and you start to take it all for granted… it’s easy to forget just how great the experience truly is.

You may “go bamboo” and never leave. I¬†initially¬†planned to stay in Davao for 2 weeks, and now I’ve been here 2 months and counting. It feels like I’ve been living in a dream, and I guess sooner or later I have to wake up.

Dahican Beach Mati Philippines


Maybe I’ll just hit the snooze button once more…



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