Tao Philippines Expedition

We are pretty sure that anyone who has done this expedition would looove to repeat it again and again. Why? Well, there are so many reasons that it would take a whole lot than a blog article to explain it. Luckily for you we have put together the most important information and the main details you have to know about this adventure – what to expect and how much it costs.

TAO Philippines expedition

View from TAO Philippines expedition sailing boat – arriving to basecamp

What is a Tao expedition?

In Filipino “Tao” means “human”. It symbolizes a journey, during which you can reconnect with yourself and your thoughts, and look at things from a completely different point of view. In short, it is a five-day boat trip through the Coron Bay and Sulu Sea, which includes overnight stay on a very remote tourist-free and wifi-free islands. Tao calls it a digital detox.

TAO Philippines paraw sailing boat "Balatik"

TAO Philippines paraw sailing boat “Balatik”

First, it must be said that this expedition is not for everyone. It doesn’t provide a nice bed and air conditioner and there are a number of factors that somebody may not like – rain, big waves, non-stop rooster crowing, limited privacy, sunburn, mosquito bites etc. So, if you already scrunch your nose about these things, it’s not for you.

Depending on your budget, your wishes and your time options, you can choose one of the following expeditions:

  • Sailing Tao Experience. This expedition is for independent travelers with a common goal – to escape the civilization in the most beautiful way possible with like-minded people. This five-day/four-night adventure is intended for a group up to 23 people. Price per person – 600 USD.
  • Open Group Tao Experience. This five-day/four-night expedition is also for independent traveler group up to 24 people. The only difference is that this expedition takes place on a simpler boat. Price per person – 545 USD.
  • Island Safari To Camp Ngey! Ngey! A new project from Tao Philippines – a three-day/two-night adventure in the abandoned resort of Manguengey on the remote Busuanga island. Price per person – 325 USD.

It is possible to book a private expedition as well, but these are the most popular ones.

What to expect?

First of all expect that for a whole five days you will be doing nothing but relaxing, eating great food, snorkeling and swimming in the clearest waters in Philippines. Not too shabby, huh?

Each day is different and filled with new exciting things to do like caving, cliff jumping, snorkeling, volleyball playing etc. But the most exciting day always is the first one when you get to know the crew members and all the adventurers.

Voleyball with TAO Philippines crew members on Daracotan island

Voleyball with TAO Philippines crew members on Daracotan island

Tao mornings start early – around 6 am. Some start the day with coffee, some with hangover and some with yoga class. Each day the boat stops at three places – secluded beaches, huge caves or breathtaking snorkeling sites. Nothing is obligatory on this expedition – if you want to, you can just stay on the boat deck and read a book or join the others for adventures.

Every night shortly before the sunset the boat stops at different location for overnight stay. And it’s always so much fun – karaoke, bonfires, drinks and talks until the sun comes up.

Accommodations

Accommodations are called basecamps, and each night it is different location – a local village or deserted island. Everyone sleeps in a private or shared bungalow while listening to gecko songs and palm rustling. Very exotic!

Tuka huts - Filipino bamboo architecture

Tuka huts - Filipino bamboo architecture

Tuka huts – Filipino bamboo architecture

Particularly interesting place is the main basecamp -Tao Headquarters, in which they grow the food that Tao adventurers are eating on the deck. Oh, and another thing – they offer to enjoy an hour long massage for free! And the second one is also almost for free – only p300, so please be generous and leave the tip, as these women work really hard.

Food & Drinks

Similarly to exploring new islands, also each meal is like a little exotic journey for taste buds, not to mention the breathtaking view – turquoise water, white sand beaches, palm trees… Can you imagine a better place for your dinner?

Tao cook is the Master of the kitchen. Adventurers are abundantly fed three times a day, not to mention the treats between the meals. Lunch is always on the boat deck, but breakfast and dinner usually are served at the basecamps.

Meals were mostly based on on freshly caught seafood and of course rice, the Filipino power. Almost all the food is grown in Tao farms – bananas, rice, coconuts, calamondins and other fruits and vegetables, and also the meat.

Each meal is like a little exotic journey for taste buds - TAO Philippines

Each meal is like a little exotic journey for taste buds – TAO Philippines

As for the drinks, water on the deck is always available, and so is two big cold boxes filled with soft drinks, beers and rum. Each night before stepping off the deck the crew serves their speciality – jungle juice. It’s a mix of water, local rum and pineapple juice. Very simple, but yummy and strong!

A bit of TAO Philippines history

It all began in 2006, when Tao was founded as a social enterprise with an aim to educate the island residents. So far they have established dozens of schools and a number of workshops where locals have mastered the English language and different types of skills allowing them use the resources available to them more efficiently.

Young men are mainly trained for the work on board, while women work in farms, create handicrafts and ecological soaps and shampoos, and also work as masseuses.

There are about 300 people working in Tao community and 150 of them are paid employees.

Who sponsors it all? You, me and everyone else who participates in Tao expeditions. This is one of the reasons why Filipinos really respect the travelers, as we are the main reason why they are able to develop remote rural areas. However, the respect should be mutual, because we are only guests at their beautiful home.

To sum it up…

This surely is an ideal adventure for those who feel really connected with nature and for those who want to completely forget their daily routine and find a cure of Facebook addiction. You arrive there as a stranger but leave as a friend, and this feeling stays in your heart and mind for a long time. Definitely the most unique way to travel around Palawan!

Travel tip!

If you plan to travel to other places in Philippines, try to book the Tao expedition at the end of your vacation, otherwise all the other places will not satisfy you after this kind of adventure.

What others have to say about the Tao? Read plenty of other great reviews in TripAdvisor and book your next adventure now!

TAO Philippines expedition

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