If you’re looking for thrilling adventures in a tropical paradise, this grassroots resort in the remote Palawan Islands should be on your radar. Tao Philippines has become one of the leading adventure-travel companies in Asia because it fully immerses guests in islander culture — everything from fishing and harvesting to sleeping in open-air huts.
After what he describes as a life-changing experience at Tao, filmmaker Simon Woods spent two years creating this award-winning five-part series: People of Paradise. Matador Originals is stoked to present the final episode below.
Episode 1 introduced the Tao philosophy of “deep hanging out.” It’s about what makes travel meaningful: the opportunity to connect deeply with other people. It’s also about the right kind of guest. Simon says, “Tao talks about the trip being for travelers, not tourists, and that is an interesting distinction. It’s really for people who want to experience the local island culture with no air-con or fresh towels daily, pure and simple. It’s not for everyone. But I found that letting go of the daily comforts can be liberating and that you can discover a simple happiness again. A lot of this comes from mixing with the Filipinos and learning to laugh again.”
In episode 2, we met the local islanders known as the Lost Boys. In the constantly changing area of Palawan and the South China Sea, huge resorts and tourism businesses continue to encroach on vulnerable local islanders. By giving the Lost Boys new opportunities and direction, Tao is helping offer a different model based on sustainable, locally based development.
Episode 3 took us into the heart of Palawan’s complex matriarchal society. Tao’s head cook, Ann, led us on a mouthwatering tour through her kitchen, where she spreads the joy of Filipino cooking and culture to anyone and everyone who crosses her path.
Episode 4 looked at Tao’s unique partnership with the locals through the Tao Kalahi Foundation and the social and economic impact this has on the community.
Finally, Episode 5 concludes with a look at Tao guests’ authentic and no-frills engagement with the traditional island culture of Palawan. We also get a sneak peek at a new offering — Tao North: mountain trekking through the rice terraces of Northern Luzon.