What I Learned Freelance Writing in Boracay

Four years ago, when the economy crashed in the US, I lost my full time job (which sucked anyway). And all I had was my part time freelance writing gig.


But the good thing about online freelancing is, TOTAL FREEDOM! I could work anywhere… in my bed, in the park, McDonalds, in my underwear (or I could be naked for all you care), or in a beach somewhere.

And “beach” it was.



I always see those “dream job” pictures of people freelancing on a beautiful beach somewhere. And damn it, it looked good. 

I wanted to do that. I wanted to “be” that guy in the picture. Or girl. Whatever.

Anyway, I figured I should be a professional beach bum. Hopping from one beach to another in countries all over the world. Hey, it’s a cool dream, right?


So I figured I should do a test run in the Philippines. Since I have relatives there, that should be the easiest way.


And woohoo! This gets me closer to pursuing my freelancing-on-a-beautiful-beach dream!


The following is what I learned in my “attempted” freelancing in Boracay. The story will describe the pros and cons of my experience working in a beautiful beach paradise (a dream we all had at some point in our lives).


 Picture: ahhh, this is the life. It looks like an awesome way to live.


Lol now thinking back on it, it seemed like a good idea back then. So yeah, the dream was, to wake up everyday in a beautiful beach, have cup of brew and hack away at the keyboard. In my mind, it was an awesome dream come true. Should be, should’ve been. Might’ve been.


Imagine that sparkling blue ocean, fine white sand, and cool wind breeze… OMG, the beauty of the view alone was enough to charge up your creative juices. What more can you ask for?


So I did. I gathered my things, and left for paradise. I was still singe back then, so packing and leaving in a snap was easy. Sooo easy. God, I miss the days.


I got to the Philippines, had my cousins plan a Boracay trip. Boracay was my target place, it seems it had the best chance of having a good wifi. And yeah, I was told it was a haven for single guys.


We got to Boracay, and first thing on the list was, well,  party hard and get wasted of course. But during the day, I had my cousins help me with recon.


The first thing on the recon list was, a place to rent.

We scoured the whole island. Looked at local ads and ask around the local islanders. We found a “kinda okay” small sized condo for 10k a month. It was a bit far from the beach, but plumbing and water was working, so I was sold on it. Plus, I could always get a mountain bike or a tricycle ride to the beach. So the first item on the list was a check.


Second thing was, the Internet.

If was to survive as a freelancer, I needed a stable connection. The only thing available around that time was a crappy computer shop. It might do, I may survive with it. But, what about my dream of lounging in the beach with a laptop, and a cool glass of mango shake? Or margarita. Or pina colada. Or mai tai.

I’ve inquired some more, and I heard that only globe might be offering wifi services, but it was choppy.


So the second item on the recon was blurry at best.

I need a steady source of income if I was to make a living. And a lot of that would depend on the Internet’s stability.


The first day of recon only was only 50% successful. But what the hell am I worrying about? I was on a tropical beach paradise –stop worrying–  let’s par-teh!


Second day, and here’s what I learned.


The place wasn’t as conducive as I thought it would be.

I thought the beautiful blue ocean, radiant white sand, cool breeze (and sexy chicks in bikinis) would turbo-charge creativity— but here’s the reality:


- It was hot beach side!

Lol, what did I expect, right? There were only a few lounge seats beachside and all the shaded area are pretty much occupied by people.

Sitting in the sand was cool and all, but only if you were relaxing and laying back. If you’re crouching because you had a laptop in your, uh, lap, it will hurt your back.


- In a tropical climate, the brain stops functioning.

Much like a CPU shuts down when it gets hot, the brain stops functioning at a certain temperature. It functions better in the cold (that’s why libraries have full-blast A/C. And that’s why you study better in cooler temperatures).


- Shops weren’t laptop friendly.

I don’t know about now, but back then, I asked a dozen shops if I could charge my laptop in their outlets — and surprise, surprise — I got a big fat NO — by all of them.

There was even a coffee shop that tried to charge me 100 pesos per hour. Geez.


- It wasn’t always sunny skies.

It was May, and it rained the last three days we were there. It was… gloomy.

So if I was living at the back side and it rained — then that would mean I’d have a hard time commuting to the beach (where the internet shop was, if I didn’t have any wifi at the condo). Now imagine this on the monsoon season where it rains for months. That would be a drag.


Now to the “fun” downsides:

- Too many damn distractions!

This was a given. But there’s so much stuff to do. So many fun activities. Which is good for my personal happiness, but bad for my career. And by the way, sexy chicks in bikinis are always a welcome distraction.


- And lastly, in Boracay, I was always hungover.

For about a week, most of my mornings were spent hurling, puking and feeling worse than death. Sure, the nights were fun, but the mornings were terrible… But the nights were fun (I just had to get that out again).



Now to the good parts.


- A quick dip in the beautiful ocean cures everything.

All your pain, stresses, sorrows — it all gets washed away. Which you and I (and everybody else) needs. And it makes everything all worth it.



- Hot chicks

Yeah, yeah, I’ve said it too many times, but I had to get it out there one more time :)



All in all, we stayed there for about a week, and it was one of the best days of my life. It didn’t work out. It wouldn’t have worked out anyway. I couldn’t possibly have made a decent living there (given the current situation).


But I still want too, though. My dream to freelance on a beach paradise is still very much alive.

But that wasn’t the right time to do it. That’s why I tried freelancing in the city instead. To earn dollars online while spending pesos – a sure thing, right? Nah. So many things went wrong. But, that’s for the next post. :)


Hmm… I wonder how’s Boracay nowadays. Anybody visited there lately? How is it?



About Dave

You've been had. You've been blind. You've been asleep. You've been bound. You are a prisoner. Now wake up! Smell freedom! Engulf yourself in the beauty of nature! Be free! For the first time, stop listening to others and DO WHAT YOU WANT! Be free, my friend. Soar and be free.

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