Volunteer in Philippines
At a glance…
- Available year-round
- 4 meaningful project options
- Projects based in the Aborlan District, on the island of Palawan
- Accommodation in dormitory-style accommodation
- Between 10 and 40 volunteers start in the Philippines each month
- Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- Affordable program fees
- Most affordable fees - as the world leader in affordable volunteer travel, we’re able to keep our fees low by partnering with a local organization in Philippines to support meaningful community projects and local employment.
- Superior support - your experienced IVHQ Program Manager, teamed with our local team in Philippines will ensure you feel supported every step of the way - from planning to volunteering.
- Responsible projects - we’re dedicated to ensuring that our projects are responsibly run and have sustainable positive impacts that are supporting local needs.
- Online training - as soon as you register on an IVHQ program, you will gain access to our interactive volunteer training to ensure you’re well prepared for your program.
- Safety-first - volunteer safety is a top priority for IVHQ and we have clear standards for risk management on each program. You can feel confident that you are placed with trustworthy institutions, organizations and families that have been screened by our local teams.
- New friendships - as an IVHQer, you’ll always be in the company of friendly locals and like-minded volunteer travelers who will quickly become your life-long friends.
- Epic weekend adventures - you’ll have your weekends free to explore Philippines with your new-found friends.
The IVHQ Philippines volunteer program is based in the Aborlan District, in Palawan where volunteer orientation and general administration is carried out by our local team. Placements are located in and around the Aborlan District. Volunteers are required to fly into Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPS), which is a 6 to 8 hour flight from most major airports in Australia.
The Philippines volunteer program begins every Monday. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks.
Volunteers on the Kindergarten project are leading lessons within a local kindergarten usually with the assistance of a local teacher. You will be teaching pre-school English, Maths, Science and Arts and Crafts to children aged between 3 and 5 years old. While you will follow the government stipulated curriculum, the lessons are conducted in an exciting and practical way through basic drawing, painting and playing – with an essential focus on having a lot of fun! This project is a great option for aspiring teachers or volunteers with no experience in curriculum planning or teaching. You can expect to work approximately 4 to 5 hours per day, Monday to Friday. You will teach and arrange activities at the school in the morning and afternoon for approximately 2 hours each time, followed by preparing lessons/activities for the next day in the evening. During the holiday periods, volunteers will have the opportunity to conduct special classes in the community which are organised by our local team. These classes are an opportunity for volunteers to teach outside of the government curriculum and they are very successful and appreciated by the local community.
On the Teaching project, you will work in local primary and secondary schools, teaching English, Math, Science and sometime Arts and Crafts. The local teacher will be present within the class but you will usually be required to lead the class. Filipino’s learn English from a young age and the children benefit greatly from communicating with fluent English speakers to develop their English communication skills. You will work in an organised class and will follow the government-stipulated curriculum. You can expect to work approximately 4 to 5 hours per day, Monday to Friday. You will teach and arrange activities at the school in the morning and afternoon for approximately 2 hours each time, followed by preparing lessons/activities for the next day in the evening. During the holiday periods, volunteers will have the opportunity to conduct special classes in the community which are organised by our local team. These classes are an opportunity for volunteers to teach outside of the government curriculum and they are very successful and appreciated by the local community. As you will work with the support of IVHQ’s local team and placement staff, you will not need to be qualified or have teaching experience to participate. However, we encourage volunteers to come prepared by completing some relevant training, like a teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) course. Visit our Online TEFL course page to learn how to gain an internationally-recognised TEFL certification at a discounted rate.
Construction and Renovation
Volunteers on the Construction and Renovation project assist with light construction and renovation tasks throughout the Palawan community, including making improvements to medical centers, childcare centers and schools. Your tasks can include, but are not limited to, building, renovating, painting, restoration, carpentry and landscaping. The Construction and Renovation project is ever changing and the tasks that are assigned can be varied as they are frequently re-prioritised according to the specific needs of the centers at the time. You can expect to work on a variety of projects during your time in the Philippines and you must be open to complete the range of work that is required at the time of your placement. This project is suitable for all volunteers who are interested in physical work and who are not afraid to get stuck in and get their hands dirty. You do not need prior construction or renovation experience to participate on this project, as you work alongside the local staff to complete the work, although skilled workers are very welcome. The Construction and Renovation project has an extra cost of US$50 per week (excluding the first week) for supervision, materials and the logistics involved in this project. This amount will be included in your Program Fee quoted to you by IVHQ when you apply. Please note that the Construction and Renovation project has a 2 week minimum duration.
Volunteers on the Environmental project will have the privilege of working to restore and conserve the amazing environment that Palawan is famous for. Volunteers will work within the mangrove area around the Tigman village mangrove area. The focus of this project is mangrove rehabilitation as these have seen a decline in recent years. Mangroves provide habitat for nursing fish and other marine life as well as many native birds, including the Palawan fruit bat. Mangroves are not just positive for nature, they also serve as coastal barriers, slowing storm surge and reducing beach erosion. Work on the environmental project is based around three core tasks. The first and main task is mangrove rehabilitation and mangrove replanting which is typically done for three days of the working week. Another day is spent in the local schools or within the local community educating them on the effects that rubbish/litter can have on the environment. There is also an opportunity to educate the local schools and community around the rehabilitation work you will be doing with the mangroves. On a Tuesday or Thursday, volunteers work doing rubbish clean ups in the local area particularly along the beach - this is also a great opportunity to involve the local schools or community. Work on the project can become repetitive however there is plenty of opportunity for volunteers to take initiative and the local schools are always willing to get involved and assist when required. This project is great for volunteers who love the outdoors and are looking to serve the Palawan community and environment.
The program orientation begins every Monday and lasts for 3 days. Volunteers need to arrive in Palawan on the day before orientation.
After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPS) between 10am and 5pm. Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee.
When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Tigman Village. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.
If you are traveling in the Philippines prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up in Puerto Princesa on the day before your program orientation.
Orientation is hosted by our Philippines team in Aborlan, on Palawan, and begins on the morning of your chosen start date and runs for the first 3 days of your stay. This covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in the Philippines – Introduction to the Philippines, Culture and Customs, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities, Introduction to Project and Placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details. The orientation schedule is as follows:
Day 1: In the morning, you will receive an introduction to the Philippines and the local team, including a briefing of rules and expectations, and health and safety regulations. In the afternoon, volunteers attend a Filipino craft workshop before taking a walking tour of the local village.
Day 2: In the morning, you will take a tour of some local farms before participating in language classes, learning some basic Tagalog. After lunch, volunteers support clean-up initiatives in the local community before preparing souvenir bracelets and joining a Filipino cooking class for dinner!
Day 3: Visit to the downtown area of Puerto Princesa with a visit to the famous local church and memorial park. After lunch in Puerto Princesa, volunteers visit Palawan Museum followed by some shopping at the local shopping mall.
Day 4: After breakfast, volunteers meet to discuss their upcoming volunteer placements and receive the placement-specific orientation. In the afternoon, you will begin working at your placement.
Day 5: Begin work at your volunteer placement and start planning for the next week.
￼￼Please note, this schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on the needs of the project, local and weather conditions and unforeseen circumstances.
Weekdays: After the initial orientation week, you will work for approximately 3 to 5 hours per day and a typical schedule is as follows:
8.00AM: Breakfast with fellow volunteers.
9.00 - 11.30AM: Volunteers work at their placements.
11.30AM: Volunteers break for lunch. If volunteers are unable to return to the volunteer accommodation, they will be given a packed lunch.
1.30 - 2PM: Work at the placement resumes (except Kindergarten volunteers, who use their afternoons to prepare for the following day)
3.30 - 4PM: Work ends and volunteers have free time to explore the local area.
5 - 6.00PM: Dinner with fellow volunteers.
Please note this schedule varies from project to project.
Volunteers are accommodated in dormitory-style accommodation, located within Tigman Village, where the local team’s office is based. Volunteers should expect to share a room with up to 7 other volunteers of the same gender. The accommodation provides air-conditioning in the bedrooms, a shared bathroom with western toilets and bucket showers with cold running water (nice and refreshing in the hot weather!). A fridge is available to store your personal items and an area for hand washing laundry. Bedding is provided and includes a bottom sheet, thin blanket and a pillow.
For those volunteers wanting more comfortable accommodation or a private room, accommodation upgrades can sometimes be arranged. As this is not always available, this needs to be be discussed with the local team directly once you arrive in-country. Please note that if you choose to upgrade, this will most likely be at a nearby resort and will be at an additional cost to yourself and won’t result in a reduction of your Program Fees. Volunteers can expect to pay approximately PHP2000 (US$40) per night for private accommodation.
Given the remote island location, internet and phone reception at the accommodation site is limited and often non-existent. While at times there may be 3G WiFi dongles for volunteers to connect to, you shouldn’t expect to have the same connection speed that you are used to at home. There is better reception and internet available from some of the nearby villages (10 to 15 minute drive from the volunteer accommodation), or in Puerto Princesa City (60 to 90 minute drive). We recommend bringing an unlocked mobile phone and purchasing a local SIM card with data when you arrive in the Philippines. You can then use this to access the internet in the nearby villages.
Volunteers are served three meals on weekdays (breakfast, lunch and dinner), with two meals provided on the weekends. Breakfast consists of bread and spreads with tea or coffee, while lunch and dinner consist of local Filipino cuisine. Rice is a staple in the Philippines and most meals will include a portion of rice, accompanied by two or more dishes which will be a combination of vegetables, meat or seafood cooked in local spices and sauces.
“This was my first volunteer project with IVHQ and it’ll definitely not be the last! The online support and resources were really helpful along with the processes in applying - super simple! I only had a 2 week trip at Tigman Village and my only regret was not staying longer! The people were so welcoming, the location was beautiful and the support throughout was above and beyond.” - Cindy Yin (Kindergarten Volunteer in the Philippines)
During the weekend, volunteers have free time to relax and explore the local area, or travel further afield. There are plenty of things to do and see around Palawan and volunteers are able to go white water rafting, visit local markets or relax poolside. For those volunteers interested in travelling further afield there are many great destinations to choose from including El Nido, Coron and many other nearby islands around Palawan. There are also many near our program location as well with volunteers able to enjoy a relaxing weekend by the beach, downtown Puerto Princesa to get your city fix or trekking up mount Tundalara or Ugong.
See our Philippines Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Philippines.
|Currency||Philippine Peso (PHP)|
Weather and climate: The Philippines has a hot and humid climate all year round, with average temperatures between 25°C and 28°C (77°F to 83°F). The coolest months are in November through to January where average temperatures fall below 30°C (86°F). The hottest months are April through to May, where the average temperature sits above 30°C (86°F). The dry season runs from January through to June. The wet season runs from July through to December.
Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ’s local team on arrival in The Philippines.
Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.