My first stop on my big adventure led me to a magical place without even knowing it – Siargao Island – Philippines. I immediately fell in love and I swear I will come back!
Leaving Dubai and giving up on my old life, I just wanted to spent a couple of days relaxing at a nice island and that’s why I decided to go to Siargao, which is suppose to be the best place for learning to surf, which I intended to do anyways in the Philippines and what can I say in retrospective??? IT IS a fantastic place to surf!
I found a place which immediately takes you in and as soon as you arrive, you feel the island vibe.
Everything is just perfect … the people are so amazingly welcoming, the food finger licking good and the nature breathtaking. But I don’t want to tell you about the best places to surf or the best places to stay or eat (although one recommendation: Mama’s BBQ don’t miss out on that!)…you can’t go wrong on anything at all, wherever you stay or eat seriously, just go over there and enjoy your stay!
Instead I wanna tell you about a thousand smiles I got :) and please bare with me this is gonna be a bit a longer article!
Not only that people in Siargao constantly smile at you, kids wave at you when you pass by on your motorbike or laugh with you when you stop and talk to them. Smiling and singing (yes there are some karaoke bars) seems to be the recipe for happiness even though people are poor. That is one thing I truly admire and hopefully take with me … SMILE AND BE HAPPY NO MATTER WHAT!
Why A Thousand Smiles?
I stayed at a hostel in Siargao named – Paglaom Hostel (www.paglaomhostel.com) and yes this wasn’t suppose to be an article about travel tips … but don’t miss out on that one either :)
There I met the owner Sanne a gorgeous, courageous Swedish woman with an extra big heart, who at some point in her life decided to go to the Philippines and found her happiness. Together with her boyfriend Cocoy she started the Pagloam Hostel. And not only did she start that, she also dedicates her life to helping the kids of the local orphanage ‚A Thousand Smiles‘ (www.athousandsmiles.org) by donating parts of the hostels income to them.
But that is not it at all, she also teaches the kids all kinds of things, how to brush their teeth, how to segregate waste and does loads of activities with the kids together with Traveler-Volunteers who stay at her place and are always happy to help. She wants to give them a brighter future with a proper education and change their badly started life!
Sanne and I started talking and I offered her my help as the Tooth Fairy / Dentist.
She took me to the local health center, where once a month or every second month a dentist treats the people of Siargao.
With the magic pink fairy wings on my back we made our way over there and I met Ate Mergine the head of the orphanage. The kids were a bit shy at the beginning of course, they hadn’t seen a Tooth Fairy yet, but soon warmed up after they saw my wings :)
To make it even more fun, the kids showed me how they brush their teeth and meanwhile doing it, they were singing the tooth brush song … My heart melted away and I was constantly smiling :))))
Those smiles I will never forget!
I did the dental examination sitting at the lawn outside, having one child after another sitting in between my legs and using the flashlight of my mobile phone. One of the girls even assisted me by writing down the names and results of the check up so Sanne can speak to the local dentist later to have the necessary treatments done.
A couple of days later I went by again and donated some new tooth brushes and tooth pastes, which for them meant a lot, because considering the lack of money Ate Mergine (a very humble lady) and her kids need all the help they can get.
If you would like to get involved check their homepage www.athousandsmiles.org.
For pictures of the island and the people check the latest gallery, I hope you like it.
A little bit of Tooth Fairy dust left behind :)