1000’s of tiny islands.
The Philippines is a gloriously diverse country made up of over 7000 islands and numerous indigenous groups, stunning Spanish – Filipino architecture, emerald rice fields, smouldering volcanoes and the friendliest Filipino hospitality.
As you fly over marooned slicks of sand in the middle of the Western Pacific your initial feeling would be this is a beach bum’s paradise and where’s Robinson Crusoe?
This country has everything on offer but during the 4 weeks we have planned you will get off the beaten track, contribute to local NGO’s whilst living with local families to experience the remarkable Filipino culture first hand.
A typical 4 week itinerary will include:
Manila – Bulusan
You’ll fly into the capital of Manila, before catching a 1-hour domestic flight onto Legazpi City. Here you will spend a couple of days acclimatising to your new surroundings and will have time to explore the nearby islands of Bacacay before trekking up Manaet Peak.
You’ll then travel out to reach the small town of Bulusan in the Sorsogon Province, dominated by the active Bulusan Volcano. Bulusan’s slopes are covered in virgin rainforest, crystal clear crater lakes, waterfalls, hot springs and rare, endemic animal species. Simply stunning.
The local NGO here, run by the community, is called The Aggrupation of Advocates for Environmental Protection Bulusan (AGAP). Because of AGAP, the development in Bulusan is one of the most community and environment focused developments in the Philippines and will be responsible for managing your projects, which will be focused around:
- Helping the farmers with their rice planting or harvesting.
- Supporting the local handicraft industry run by community co-operatives.
- Developing tourism projects, such as painting wooden kayaks or clearing trekking trails and beaches.
Before leaving Bulusan, you will have 2 days R&R around Sorsogon where you can swim, trek, have local cooking lessons, and learn more about the history of the area.
Next stop – Ticao Island, an island community in the Masbate province. Approximately 1-hour by traditional motorized boat from the mainland.
The people of Ticao have learned to survive based on what the land and ocean can provide. Very little government support comes to this area and the main developments on the island are a result of donations and strategies from Ticao Island Resort.
On your time off, you’re perfectly placed to island hop around the islets of Ticao; around San Miguel and Udoc, which are rich in soft coral gardens, fish life, and macro critters. In the past 10 years, Ticao Island has been gaining popularity in the scuba diving community because of Manta Bowl, a dive site which is the highway for large marine creatures like manta rays, whale and thresher sharks.
Here you will help Ticao Island Resort with their development projects focused on the livelihood and education of the local community. Ticao Island is also home to a marine research stations of NGO LAMAVE (Large Marine Vertebrates). Depending on the amount of data processing work that needs to be done, you may be asked to assist at the marine research station.
Projects will include:
- Helping the fishermen with their day-to-day activities.
- School development (for example making tables and chairs, paving the walkway, painting the school building, cleaning the grounds, etc).
- Helping with ongoing training for the community-based tourism projects to assist in providing alternative livelihood to the community.
- Data processing with LAMAVE.
- Talking to resort guests and gathering pictures for data collection.
Sorsogon City is the capital of the Sorsogon Province, which includes Bulusan. The Sorsogon Province is relatively large and diverse and the two areas make for a very different experience. The local government are keen for Leapers to help with their ongoing development projects with the Sorsogon Provincial Tourism Office.
Your projects will vary depending on what the local government needs doing at the time, but they will be based around their assessment of potential tourism destinations and the revival of museums and cultural/heritage centers.
We have 3 departures a year – in February, May & October – limited numbers per team departure so register your place early to avoid disappointment.