Somewhere in your journey, you will find places. Places special enough that will make you want to stay for a while. Places that will make you dream of having a piece of it to your own one day. Places that you’ll want to keep forever. These places are rare. Because our wandering feet can’t stay still so when we find something like this, something that begs us to stay, it makes our hearts quiver and grow roots.

Here, in this lush green island. I found my place. There’s just something about it, something about its energy. Something that makes my insides feel like there’s no gravity. An impetus so strong it continues to tug at your heart strings even when you leave.

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1. Caub Island.

Lagoons. I’m a sucker for them. For greens, azure waters, and the stillness. So when we took a boat out to Caub Island, rode through narrow passageways, into a hidden lagoon, and saw the hut right in the middle for the first time. Chills went up my spine and the magic overcame my entire body. This place is so beautiful I don’t think words or pictures could ever do it justice. I hope one day you find yourself here.

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It was pure magic. 

Singing along to music in a van brimmed with good company. Taking boats through the mangroves and hidden islands until we get to a house in the middle of the lagoon. My sweet an vibrant friend Bri leads us through a beautiful yoga practice and as we breathe and move I am in disbelief that we are here and that this is real.

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Jumping in the blue, swimming and paddle boarding through crystal waters. Eating fresh fish and sweet mangoes with our bare hands like animals. Sunbathing with Freia on the deck as we sing and laugh and every ten seconds we exclaim at how beautiful everything is and how much we god damn love this island.

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On our boat ride back we all watch the sunset in silence. Passing rum and looking at each other and smiling because we all know we’re in it. Completely in it. At night we eat and karaoke, singing badly as our voices echo through the starry night sky. Morning came and I lay on a hammock listening to the rain, letting everything seep into my veins and fuel every cell of me. This island is drowning me beautifully. And I let it.

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2. Sohoton Caves

We took a two-hour boat ride to Surigao Del Norte with good company. Sunbathing and napping in between. We get to the lagoons and stop at a cave to dive under to get to an enchanting illuminated cave.

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Explored another one and followed the light out. The only way back to our boat was to jump off a platform, so we jump. Freedom is always on the other side of fear.

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3. Waves

This is what the island is most known for. Wave chasers from all over the world gravitate to this place, addicted to the stoke that Cloud 9's glassy barrels give them. I'm a beginner and only surfed easy and little breaks a few times. I'm not much of a big wave chaser, but maybe one day I'll have the courage to do it. But even just watching people carve the waters like hot knife on butter I get a high from it. Always in awe by the power of the sea and feeding off the passion of the wave seekers.

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4. Motorbikes rides

Whether you're driving it or riding in the back of one, ride a motorbike/scooter around the island and explore. The open road, the wind in your hair, zooming through the greens, stretching your arms out and making waves with the wind, bobbing your head to epic music, laughing with the person you are sharing this experience with and watching your friends chase each other as they carve through the roads. You will find freedom in it.

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One day we ride in motorbikes out to explore around the island. We stopped on the side of the road and walked through a little jungle that led to a gorgeous empty beach. Got caught in the rain and we smile and laugh and stretch our arms out feeling every bit of rain drop shattering on our flesh as we look up and watch it fall through the coconut trees. We drive and drive and drive until the rain is gone and we feel the warmth of the sunshine on our skin. We ride through small towns and see locals jumping up and down, smiling and waving at us as we laugh and wave back at them. Everyone is always smiling. Happy light always beaming from their beautiful faces. We drive until we get to the rock pools. Jumping into the clear blue as we float around the rocks and forget that we have bodies. Beautiful, freckled-face Freia always does this as a joke between us but to also remind ourselves how beautiful everyone always is so she asks me again, “I’m happy! Are you happy?”. And I say, grinning from ear to ear...

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“I’m happy Freia. I’m really damn happy.”

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5. The vibe

There's just something about this island. A certain energy that my heart and soul connected to. Many other kindred spirits have felt this too. You drive to the north to little villages and towns and find locals jumping up and down waving and smiling at you. The coconut fields that seem to go on forever. The people you make friends with, the ones who feel like your island family. The little local children, the friendly and hilarious local surfers and their laughter. Good vibes all around, always. And so much more but you won't feel this unless you book that plane ticket.

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So don’t you dare come here. 

You will fall in love with this island, meet lovely souls, get lost in time, drown in its beauty and get stuck here for a while. When time catches up and your plane is calling for you to leave, you won’t want to. And when you finally do, you’ll miss it when you’re gone.

The road knows this. It knows that you will see things you’ll want to keep forever. But even if you want to stay, even if you love every place so much it aches, no matter who or what keeps pulling you back, the road will keep calling you. And you must go.

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Infinite thanks to my friends at Cebu Pacific Air for sponsoring this trip and making it happen.

*All images by Stephanie Dandan

Stephanie is a nomadic photographer, wanderer, adventurer, dreamer. She lives for capturing moments of bliss, wanderlust, inspiring hearts, reigniting spirits, and infinite moments of Satori. Follow her journey at Infinite Satori.

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