Category Archives: Peace Corps Philippines

Learn what it’s like to be a Peace Corps volunteer from Tommy’s experiences during his service in the Philippines. This section includes highlights from more than two years in the Peace Corps Philippines program.

Cliff jumping at a Siquijor Island Beach

Cliff Diving Siquijor: Coco Grove Resort to Salagdoong Beach

Preston and I took a short overnight trip to nearby Siquijor Island. We got in a visit to the cliffs of the Salagdoong Beach, played several games of “horse race” courtesy of Kyle and Melissa from my Peace Corps group. Preston even found the swimming pool he was looking for at the Coco Grove where […]

Taking an afternoon walk in Dumaguete at Sunset

24 Hours in Dumaguete: Exploring the Gentle City

After leaving Palawan, Preston and I headed back to my Peace Corps site in Dumaguete. It was fun to show him around some of the highlights of the town here since he’s the first family visitor, and I had to make sure his report back home was good. We hit most of the highlights, even […]

Scuba Diving Day trip to Apo Island

Scuba Diving Apo Island During the Peak Season

Our first stop in Dumaguete when my brother Preston came to visit was Apo Island. He wanted to experience some of the best diving the Philippines has to offer, and to me Apo is the best place that I’ve ever been to. We tried out Cogon and Coconut points, and although the visibility was much […]

Riding the Roof of the Palawan bus to the Underground River

Palawan’s Underground River: One Really, Really Big Cave

The last stop in Palawan for Preston’s visit was the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sabang and the Underground River. After an eight hour ride on the “dust bus”, we lucked out and caught the last jeepney for the day in to Sabang. We woke up early the next morning to hike the “jungle trail” […]

El Nido Bangka and White Sand Beach

Exploring El Nido: Daily Life in Palawan’s Biggest Small Town

My brother Preston came to visit the Philippines this February, and I decided that a nice introduction to the country would be a trip to the legendary El Nido in Palawan. Kris and Kristen Kerecman from my Peace Corps group are in the enviable position of being assigned there, and rolled out the red carpet […]

Sea Kayaking El Nido in a Traditional Bangka Boat

Sea Kayaking Palawan: El Nido to Monkey Point

After our adventure to Dilumacad Island, Preston and I decided to paddle around in Kris and Kristen’s bangka boat for an afternoon without the gear that we took on the overnight trip. We pointed the little craft towards “Monkey Point,” we gave it the name the first morning we were in El Nido because we […]

Palawan Sea Kayaking Overnight Island Beach Camping Trip

The Optimist’s Guide to Island Beach Camping

Kris and Kristen bought a small traditional Filipino boat known as a bangka to take on short trips to the islands surrounding El Nido. Preston and I borrowed their little boat one day to take an overnight trip to Dilumacad Island which is located about 4 or 5 miles from El Nido. We didn’t have […]

Island Hopping the Best Beaches around El Nido

Discovering El Nido’s Secret Beach: Palawan Island Hopping Day Trip

One of the most popular things to do around El Nido is an island hopping day trip. Kris and Kristen put together a “best of the best” island day trip from all the spots they had visited near El Nido. The highlight for me had to be the incredible “Secret Beach” that you had to […]

Scuba Diving Day trip around El Nido, Palawan

Diving El Nido: Scuba Diving Day Trip In Palawan

Preston and I decided to start off the visit to El Nido with a dive trip. Barely 24 hours after he had arrived in the country, we were suited up with scuba gear and underwater to see the different varieties of sealife that live around Palawan. I’m still biased towards Apo Island being my favorite […]

The White Sand Beach at the Apo Island Community

Scuba Diving Cogon Point at Apo Island & Village Guitar Jam

My old friend Kurt from my hometown in Winchester, Virginia was working in Manila for a few months in late 2004. Just before he was due to return home to the States, he got in a quick weekend visit to Dumaguete. Although we didn’t really hang around Dumaguete very much because I met him at […]

Underwater Photo of a Clown Fish in the Philippines

Clown Fish Dive at Sumilon Island: Dumaguete Day Trip

The last field trip for Dr. Johnston’s class in the Philippines was a return to Sumilon Island. This time the students had underwater writing tablets and took down observations about whichever species of fish or coral they chose to study. Meanwhile I circulated around and took more photos of the many different species that live […]

Night Dive at Apo Island, Philippines

Night Dive at Apo Island: After Dark at Liberty’s Resort

The highlight of Dr. Johnston’s field trips in the Philippines was the overnight trip to Apo Island. As part of the background info for the course, everyone read a chapter about Apo in “The Enchanted Braid”, a book about threatened reefs worldwide. We did a dive on the Chapel site during the day and night […]

Snorkeling the coral reefs of Siquijor

Snorkeling in Siquijor: Exploring Coco Grove’s Reef

As a contrast to the reefs of Sumilon Island, Dr. Johnston took his class to Siquijor to snorkel a seagrass environment and also see the Tulapos Fish Sanctuary. I came along for the trip and took some photos of a jellyfish and other critters that live in shallow water environments like the seagrass bed.

Underwater photography of a Lion Fish in the Philippines

Diving Sumilon Island’s Marine Sanctuary: Dumaguete Side Trips

In January, the Silliman Marine Lab hosted a group of American marine biology students for a two week study abroad program sponsored by Bethel College in Minnesota. Aside from getting a chance to escape the Midwest winter, the students had the opportunity to see some of the best reefs in the Philippines and learn a […]

Swimming with a Hawksbill Sea Turtle on Scuba Dive at Apo Island

Hawksbill Sea Turtles at Cogon Point: Apo Island Scuba

In the first week of January I visited Apo with Corey and Jason from my Peace Corps group. We did one dive with Mario, Apo’s barangay captain on Cogon Point. We saw more turtles on this dive than any other I have ever been on, and one of the shots from this trip was used […]

Village Life on Apo Island near Dumaguete

Experiencing Apo Island Life at Liberty’s Resort

Since my friend Steve is the first visitor from home I’ve had to my site in Dumaguete, I wanted to be sure he had good things to say about the place when he got back to the States. Apo Island is pretty much my favorite place to go visit nearby, so I booked us at […]

Sunset dive trip at Apo Island near Dumaguete

Apo Island Blues: Into the Open Water of TaƱon Strait

While he was here visiting the Philippines, my friend Steve got his scuba certification while I was attending a Peace Corps training outside Manila. Since my site in Dumaguete is only a short trip from Apo Island, one of the best dive spots in the country, Steve and I stayed at Liberty’s on the island […]

Afternoon boat trip from Apo Island to Dumaguete

Dumaguete Day Trip to Apo Island: Diving Coconut Point

Since Apo Island is so close to Dumaguete, volunteers who pass through from out of town usually want to go out for a visit. In late September, I helped Katie Bradley, a fellow PCV to learn a little about taking photos underwater (although I’m still in the learning phase myself!). Hanes Roberts, one of my […]

Beach Sunset on Siquijor looking towards Negros Island

Exploring Larena Siquijor: Photoessay from the Philippines

Siquijor is only a short boat ride from Dumaguete, so I’ve found myself going over there quite a few times to see a new island and visit Kyle and Melissa from my Peace Corps group. They live in a traditional nipa palm hut just outside Larena, one of the larger towns on the island. This […]

A Dive Boat anchored on a white sand beach in Siquijor

Scuba Diving Siquijor: Exploring Larena’s Coral Reefs

Just a short boat trip from Dumaguete is the island of Siquijor. In September 2004, Kyle and Melissa Rickert, two volunteers from my group had a house warming party for the nipa house they built themselves to live in during their two year Peace Corps service. Just before the house warming festivities kicked off, Daniel […]