Live on a Tropical Island for Free – TMBA Semester V Announced

Live on a Tropical Island for Free – TMBA Semester V Announced post image

SUMMARY: My buddy Sean and myself are offering somebody 4 months of FREE lodging, meals, transporation, and fun. In return, you’ll have to do very little except help us out on our websites. If you know somebody who wants to live in the Philippines for 4 months for free, please do me a favor and email them this post or share it with your followers (by clicking that tweet button up and to the right!). Thanks for your support! :D.

I’m always nervous to write these posts. As our business grows and number of people involved continues to scale, I’m simultaneously struggling to make things happen faster (why aren’t we millionaires yet!!!?) and wondering how the hell all this happened (did we really sell $250,000 worth of goods this year?!!?!)

The TMBA has been an incredible highlight for me in the process of growing our business. It started with what I thought at the time was a silly idea– but quickly evolved into an opportunity to work with some truly exceptional team members.

So here we go… round 5. The first 4 have worked out better than we expected… .why not take another swing?

If you want to read a little about our previous 4 internships, check out our paid internships page.

Of all the TMBA semesters, this one is the most highly articulated. I know exactly what I’m offering and it will be easy for me to vizualize who will be good for this opportunity.

Because of that, I expect fewer applications to this semester. And that’s totally cool. I’m going to anti-sell this one. Although there will be the soft benefits of working together generally, this opportunity is more about the chance to get free lodging and food for 4 months than it is about Sean and myself’s core businesses. Of course we’d love to see things evolve that way, but explicitly this is about living in Puerto Galera and improving the Badladz Resort website.

David from semester II did such a great job on the site that we could actually see a lot of people sitting in the restaurant coming in from the improved design, photos, and perhaps most importantly, the semi-regular videos that Sean has been making as he travels the Philippines for his other businesses.

Incidentally, Sean is a true digital nomad. For the last 3 weeks we’ve been traveling the Philippines together, boats, ferries, bonkas, airplanes, and still getting it done. I’m currently writing this 10 meters from drop dead gorgeous Bohol island in the south of the Philippines. Here’s a pic right now as I’m editing this post. Trying to practice what I preach here….

This is me, classic Asian photo gesture, as I edit this post... Panglao island Philippines

I also share the photos and stuff like this to drive the point home– this lifestyle really is possible. For the majority of naysayers, and people who believe it’s some kind of stroke of luck, there are the very small– practically invisible– minority of us trotting around beach resorts, airport hubs, and backwater islands, trying to pick up WIFI signals to make it happen.

Want to listen to Sean and I talk about the Philippines? Here’s a recording of our conversation last night:

About Badladz and the resort industry:

Right Click to download Audio.

About local job and business opportunities in the Philippines:

Right Click to download Audio.

Ok… enough talk. Still with me? Let’s get going. The application process should take less than 1 hour.

Tropical MBA Semester V:

We’ve decided to dedicate one room at the resort as a permanent position for an internet marketer. The value for us is simple:

  • Based on added exposure for Badladz resort we can make up our bottom line expenses relatively easy.
  • The soft value of having another smart person in our network who loves hanging out in the Philippines and other spots in SE Asia (bottom line, there aren’t enough exceptional internet marketers, and cool expats, here in the Philippines).
  • Somebody trained up on our systems and team who can possibly contribute in a bigger way to other projects, join our team, or organize JVs.
  • FUN FUN FUN. Why the hell not? We think it’s fun.

Here’s what you’ll be responsible for (you’ll need to prove you can rock this stuff in your application):

  • Webmaster of Update the site and social media profiles with new content. Fix stuff, add forms, functionality, etc. The site is a custom design of Thesis wordpress theme. Your first task will be to migrate the site to Bluehost.
  • Create strategic relationships with traffic and link partners. What’s the best way for Badladz to get more exposure to backpackers, travelers, scuba divers, and long term expats?
  • Develop 1 custom video a week for the site. Sean is a scary dude. We need more fun videos of the ladies of Badladz (ironically the place is run by 6 smart ladies, not a bunch of pirates… we just visit on the weekends :)
  • Update the Badladz blog with Sean’s youtube videos.
  • Answer inbound customer service emails and alert staff of bookings etc.
  • Create measurable increase in foot traffic at the resort.
  • Ideally, set yourself up as an evangelist for Badladz resort and their related services (motorbike rentals, diving, adventure tours, restaurant and bar, custom embroidery, etc).

We believe to successfully complete these duties you’ll need to block off 2-3 hours a day, 5 days a week. We are very flexible guys. We want RESULTS and a GOOD TIME more than we want to monitor your working habits. The better you are at creating real results, the less time you’ll need to spend.

Here’s what you’ll get from us:

  • 4 months of free lodging at Badladz Resort. Obviously you can travel anytime you want, if you don’t track our location we won’t track yours :)
  • A free room, laundry, and room service. (no-wifi in the room). You’ll have to be in the resto area. There are also many other places around town you can squat in all day long.
  • 3 squares a day. The food @ Badladz is seriously awesome. You’ll eat classic Filipino dishes, and some western favorites, prepared by a pro.
  • A futon to sleep on in Sean’s Manila condo upon arrangement (which includes roof top pool and great view of the bay). We’ve actually got a broad range of paid for places and friendly resorts around the Philippines, so you can hit us up for those contacts.
  • Use of non-rented Badladz motorbikes (just cover gas and maintenance).
  • 100% access to Sean, myself, and all the active TMBA alumni for advice and support.
  • Free access to our private and paid mastermind forums–  Outsource to the Philippines, and the TMBA Inner Circle (which is currently populated with hand-picked successful internet entrepreneurs).
  • Access in general to our business knowledge and networks here in the Philippines and South East Asia in general.

Here are the downsides of this semester (the anti-sell!):

  • Sean and I are busy guys, and I’m spending more time in Bali and San Diego this year. We might actually not hang out that much at the beginning. (I say that out of one side of my mouth, but I always find myself coming back to Badladz. We are also tentatively planning a huge meetup there in July). David and I ended up hanging out quite a bit… but this might not the be the case with this semester.
  • You won’t have much of a peer group in Puerto Galera. That’s not to say there aren’t cool people there– there is in fact a great group of young people that congregates around Badladz. Almost all of them are in the SCUBA industry. That’s really the only game in town. If you have any attachment to SCUBA, you’ll be in heaven. Dives are cheap and leaving from Badladz almost daily. I’m sure we can help you get a special deal on your instructor or divemaster course.
  • Puerto Galera isn’t exactly a cultural mecca– seedy girlie bars, lady boy shows, dive shops, yachties, locals hustling billiards, motorcycles, lots of cheap beer, and the infamous gin juice. You get the basic idea– you are way far off the beaten track here.
  • In general, the Philippines is a very different travel experience than Bali, Thailand, Vietnam and many of the more traditional backpacker hotspots. Many people either love it or hate it. I love it and so do David and Sean. Successful applicants will demonstrate to us that they share that love, understand the opportunity, and would enjoy kicking back in PG (or using it as a home base for your world domination plans) for a few months.
  • Badladz isn’t just a clever name (Sean will tell you “well intentioned gentleman” didn’t fit on the sign). We can be a little over the top. If a little drunken debauchery from time to time isn’t your cup, you’ll need to at least be cool with it.



  • PLEASE REVIEW the Badladz site in detail, including Sean’s videos. We are ‘interesting’ fellas living in Asia for many years now. Make sure you fit in and dig the vibe.
  • Answer in less than 350 words: why on earth do you want to live at Badladz?
  • Answer in less than 100 words: why specifically is this a good fit for your life right now.
  • Send us a video or audio: say hi to us, let us know a little about yourself and why you want to come hang out at Badladz.
  • Answer in less than 3 sentences: what do you think we could do to the Badladz site and marketing strategy (currently none) that would have the biggest impact on resort traffic.
  • Answer in less than 3 sentences: what is your experience relating to wordpress? (with links to sites if applicable).
  • Send your applications to Dan @ You can fill out your answers on a posterous (or similar) or directly in an email.
  • Please post your questions in the comments (if you have any) and I’ll answer them publically.
  • This position is available ASAP. Please let us know when you’d like to show up. We’ll throw a BBQ for you :)

In the past successful candidates have been able to demonstrate that the opportunity presented is a great fit for their lifestyle and career.

Thanks for your interest, we really appreciate you taking the time out to apply!

Cheers from Panglao! And best of luck to all that apply,




PS, check out my post about spending a few months straight living in PG here: Island Living

PPS, some people might be curious how much money you’ll spend in PG. I have friends in PG who live (rent, meals and all) on 320 dollars a month. Travel, hobbies, will really be the big issue. I’d say it’s totally realistic to spend less than $100USD a month. Your party, travel, and hobby (SCUBA, golf) budget will really be the x-factors, although all those things are relatively cheap. I’d say budget $100 to $500 dollars a month depending on your tastes. Another useful anecdote: David went on a 3 week romp in Palawan (which is incredible, you should do this too!) including 2 air tickets, lots of dives (prices in the Philippines average about 20 bucks a dive), hanging out , and not watching his budget at all– he spent about $800 USD. So traveling in the Philippines is relatively cheap.


Here’s a note from David, who lived in PG for 6 months or so and still tells me how much he misses it over Skype on a weekly basis :D

Behold, our pirate ship, the "SS POS"


Dear Prospective Tropical MBA Student,

Last year, I did the Tropical MBA Semester II, spending about 5 months at Badladz Resort in Puerto Galera.

It was a great. The Badladz restaurant (my “office”) overlooked the stunning Puerto Galera bay.

Sunset at Badladz

Mylene, the manager of Badladz, and her staff were super friendly and took care of all my needs. Over the course of those months, we became very good friends.

I like the location of Badladz a lot. It is conveniently located between the 2 tourist hot spots of Puerto Galera, White Beach (the best beach in the area, mostly popular with Filipinos from Manila) and Sabang (a slightly dodgy place, most popular with scuba divers). Badladz itself is a great place. It’s not a 5-star resort by any means, but it’s clean, charming, the staff is awesome, and the food is very good.

Welcome to the wild west

The Philippines can be a Tropical Paradise, but it’s no Bali or Thailand. I love it, but it’s probably not right for everyone else.

Here’s why

  • Despite being relatively western focused on language and attitude, the Philippines has a lack of international culture in terms of expats, food, and attractions
  • There are not many interesting expats relative to other spots in SE Asia.
  • The expat scene revolves in many cases around drinking all day.
  • There aren’t any internet marketers in Puerto Galera as far as we know.
  • 99% of expats are male. At the age of 21, I was probably the youngest expat in the country.
  • Most expats are 40-70. You will see 70 year old guys with 20 year old girlfriends. If that kind of stuff bugs you, don’t apply.

Things to do in Puerto Galera

Puerto Galera can be very quiet. I’d recommend that you have some kind of plan what to do once you are there. Scuba diving and snorkeling is world class there. Diving every once in a while kept me from getting bored.

There is nightlife, but it’s probably unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Sabang can be seedy, White Beach is a bit more laid back. There’s also an expat bar near Badladz which is a great place to spend a relaxing back evening.

The optimal situation: You have some kind of project to work on (or want to start and dive into a new one).

I loved my time at Badladz and can’t wait to visit again this summer. Maybe I’ll see you there.



Published on 04.14.11
  • Can’t wait to apply! I think finally the timing and situation are perfect Dan for us to make some magic! ;)

  • I hope these continue, this would be great but just for timing. Really hope one comes up at a time I could at least bend around current obligations.

  • I’m almost jealous of the lucky winner who will spend 4 months at Badladz. Had a great time last year.

  • G G

    Hi Dan and Sean! Great to see another opportunity!

    Here’s a Q for you: Do you guys arrange a longer-term visa for the recipient for the duration of the internship? As far as I knew Americans only get 21 days and can get a 38-day (or something random like that) extension.

  • I can answer that. You’ll have to arrange the visa yourself.

    You are right, Americans, Europeans (and probably everyone else) get 21 days on arrival, that can be extended for 38 more days.

    After that, you can keep extending the Visa on 2-month intervalls. You can stay at least 1 year without having to leave.

  • G G

    Ah ok great, forgot you can keep extending afterwards. Thanks for the reply!

  • July, eh? Might just have to see if I can crash that party.

    My friends tell me Bohol is awesome. Glad to hear that you’re enjoying it. I hope that TMBA 5 is as successful as the previous iterations. I’m betting that it will be.

  • Dan

    Balla! Thanks Mike. Bohol is indeed awesome. Actually, Panglao is sort of a similar set up-vibe as Boracay, but much more laid back. Very fun sorry to be leaving tomorrow :( See you soon I’m sure :)

  • Dan

    Yes this is true. Think you can keep going for like 2 years or something.

  • Dan

    haha. once the rain goes away in Bali you’ll stop dreaming of Badladz ;)

  • Dan

    Thanks Dan, we’ll keep em comin’. That’s the plan :)

  • Dan

    haha. I’m down with magic :)

  • When you head back to Bali I’ll apply :). HAHA. I need to make sure there are waves

  • Dan

    haha I’m pretty much splitting my time, general plan is 60 days PH, 60 days Bali, but I’m pretty flakey when it comes to plans :) hows costa?

  • if i wasn’t now “settled” in buenos aires I would definitely apply. Looks like a great opportunity though.. alas someday i’ll be in SE Asia. Best of luck in finding someone, i’m sure it won’t be hard.

  • Game on!

  • Dan

    Settled! We’ll see…. :) Looking forward to meeting you.

  • Dan

    It’s always been on! :D

  • This is great, guys. I spoke to Sean Ogle and interviewed him for one of my radio shows yesterday and he raved about this.

    I regularly work from home now and travel all over the US with my family. Think it would work OK if I brought them with me? :)

  • Dan

    Hey Justin… wow your site looks great… very cool podcasting set up… I’d say this isn’t a great deal with people with families because you’d probably need to rent another room at wholesale plus pay for meals so the deal becomes less attractive…

  • Thanks for checking it out. I definitely enjoy what I do.

    I actually figured on getting another room and paying for meals. I was more interested in the experience and bringing my family along with it. Sounds like I’d still get to do my stuff on the side, which is where I make money, but not put a lot of time in doing it.

    My family would love it, and picking up those incidentals wouldn’t be a problem, unless you just don’t think it’d work.

    So I’m less interested in the deal and what I’d have to pay than I am in the actual work.

    I’d love your thoughts.

  • Dan

    Justin… I’d say a combination of your fairly developed personal business and having a family doesn’t make you a great fit here. If you’ve got specific understanding of the Philippines and think you can overcome theses in your app, we encourage you to apply. Also feel free to email me Dan :D Thanks for your interest.

  • Pingback: 3 Years on the Road : How to Pack Like a Pro()

  • DAMN! I Got here to late. Bleck.

  • During my time in Puerto Galera someone told be that there are expats doing IT stuff. Maybe it was you or just some web designers… Say hello to Mark, the Filipino dive instructor from Sea Rider. I did my Open Water course with him last July and got insight about the human potential in the Philippines!

    Well, Sean is a bit too enthusiastic about public transport in Manila. I want to see him in the Jeepney.

    Badladz seems to great value if you are into the ressort thing. Good luck with the promotion!

  • Dan

    haha agreed on those Jeepneys Markus! Probably a few guys doing local sites, but I still haven’t met a full time guy doing stuff for the international market. Maybe we’ll catch up sometime back in PG!?

  • Yeah, will let you know if I go to PG but these days Bali is closer for me!

  • Justin Miramontes

    Haha, so I’ve been in Sabang for a week now. Decided to extend my stay until the 13th, would love to meet up with you guys if you’re around and shoot the shit with some internet marketers (you’re right, it’s all divers here). I’m heavy in the internet marketing and web design world, but I won’t be applying simply because I have existing clients/contracts/revenue generating websites that I’m working on now… from Big Apple Dive Resort.

    I happen to find Sabang pretty damn fun, but I haven’t made my way over to Puerto Galera yet. It is a bit dodgy I guess, but I like to meet and greet at nite over some San Miguel and Sabang is open 24 hours and there are some cool peeps here (a lot of straight idiots too though, heh)

    I’ll definitely be checking out the infamous BadLadz soon.

    Regarding money situation. I’ve had a pretty damn nice day, ate, drank a little, hung out on a floating bar with beautiful people and I spent a grand total of $20. lol

    Anyway, I’ll check back on this post regarding meeting up with you guys! I’m available pretty much anytime until the 13th.

    Good luck to all the applicants. If you’re hesitant about coming to the Philippines, don’t be. The food is good and cheap, the water is gorgeous, and the filipino people are amazingly kind, generous and honest.

  • Dan

    Hey Justin…. that’s fantastic! Great to hear you are enjoying it! You must be a bit of a rough rider like me to like a dodgy place like that :D anyway…. looks like all the TMBA guys will be down there mid-june… will post something on the blog about it in the coming days….. have fun man ! (like you need help….)

  • christopher

    hey yo I would love to do you free 4 months yo let me know

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