I’ve heard about a workaway close to Dumaguete, which ironically doesn’t imply any work. More than that, you are thought for free to dive and the accommodation per week, in a tent or dorm, is only 300 pesos (5$, but only if you dive, the price for the accommodation is this cheap, otherwise is 700pesos/week). The places is called Thad’s Place and it’s run by an American, who teaches the locals to become divemasters, so they can earn an income from this in the future. The people that come here to learn or just to dive, are paying only for the air tank which is 800pesos (15$). The air that remains unused in the tanks is used by the locals to learn how to dive. So, by diving in this place, you are also helping the local community.
I thought that this could be a good place to stay for a month, where I can practice my diving skills and work remotely on my projects.
Like any other place, situation or person, nothing is black or white, there are just many shades of grey. Thad’s Place is no exception. And, I guess, it depends on each person if they like the place or not. Here are my thoughts about it:
It’s a real community here at Thad’s and all have the same goals: to have fun, to dive and to have a great time. People are living here for months, or just for a few days, but they are just like a family: they cook together (only if you want), sing together around the campfire on the beach in the evenings, play ping pong (beer pong) and all sorts of activities.
Living by the seaside
Thad’s Place is located by the seaside and you can dive right from the house “porch”. You have a great sunrise from the sea, the sky is full with millions of stars and the moon rises every evening red from the sea. I’ve never lived on the beach, but I’ve always wanted to, so this was my dream coming true.
Super cheap living
The accommodation is amazingly cheap and even the life in the Philippines is way cheaper than in the rest of Asia. Thad’s Place is not in a touristic area so the prices are the same as for the locals. You pay only 7 pesos (15 $cents) to take the jeepney to go to the nearest market and all the products there cost a few cents.
Plenty of activities
Because everybody wants to have a great time, there are always organized trips to see waterfalls, lakes or to go parties and diving on Apo island (is a perfect place to see microfauna and gardens of corals).
Not suitable for nonlicensed divers
For those that already have their diving license, this place is perfect. You can dive as much as you want and the price is really good. But for those which don’t have the license yet, this is not the best place for them to get it. Nobody explains to you the rules or gives you a brief training on how things work when you dive. When I did my PADI course I have been explained the risks and what to do to not put my life in danger. For example, you can easily decompress if you go too fast on the surface and that can lead even to death.
It’s kinda of dirty
Being such a big place that can accommodate more than 30 people, is challenging to maintain it clean. Everybody should help to keep it clean but not everybody does it. When you are on vacation you don’t feel like cleaning, swiping, washing dishes or toilets. There is a cleaning system implemented by Thad but is not taken too seriously. The result? Everything is messy and dirty: the dorm is full of sand, bottles and lost objects. The kitchen is always dirty, doesn’t matter how often is cleaned.
I met great people there and I think this is the only reason I left: to travel with them. Apart from that, they give you great tips on what to visit and where to go next. And, if you are like me, you’ll want to see them all.
Thad’s Place was a great experience and I recommend it from all my heart!