The Path Less Traveled

I have always been an individual who loves to explore and wander down paths no one could tell me much about.  The less I knew about it, the more the desire burned inside me to venture in that direction.  From the very young age of wandering miles from town, through muddy fields to build secret forts, to auditioning and attending Theater School in Quebec.  There has always been a passion for tackling the road less traveled.  If you’re an individual like myself you also know that this can lead to unfortunate events or misadventures as not all paths lead to treasure and exotic places.  I learned this early on when I found myself with an axe in my leg and five miles from any person, place or phone.  Nevertheless, this never deterred me from any opportunity to embark on the next adventure.  How could it, because on occasion the path less traveled leads you on an adventure full of enchantment and treasures.  This was the case with our experience with “Big Dream Boat Man” this past December.

DSCN1930   Last year my fiancée and I along with two close friends decided to take the path less traveled when we booked a four day excursion with “Big Dream Boat Man”, a two man private company situated on the island of Coron.  We had been touring through the Philippine Islands and had already visited many places like Manila, Cebu and Dumaguete.  We had decided to board a small plane to the island of Coron where we would meet with Krish and Oli, the young entrepreneurs of “Big Dream Boat Man (BDBM)”.  It was here where we would embark on an unforgettable adventure off the beaten path and find wonders that we only dream about.  We fell in love with all the islands we touched through the province of Palawan and I can’t express enough thanks and gratitude towards BDBM for making this dream a reality.

BDBM was founded by Krish and Oli and they had just had there maiden voyage earlier that year.  We were the second expedition of their business and they did everything possible to make our adventure a memorable one.  We found out that the reason for their company was because of frustrations with other ‘day trip’ operators in the area.  Businesses who had a lack of social and eco responsibility and an attitude of ‘lets get as many tourists on a boat as we can’.  BDBM decided to be different and as their mandate states, “to create a socially responsible expeditions business that would show guests the true beauty of island life, out of stuffy hotels, away from the crowds, during a true adventure.  And so BDBM was born, and on a boat Kirsh had rented our group of four set sail not knowing where or what to expect.

That day we uncovered beauty that our eyes had never seen before, that our hearts had never felt before, and a taste never experienced when we ate our first meal of rice, seafood and fruit.  DSC03487The Philippine cuisine is quite eclectic and requires an adjustment for those who don’t venture outside their food comfort zone often.IMG_3789  If you’re one of those people who struggle with new foods, there is never a shortage of rice or fruit and of course what would island life be without island rum.  That day we snorkeled, climbed, hiked, relaxed and explored wonders unlike anything we had ever encountered before.  We could’ve ended our trip there and went home with all our expectations exceeded.

No adventure is ever short of unfortunate events and this one was no exception when our boats motor wouldn’t start after stopping for a swim.  For us there was no urgency because if we were to ever be stranded anywhere on this planet this would be the place.  We enjoyed a place they call Twin Lagoon where you pull up to the first lagoon and then swim under a small crevice to find the second hidden lagoon.

The water temperatures here alternate between warm and cold as cold freshwater meets the hot salt water.  It’s incredibly relaxing to just float and drift as you’re surrounded by towering rock and beauty.  This is exactly what we did as the crew of BDBM dealt with the engine troubles.  Apparently it’s not very safe to be on the waters at night so the urgency for Krish and his crew must’ve been much greater than the four of us realized.  Without showing any panic or frustration of any kind the crew figured out that the engine problem was due to the starter.  With a lengthy strand of rope they acquired from the anchor the three of them managed to start the motor via the old fashioned pull method.  To our surprise, they spent the rest of the trip starting the motor the same way which became one of many favorite memories of our trip.  Their service and care for our well-being was unbelievable, so much so that when we tired of our lazy drifting they were quick to offer us bottomless rum drinks which we enjoyed bathing under the extreme heat of the Philippine sun.

Now I know you’re thinking that island life is the same everywhere but I argue that this is not true.  Yes beaches are beautiful and the salt water is wonderful but BDBM offers not just these things.  Both Krish and Oli are trying to support the locals wherever they can and encourage people that are with them to engage with there surroundings to truly experience life in a different way.DSC03600  It’s an educational journey as much as it is a relaxing one and you leave a changed individual.  It’s truly a life changing event and I understand why Oli, a British traveler decided in 2016 to help make Krish’s Big Dream Boat Man a reality.  Our days with them were spent learning about local life, history, environment, politics, beliefs and values.  They were lessons unlike anything I could learn from a book.  I wish it wasn’t so but some things you just have to experience.  No amount of books, videos or teachings can make you understand things like a war, pain, poverty etc…. unless experienced.  This is true with BDBM and what they have to offer with their expeditions.  It was as though time didn’t exist during these days.  Never once was I DSCN2020looking at a watch or wondering about anything else.  I was simply living and enjoying every moment.  There are very few times throughout my life that I have felt so full and complete, and I’ve had a very full life.  IMG_3904Amidst all the educational opportunity and experience there are plenty of beaches, caves, shipwrecks, campfires and islands so small that you wonder how they’re not swallowed by the ocean surrounding them.   To the right you can see Krish who managed to get a hold of a squid that became our dinner that evening and part of our breakfast the next morning.  Below you’ll find a few of the hundreds of memories you’ll make if you choose to book a trip with BDBM.  I recommend you put it on your top ten bucket list.

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Writing about this experience months later has memories flooding back that warm my soul.  What we experienced with BDBM will be very difficult to replicate ever again and I can only hope that we one day return to the Philippines and reunite with Oli and Krish for another trip.  Every expedition has hidden gems to find and places barely touched, but this one has set the bar extremely high and I accept the challenge to find a place that will bring me as much joy and euphoria as this trip did.DSCN1979  This is the reason I travel paths less traveled when the opportunity presents itself.  This is the reason why I have a burning desire that pulls me towards places that I know nothing of.  Every once in awhile you come across paths of unequivocal treasures.  Thank you Krish and Oli and the crew of Big Dream Boat Man for giving us such a wonderful experience  that we’ll treasure for a lifetime.



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