Dumaguete & Dauin Area Beach Resorts

January 25, 2009 - Filed under Planning

The other day a reader of our blog emailed me asking for a hotel recommendation in Dauin. A lot of the guide books are pretty lacking on this area and usually only have one or two listed. I realized this was something we haven’t really talked much about since we arrived here, and figure it was about time we made a post about it. Keep in mind we haven’t been to all of these, but I’ll give you a bit of info about the ones we have been to, and then list the others in the area and you can check them out for yourself. Read More…

Posted by: Kelly

Week 19: Happy 30th Birthday Kelly!

January 12, 2009 - Filed under Planning, Weekly Report

Happy Birthday Kelly

This week our update comes from the beautifully manicured grounds of the Thalatta Beach Resort. We decided to celebrate Kelly’s 30th birthday with a little change of locale and some diving, swimming, and spa time. Just 15 minutes south of Dauin in Zamboanguita, with 12 nice little cottages just off the beach and a large wine and spirits selection, Thalatta has been a nice place to kick back, relax, and celebrate the latest arrival to middle age. Its a shame they don’t have a seniors diving discount… :) Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Week 18: Hello 2009!

January 5, 2009 - Filed under Planning, Weekly Report

I can’t believe it’s 2009 already, and that in a week I’m going to be 30! We rang in the new year on a beach, with a couple bottles of champagne and some of the friends we’ve made over the last 4 months here in the Philippines.

2008 has been a year of change. It was back in January that we started planning this crazy adventure and pretty much everything we’ve done over this past year has been in anticipation of this. In March Mike quit his job and went freelance full time. I spent most of April getting my loft ready to sell, and finally listed it in May. We made trips to Vancouver Island, Kelowna, and Edmonton, to make sure we saw all our family before we left. I gave notice at work in June, but stayed on till just before we left. August is a bit of a blur, what with packing, planing, organizing, and an endless amount of good-bye drinks, it all went by so fast. Read More…

Posted by: Kelly

Dumaguete and Dauin Online Resources

December 16, 2008 - Filed under General, Planning, Scuba Diving, Stuff to do

We’re becoming a bit more familiar with the area now that we’re settled in and starting to explore the surrounding areas a bit further. Our friends back home in Canada and some of our newer readers have asked for more information about visiting the Dauin and Dumaguete area. Rather than try to rewrite all the great information already available online, I thought I would compile a list of some of the resources we’ve come across and found useful. Sure, it’s a little biased towards scuba divers, but there’s lots of great accomodations and general information too. We’ve found the forums particularly helpful. Feel free to post in the comments section if you have any specific questions about the area that we might be able to help you with, or suggest a resource we might have missed! Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Broadband Internet availability in the Philippines (on the beach)

December 12, 2008 - Filed under General, Planning

Yup, we’re nerdy. We’re traveling with the condition of having internet connectivity wherever we are. And not just an internet cafe or dialup connection. If we’re spending any length of time in one place, we need broadband. For many people an internet cafe will suffice for checking email and logging into Facebook, but when we’re in work mode the volume and size of files we’re dealing with requires a fast connection. Before coming to the Philippines the availability and cost of broadband service was a huge concern of ours. Not wanting to live in a city, was it even possible to get fast internet on a beach?

We spent a lot of time looking for an ISP in the Philippines. There are plenty. Unfortunately, the majority of them are dialup service providers with the few offering broadband service located in major metropolitan areas like Manilla, Cebu, and Bacolod. Even then, service can be questionable depending on the quality of the telephone lines in your neighbourhood. A few service providers offer dedicated lines, but the urban location didn’t make this a viable option for us. We decided to just up and go. Maybe we’d have to resort to satellite internet service? Not out of the question, but expensive. Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Getting Around in the Philippines

December 3, 2008 - Filed under Bikes, Trikes, and Automobiles, Planning, Travel

Transportation in the Philippines can seem a little daunting at first. Unlike many other South East Asian countries, there isn’t really an established “backpacker trail” and getting from place to place can take a bit of time. That being said, there is usually more than one option to get you where you want to go and depending on your budget there’s sure to be something to suit your needs. So whether you choose to travel by air, land, or sea, remember that getting there is sometimes half the fun.


Domestic air travel in the Philippines is relatively affordable, and of course the quickest way to get around. The ferry from Manila to Puerto Princessa is a grueling 22 hours (if everything runs on time) where as the flight will take you a little over an hour. Read More…

Posted by: Shim

How we moved to a tropical paradise

November 5, 2008 - Filed under Planning, Travel

Some of our readers have asked us, “Why did you move to the Philippines?” To which we often laughingly reply, “Why not?” Kelly and I both had a serious case of the travel bug shortly after our trip to Brazil a year ago and we had decided that we would (and could!) turn nomadic freelancing into a full time reality.

The real answer is; it came down to almost a year of planning and research. Weighing the best locations to live long term and cheaply in a tropical destination with reliable internet access. Many of our original preconcieved expectations were adjusted over that period. I remember initially thinking, “I can live like a king for next to nothing!” and “Wouldn’t a hut with sand floors, right on the beach be perfect?”… and while both of those are still ideals we’re searching for, we’ve settled for a more realistic situation combining the right measure of cost and comfort together with the necessities needed to carry on business in a country with substantially less IT infrastructure than we have at home. Besides, who can type in a hammock?
Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Goodbye Vancouver

September 9, 2008 - Filed under Planning

Our last two weeks in Vancouver went by faster than I ever thought they could. Reality started to set in that we were leaving and the magnitude of all the things we still had to do, finally started to hit. Vaccinations, health insurance, visas, packing, getting rid of the last of our things, and of course connecting with everyone before we left.

Between our going away party, and many nights out with close friends, we’ve managed to say goodbye to almost everyone on the list. It’s been great to spend our last few days surrounded by good friends and family. And I think I’ve come to realize, that the thing I’m going to miss most about Vancouver is just that – all of you!

So long and thanks for all the drinks!

Posted by: Kelly

Telling the ones you love

September 6, 2008 - Filed under Planning

I’ve had the urge to travel for as long as I can remember. Even as a child I was a wanderer. Much to my mother’s dismay and often times embarrassment, I was an explorer. It didn’t really matter where we were, sometimes it was at the park, sometimes on family vacation, or, more often than not, at the grocery store. She’d turn her back for a second and i’d be off, wandering the aisles in search of the great unknown. Then, before long, that all too familiar voice would be heard over the intercom.

“Attention shoppers: Could the mother of a blond haired, blue eyed girl, wearing a red t-shirt please come to customer service?”

My mother would flush with embarrassment, as she once again went to retrieve her wandering child from the security desk.

Twenty-some years later, I’m still a wanderer. And although my mother is used to it. I don’t think it gets any easier.  In fact I think it gets harder.

When I was 21 and set out to see the world it was expected, and encouraged. But now, years later, when you tell your family you’re quitting your job, selling everything you own and moving half-way around the world, it can be a little harder to understand.

Posted by: Kelly

Sticking it out at the job

September 6, 2008 - Filed under Planning

Once we’d made the decision to go it was on to the fun part, deciding when and where to go. We spent countless hours talking about islands and beaches and realistically when we thought we could actually do this.  It wasn’t like we could just pick up and leave the next day.  There was planning and researching and of course saving, which naturally meant keeping the day job.

At first it wasn’t that hard, I liked my job, and August seemed forever away.  But the closer it got, the closer I came to just blurting it out.  Someone would mention that a client wanted to launch in September, and all I could think, was “Great, I won’t be here, they can do whatever they want” But of course I couldn’t say that. That would be unprofessional, and I didn’t want to get fired before I quit.

So i stuck it out. Of course there were days that were harder than others. There were days when it was raining and I just wanted to rollover and stay in bed, especially once Mike had quit. But I stuck it out, kept quite and slowly the months passed by.

When Q-day finally came, I had run the scenario in my head so many times it should have been easy. But as the moment approached I still wasn’t sure exactly what I was gonna say. I passed my boss in the hall and asked if he had a minute. We went into a meeting room and I just kind of blurted it out. “I’m giving my notice.” It felt good to finally say it. “I’m quitting. I’m going traveling. It’s not you it’s me.”

It felt like a giant weight had been lifted off my shoulders. All this time, all that planning, this was official, we were actually doing it, and I no longer had to keep it a secret.

Posted by: Kelly