First Couch Surfing Experience in the Philippines

25 Nov

Have you heard about CouchSurfing?   I am sure many of you did, but did you ever try it?

Well as many of you are, i was very skeptical about the idea of visiting a stranger’s house and sleeping over. but i finally did it during my 2013 backpacking trip in the Philippines.

couchsurfing logo

I registered on CouchSurfing.org  in 20011 and attended many local CS (abbreviation of CouchSurfing) events in both Montreal and Hong Kong.  However, during my two years on CS, i never surfed. This year when planning my very low budget backpacking trip in the Philippines , I considered CS to save money on accommodation . I sent my first CS request one week before my trip to several local hosts in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. In following few days i heard back from 2 saying that they can not host me because of their busy schedule, 1 who said he would gladly host me and the others never got back to me which was a bit disappointing. I had a short conversation with the potential host in which he  gave me his address and explained to me how to get to his place from the airport and how much it should cost.

My flight arrived at 6pm so i took a 15min Tricycle ride to my Guests’s house for 50 pesos (1.2CAD). He lived a little bit out of the town centre on an unpaved road that had no lights so i couldn’t figure out where it was exactly and i called him to ask for instructions but his phone was not answering.  I got a bit scared thinking, it’s dark already and i have no idea how to find another place to stay, could he have changed his mind about hosting me?

10 long minutes passed, then he called me back apologizing for not being at home and he asked me to meet him downtown instead because he needs to run some errands first. I took another tricycle and joined him and his girlfriend downtown where they were getting groceries. Afterwards we all headed to dinner where we met 4 other CoushSurfers who were staying at his place! I was so surprised to find out that this CS host can have up to 8 surfers at his place. Turns out he is planning on opening a hostel in Puerto Princesa and is currently using the space to host surfers.

The house was pretty big, my host gave me a quick tour explaining how to use the facilities and how to lock the door when i leave. I had my own room and the other 2 couples who were staying there had separate rooms too. The couples were from Poland but one living in Germany and the other in China. That night we had dinner together out in town.

The day after (my 2nd day in the Philippines) i was supposed to look around town and book my trip for the underground river for the next day but i was very disappointed to wake up to a severe thunderstorm and heavy rain that continued from 2 am until 4pm the day after. We were stuck at home all day but that was fun because we enjoyed the breakfast our host made us (very nice of him) and chilled in the hammock in the backyard hearing all the travel stories everyone had to share.

DCIM100GOPRO

The Road to my host’s house under heavy rain

After hours chilling at home, we got bored so we decided to venture out in the rain and go to the market to get some groceries for dinner. Despite carrying umbrellas and wearing rain coats we still got drenched because of the heavy rain. But we still enjoyed walking around the market stalls  and looking at what the local farmers had to offer. What surprised me the most was the dyed eggs, I still don’t know why they dye the eggs hehe

    DCIM100GOPRO   DCIM100GOPRO

It s common for surfers to make some food for their hosts and since most of the surfers at the house were Polish we decided to make traditional Polish dumplings known as Pierogi. We got all the necessary ingredients from the market and headed back home. We spent hours preparing the dough and stuffing which was really fun. The final result was over 60 yummy dumplings that we served on banana leaves because we didn’t have enough plates.

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Personal Opinion about CouchSurfing after my first experience: I did enjoy my stay with the CS host in Puerto Princesa a lot , the couple hosting me was very accommodating and i got to meet locals and other travellers and learn about local culture during my stay. I would definitely surf again in the future. But i got to keep in mind to carefully choose hosts based on their reference which should be applicable to all surfers 🙂

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2 Responses to “First Couch Surfing Experience in the Philippines”

  1. stonka December 3, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    Interesting experience, I also registered on Couchsurfing, but up till now I have never had enough courage neither to invite, nor to become a guest. Regrets.

    • Global Citizen December 3, 2013 at 11:30 am #

      yeah i know how daunting it can be to take the first step, but i think it gets easier if you are traveling and really keen on saving money keke! if you do try it, let me know how it goes 🙂

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