Volunteer in the Philippines with International Volunteer HQ

Volunteer in Philippines

Volunteer in the Philippines with International Volunteer HQ, the world's most affordable and trusted volunteer organization. IVHQ has a wide range of volunteer abroad projects in the Philippines, including Kindergarten, Teaching, Construction and Renovation, and Environmental.
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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
  • Program fees from $270 for 1 week
  • A special one week volunteer program is available
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 conversation with Kim-one of the local coordinators. This experience really opened my eyes and my heart, made me appreciate and tolerate different people, culture and way of living. I will definitely come back to the Philippines one day!
IVHQ Volunteer - Greta Puodziunaite
Greta Puodziunaite
Nationality: Lithuanian
Project: Working with Hill Tribes*
Age: 22
Country: Philippines
  • 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 partner organization. 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 6 months.

SHORT TERM VOLUNTEERING IN THE PHILIPPINES

If you wish to experience a taste of volunteering in the Philippines, you can register for a special one week volunteer program. You will spend the first part of your week with the other volunteers on orientation, gaining a cultural insight into the Philippines. This will be followed by two days visiting a volunteer placement to get an idea of what it is like to volunteer.

Kindergarten

Volunteers on the Kindergarten project assist local teachers within a local kindergarten teaching pre-school math, reading, writing and art lessons. The children are aged between 3 and 5 years old so 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! Similarly to the Teaching project, cultural exchange is also a big art of this project - the children are always very interested and keen to learn more about volunteer’s lives back so it is always a great idea to bring some photos or information about home to plan a few lessons around this. Volunteers play a crucial role in supporting the local teachers to take care if the young children. This project is a great option for aspiring teachers or volunteers with no experience in curriculum planning or teaching.

Teaching

Volunteers on the Teaching project take on an assisting role in local primary and secondary schools, teaching a variety of subjects within a classroom environment. Filipino’s learn English from a young age, however the children benefit greatly from communicating with fluent English speakers to develop their English communication skills. Volunteers work in an organized, informal English class which allows volunteers to arrange a variety of activities such as music, songs, playing games, arts, sports, conversation exercises and grammar exercises. Cultural exchange is also a big art of this project - the children at the school are always very interested and keen to learn more about volunteer’s lives back so it is always a great idea to bring some photos or information about home to plan a few lessons around this. Volunteers work informally from the government-stipulated curriculum and are required to plan their own lessons which are typically done in the evenings, with the help of the local coordinator and other volunteers. This project is well suited to volunteers looking for a busy and fast-paced teaching project. Volunteers work approximately 5 hours per day, Monday to Friday. Volunteers 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 very successful and appreciated by the local community. As volunteers work with the support of IVHQ’s local team and placement staff, they do not need to be qualified or experienced teachers to participate. However, we encourage volunteers to come prepared by completing some relevant training. 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. Volunteer 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 to volunteers can be varied as they are frequently re-prioritized according to the specific needs of the centers at the time. Volunteers can expect to work on a variety of projects during their time in the Philippines and must be open to complete the range of work that is required at the time of their 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. Volunteers do not need prior construction or renovation experience to participate on this project, as they 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 for supervision, materials and the logistics involved in this project. This amount will be included in the Program Fee quoted to you by IVHQ when you apply.

Environmental

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.

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 5 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: Introduction to the IVHQ Philippines program and local staff, including rules and expectations as well as covering health & safety information and requirements. In the afternoon, volunteers will head off on a walking tour of the local village.
Day 2: In the morning, volunteers will participate in Language classes, learning some basic local Tagalog. After lunch, volunteers will prepare souvenir bracelets and participate in a Filipino Cooking Class which will be dinner!
Day 3: Volunteers will visit the downtown Puerto Princesa with a visit to the butterfly park, a visit to the famous local church and memorial park. After lunch in Puerto Princesa, volunteers will visit Palawan Museum followed by some shopping time at the local shopping mall.
Day 4: After breakfast, volunteers will visit Nara, the local township and have a chance to experience the local market here. After lunch in Nara volunteers will spend time refreshing at a nearby waterfall and watering hole for a chance to swim and relax. In the evening, volunteers will meet about the upcoming placements and receive the placement specific orientation.
Day 5: The morning will see volunteers visiting a nearby sandbar island for time to swim and relax in a beautiful setting. In the afternoon, volunteers will have a chance to observe current volunteers at their placement before preparing for their 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.

First Day: On the first day of the volunteering placement, you will be escorted to the project by our local staff and introduced to the staff at the project you will be working with.

Weekdays: While our programs are flexible and can be fitted to your requirements, a typical day is as follows:

8.00AM Breakfast with fellow volunteers.

9.00 - 11/11.30AM Volunteers work at their placement

11/11.30AM 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

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 IVHQ local office is based. Volunteers should expect sparsely furnished accommodation and to share their room with up to 5 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 personal items and an area for hand washing laundry. Bedding is provided and includes a bottom sheet, thin blanket and a pillow.

While there are some 3G WiFi dongles for volunteers to connect to, it is extremely limited and you shouldn’t expect to have the speed you are used to at home. There is much better reception and internet available from some of the nearby villages (10 - 15 minute drive) or in Puerto Princesa City (60 – 90 minute drive). For those volunteers wanting more comfortable accommodation or a private room, these can be arranged at a nearby guesthouse once on the program and our local staff will be happy to assist with this. Volunteers can expect to pay between PHP800 to PHP1000 (around US$15 to US$40) per night for private accommodation.

Volunteers are served three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). 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.

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.

Capital Manila
Population 100 million
Languages Filipino, English
Currency Philippine Peso (PHP)
Time zone UTC+08:00

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.

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