The Boatman in Paradise: Philippine Travel Stories

Boatman, noun, a person who rents out or works on boats. In the world of Philippine travel, a boatman can be anyone who has fun on a boat while exploring the archipelago’s beautiful wonders. The boatman, of course, can be male or female, or shades in between, but let’s just use boatman as a generic term. So, how fun is it to be a boatman in the Philippines? Here, let us show you through the VisitPinas-tagged photos in Instagram:

[This can be an entry in Find Your Dream Job in the Philippines: Philippine Travel Stories]

You’ll get a perfect tan, and have a perfect excuse to show it off, together with your toned body, like in this photo at Sohoton Cove in Surigao, courtesy of Rowie Pagcaliwagan in this photo (check his Instagram account, @rowiepoly, for more photos). He said: “I explored the usual suspects. The clear blue water and the relaxing ambiance is making Sohoton Cove a perfect spot for all the travelers.”

And what else you can show off?

No, that’s not what we’re referring to, you dirty-minded creature, you. You can show off the beautiful natural treasures of the Philippines while paddleboarding. Not an easy feat for us balance-challenged folks. This one is the Sugba Lagoon in Siargao Island, Surigao, at the southern part of the Philippines, courtesy of Pam Ducusin in this photo (check her Instagram account, @pamducusin, for more photos). What is Pam thinking? “There’s really more in Siargao than being a surfer’s bliss. And mind you, 5 days ain’t enough to explore its beauty. MUST GO BACK!!!”

Before proceeding, let’s point out something obvious — Sohoton Cove in Surigao, which is near Siargao Island, appears to be a traveler’s favorite spot for beautiful photos, like this shot by Kris Reyes in this photo (check her Instagram account, @krissyseyer, for more photos)

See also: The Stingless Jellyfish of Sohoton Cove National Park (Surigao).

Boatmen (or boatwomen or boatperson, perhaps boat captain to be gender-neutral?) in the Philippines have a huge problem. The view is spectacular, the weather balmy, that boatmen are prone to sleep while on duty. Don’t believe us? Here’s the proof. Introducing, Michael Gamboa (check his Instagram account, @fiercely_b, for more photos), asleep on duty and sunbathing at the Manjuyod Sandbar.

Can’t blame him. We’d be asleep, too, if we’re on duty in that piece of paradise.

Let’s clear something else — when we say “boatman”, we’re referring to anything that floats, like a paddleboard. The view in the photo below is Sugba Lagoon, Siargao, Surigao del Norte, courtesy of Abby in this photo (check her Instagram account, @kcabby, for more photos). In the words of Abby, “what a gorgeous view.” Gorgeous, indeed.

There’s a priceless freedom when you’re on a boat, cruising along the seas and beaches of the Philippines. You can even ride on the outrigger of the boat, like Claudine Alexine Batiquin in her photo in Isla de Gigantes, Carles, Iloilo (check her Instagram account,, for more photos).

Or you can eat and drink, like RoxC in this photo (check her Instagram account, @rox_cute, for more photos) and her coconut at the Manjuyod White Sandbar. “One happy tan girl,” she says. With this kind of attitude, those skin whitening products will run out of business.

We’re not really surprised that there’s a tsunami of photos of people having a great time on boats (yacht, cruise ship or whatever it is) because aside from being the most common mode of transportation in and between the Philippine islands, “life is better on a boat,” as what FOANNE said in this photo (check her Instagram account, @foaaannethology, for more photos) at the CYC Beach, Coron, Palawan.

What happens if the boat leaves and you’re left behind? Sure, it sounds fun to be marooned in a beautiful island paradise, but as Tom Hanks discovered in Castaway, it’s no fun after a while. Let’s say the boat leaves the beautiful island, like Calaguas Paradise Island in this photo by Jhe Rizada (check his Instagram account, @jheography, for more photos).

What do you do if you’re left behind by the boat? No problem. You’re no longer a boatman. Just go float and be a floatsam. Here, let Boni Andito show you (check his Instagram account, @_bandino, for more photos) in his photo at the Manjuyod Sandbar in Dumaguete.

We’ll be revising this post to include other boatmen photos we see, so tag us in your photos and tell us your experience as a boatman.

[Photos reproduced with permission (thanks). Tag your Philippine travel photos with #visitpinas so we can track it down. Photos will be featured in this blog’s photo of the day and in instagram/VisitPinas, facebook/VisitPinas, twitter/VisitPinas.]

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