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Volunteer in the Philippines: Teach English, Conservation & More

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Written By
By Nikki Martinez
Guest Writer
VolunteerForever
Edited By
By Munira Maricar
Travel Writer
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Volunteering in the Philippines is a great way to explore this lively Southeast Asian destination.

The Philippines, with its more than 7,000 islands, is a tropical country with a diverse landscape. Travelers here look forward to adventures such as zip lining, deep-sea diving, climbing volcanoes, and kitesurfing giant waves, as well as trekking through the rainforests and soaking up the sun on tranquil seashores.

The ways to volunteer are endless. Opportunities include disaster relief projects, hospital assistance, childcare, and environmental volunteer work. But one of the best ways to get to know the country is by volunteering as an English teacher.

What to Expect When Volunteering in the Philippines

English is one of the official languages of the Philippines and is widely spoken across the country. It’s also the only predominantly Catholic country in this part of the world. Because of these factors, many Filipinos have a wide English vocabulary. But although they may be familiar with English and study English textbooks at school, those in the remote islands hardly get a chance to practice the language, much less speak it.

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That said, the bigger cities like Manila and Cebu have huge English bookstores and English libraries for sourcing resource material. Filipino teens and millennials are also quite up-to-date with technological advances. The majority love social networking, and there are always city-wide events to attend where you can meet up and make new friends.

Volunteers who travel to the Philippines from English-speaking countries will have an easier time communicating because of this lack of a language barrier. With recent economic development, as well as a huge tourist market, the local communities are keener than ever to help their youth improve their English and communication skills.

The country has had difficulty finding native English-speaking teachers, especially in rural areas. So they are very welcoming to volunteers who offer to teach in schools and communities. When you arrive in the Philippines, you’ll immediately notice an incredible warmth and friendliness. The nicknames for strangers are “older brother” (Kuya) and “older sister” (Ate), which you may just find the kids chanting merrily after you.

Other Opportunities to Volunteer

Community Development, public health, and environmental awareness and conservation around the islands are huge needs. Opportunities abound to teach local residents about the current environmental challenges facing the pristine natural setting they call home.

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Adequate medical care is also quite limited in the provinces, so many volunteer organizations provide medical clinics, dental camps, and relief services.

Getting a Visa and Getting Around the Philippines

According to the Bureau of Immigration of the Philippines, nationals from over 150 countries are allowed to enter the Philippines without a visa for an initial stay of 30 days, provided they have a passport valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay and a return ticket.

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After the initial 30 days, tourists can extend their stay by applying for a visa extension online or at a local immigration office. The extension fee is relatively small, but the exact amount can vary depending on the length of the extension and other administrative fees.

The further you travel in the Philippines, the fewer commercial luxuries you’ll find. Rural areas often lack infrastructure, and the public road system is largely underdeveloped.

Don’t let this deter you from traveling, however. You’ll have plenty of adventures to write home about–crossing islands via ferry boats, ships, or even the local “banka” boats made of sturdy bamboo. Flights are relatively cheap around the country as well, so be prepared for lots of exploring.

Also, be prepared to sweat like crazy! The Philippines has a tropical, humid climate, so dress in loose, comfortable clothing and if you’re hitting the beach for a day of fun with other volunteers, don’t forget sunscreen and skin-protective clothing.

Explore Volunteer Opportunities in The Philippines 

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

International Volunteer Headquarters (IVHQ) can also arrange placements for you in the Philippines. They are one of the most affordable options for volunteering. They currently have projects based in the Aborlan District, on the island of Palawan, an otherworldly destination.

Volunteer Forever - Volunteer in the Philippines: Teach English, Conservation & More

Explore their amazing programs below:

  • Volunteer as a Teacher: Teach English and other subjects in primary and secondary schools, gaining classroom leadership experience under the guidance of a local teacher. 
  • Environmental Conservation: Participate in the preservation and conservation of Palawan’s stunning natural environment, particularly through the replanting of vital mangroves. Conduct educational classes for the local community and help with beach cleanup efforts.  
  • Construction and Renovation: Contribute to the beautification and maintenance of community services, including medical centers, daycares, and schools in Palawan. Assist local staff in various building projects that require support. 
  • Volunteer with Children: Engage in volunteer work at kindergartens, focusing on teaching English, math, science, and arts and crafts to children aged 3-5 years.

“I will definitely miss taking bucket showers, eating traditional food, playing find the word, exploring the place, talking Bisaya or Tagalog, seeing smiling places every day and having conversations with Kim–one of the local coordinators,” recalls Greta, a volunteer from Lithuania who worked with IVHQ.

“This experience really opened my eyes and my heart, made me appreciate and tolerate different people, culture and way of living. I will for unique come back to the Philippines one day!”

Projects Abroad

If you’re looking to make a meaningful impact while exploring, volunteering in the Philippines with Projects Abroad is an excellent opportunity.

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This program allows you to support people in need through various projects designed to address the specific needs of local communities, for example:

You’ll live and work on the mainland island of Cebu, famous for its diving opportunities and stunning beaches. Dedicated Projects Abroad staff in the Philippines are available 24/7 to assist with anything you might need, ensuring your volunteering experience is smooth and enjoyable. You’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in the local culture, enjoy breathtaking scenery, and taste delicious local cuisine.

Philip Power, a deaf volunteer who spent time teaching in the Philippines with Projects Abroad, reflects:

“I chose to go to the Philippines because it was the only Asian country offering placements with deaf children. I went to Bohol, Camotes Island and Cebu City with them and all were marvelous. Indeed, during those trips, I got to know many volunteers — from a Japanese nurse to a Norwegian biomedical student, to an Australian on a career break, and even a German banker. I didn’t regret my choice to spend the summer in the beautiful country everyone calls the Philippines.”

Involvement Volunteers International (IVI)

Join Involvement Volunteers International (IVI) for authentic, affordable, and life-changing volunteer projects in the Philippines. With over 30 years of experience, IVI offers 12 diverse projects aimed at helping underprivileged communities in Tacloban City, the capital of Leyte, and Palawan. Volunteers can stay in homestays or volunteer centers, enjoying a warm, safe, and culturally rich experience while contributing to local communities.

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Explore volunteer opportunities in the Philippines with IVI:

  • Primary School Teaching: Help school teachers with conversational English, reading, writing, pronunciation, and lesson planning for creative and educational classes. 
  • Environmental & Mangrove Conservation: Conserve mangrove plantations, essential for marine life and coastal protection, by participating in this vital conservation project. 
  • Nutrition & Public Health: Combat hunger by participating in supplementary feeding programs and nutritional information support for families and community workers. 
  • Boys Youth Rehabilitation: Mentor and coach young male adolescents in conflict with the law, helping them alter their life paths through empowerment and skill-sharing. 
  • Women’s Welfare: Assist in a women’s shelter, promoting female empowerment through vocational and educational activities for disadvantaged and abused women.

Hear from Mafalda, who participated in one of the teaching programs:  

“I can’t put into words how rewarding it was working with the children. Teaching was a challenge but the feeling of contributing for their education and just being part of their everyday life, either in the classroom or just laying outside, is more than fulfilling.”

Volunteering Solutions (VolSol)

Volunteering Solutions (VolSol) offers a range of affordable volunteer programs in Tacloban, Philippines, with highlights including staying with a Filipino host family to experience the local culture firsthand. 

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  • Volunteer Teaching: Enhance and develop students’ skills by getting involved in educational activities. Volunteers can help improve the quality of education for local students in Tacloban. 
  • Childcare Volunteer Program: Work directly with children in need, assist local staff, and participate in periodic fundraising activities. This program focuses on providing quality care and support to children in Tacloban. 
  • Rural Medical Volunteering: Contribute to the healthcare of underserved communities by working in rural clinics. Qualified volunteers assist in various medical tasks, improving the well-being of local residents. 
  • Public Health Nutrition Program: Address malnutrition among infants and young children through VolSol’s Nutrition Public Health project. Volunteers work to improve the nutritional status and overall health of the community.

Hear from Manel G, a recent volunteer:

“My overall experience in Tacloban  Philippines was excellent. The homestay family treated me really well and gave me all the necessary support to get the most out of three weeks trip. Program coordinators were always available for any doubt/problem I could have. Moreover I got to know amazing volunteers from all around the world. Childcare program was a fulfilling experience as I was giving aid to kids under difficult circumstances. The orphanage was a safe and clean place where you could enjoy your time with children. The volunteering experience was so authentic. Living with locals helped me to understand what traditions they have in their country.”

Ready to Travel?

Ready to pack your bags and head to the Philippines or other overseas destinations, through Volunteer Forever?

It’s best to be prepared beforehand, so you know what to expect. Our platform is for those looking for unique and diverse volunteering opportunities and internships. Start traveling and making a positive impact wherever you go, today.