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Community + Surf + Teaching


Itinerary Options

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Discover the Philippines

1000's of tiny islands.

Often overlooked by those either heading to Australia or those who are “doing” Asia, so we're doing our bit to bring this awesome country to your attention, having spent a hefty amount of time there last year.

Firstly – it works, it’s efficient and we like that especially when it might be your first stop on your itinerary. Secondly - the people are so kind and interesting – their history is fascinating and therefore their culture is a true mix of their past. Thirdly – the country itself - gloriously diverse, made up of over 7000 islands and covered in stunning Spanish – Filipino architecture, emerald rice fields, smouldering volcanoes and beaches – of yes, the type you see in the brochures.

However, as we like to do, we are going to lead you to the remoter parts of this country where you will be introduced to real life and not the normal traveller set up. You’ll fly into the capital, Manila and catch a one-hour domestic flight onto Legazpi City, which is on the southern tip of the main Luzon island, dominated by the active Mayon volcano.

After you have settled in and explored the volcano, Jess’s team will then lead you on an adventure to explore and contribute to two creative community conservation projects, working alongside dynamic teams who are doing their bit for development. This is what we have planned...

Venture out to some of the remotest islands of the Philippines to explore and contribute whilst being immersed in the kindest of cultures.

Program Itinerary

Step way off the backpacker trail and into traditional communities for a 3 week cultural immersion. Interweave yourself with the community, teach, learn how to surf and step onto the sides of a live volcano. Frankly it doesn’t get much better.

The following is a sample itinerary.

Wk 1

Legazpi City Acclimatise and explore

Stand in awe of the volcano...

You’ll fly into the capital of Manila, before catching a 1- hour domestic flight to Legazpi where you’ll be met in arrivals by Jess and her amazing local team.

As an introduction to the country, to allow you some rest after your long travel, and to give you time to acclimatize, you will be spend your first and last 3 days and nights at Casa Simeon, a half hour drive outside Legazpi City in the small town of Bacacay.

From the comfort of Casa Simeon you will borrow Jess’s bikes (or hop on a local tricycle) to explore this little town’s beaches, markets and waterfalls. Another day you will head off with one of Jess’s team to see the Cagsawa Ruins, Daraga Church, Lignon Hill, Legazpi Boulevard, and of course the shopping centres (huge shopping centres…well worth the visit and they love to dance in the shops…just saying, don’t be shocked!)

On the last day you have to brave the volcano – there are some great quad biking tours that whizz you up the side to see the volcano in all its glory and incredible views of the town below before zip wiring back down. Has to be done, especially for closet geographers as this is a perfect cone shaped volcano.


Casa Simeon is a 1920s Spanish-American colonial house which has been restored into a small hotel, yet remaining Jess’s family home. It is absolutely stunning and the food here is to die for – so try everything.

2 or 3 to a bedroom. Shared bathrooms. Air-conditioning and cable TV in the rooms.


3 meals a day are provided.

Wk 2

Gubat Surfing and Mangrove Planting

Surfing and Mangrove Planting

An hour and half away from Legapzi is the small beachside town of Gubat, in the province of Sorsogon. Just outside the town and tucked away on one of the most stunning beaches is a small surf club run by Noli and his team. Let me tell you this is a little slice of Robinson Crusoe paradise.


Noli is one of those good people – a surf instructor by profession and now a surf club hotelier BUT he has taken it one step further. He has started a “School to Surf” project which encourages the local kids to attend school and keep them out of trouble and in return he will teach them to surf – a life skill which in turn could provide them with an income. This is where you come in. While here, Noli will teach you to surf, in return for helping him teach the kids English, swimming and surfing.

Noli and team are also very active with environmental projects in the community so you will help him with his little projects here and there like mangrove replanting and making roofs out of nipa, a local plant, to give to the less fortunate in the community. For the surf camp’s sustenance, Noli and team have started producing bottled local food sold and marketed to the larger cities. Given the chance, he may ask you to help cook. Better yet, you might become the next model for his ads. He is a dynamic man.


Beach side surf camp in simple thatched stilted bungalows - beds are mattresses on the floor on a raised platform. 4 volunteers per bungalow.

Shower block and a restaurant on site selling delicious local food.


3 meals a day provided.

Wk 3

Ticao Island Marine and Teaching

Marine Conservation and Teaching

Next stop - Ticao Island, an island community in the Masbate province. Approximately one hour by traditional motorized boat from the mainland. BTW this is another stunning location and a great contrast as the culture here is unique.

The people of Ticao have learned to survive based on what the land and ocean can provide. Very little government support comes to this area and the main developments on the island are a result of donations and strategies from Ticao Island Resort which has become popular in the past 10 years with the scuba diving community because of the Manta Bowl, a dive site which is the highway for large marine creatures like Manta Rays, Whale Sharks, and Thresher Sharks.

The Island resort now helps support the community and marine life through its NGO called LAMAVE and this is where your help is needed. Through LAMAVE you will help collect data and identification analysis on the marine life – through snorkelling or diving whilst teach English to the local children. There is no need to be able to dive but courses are available if you would like to complete a course though the dive school at Ticao.

Optional PADI Open Water Diver Course = PHP 20,000 (£320) per student (inclusive of learning materials, instructor/DM services, diving equipment rental, 2 days boat use to nearby reefs for training dives, certification upon completion of the course).


3 nights village home stay then you will move into twin rooms at the dive school, on the beach


3 meals a day are provided.


Program Details & Costs

This program is currently closed. We will shout when the Philippines let us back in.

Options and costs

This program is currently closed. We will shout when the Philippines let us back in.

Whats included?


Flight: £800 (depending on time of year and availability)

Spending money: £50 per week approx

Social Life

Guaranteed. You will be part of a tight team of like minded volunteers, who will be on your journey from start to finish.

Cultural Exchange

Through living and working beside remote communities who will welcome you into their society.


Combines the heights of the Mayon volcano with the beaches and island paraside of Ticao.

Physical Challenge

A journey which mixes home-stay living with community development and beach recouperation.

Program Days

Expect to carry out project work 5 days a week for 6-8 hours per day however each phase will vary depending on the work ethic and culture of the community.

Free Days

Free days will be interspersed throughout the itinerary when you are free to explore.

Backpacker favourites:

  • Snorkeling and scuba diving
  • Wildlife tours.

The Philippines is very well-connected to other countries like Indonesia and Singapore – all great add-ons if you plan to extend your stay in the region.


One of the most off grid

This program is managed by our lovely friend Jessica Noelle Wong who runs Donsol Eco Tours. Each team will be led by a local project leader, who speaks

English, Filipino and local dialects. All I can say from spending a lot of time with Jess and her team last year - they are awesome, interesting and oh so kind.

Jess is hugely connected in this area and has pulled these two projects togther for us through her friends and contacts. Both projects are dynamic and make a huge difference to the local communities and environment. You will love them all and will want to carry on exploring this fantastic country which is so overlooked, so don't rush off.


"Best food!"

The best food I have ever eaten in my life

- Jack

"Safe, organised gap year travel"

What an amazing organisation. From the minute we first rang to enquire about projects to today (my daughter arriving home from Tanzania this morning) I just can't fault anybody. Emily has had the most amazing time in Tanzania and all the staff have been wonderful at keeping me informed when there were problems (nothing serious thankfully).

I would have no hesitation in recommending the company for safe, organised gap year travel. Emily will have wonderful memories for life and I'm so proud of her and grateful for the support given by The Leap. Thank you so much.

- Tracey Talbut

"Change the course of their lives"

I am filled with admiration at all the trouble you have taken over every detail, so much appreciated when filling in all those damn forms! And it was brilliant that you kept us all (in our case 3 generations!) involved and informed about the changing situation every day. It has been so difficult for this group of 18 year olds unable to do their A levels properly and with all the attendant problems of the pandemic. I think the programmes you are offering may well change the course of their lives not only for the future of the planet but also by giving them opportunities to work hard together at the same time as having fun. Huge thanks and congratulations, I’m telling everyone how fantastic you are!

- Caromy (Grandmother)

"The Leap is an awesome company who takes care of every aspect of your trip to make sure you can enjoy it to the fullest"

This trip was honestly amazing and I would highly recommend anyone to take the opportunity to do it.

I met amazing staff and locals over the 6 weeks and also amazing people who I still stay in contact with and I can’t wait to see during the rest of my travels.

The outreach was definitely a highlight as you get to explore more islands and do different activities. The locals are amazing and the sense of community and the appreciation for volunteers makes it so worth doing. I did forest conservation because I love animals and hiking but with The Leap your programme is flexible and if you prefer to teach you can switch over as well which you don’t get with other companies.

What you should know is GO THROUGH THE LEAP!

- Brooke

"How on earth you have managed to pull this off I don't know!"

But you have all been absolutely incredible. I never could have imagined Charlie being able to take part in such a fantastic project in this, the strangest of years! I have huge admiration in your professionalism and ability to deliver in the toughest of times. Thank you so much, I'm sure the presence of the team will do wonders for the project and wonders for the Team Members... what a fantastic opportunity for them all!!

- Andrew Fairs

"Thank you for making this possible despite COVID."

Thank you for the update. As expected George has maintained radio silence so good to hear that they have arrived ok. Also wanted to say how useful your video updates have been. I’m so envious of them launching on their travel adventures. Seems like only yesterday that I was heading off with a backpack. No phones, only a weekly blue airmail letter home. Thanks to all at The Leap for making this possible for them despite COVID.

- Romney Lewis

"Well done Team Leap!!"

Thank you so much for all the hard work in getting them there! You have all been amazing. I do not underestimate how much work and pressure there has been in making this happen during such challenging times. They are now able to do something positive and rewarding during their gap year which is only possible because of The Leap.

- Paula & Lloyd


My Leaper is just having the BEST BEST BEST time. She was so anxious about going as it is the first time she has been abroad on her own. The lovely friends she has made and the fantastic team leaders that are there, combined with the incredible experiences that you are giving the team meant that worry very soon dissipated.

Everything sounds perfect, from the location of their "houses", the delicious food, the stimulating and varied activities, the fun evenings, in fact from dawn to dusk (and well beyond) is just so brilliant.

Thank you.

- Sara

"So clear and straightforward "

I’d just like to say how impressed I’ve been by all your amazing organisation, plans and communication. I know she’s mainly communicated with you herself, but it’s all been so clear and straightforward – so thank you. I know this must have been an incredibly difficult time for you and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending The Leap to any prospective Gappies in future!

- Justine Barnes

"The best experience of my life!"

Thanks to everyone involved as they have managed to make the trip a once and a life experience! I have learnt so much about the local community which will stay with me forever, this has shown that at home we are so privileged in every aspect of life and that anything we have done for the community has and could change lives. Also helping the fish community and restoring the ocean has opened my eyes.

- Niamh Anderson

Need inspiration and direction?

Get in contact with the gap year travel specialists.

Here at The Leap we can help both team traveller through our programmes and/or the backpacker.

Jot a message below or call us on +44 1672 519 9222

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