How We Swapped Work For Travel In The Beautiful Philippines

Posted on: June 9th, 2016 by Andrej and Karen

Why not Swap Work For Travel on one of the planets hottest beaches?

Last April my wife Karen and I decided we were in need of some R&R at some stunning beach destination for a month…

Panglao Island for free

Our local beach on Panglao island


But we wanted to have a holiday with a difference;

Yes we wanted time to chill, sight-see and relax but we also wanted to do something inspiring and meaningful!

We wanted to travel cheaply but not skimp on any wonderful experiences and we ended up landing one of the coolest gigs ever…

Swap Work for Travel in Philippines

Karen hanging out with some of the local Filipino kids


After a bit of research on stunning beach destinations that also boasted great food, plenty of things to do and interesting culture we decided we would go check out the Philippines archipelago.

Now we just had to choose which of the 7000 islands to go to…not a bad problem to have right?

We settled on Panglao island located in the central Visayas region because it had the following cool stuff:

  • Stunning beaches
  • Awesome restaurants
  • Picturesque little local villages
  • Easy to get around on rented scooters
  • Close proximity to some seriously cool must-see attractions such as the Tarsier (the world’s smallest primate) sanctuary, the Chocolate Hills and the WWF approved Whale shark visiting grounds.
Our nearest beach while Swapping in Panglao Island

Playing with the cute local kids was a definite highlight


We also got really lucky, we found a great Swap Work For Travel opportunity minutes away from the best beach and best restaurants on the island…sweet!

This meant free accommodation for 2 weeks in return for a few hours work per day, still plenty of time to chill, swim and explore…but the bonus of an extra fortnight of holiday for free 🙂


Swapping on Panglao Island

Lunch on the beach in Panglao island…local flower salad was awesome!


A pretty cool office…

Eva had just opened a homestay, which was a brand new block of 4 huge fully furnished apartments with a sweet pool.

We turned up and immediately got changed into our togs (that’s Kiwi for Swimsuit / bathers) for a swim in the pool then lazed around the lawn while we chatted with Eva, who told us all about Panglao island and the Philippines.

She needed a simple 1 page website to tell the world how cool her accommodation was, we agreed it was pretty special and wanted to do a great job for her because she was so nice.

A great deal - Swapping in Panglao Island Philippines

The pool at Eva’s apartments was amazing


Our accommodation was the biggest apartment with 2 WiFi connections (in case one went down!), air conditioning, a huge flat screen with cable, super-comfy sofas and brand new fully stocked kitchen. We were stoked to say the least.

Swapping in Philippines was a dream come true

Our brand new apartment with WiFi, cable TV and a full kitchen


From this base we spent a few hours per day with Karen making Eva’s website and me taking photos and helping with the text to go on the website.

We were surrounded by coconut palms and birds, and on the second day we realized we could watch the sun set into the ocean from the rooftop viewing/yoga platform. In all honesty we probably could have stayed here happily forever!

Philippines Swap Work for Travel

The view from the roof of our apartment which doubled as a yoga platform and an observation deck!


All up we worked only about 10 hours to get Eva’s website all done. So this Swapping gig was pretty cruisey for us. Typically Swappers exchange 5 hours work per day, 5 days per week for free food and accommodation, but it can be less depending on the needs and generosity of your Swap-Host.

Swap Work for Travel made our travels awesome

Karen and Eva our lovely Swap Host


When we weren’t working, other than chilling out in our pad, we rode around the island on our motorbike and explored. We snorkeled and swam a lot. We worked our way through TripAdvisors top 10 restaurants and drank delicious and dirt cheap San Miguel beer.


We did a heap of day trips too, here is our top 3:

  1. We went and checked out the Tarsier sanctuary, which was amazing. These tiny animals are the world smallest primates and used to be common in this part of the Philippines. We wandered around the forest of the sanctuary and spotted 4 Tarsiers, they are very cute.
Bohol Tarsier Sanctuary, near our Swap in Philippines

A Tarsier – The world’s smallest primate


  1. We rode across the bridge onto Bohol island and had a very scenic drive to the Chocolate Hills which are 100’s of naturally occurring, perfectly rounded hills as far as the eye can see which look like chocolate drops in dry season.
Swap Work for Travel Philippines

Andrej motorbiking to the Chocolate Hills one of the worlds top natural wonders


  1. We ticked an item off my bucket list by swimming with the Whale Sharks. These gentle giants are only found this close to shore in a few parts of the world. This was an amazing experience!
Swap Work for Travel in Philippines

Snorkeling with whale sharks was epic! One of the coolest things I have ever done


Karen and I totally loved our time in the Philippines and on Panglao island. We definitely will be back there and encourage anyone to give Swapping a try, it’s an awesome experience!


Find my Host to travel virtually for free

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