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:
- an examined life to deepen your evolution
- freedom to pursue your excitement
- 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:
- 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.
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:
- a small patch of land (500-1000m2) either by the water or up with a view, not too far away from town
- 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
- yoga center for retreats and workshops with yogic friends
- calisthenics playground for my own fitness indulgence, enjoining friends
- chill-out area where friends gather to share insight and thoughts
- bicycle for every guest for mobility around town
- 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!
- like Vipassana, no money is asked for, but donations are welcome - hopefully, this alone will sustain the project
- like Thich Nhat Hanh's Plum Village, a bell will sound every 15 minutes reminding everyone to stay present in the here-and-now
- 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:
- Coron, Palawan - access to clusters of islands, snorkeling and mountain bike rides. I will also be spending more time with good buddy Outback Greg
- 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
- 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
- you have an ideal place in mind? Post it or email me.
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:
- there will be space to accommodate more friends who wish to stay
- there is no room to be complacent - this is a rest-stop to heal, find center and celebrate friendship, not to settle down
- the fresh influx of new people keep the energy fresh, alive and always vibrant
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.
YOGA by Gigit | Learn English | Travel like a Nomad | Donation Bank
(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!
(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. 🙂
(Mar 12, 2018) It's a wonderful idea. Go for it!
(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 ❤❤❤
(Mar 12, 2018) music to my ears ❤❤❤
(Mar 12, 2018) Great idea and it can happen! It will be great to share and contribute 🙂 🙏
(Mar 12, 2018) ...as it is equally great to see you again and attend your class 🙏
(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.
(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 ❤
(Mar 11, 2018) We're all behind you, Git! One day it'll come to fruition. Exciting yan!
Vijay Laxmi Goyal
(Mar 11, 2018) Amazing idea Gigit 🙂
Melissa 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! ❤ ❤
(Mar 10, 2018) That would be amazing!
(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 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 ❤
(Mar 10, 2018) Rock on. I'll come visit. C
(Mar 10, 2018) ...it would be a dream to see you again, my dear teacher...it's been a long time! ❤
Thai Plum Village
(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) ...to have you for less time would be a crime :) 🙂
(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) ...to attend your class again in this Shangrila would be bliss, my dear Joanna! ❤
(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
(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 ❤
(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 ❤
(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-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 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. 🙂
(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 ❤
(Mar 10, 2018) Go for it!! ❤ 🙏
(Mar 11, 2018) ...as we went for it...with a few laughs ❤ 🙏
Kenjie De Guzman
(Mar 10, 2018) Sounds exciting 🙂
(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.
Prajna Yoga Shala
(Mar 10, 2018) Good Idea. You may need to set a Foundation for this
(Mar 11, 2018) Another Sivananda class? Yey!
(Mar 10, 2018) Sounds fantastic! 🙂
(Mar 11, 2018) we'll make it as fantastic as you did at Angkor Zen! 🙂
Lalah 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 de Dios
(Mar 12, 2018) YES!!!! As many as you want 🙏
Next story: Forgiveness
Loboc, Bohol, Philippines
Bohol FYI / Tips
- the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are, is located within the Alona Beach area
- the tourist attractions in Bohol are far apart and spread-out. It would be difficult to visit them all using public mass transit. Better hire a van (P3500/day) if in a big group, or rent a motorcycle (P400/day + gas)
- Bohol relies on its tourism for revenue. As expected, everything they can capitalize on from tourism is extensively used and developed
Tagbilaran Port to PanglaoYou can charter any tricycle from the port all the way to Panglao (~P300), but if you want to do it on the cheap,
- 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)
- 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
- 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
- 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
- SuperCat (2GO) - departs 5:50-11AM, 3:45-5:25-8:15PM, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
+63 32 233 7000
Things to do, Places to go in Bohol
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Carlos P. Garcia Island
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Goodbye Loboc, Goodbye Philippines
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