01/04/2017 Updated Blog Post: TAO Philippines: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at What Makes @TAOPhilippines Successful?
We snorkeled in an aquarium-like coral reef with the clearest water I’ve ever seen. Then we had lunch and a tour of the much-anticipated Tao Farm before finally settling in our Tao Village base camp in El Nido.
Here’s a photo essay of the 4th day of our Tao Expedition experience…
Tao Expedition Series:
We woke up to another beautiful view of the beach.
I like the huts here at Guinto base camp–higher ceiling with more personal space.
We had pancakes with banana jam…
…before making our final push to Bacuit Bay in El Nido!
Linipacan Clear Waters
First stop of the day was Tacling Cabbage coral reef near the Calibangbangan Fishing Village in Linipacan. The water was so clear that you could see the bottom of the reef. It’s like swimming in an aquarium!
I regret not having an underwater GoPro to document the experience. 🙁
We had hand-made french fries with ketchup for lunch. 🙂
Do you have what it takes to beat the crew in arm wrestling? 🙂
Daracoton Tao Base Camp
2nd stop was the Daracoton Tao base camp…
…where we snorkeled around a fishing boat wreck…
…explored the base camp, and visited the nearby fishing village.
The Daracoton Tao base camp has a nice two-level bamboo building with a beautiful view of the sea.
This is the single-detached hut in the base camp.
The bed configuration inside the hut.
The restroom situation in the base camp.
One of the main industries in the Northern Isles of Palawan is dried fish!
There were a lot of pigs around the fishing village.
This well is the main source of water for the village.
This is another one of the Tao Kindergarten Projects for the island.
Had my first taste of fresh Coconut Wine harvested from this coconut tree with a bottle.
Very sweet tuba, milky in color, but has a vinegary scent.
We had the sweet, freshly harvested coconut before heading out to our next destination.
3rd stop was Lunch at the Tao Farm home base!
The Tao Paraw sailboat named Balatik, about to go on its Maiden Voyage in November for the Tao Expedition. It uses a sail when there’s wind power available.
Tao Farm Lunch
We met Anne Pansinsoy, the head cook responsible for the yummy and diverse food at Tao Philippines.
We had Talinum–local spinach salad with honey, calamansi, and pepper, served on a Cadlao driftwood salad bowl, used at the start of the Tao Expedition.
Paksiw na isda for lunch at the farm.
Signature pickled chili in sweet vinegar sauce made by Anne.
Nothing beats the taste of freshly harvested vegetables, prepared by the master cook herself.
We ate the dried fish we bought from the fishing village. One of my regrets is not buying this for pasalubong. 🙁
Happy faces after the yummy lunch at the Tao Philippines Farm. 🙂
Tour of the Tao Philippines Farm
Basketball in the farm.
Siesta after lunch.
The bamboo beds in the Tao Farm.
The farm has the best restroom facilities among all the base camps.
The toilet facilities.
The outdoor shower.
Water purification system.
The beautiful Tao Foundation Building made from cogon and bamboo…
…where English, Boys’ Academy, and Women Empowerment classes are held for the communities.
Anne personally toured us around the farm and shared with us the plan for the construction of the Main Kitchen.
The fish farm with brackish water to cultivate Bangus and Crabs, developed by Jimmy the Marine Biologist, one of the scholars of Tao.
The Father Pig. They breed pigs and give the baby pigs to the community to take care of. Then they buy them back at the right time.
Soon, they plan to serve pork in the Tao Farm during lunch to give the guests a break from all the grilled fish.
The composting area.
Fresh water source in the farm.
The rice fields.
Tao Philippines created 300 fiberglass Tao boats (10,000-15,000/boat) and sold them at P1,500/boat to fishermen who were affected by the typhoons.
The old-school oven system used at the farm.
Thank you to Anne for the wonderful tour of the Tao Farm!
We made our final push to our last base camp for this Tao Expedition–the TaO village located in Cadlao Island.
We had banana fries for merienda.
We caught another fish and I learned how to cut it into sashimi slices!
The meat is sliced off from its skin.
The belly part is removed…
…as well as the bone part in the middle.
The fish meat is then washed to remove the saltiness of the sea and topped with fresh kalamansi juice.
The best merienda ever–fresh sashimi off the sea served with wasabi and soy sauce! 🙂
The last base camp is at Tao Village in Cadlao Island. It’s the first base camp of Tao Philippines and situated in a nice Boracay-like beach area.
Tao Village is the most charming base camp because it’s set in the limestone cliffs. It has a generator, but the mosquitoes are nastier in this area.
Tao Village Basecamp huts.
The spacious rooms inside the huts.
Toilet at the back of the camp.
Rustic shower area.
The most beautiful hut on the base camp.
Inside the honeymoon suite. 🙂
Every night we had great conversations while we waited for dinner.
The most raved about dinner dish–Ginisang Mongo Bean…
…and Talinong salad.
Our last dinner for this Tao Expedition. I will miss hanging out and eating with the group in the remote Islands of Palawan.
We were treated to a massage on our last night!
(Note: Massage is included in the package, you need to give a tip to your massage therapist).
to be continued…
Tao Expeditions has been described as ‘One of the most pioneering cultural eco-tourism projects in the Philippines’. It is a journey to the most remote region in Palawan to discover a tropical archipelago of hundreds of paradise islands, inaccessible to independent travelers through its remoteness and lack of tourist infrastructure.
Emergency Contact Numbers: +63 908 874 9075 or +63 998 411 3576
Facebook: Tao Philippines
Coron Tao Office: Don Pedro St. Coron town (in front of Sea Dive resort).
El Nido Tao Office: Serena St. El Nido town.
Tao Expedition Fee (2015 Season): P25,000 for regular 5 days/4 nights per person
50% Deposit due to secure booking : 12,500PHP
- The journey with us onboard.
- All meals, snacks, and refreshments.
- Your overnight accommodation at Tao base-camps or in the islands.
- Fees and environmental tax in islands and nature reserve.
- Equipment: Mask and Snorkel (no Fins).
- Local fishing gears (drop line and line trawling).
- Accommodation before or after the trip with us.
- Transportation to and from the meeting point.
- Alcoholic drinks.
- Fins for snorkeling.
- El Nido Tourism Development Tax (P200) in your stay in El Nido.
Click here to check the ‘Open Group Expedition’ schedule.
Must Read: IMPORTANT TRAVEL TIPS AND INFORMATION FOR ALL TAO TRAVELERS
Here’s the map of the expedition: Tao Expedition Map
Live an Awesome Life,
Disclosure: I paid for my Tao Philippines Expedition and I’m not connected in any way with Tao Philippines. I wrote this article with my own biases, opinions, and insights. Read Our Awesome Planet Complete Disclosure Policy here.
P.S. People download episodes of Pinoy Fliptop Battle–a Filipino Pinoy Rap competition–and watch it on their mobile phones in the remote islands of Palawan.