Live on a Tropical Island in the Philippines for Free

Live on a Tropical Island in the Philippines for Free post image

Subscribe to this blog here. I love twitter, follow me @TropicalMBA.

Hi TMBA reader! This is a long post. Here’s what’s in it:

  • An offer for a 100% free stay on a beautiful tropical island for 4 months.
  • The story from a guy who just did it.
  • How you can apply to do the same.

If you happen to know any enterpreneurial, travel-ish, makin’-money-from-their-laptop type people who might want to join the TMBA team, please share this post with them!

If this is your first time here you can read about the TMBA or read the history of our internships.

Thanks for supporting the TMBA and encouraging your friends to apply! I’m going to turn this post over to Damian Thompson, who came to join us here in the Philippines a few months ago. He has done a KILLER job marketing Badladz resort and will be working on his start-up here in the Philippines for the remainder of 2011.


*  *  *

When Dan asked me to write a guest post for the TMBA VIII offer, my first response was, “No worries, how much does that pay? You do realize I charge by the word, correct?”

After he finished laughing at me, he explained that I might want to do it for my TMBA brethren. That Dan is a smart one, tugging on my heartstrings like that. When Sean, the owner of the greatest little hotel in the Philippines also asked for my two cents, I decided to cave on the whole “I only write for money” idea.

What follows are my thoughts on the Tropical MBA, my specific assignment, and the Philippines in general.

The Good

The gig itself is a great fit for me.

On average I spend 10-15 hours a week on marketing the resort. The staff are amazing. Sean’s wife Mylene is a superstar. Sean will tell you it is her place and she runs the show– that is not just lip service. She runs a tight ship. You will feel like a part of the family from the very beginning.

I took this opportunity because I needed the runway to figure out what I wanted to do next. Knowing I had a roof over my head and 3 square meals a day makes it easier to sleep while you are dreaming up your evil plans for world domination.

I also met and am now a friend, student, and peer of some of the coolest, smartest people on the interwebs. I was fortunate enough to be one of the lucky people to get into Dynamite Circle before it closed and I wouldn’t sell that spot for $1,000 a month.

You know the rest of the internet is just a series of tubes filled with porn and kittens, yes?

One of the best things about Badladz is the restaurant. They not only have amazing mexican food, they import cornmeal and make tortillas by hand. The local food is awesome as well. I am a huge fan of all things adobo these days…

Another amazing thing about becoming a “local expat” is that adventure finds you. David (@davidhme / TMBA II) and I were working one afternoon a few weeks ago when we were invited for a sail on a 63 foot yacht complete with beers, pizza, and birthday cake. Spontaneous fun is literally around every corner, dark alley, and local bar.

The Bad

There is always a little rain on any parade. There are two specific difficulties you have to manage with the job, and one personal challenge.

First, it is not the easiest place in the world to be mega productive. There is free WIFI in the restaurant but it gets really slow in the afternoon when everyone is on it. You will be working from dining tables not exactly ergonomically designed for long stretches of time. This, however, will force you into some good habits, like working in the mornings and then exercise in the afternoon, I have dropped 10 lbs without even trying.

The second difficulty is that you are on an island and as such there are power shortages a few times a week. They generally last less than 30 minutes but sometimes last a few hours. You need to plan your work accordingly. Don’t leave things to the very last minute or Murphy’s Law will bite that ass.

My own personal challenge and one that seems to affect most of the other lads here is that is very easy to get distracted if you aren’t careful and goal oriented. There are always places to go, things to see, people to meet… Between the beautiful weather, great people, and fun atmosphere you will be tempted to chuck the work aside and party instead.

That is OK every once in awhile, but it could be a daily occurrence if you let it.

You will want to have a small savings nest egg or be bringing in a small cash flow monthly. 100% of the basic necessities will be covered (shelter, electricty, food, water, coffe, and tea) but you need to pay for your own beer, sodas, laundry, entertainment, etc. You don’t need a lot, but something to consider.

The Ugly

Other than me, there really is no ugly to this story. There are definitely lessons to learn about the culture, being very specific when you talk with Filipinos, some of the old ex-pat psychic vampires, death-rides on the back of motorcycles at 3 am, but these are all stories for another time and I will be happy to share my tales over a beer or sixteen when you get here.

But Wait, There’s More!

As an extra incentive, as if you needed any, not only will I be around to assist the transition to the new gig for the lucky TMBA winner, Lewis Quartey (@lewisquartey / TMBA III) will be here as well. He is from England, so we must speak verrryyy slowly and only use small words, but he is an OK guy.

I kid…. Lewis and I have been tearing up Puerto Galera for the past 2 months and are taking our “nerds in paradise show” on the road in October.

So hurry up, put your best application together and get your ass over here!


PS. Oh yeah, pack light when you come but bring earplugs for sleep, they are life-savers.

*  *  *

What is the TMBA VIII?

  • You’ll be the webmaster of You’ll update the site, add content, and keep it sharp.
  • You’ll help out on a broad range of projects that come up. BBQs, parties, IT support, etc.
  • You’ll help create strategic relationships with traffic and link partners.
  • You’ll update the Badladz blog and Youtube channel.
  • You’ll help answer inbound customer service emails and alert staff of bookings etc.
  • You’ll help create measurable increase in foot traffic and sales at the resort.

We believe to successfully complete these duties you’ll need to block off 10-15 hours 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 is what you’ll get in return:

  • 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 and room service. (no-WIFI in the room, only in the retaurant area). If you want WIFI in your room, you can use a Globe 3G stick which is relatively cheap. There are also many other places around town you can squat in all day long.
  • 3 great meals a day. The food @ Badladz is seriously awesome. You’ll eat classic Filipino dishes, and some western favorites, prepared by a pro.
  • Unlimited coffee, tea, and filtered water.
  • 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 and kayaks (just cover gas and maintenance).
  • 100% access to Sean, myself, and all the active TMBA alumni for advice and support.
  • Free access to the Dynamite Circle membership forum and phone calls. 

Ok dude awesome! How do I apply!?

  • Answer in less than 350 words: why 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 (much preferred) 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 15 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.

When you arrive, we will throw you a BBQ party :D


  • Applications are due August 20th, 2011 9PM EST.
  • We’ll get on the horn with the finalists and select a winner by August 25th, 2011.
  • You book your ticket to arrive in the Philippines around October 1st, 2011.
  • Your term at Badladz runs from October 1st to February 8th 2012.
  • If you can’t meet these timelines, just let us know in your application. We are flexible.

Finally, a note from our sponsor, Sean Cooney the owner of Badladz…

Not much I can add to that great intro. Everything they said is true and words like awesome & amazing really do not do this place justice. By the time you have pushed all the buttons on our website, YouTube and FaceBook you’ll have a solid understanding what you’re getting yourself into.

Serious FUN.

As I write this we are breaking ground on our new Badladz Beach Resort Conference Center.

We’ll have more rooms, more bars, more guests, and more fun!

We gotta fill these rooms year round. We need a serious marketing personality who is innovative and courageous.

I’m looking forward to meeting someone like us– set on working hard and making a great living while enjoying a killer lifestyle.

Please keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times!



* * *

That’s it!

Kick me an email Dan at if you have any questions.

Thanks for reading and supporting the TMBA. Tweet, email, FB share, or send a snail mail if you have people in your network that could benefit from this! Thanks!

If you like this blog, you can hear directly from me by putting your email address in the form below:

Published on 08.11.11
  • jandetlefsen

    the ugly: being paid what translates to 4.50 USD per hour for qualified work for what the going rate is about 10 times as much. don’t see much “free” in here.

  • Dan

    Free room, free food (3 meals a day), free coffee and tea, free motorbike, free WIFI… there’s a lot of other perks as well. 

    College kids in CA work in our offices for FREE and they love it. Crazy world!??!!

  • Firstly your math is off. The price of the room for a month, 3 meals a day, use of the motorbikes, watercraft, etc is approximately $1k per month. $1,000 divided by 50 hours is $20 an hour not $4.50. Twenty dollars an hour in the Philippines is ridiculously good.

    Secondly, anyone who applies, goes in with expectations of building a strong network of like minded individuals, I know I have. It isn’t just about the money.

    Thirdly, it isn’t for everyone, and that’s OK, you don’t have to apply.

    It worked out for me and the four guys ahead of me. It seems to be working out for the one behind me as well.

  • Dan

    Damn.. now I feel like a putz. We ponied up 20 bucks an hour for the D-train? Jeeeeze….. 

    But yeah agreed, it’s an opportunity for people who are in to this kind of thing. It’s different, it’s not really subject to “” rates…. and for people who are in to digital nomadism type stuff or extending their travels in the tropics, its tough to beat. 

  • Payman

    Dan, I’ve been reading your site for over a year and it totally rocks! I’ve wanted to be apply for the Tropical MBA for the past few months, but things got in the way. This new one in the Phils is a perfect timing for me. My application will be submitted on time. Looking forward to joining you guys there in October!:)

    Cheers, Payman.

  • Dan

    Payman… thanks! Looking forward to checkin’ it out. THANK YOU for reading the site, appreciate that. 

  • Justin Miramontes

    Nice! I’m really excited for what you guys are doing with BadLadz. Whoever wins TMBVIII is in for an amazing chapter of their life. Here’s a picture of the area that still makes me smile ear to ear. :) Paradise!

    So I was thinking about “The Bad” or the difficult that was mentioned in the article. I don’t think that applies for TMBAVIII. It’d be one thing if you are building or updating niche sites (haha) or e-commerce sites selling products or information. It’s true that that would be hard to focus on  and that’s why I’ll be basing my business in Manila.

    But in TMBAVIII your sole task is to connect with the world through the internet and show everyone how awesome BadLadz & Puerto Galera is and to get more people to really want to go there.

    Really feel like partying today? Great! Don’t forget your camera. Take cool pictures, interview guests, do some exploring nearby. It’s all great content for the blog. Your amazing experiences will be your work so long as you document and promote it.

    This is a scenario where Social Media Marketing will actually be fun and exciting. One fun example; take pictures for guests and upload them to a gallery. Allow them to 1-click retweet & facebook post to wall them to show their friends and families back home how much fun they’re having (with a link back to badladz of course). Boom, free word of mouth marketing.

    Man, what a great opportunity. Good luck to everyone! I’ll be sure to visit you!

    Conference Center? I REALLY like the sound of that!

  • Dan

    WOW Justin great picture man!!! Agreed about bringing your camera for all the fun stuff you are doing. I think we’d like to have the person contribute more photos and videos to the blog section of the site, and try to answer general travel questions about travel in the Philippines.

    One issue about the bad: although the workload for the resort isn’t much, many of the candidates are trying to use the deal as runway for their own projects… so they might be wanting to put in some big days. I think thats totally possible– even during the afternoons there are some other WIFI connections available near the resort so you can split your day up. Anyway, should be a lot of fun for the right person. It really is a cake walk with tons of perks in a really fun spot :D See you soon man and good luck with your office….. 

    AND thanks for the pic…. made me smile this morning.

  • That is mate’s rates brother, you got off CHEAP!

  • It is definitely possible.

    My first month I always found an excuse to party instead of work (wifi, chairs, it is a day that ends in “y”). Now that I actually have a start-up I am focusing on, I find excuses TO work on it (portable wifi, work standing up, it is a day that ends in “y”) 

    Like so many things in life, it is what you make it.

    You can make excuses or You can make it happen…


  • Justin Miramontes

    Ah, right right. I feel ya. I guess my point, which we both seem to agree on, was just that the workload for TMBAVIII is so fun and creative that it should be relatively easy to muster up the additional willpower to grind out hard business hours for your own projects.

    I really hope you guys find the right high energy person (I’m rooting for a girl this time) that will help make BadLadz even more Badass. Looks from afar that some good things are happening over there! That BadLadz beach spot looks redunkulous as well! Can’t wait to go.

    Thanks for the well wishes! See ya there :)

  • Justin Miramontes

    If you believe like I (and I thought everyone else, but I guess not) do that experience,  networking, and creating friendships with like minded people has an extreme amount of business value then it’s a lot closer to $450/hour than $4.50/hour.

  • Aloha bruddhas… 

    I was wondering, if it’s a requirement to have a personal money-making project on the side? I’m building my own platform in the nearest future, somewhere between, or after a little adventure I’m beginning tomorrow. Would be sweet diggity to build that platform at badladz.. Peace over and out, and thanks for the opportunity..

  • Good God I wish I could apply. Just took an amazing job here in Michigan with future location independence potential. Otherwise, my app would be on it’s way already!

  • Dan

    thanks for that Trever! Sounds like you got a great gig there congrats on that… I’m sure we’ll run in to each other eventually….

  • Dan

    Yo Nicolai– thank you for your inquiry sir! Here’s the thing: 100% of your basic living expenses are covered. Inevitably, however, you will be tempted to drink beers, party with locals, maybe do a little traveling, buy some high quality shampoo, stuff like that. If you are tempted in any of these directions, you’ll want to have savings/cash flow for it. Also you need to consider how you are going to get home, etc. So it’s 100% up to you. Monk-types can easily get by during this opportunity for 50 bucks extra a month (so 200 bucks in savings for 4 months) over and beyond your inbound/outbound travel. Most of the gents that come out enjoy a little bit of a party now and then… so then you’ve got motorbike taxi (2 bucks a night) beers (1.25) maybe a pizza out on the tow, etc etc etc. If I were doing this program– and I’m a little bit of a party dude– I would plan to spend 350 bucks monthly at least.

    FINALLY, and something I didn’t mention above, and for all your hardcore folks checking out the comments, SUCBA diving is CHEAP and world class @ Badladz, I can help score you REALLY CHEAP diving, especially if you want to get your divemaster or something like that. Diving is a great hobby to have while in sleepy PG. So that said, if you are a diver budget for that.

    Ok… really finally this time: make sure you’ve got a back-up plan, rich parents, savings, cash flow, or something.

    PS, okay 350 bucks is a LOT of partying. Just letting you know….

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  • +1

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  • A quick update that might interest anyone on the fence about applying.

    I tell the story above about being invited on a cruise out of the blue a few weeks ago with @davidhme:twitter ,well it has happened again as @lewisquartey:twitter and I have just been invited on a crazy sexy 60 foot catamaran for dinner and drinks!

    Hey, if you don’t want this, I might just have to apply again myself!

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  • Payman.

     Yo Dan, how’s going man? Something came up, an opportunity I couldn’t refuse so for now, I won’t be applying. But by next spring, I’ll be free again and will not only apply but even if I am not the winner, I’ll stop by the Badlazz resort to hang out for a while. I’ve been involved in resorts business for over 3 years and have a good idea/game plan to put the Badlazz resort on the map so to speak. We’ll chat about that over a few drinks either in Bali, BKK or at Badlazz around March/April. Whoever wins this internship will be one lucky person. If it weren’t for that can’t refuse deal I’ve got going on now, I’d be on the first plane to Manila regardless of whether I’d got the internship or not. Keep rocking man!

  • For Sean:

    I haven’t made my way out to Puerto Galera yet, but I’m seriously considering it and looking at your place.  The monthly rate looks great…I need to get out of Davao for a while…starting to fall into a rut that’s not doing any good for me, heh.  Going to talk to the GF about it and see if we can get away for a while…looks like fun!

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  • Is the Live in tropical island in Philippine still open? the dates are way outdated, so wondering if our members can apply?

  • Cameron

    Are you guys looking for someone to help with the gardening/horticulture? I’m in my early 20’s desperate to leave the UK and its depressing lack of jobs behind me and gain some experience in exotic horticulture.

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