At a glance…
- Available year-round
- 4 meaningful project options
- Projects based on the beautiful 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
- Program fees from US$260 (approximately CA$355) for 1 week
- Explore the Filipino culture with an optional Introduction Week add-on
- 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 - often considered one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Volunteers are required to fly into Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPS), which is a 14 to 17 hour flight from most major airports in Canada. This is where volunteer orientation and general administration is carried out by our local team. Placements are located in and around the Aborlan District.
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 organized 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 organized 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 organized 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-recognized 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-prioritized 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 (approximately CA$68) per 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.
As a volunteer on our Environmental project, you 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 Tigman village and the main focus 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 coastal erosion. If you’re someone who loves the outdoors and are looking to serve the Palawan community and environment, then this is a great option for you! Work on this project is based around three core tasks. The first and main task is mangrove rehabilitation and mangrove replanting which is typically done on most days of the working week. Other tasks include working within 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. Another key tasks for volunteers is the planting and gathering Moringa and Mahogany seeds, in an effort to slow erosion and deforestation in the area. Alongside this, volunteers work on cleaning up the local area particularly along the beach which is a great opportunity to engage and involve the local community in the environmental efforts. As you will be volunteering alongside our local team, you do not need to have prior experience in environmental conservation to participate on this project.
The program orientation is held every Monday and 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. We recommend that volunteers under the age of 18 travel internationally with a notarized letter from their parents to support their documentation.
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.
There are two options for orientation in the Philippines. The first option is a one-day orientation that begins on your selected start date, which all volunteers will attend. This covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in the Philippines, including an introduction to the IVHQ Philippines program, the local team, general rules and a class on the local culture and language. In the afternoon, you’ll learn about the projects, take a walking tour of the local area and arrange your sim card. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.
The second option is an Introduction Week, hosted by our Philippines team in Palawan. The Introduction Week begins on your selected start date and your volunteer program will commence the following week. The Introduction Week is very popular among IVHQ volunteers and we recommend all volunteers take advantage of this week, as you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the Filipino culture, a true appreciation of life in the Philippines and bond with your fellow volunteers. Plus, it’s a great way to help settle the culture shock you can face when arriving in the Philippines. Introduction Week in the Philippines does incur an additional US$20 surcharge to cover the additional costs.
If you wish to participate in the Introduction Week, you can indicate your interest in this option on your application form when you apply for the program or you can let your Program Manager know once you’ve been accepted on the program.
The Introduction Week schedule is outlined below:
|Monday: Start off with an introduction to the Philippines program, the local team, general rules and a class on the local culture and language. In the afternoon, learn about the local projects, take a walking tour of the local area, and arrange your sim card|
|Tuesday: In the morning, take a tour of a local farm to gain an insight into local agriculture. After lunch, take part in a Filipino craft workshop, either weaving coconut leaves or making a local broom, and finish the day off with a Filipino cooking class|
|Wednesday: Visit downtown Puerto Princesa with a trip to the famous local church and memorial park. After lunch in Puerto Princesa, visit the Palawan Museum, followed by some shopping at the local mall|
|Thursday: Volunteers meet to discuss their upcoming volunteer placements and receive the placement-specific orientation|
|Friday: You will have the opportunity to spend time volunteering on your placement to help your prepare for the upcoming 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 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 (CA$54)) 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)
|Length of Program||Program Fee $USD|
- All programs attract a Registration Fee (from US$299) on top of the Program Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your program start date*). A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
- To see prices in your local currency, use this currency converter.
- The Construction and Renovation project has an extra cost of US$50 per week for supervision, materials and the logistics involved in this project. Philippines Introduction Week incurs a US$20 surcharge.
- * Terms and Conditions do apply
- Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours, transport to and from placement if required.
- Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program
- Spending money - Volunteers in Philippines generally find US$30 to be sufficient for weekly expenses
What it covers
- Most affordable program fees
- Expert support from a program specialist
- Full MyIVHQ account access
- Online volunteer training
- Comprehensive preparation tools
- Deals on flights and travel insurance
- IVHQ alumni rewards
What it covers
- 24/7 in-country support
- Airport pick-up
- Program orientation
- Volunteer placement
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 traveling 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 who are under 18 years old will be required to provide IVHQ with parental consent and two character reference letters in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team. Independent volunteers under the age of 18 must provide a health certificate indicating that they are fit for the program in terms of physical, mental and emotional health. The IVHQ Philippines volunteer program is not able to accept participants under the age of 18 with psychological, serious heart or serious allergy health concerns. 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.