A Thousand Smiles in Siargao

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.

at the local health center - General Luna - Siargaolocal health center at General Luna - 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.

The Tooth Fairy At A Thousand Smiles Orphanage


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 :)

Related Images:

Posted on 15/08/2015 in Blog, Magical Moments, Missions

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Responses (11)
  1. ELAINE(required)
    16/08/2015 at 05:01 · Reply

    I am taking notes Tooth Fairy. I love your sense of purpose and service. I think it’s beautiful.

  2. Sam
    17/08/2015 at 00:01 · Reply

    Beautiful deed. Now I believe in fairies. :) Thanks Tooth Fairy! xx

  3. Naz
    17/08/2015 at 12:03 · Reply

    What a beautiful story! Touched my soul..so your mission to spread smiles started with a ‘thousand’ – great work fairy! Stay magical ;)

  4. Mark
    22/08/2015 at 15:16 · Reply

    Hey Winnie!
    So this was what you were telling me about! Really awesome!
    Oops btw this is Mark, we met at Nuts Huts!
    Will be booking a trip to Siargao soon!

    • winnfried
      23/08/2015 at 01:33 · Reply

      You won’t regret it I promise ! Cheers

  5. Cherie Rumpon Pulpulaan
    24/08/2015 at 08:31 · Reply

    You are an inspiration. Keep us posted. Me and my kids follow your trail. Someday, they both want to join your cause.
    Let those smile shines!

    • winnfried
      24/08/2015 at 16:44 · Reply

      Thanks a Million :)

  6. nadja
    27/08/2015 at 13:04 · Reply

    I am very proud of you as well as happy for your my dear friend

  7. Val Goslin
    22/09/2015 at 15:48 · Reply

    Amazing work you’re doing for those kids! (when you have time take a look at this: http://southafrica.operationsmile.org/ and this amazing man, http://www.braammalherbe.com/ (he ran 4200km along the entire length of the Great Wall of China) and has Run A Smile” around the tip of Africa, from Oranjemund via Cape Town to Ponte d’Oro in Mozambique, a distance of 3300km. in support of the Smile foundation. xx

  8. Jay
    29/01/2016 at 06:57 · Reply

    Hi Tooth Fairy…
    I admire your mission…keep it going..

    • winnfried
      29/01/2016 at 10:39 · Reply

      Thanks Jay :) It was so lovely meeting you and I hope we see each other again!

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