a nomad in search of...

The CubbyHole: Envisioning a Utopian Shangrila Mar 10, 2018

The CubbyHole: Envisioning a Utopian Shangrila

Utopia: a state of things in which everything is perfect
Shangrila: a mystical, harmonious place, an earthly paradise isolated from the outside world

While viewing this documentary, Philosophy: Guide to Happiness, I got inspiration from a Greek philosopher who lived 350 years before Christ who pontificated about acquiring happiness - Epicurus. He talked about 3 things in life needed to be happy:

  1. an examined life to deepen your evolution
  2. freedom to pursue your excitement
  3. friends to share your wonderful moments with

With my blog and nomadic life, I'm already living the first 2. I have to realize the 3rd one into my vision of a Utopian Shangrila.

For friends, Epicurus went all out - purchased a big house and invited his friends to live with him. There, they celebrated life, eating together and exchanging ideas and insight.

Appealing | Daunting
This concept excites me - instead of living alone in a bamboo hut away from civilization, why not add more huts for friends who can stop-by, recharge and share themselves before moving on? Of course, this changes everything for me. I find the concept equally appealing and daunting:

  1. Appealing - after traveling all these years, I am drawn to conclude that at the end of the day, it's not about the waterfall or the cave. It's about the people-connection! So, here is a plan to underscore the people-connection without the hassle of packing, unpacking or being in transit. Now, that is appealing!
  2. Daunting - for 6 years now since choosing to travel as a minimalist with only the essentials in my backpack, I can turn my whole life on a dime. I can exercise complete nomadic mobility, doing only what excites me at the moment. If I pursue this project, I will now be burdened by ownership and management - I'll be on a leash. This also scares the living daylights out of me! But the imperative is bigger than my fear.

The Vision
For several months now, I've been thinking about settling down somewhere in the Philippines after this overseas travel. I'd been traveling for 6 years now without a home and at this point, I'm tired. Traveling no longer excites me. Because of this intention, I had been coming across exciting ideas that fortify this vision of finally settling down. The Epicurus paradigm seem to be the last jigsaw puzzle I needed to complete the picture, throwing-in powerful lessons I've learned from Burning Man, Vipassana, Thich Nhat Hanh's Plum Village and Ubud, Bali. I now see this glorious picture in front of me:

  1. a small patch of land (500-1000m2) either by the water or up with a view, not too far away from town
  2. a few bamboo huts or a sizeable dorm room where invited friends can take turns staying at - only friends, not open to the public...not for-profit either
  3. yoga center for retreats and workshops with yogic friends
  4. calisthenics playground for my own fitness indulgence, enjoining friends
  5. chill-out area where friends gather to share insight and thoughts
  6. bicycle for every guest for mobility around town
  7. like Burning Man, friends should, and expect to be interacted upon - with respect to their need for quiet time. Freedom of expression and self-reliance are encouraged. You're a good cook? Cook a meal for everyone! You teach yoga? Conduct a yoga class!
  8. like Vipassana, no money is asked for, but donations are welcome - hopefully, this alone will sustain the project
  9. like Thich Nhat Hanh's Plum Village, a bell will sound every 15 minutes reminding everyone to stay present in the here-and-now
  10. activities will center on healthy habits, fitness, spiritual quest, healing and pursuit of evolution

Given all the beautiful places I've seen in the Philippines, I've narrowed-down the possibilities (but not limited) to 3 areas:

  1. Coron, Palawan - access to clusters of islands, snorkeling and mountain bike rides. I will also be spending more time with good buddy Outback Greg
  2. Valencia, Negros Oriental - the air is cool, the land is fertile, cost of living is low, crime is low, 20 mins away from the City of Dumaguete with fruits abundant and cheap
  3. Loboc, Bohol - nestled by the river, surrounded by hills, friendly people, good friends, not too far away from Tagbilaran City, accessible to Cebu City friends
  4. you have an ideal place in mind? Post it or email me.
The CubbyHole: Envisioning a Utopian Shangrila
a concept: green open space for friends

The wooden huts will be natural with lots of bamboo. Modest but comfortable. Perhaps a bed for 2pax, clean sheets, etc. Common washroom and kitchen. Food in the fridge and kitchen is for everyone. Many things will be common and shared.

Initially, I will be inviting friends - people I met during my travels whose connection begs to be pursued, friends from the Philippines, loved ones, etc. Afterall, the whole point of this project is to celebrate life through friendship. In all likelihood, this project will house people cut from the same cloth - seekers, yogis, meditators, philosophers, travelers, artists, musicians, free thinkers, iconoclasts, etc.

At some point, this may grow to include "highly-recommended-people" by friends.

Length of Stay
Because there are not enough cottages for everyone, a guest can only stay a maximum of so many nights if there is a line. This ensures many things:

  1. there will be space to accommodate more friends who wish to stay
  2. there is no room to be complacent - this is a rest-stop to heal, find center and celebrate friendship, not to settle down
  3. the fresh influx of new people keep the energy fresh, alive and always vibrant

Ending Thoughts
All the above is just a vision...a mental draft of what might happen in the future. It's highly speculative since I don't even have the resources for land...and I have not identified where this takes place. But reality starts from intention. And I'd like to think I architecture reality through intention, due-diligence and going the whole 9 yards.

--- TheLoneRider
Yoga & Fitness Website: YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit

Facebook Users

Reader Comments:

Alix CrichtonAlix
(Apr 2, 2018) Your idea is wonderful! I hope that will be possible and I will be pleased to participate to that project! Enjoy the rest of your travel in Kuantan 🙂. Namaste!

Rimu AtkinsonRimu Atkinson
(Mar 12, 2018) It's nice to see so much enthusiasm for this idea. Maybe the next step is a gofundme page to raise some initial capital... Then we'll see how many people truly support it.

(Mar 12, 2018) I am surprised myself. Not really sure in what direction this goes, but I'll let the 'unseen hand' take it where it takes it. It seems to be growing a life of its own! But for now, I am just glad friends find this initiative relevant to the times and are supportive :)

(Mar 12, 2018) I'll help raise funds also. I want to support your project. 🙂

Juliet PamintuanJuliet Pamintuan
(Mar 12, 2018) It's a wonderful idea. Go for it!

Jeanne DumlaoJeanne Pauline
(Mar 12, 2018) this is a wonderful idea Gigit! hoping and praying that this vision will be realized someday. the world needs this. we all need to re-charge and be with like-minded people to be of further service to others. will be waiting for updates and progress from you!! ❤❤❤

(Mar 12, 2018) ...consider it your home away from home ❤❤❤

jeanne_dumlaoJeanne Pauline
(Mar 12, 2018) music to my ears ❤❤❤

Katia PerezKatia Perez
(Mar 12, 2018) Great idea and it can happen! It will be great to share and contribute 🙂 🙏

(Mar 12, 2018) it is equally great to see you again and attend your class 🙏

Rachel ConsingRachel Consing
(Mar 12, 2018) Glad to see Valencia in your short list.

(Mar 11, 2018) If you are happy to receive my contribution to your dream, I would like to contribute $200 to be a part of it.

Sandrine LegrandSandrine Legrand
(Mar 11, 2018) Dear Gigit, first of all thank you for including me in your friends list after so many years 🙂 I feel grateful and honoured. And second, it is a fantastic intention that will - I'm sure - turn into reality. I can visualize it and already sense the vibe! I know and loved Palawan, I don't know the two other places but trust they are equally beautiful. Anyway, I believe in power-spots and you will find it or it will find you 🙂 You should also check out Aurore Ville (the city of Dawn) in Tamil Nadu. It is not quite the same concept but some of the philosophy and ideas behind might inspire you.

(Mar 11, 2018) You are good energy, my dear Sandrine . You'll always be in my radar

Joan ChristineJoan Christine
(Mar 11, 2018) We're all behind you, Git! One day it'll come to fruition. Exciting yan!

Vijay Laxmi GoyalVijay Laxmi Goyal
(Mar 11, 2018) Amazing idea Gigit 🙂

Melissa Anne ThomasMelissa Anne Thomas
(Mar 11, 2018) I love it! I'll come and visit, too! A friend in Big Sur is creating something similar

(Mar 11, 2018) Yey! Let's live the Burn all over again! Burning Man

Marine MalanMarine Malan
(Mar 10, 2018) That would be amazing!

Erica BoucherErica Boucher
(Mar 10, 2018) What a beautiful vision. I'd come!

(Mar 10, 2018) attend my class, my dear teacher, and let me know if I made the grade

Aisling Ni FhaolainAisling Ni Fhaolain
(Mar 10, 2018) I Love this idea and the set up you describe (bamboo huts, shared amenities and yoga Shala) conjures up images of the yoga retreat in Siem Reap where I first met you so it feels even more real - and i can't believe it doesn't exist yet?! 🙂 "if you can see it in your mind you will hold it in your hand Gigit"

(Mar 10, 2018) Aisling, let's invite the whole gang and relive the magic all over again

Andrea PaigeAndi OO
(Mar 10, 2018) Rock on. I'll come visit. C

(Mar 10, 2018) would be a dream to see you again, my dear's been a long time!

Jim WardJim
(Mar 10, 2018) I would ask for a month a year. minimum. You have certainly (as always) got me interested in a novel idea.

(Mar 10, 2018) have you for less time would be a crime :) 🙂

Joanna Co LizaresJoanna Co Lizares
(Mar 10, 2018) My dear Gigit. I'm relieved, actually. I would love to see you settled somewhere. This plan of yours is wonderful and SO you. As you keep saying...the universe is benevolent and will provide. 🙂

(Mar 11, 2018) attend your class again in this Shangrila would be bliss, my dear Joanna!

Christine CarlosChristine Carlos
(Mar 10, 2018) Great idea! Could be a community too.

(Mar 12, 2018) ...a revolving-door community comes to mind, each making the place and people a little better when they move on

Nina NahatyaNina Nahatya
(Mar 10, 2018) It's a wonderful idea. Wonderful intention for a wonderful purpose

(Mar 11, 2018) ...fond memories of Bali would come to mind

Bobette OuanoBobette Ouano
(Mar 10, 2018) great idea! you are absolutely an awesome visionary, Gigit! I'm all in! I can actually visualize and feel everything that you described. Personally, I prefer BOHOL. it's the nearest and most accessible. how big an area is needed? I can have some friends scout for the ideal place. then we can discuss and do the math. 🙂

(Mar 10, 2018) ha-ha, always the pro-active "let's roll up our sleeves and get it done!" girl - love you Bobette

Carl JohnsonCarl Johnson
(Mar 10, 2018) Fantastic concept! Would be happy to participate, even from the initial build phase. Access to the sea would be a plus for me.

(Mar 11, 2018) ...or let's bring the sea up the mountain! 🙂

Marie Estrellita S. Tolentino-RojasMarie Estrellita S. Tolentino-Rojas
(Mar 10, 2018) I the idea, Gigit. It would be an oasis for friends to reconnect, relax and re-energize 🙂

(Mar 11, 2018) ...indeed, an oasis for yogis, meditators, philosophers, travelers, artists, free thinkers and judges! ...miss you, Judge

marie_esrellita_rojasMarie Estrellita S. Tolentino-Rojas
(Mar 12, 2018) Miss you too, Gigit! Take good care of yourself. I do hope I can visit your oasis soon. 🙂

Ksenia NikolaevaKsenia
(Mar 10, 2018) It's a wonderful step forward, it includes all that you've seen, learned and met before, I love it, good luck to you, may your project make you happy

(Mar 11, 2018) ...and as we explored Battambang after Vipassana, let's explore the town again...wherever that may be

Natalia Klimova BhandariNatalia Bhandari
(Mar 10, 2018) Go for it!! 🙏

(Mar 11, 2018) we went for it...with a few laughs 🙏

Kenjie De GuzmanKenjie De Guzman
(Mar 10, 2018) Sounds exciting 🙂

Tom LenehanTom Lenehan
(Mar 10, 2018) This is a great idea, I particularly like the idea of it being a retreat for artist, writers and those wanting to just reflect on the true values of life.

Amm Prajna PitchayaAmm Prajna Pitchaya
(Mar 10, 2018) Good Idea. You may need to set a Foundation for this

(Mar 11, 2018) Another Sivananda class? Yey!

Tammy HayanoTammy Hayano
(Mar 10, 2018) Sounds fantastic! 🙂

(Mar 11, 2018) we'll make it as fantastic as you did at Angkor Zen! 🙂

Lalah de DiosLalah de Dios
(Mar 10, 2018) Love your idea, Gigit! *manifesting* 🙂 🙏

(Mar 11, 2018) if the place is by the river, perhaps another SUP yoga class? 🙂 🙏

lalah_dediosLalah de Dios
(Mar 12, 2018) YES!!!! As many as you want 🙏

Next story: Forgiveness

Google Map Loboc, Bohol, Philippines

tourist attractions in Bohol tourist attractions hotels in Bohol hotel
Fox & The Firefly Cottages Fox & The Firefly Cottages - SUP paddle boarding, luxury riverside native cottages, mountain bike tours, SUP yoga
    Brgy. Valladolid, Loboc, Bohol
restaurant in Loboc restaurant
Villagio's Pizza Villagio's Pizza - wood burning oven, hand-tossed pizza
    Loboc Town Plaza, Loboc, Bohol

Bohol FYI / Tips

Tagbilaran Port to Panglao

You can charter any tricycle from the port all the way to Panglao (~P300), but if you want to do it on the cheap,
  1. don't take the tricycles lined-up inside the port. Walk past the port gate and immediately outside, you'll see many tricycles. Take one to the bus terminal in Dao (~P15)
  2. in Dao, take the jeep that plies the Panglao route (~P20)

Tagbilaran (Bohol) to Cebu City by boat

** schedules and rates keep changing, call for latest schedule
  1. Weesam Express - departs 6:15 AM, 11:30 AM, 4:00 PM
    one way: Economy (aircon) P500.00, Economy (non-aircon) P400.00, First Class P600.00
    round trip promo (at least 2 days advance booking): Economy (aircon) P600, Economy(non-aircon) P500, First Class P1200
    round trip promo (1 day or on the day booking): Economy (aircon) P800, Economy (non-aircon) P700, First Class P1200
  2. Ocean Jet - departs 6-7:05-8:20-9:20-11:40AM, 1-2-3:30-4:20-5:30-6:30PM, 2 hours, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
    Open Air / Tourist Class P800, Business Class P1000
    +63(32)255 7560 / +63 (32) 255 0115 / 0917 638 0000
  3. SuperCat (2GO) - departs 5:50-11AM, 3:45-5:25-8:15PM, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
    P 500.00
    +63 32 233 7000

Things to do, Places to go in Bohol

  1. Chocolate Hills - this is a clustering of more than 1200 hills within a 50km2 area. They range in height from 30-50 meters. What's unusual is their near-perfect conical shape resembling an individual chocolate chip. No one knows how they were formed. Entrance is P50/pax.
  2. Tarsier Conservation Area - located Upper Bonbon, Loboc. The tarsiers are no longer being played at by tourists as circus props, but instead, visitors now view them in cordoned-off areas in their natural 6ha habitat. As they are territorial and nocturnal, they are predictable on where they can be viewed. P50/pax.
  3. Alona Beach (Panglao) - Alona Beach is the tourist hub of Bohol. It has 1.5 kms of white sand beach lined-up by bars, hotels and restos. Alona is also the jump-off point for Balicasag Island, a world class dive destination.
  4. Danao Adventure Park - located in Barangay Magtangtang, 72 kms (2 hours ride) from Tagbilaran. Adventure activities include river trekking, tyrolean traverse, rappelling, bouldering, rock climbing and ziplining.


  1. Exploring Combento Cave Pool June 29, 2017
  2. Visiting Cabagnow Cave Pool of Anda Jun 28, 2017
  3. Exploring Anda, Bohol June 25-30, 2017

  4. Candijay
  5. Roadtrip from Candijay to Ubay July 1, 2017
  6. Firefly Tour in Candijay, Bohol June 30, 2017
  7. Freediving Canawa Cold Spring of Candijay, Bohol June 30, 2017
  8. Splashing at Can-umantad Falls, Candijay, Bohol June 30, 2017

  9. Carlos P. Garcia Island
  10. Exploring Carlos P. Garcia (CPG) Island by Bike Dec 1, 2017

  11. Corella
  12. Cycling to the Tarsiers of Corella Oct 26, 2017

  13. Dauis
  14. Cliff Dive at Molave Cove Feb 11, 2018
  15. Freediving at Molave Point, Dauis Nov 6, 2017
  16. The Return to Hinagdanan Cave Nov 5, 2017
  17. Exploring Hinagdanan Cave Oct 24, 2017

  18. Loay
  19. The Ride to Morning Hill Oct 22, 2017
  20. The Ride to the Old Spanish Tower Oct 21, 2017

  21. Loboc
  22. Goodbye Loboc, Goodbye Philippines Mar 15, 2018
  23. The CubbyHole: Envisioning a Utopian Shangrila Mar 10, 2018
  24. Fat Shredder with the Russian Twist Mar 2, 2018
  25. No-Dismount Climb to Cruz Daku Mar 1, 2018
  26. Jeffrey's Cardio Program Feb 26, 2018
  27. SUP Yoga with Lalah de Dios at Fox and the Firefly Feb 25, 2018
  28. Bike Ride with Juan Huerte: Loboc, Sikatuna, Corella and Baclayon Feb 25, 2018
  29. CT Scan Result Feb 23, 2018
  30. The Silent Killer has Arrived Feb 19-22, 2018
  31. 24+ Days at Lyn's Backpackers Inn Jan 23 - Feb 16, 2018
  32. All Day Fun with the Loboc Crew Feb 11, 2018
  33. 20-Minute Rope Skipping w/ Pranayama and Meditation Feb 9, 2018
  34. Calisthenics with Jeffrey Feb 7, 2018
  35. Abs-Core Workout with Jeffrey Feb 5, 2018
  36. High Intensity Cardio Workout Feb 2, 2018
  37. Ride to the Landslide with Jeffrey Jan 31, 2018
  38. Farm Tour with Mr. Raymond Cal Jan 29, 2018
  39. Cacao Drum Roasting Jan 27, 2018
  40. Making Sikwate: from cacao fruit to a hot dark chocolate drink Jan 25, 2018
  41. 5 Weeks at the Fox and Firefly Cottages Dec 13, 2017 - Jan 23, 2018
  42. In-House Yoga Teacher at the Fox and Firefly Cottages Jan 22, 2018
  43. Mountain Bike Rides from Tagbilaran to Loboc Jan 18, 2018
  44. Firefly Tour on a Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) Dec 19, 2017
  45. Playing Mountain Bike Tour Optimizer Dec 18, 2017
  46. Back to Loboc Dec 13, 2017
  47. 37 Days in Loboc - Thank You and Goodbye Oct 8-Nov 14, 2017
  48. Exploring Busay Falls, Loktob Spring and Jimili-an Spring...on Foot Nov 11, 2017
  49. Stand-Up Paddle Yoga with Joan Christine Nov 3, 2017
  50. Loboc River Cruise on a Stand-Up Paddle Oct 29, 2017
  51. Exploring Guimba and Sog-ong Caves of Loboc Oct 22, 2017
  52. Ziplining and Cable Car Ride at Eco-Tourism Adventure Park Oct 22, 2017
  53. Savouring Villagio Pizza Oct 19, 2017
  54. Wet and Wild Bonbon-Alegria Downhill Ride Oct 18, 2017
  55. River Cruise on Loboc River Oct 17, 2017
  56. Back Road Ride from Loboc to Loay Oct 17, 2017
  57. Leisurely Ride to Loktob Spring Oct 14, 2017
  58. Sweet Ride to Busay Falls Oct 13, 2017
  59. Bike Climb to the Virgen de Guadalupe Oct 12, 2017
  60. The Ride to Cruz Daku (Big Cross) Oct 11, 2017
  61. Exploring Loboc, Bohol Oct 8, 2017

  62. Panglao
  63. Coastal Cleanup with Plastic Free Bohol Sept 16, 2017
  64. Exploring Panglao June 12-18, 2017
  65. Yoga with Ging and Rai at Oasis Resort June 18, 2017
  66. Freediving with Ben Meerhaeghe at SeaQuest Dive Center June 16, 2017
  67. Scuba Diving Balicasag Island with SeaQuest Dive Center June 15, 2017
  68. Bohol Revisited June 12, 2017
  69. Exploring Bohol Nov 28-30, 2015

  70. San Miguel
  71. Visiting Bayongan Lake Nov 22, 2017

  72. Sevilla
  73. Killer MTB Ride from Sevilla Oct 30, 2017

  74. Sikatuna
  75. Solo Ride to the Sikatuna Tree Park Nov 2, 2017

  76. Tagbilaran
  77. 30 days in Tagbilaran, Thank You! Oct 8, 2017
  78. Breakfast Talk with Tagbilaran's Finest Oct 8, 2017
  79. Exploring the Cafe Scene of Tagbilaran Oct 7, 2017
  80. Yoga for 60+ Students at the University of Bohol Oct 4, 2017
  81. Chocolate Overload at Dalareich Chocolate House October 2, 2017
  82. Talk on Philosophy and Spirituality to 12-Graders at the University of Bohol Sep 27, 2017
  83. Celebrating the International Day of Peace Sep 23, 2017
  84. Judging a Student Debate at the University of Bohol Sept 15, 2017
  85. Fitness Workout with Chie at Bohol Tropics Resort Sept 13, 2017
  86. Modified Ashtanga Primary Series by Jing Yoga, Tagbilaran Sept 12, 2017
  87. Tagbilaran Revisited Sep 7-12, 2017
  88. Hello Tagbilaran! June 19-25, 2017

  89. Ubay
  90. Goodbye and Thank You, Ubay Nov 14-Dec 13, 2017
  91. Visiting the Ubay Stock Farm Dec 8, 2017
  92. Exploring Cambugsay Healing Hills with Lars Jensen Nov 22, 2017
  93. Visiting Ubay Green Park Nov 18, 2017
  94. The Ride to Sinandigan Boardwalk and the Yamashita Treasure Hunt Nov 18, 2017
  95. Ubay in a Nutshell Nov 17, 2017
  96. In Search of the Next Destination Nov 14, 2017
  97. 2 Days in Ubay July 1-3, 2017
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