From The Philippines To Phu Quoc with love

It's more fun in Phu Quoc! We recently caught up with Leziel Sacote Pagalan, a Filipino (pinay to be exact), expat living and working on Phu Quoc Island with 10 of her friends. The following is her expat story, which should be interesting as she herself is from an island nation.

Interview With A Young Expat on Phu Quoc Island

About you

Where in the Philippines are you from.

I am originally from the City of Golden Friendship , Cagayan de Oro City, located in the Northern part of Mindanao island, Philippines.

Why did you come to Vietnam?

I studied Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management and decided to have my training in Vietnam. My internship brought me up in this beautiful Island called Phu Quoc.

Filipino expat on Phu Quoc

When did you arrive?

I arrived on December 11, 2014

Why Phu Quoc?

I choose Phu Quoc because when I researched the island on the internet, it looked interesting because it is still a developing island.

Working On Phu Quoc Island

What is your job here on Phu Quoc Island?

I am an intern. I had my internship in Phu Quoc with my five classmates with the aim of learning, experiencing and understanding more what really Hospitality Industry is like.

expats in phu quoc

How did you find your internship?

This was being offered by our school in coordination with our Filipino Supervisor who was working in a resort. We happened to be the first batch of lucky trainees on that newly opened luxury resort.

working as an expat on phu quoc island

How did you enjoy your  internship?

It was really challenging, I learned how to make cocktails and garnishes which later became my passion. It is sometimes tiring, well that is pretty normal when you work in hospitality but its all worth it. It's loving what you are doing make things easy.

What strategy would you recommend to other Filipinos who want to find a job or internship on Phu Quoc Island?

For those interested Filipinos who want to land a job in Phu Quoc, secure your contracts and other important documents first so that you will not keep on renewing your visa, its costly and that's for your own safety also. They love to hire Filipino staff here and I think they don't require much experience as long as you can do the job besides everything can be learn. Just have a positive attitude.

Any recommendations to Filipinos on how they can look for a job on Phu Quoc?

They can actually search for resort or hotels first and find their emails there where they can send their c.v.

Why did you leave?

As much as I wanted to stay, I needed to leave the island and comeback to the Philippines to finish all my papers in the school so I can march for graduation.

Your Experience On Phu Quoc Island

How would you describe Phu Quoc in 1 sentence?

Phu Quoc is a holi island (try to see the map) filled with history, scenic views, pagodas and temples, surrounded with luxurious resorts and good people.

phu quoc prison expat

What did you like the most about Phu Quoc?

During my stay, what I like  the most was sunset viewing. Every afternoon I waited for the sundown because I find it really amazing watching it until its totally vanished and the surroundings gets dark. I had seen the most beautiful sunset here and it was during a wedding event which I would never forget.

sunset phu quoc filipino expat

What did you like the least about Phu Quoc?

I didn't like swimming that much in the area near us because sometimes there are a lot of rubbish in shores specially after a rain and the water smells like a rusty can due to the fish sauce factory near the area. I visit Sao beach when I plan to go swimming, it's nice there.

Was it easy to make new friends?

We are 10 Filipinos in total working in a resort, that includes the band and our supervisor so most of the time were just talking to each other. Making friends wasn't that hard because the locals are friendly, they tried talking to us and we also tried to respond to them.

Filipino Expats in Phu Quoc

Vietnamese language is honestly difficult but I find it fun learning it.

Where do Filipinos hang out when they are not working?

Filipino loves to engage in sports. If we had our day off , we meet in the public sports center in Duong Dong Town near the night market. The guys use to play basketball while the ladies enjoy playing badminton and volleyball. We also love to chill at Boroda and like having a glass of beer, and playing pool with a good music playing. Honestly we love dancing that's why sometimes we drop by at the Pirates Cave bar. Whenever someone has a birthday we get together enjoying Filipino foods, that is one thing you'll missed when you work abroad.

Are there any Filipino restaurants on Phu Quoc?

As far as I know, there's no Filipino restaurant during that time, I haven't seen one.

How does Phu Quoc compare with the Philippines since both are islands?

Phu Quoc is just like one of the islands in the Philippines having beaches with white sands, amazing sunsets, waterfalls, fresh seafood and delicious Vietnamese food. Its more likely Boracay and the weather is just the same , just wet and dry.

Did you have any bad experiences at all that you would like to share?

So far , during my stay I fortunately haven't encountered bad experience there.


Things To See & Do In Phu Quoc

What is your favorite Phu Quoc beach and why?

Sao beach is my favorite one that is because the water is really clean and the sand is white perfect for swimming , there really get tanned.

bai sao beach Filipino expat

Which beach has whiter white sand, Phu Quoc's Bai Sao beach or Boracy beach (station 1,2, 3)

There actually almost having the same sand but in Boracay the sand is like always wet that you will love to stay on it the whole day.

Sao beach phu quoc island expat

What is your favorite Phu Quoc pagoda and why?

Ho Quoc Pagoda is one of my favorite of all, it's huge and you will have a very nice sea view because its on the top. Perfect place to take a photo.

Ho Quoc Pagoda Phu Quoc

ho quoc pagoda tourism

What is your favorite nightclub or bar?

I like Pirate Cave in Long Beach Village. It's busy when its foreigner season like October to December or summer time like April and May. If they like to visit there around 11 PM is a perfect time, for those who really love dancing with the English music playing pirates cave is the place to go.

pirates cave nightclub in phu quoc

expat party phu quoc island

lion club in phu quoc island

What is your favorite Vietnamese food?

I love eating “Pho” specially with beef sided with vegetables, lime, pepper and a hot chili sauce. I had tried “Bun Cha” which then became my favorite food. Its a tasty grilled pork with rice noodles, some herbs with a stinky but yummy dipping fish sauce. There's a lot of restaurants in the island serving local and western dishes.

I don't actually stay at one place for food tripping so I didn't had a favorite restaurant. I eat anywhere as long as the place is clean and safe.

phu quoc expat food

Which beach has whiter white sand, Phu Quoc's Bai Sao  beach or Boracy beach (station 1,2, 3)

There actually almost having the same sand but in Boracay the sand is like always wet that you will love to stay on it the whole day.

Final Thoughts

Are there any links/resources/websites for Filipinos on Phu Quoc that you can recommend.

I don't know any links but they can visit your fb page which is Phu quoc , Island Vietnam group, Travel Tourism And Island living for more info.

What should Filipinos people bring from the Philippines before coming to Phu Quoc?

I think one thing is a map, so they will see all the places in Phu Quoc and off course your pocket should be ready so whenever you like to buy something , like souvenirs, if you want to try local food you can have it and your camera so you will able to capture all the moments during their travel.

Is there anything else you want to say to Filipinos who might be reading this about Phu Quoc?

To all Filipinos planning to visit Vietnam, try exploring Phu Quoc island especially those who loves scuba diving, the place is quite perfect for it.

Try visiting there pagodas and temples especially the Ho Quoc Pagoda, it is a large temple facing the sea where you can take a very nice shot on top.

It is much better to rent a motorbike in Phu Quoc if you want to tour the island, less expensive and you can visit many destinations.

There is a lot of budget hotels there so no worries if you have a tight budget, what matters most is the experience that you will be able to collect and people that you will be able to meet and spend your memories with. Don't forget to visit our Filipino band there, they will be happy to meet you that's for sure.


filipinos in phu quoc