Ben’s search for island paradise

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Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild (Friday, February 14, Five, 9pm)

What’s It All About? It’s cold, it’s miserable, and some of us aren’t expecting any Valentine’s cards - so isn’t it tempting to daydream about how much better life would be if we could just leave the rat race behind and start again somewhere a little warmer?

Well, the latest episode of New Lives in the Wild may make you think otherwise.

Ben travels to Leyte, one of the 7,000 islands that make up the Philippines, to meet 45-year-old ‘Jungle Neil’ Hoag, who was struggling to make a living as a Florida cabbie before finding love on the other side of the world.

Now, he’s a coconut farmer with an adopted family, and appears to have ditched the American Dream in favour of a new culture.

But as Fogle discovers, Hoag’s new home wouldn’t be everyone’s idea of a tropical paradise. The farmer and his young family live in a bamboo house surrounded by a harsh and unforgiving environment.

Look Out For: While lesser presenters may have retreated to the nearest five-star hotel, Fogle throws himself into his host’s way of life, even slaughtering a pig and doing the island’s version of the school run.