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They’re cheeky and curious, wild but caring, playful, and the best people to take you to explore their backyard. Many of them are sons of ex-pirates and fishermen. That means they can navigate the archipelago without a map, climb coconut trees, catch fish from the boat, and constantly crack jokes with you (just don’t take anything personally).


Finishing school is not a priority for many island families, and the decline of the fishing industry left young islanders unable to earn an income. The Lost Boys training program has served as their higher education and livelihood. These are young men have many innate island skills. Mixed with what they learn in Tao, Tourism has offered the perfect opportunity for them to grow into some of the best guides in Palawan.

Every year we invite 10-15 young men from the islands to train with our seasoned crew.

We train them to be expedition leaders, guides, boat and basecamp crew, cooks, farmers, and bamboo carpenters.

They work with and learn from each other, in much the same way they’d learn from their fathers on fishing boats and mothers at home.

It is through spending time with travelers like you and talking about their lives (with the confidence given by a few glasses of rum) that these boys learn to speak English.

In our off-season, they get to be the tourists. We send them on excursions around the Philippines as well as South East Asia to open their minds and make them realize what’s so special about their home, Palawan.


Our trips are only possible because you are hosted by the men and women who grew up in the islands we explore. Over the years of building these relationships we’ve welcomed plenty of them into the Tao community.

Welcoming guests from all around the world makes them see their way of life in a new light — one that makes them eager to continue and share it. We are not so much a company as we are a tribe — all working together with a shared vision and pride.

Our tourism and hospitality are avenues for these boys and women to apply their innate skills as well as learn new ones. We don’t “train” the deftness and cheekiness of an island boy or the care and warmth of a woman from the islands, partly because we don’t have to but mostly because those things can’t be trained. Each expedition and island stay is unique precisely because the boys and women who run it can be themselves each time.

Tao is our crew and community. We don’t see them as instruments to “grow the business”, we see the business as an instrument to grow them.

Read about The Tao Women.