Goodbye Ubay

Ubay Island opened almost a month ago, so it’s time to close. I’ll be turning out the lights and closing the doors on Wednesday 1st April. Thanks to those who visited the sim and signed the guestbook, posted pictures in the Flickr Group, and wrote generous reviews. These are tough times, and to all those who are affected, and will be affected … solidarity.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

[John Donne]

Ubay Island

ubay 1

In October 2013, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the province of Bohol, Philippines, causing the land to sink by around 1 metre. Combined with a hundred years’ worth of sea level rise, the earthquake had catastrophic consequences for the islands of Batasan, Pangapasan, Ubay and Bilangbilangan, which have experienced partial or complete flooding ever since. My latest sim project features the smallest of these Islands – Ubay. The landmark is here.

ubay map

Ubay’s story is as uplifting as it is tragic. Far from being cowed by the rising water levels around them, the islanders simply get on with their daily lives – sometimes waist deep in water.

Ubay Island is tiny. Even without flooding, its land mass would measure just 1.5 hectares. The island is inhabited by a population of little over two hundred people living in fifty households. Of these, roughly three quarters live below the poverty threshold.

I first learned about Ubay Island through a documentary film about all four of the Bohol islands. Called Racing the King Tide, the film focuses on a series of people – teacher, fisherman, mother, auntie, health worker and captain – whose stories and experiences convey just how complex and challenging it must be to live in such conditions …

In reconstructing Ubay I have tried to capture both its spirit and beauty. Although the houses and streets of the island are strewn with floating trash – even the school goes on daily with the children surrounded by it – there is also much that pleases the eye and lifts the spirit, such as the flags that hang over every street, the play areas, the communal spaces, and the surrounding sea with its countless fishing and pleasure boats …

From viewing the film, it seems that the buildings on the island consist mainly of shacks, much in the style of shanty towns one finds in cities such as Manila. I have included a church and school – both of which exist on the real Ubay Island – as well as an outside bar where one might imagine some of the islanders gathering to enjoy something that many Filipinos are apparently passionate about … Karaoke!

Ubay Island has one ‘signature’ structure, a ruined building in the middle of the sea that’s used as a jumping and diving platform by the island’s children …

ubay 12

Once again, I have relied on the skills of Harry Cover – ‘Impossibleisnotfrench’ – to mesh this structure, and he has done a brilliant job. Harry also made some of the boats you’ll see on the sim, such as the beautiful ‘tourist boat’ on the eastern side …

ubay 14

ubay tourist boat

I’ve also added some touches of my own, such as the graffiti in the submerged basketball court – ‘THIS IS WHERE WE PLAY’ – that one can see in the movie behind the waving boy …

ubay 13

Close by the real Ubay Island – as can be seen in arial photographs – is a swamp area with a solitary building on its edge. My Second Life version of this is a shack that features another aspect of the local culture that may well be unknown to visitors to the sim: Filipino folk magic, known as Kulam or ‘Pagkukulam’.


Putting this sim together has been both humbling and inspiring. Although we cannot know for certain what will become of these islands, it seems likely that they will eventually disappear completely as sea levels continue to rise. Far more permanent, one hopes, is the spirit and resilience of these incredible people. It is in tribute to them that I have created this sim …

As ever, don’t count on the sim staying open for very long. The Flickr group is here. Do please sign the guestbook and feel free to leave a donation! Otherwise, I hope you enjoy your visits. 🙏

Прощай, Слава!

Farewell, Slava! Having opened two weeks ago, the summer version of Khodovarikha will close during the next couple of days. I warned that it wouldn’t stay open for long! This was a version of the sim that I just wanted to get out my system: the main interest for me was in putting it together to see how it would look.

During this brief revival there have been plenty of visitors, some generous reviews, and another few hundred pictures have been added to the Flickr group. Thanks to all who came by, signed the guestbook, and took photographs. Here are some of the highlights …

Back again


Wish you were here


we experience certain things in the same way from day to day until something comes that turns everything upside down

Khodovarikha (summer)



Khodovarikha (summer)

Khodovarikha- Can't find the words



here comes the sun



Bird's-eye view

quietly slipping into weekend-mode...

Don't let the sun go down on me


Middle of Nowhere

red pumps on the pier


Leaving Khodovarikha


Frozen Isolation

Khodovarikha 06

TGB Khodovarikha 2020 - Waiting for infinity

Khodovarikha, Feb 2020

1 am.

Khodovarikha 02


Greta Was Here


With Or Without You

.: Khodovarians Neon Birds great Escape :.

Hello my friend






the warning call- take care of your world...or the color will fade


échoué sur la plage


We used to be friends....

One of us is sinking

le gardien du phare

Khodovarikha Summertime

[ washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life] - Pablo Picasso

Two Empty Chairs....

2020-03-01 - Khodovarikha - 01

2020-03-01 - Khodovarikha - 02

the priV.ilege


... the raVen

Vigie Radio.


Прощай пока – скоро вернусь! 🙏