The Philippines

Volunteer in the Philippines | Child care in Cebu city (Missionary of Charity)
Brief Description

  • Volunteers will assist local nuns in a community organization for the sick and malnourished children from poor families. It is run by the nuns (Sisters of Mother Theresa).
  • Volunteers help the sisters with everyday activities such as feeding, cleaning and playing with the children and will assist the organization in visiting communities to give medical assistance.


Volunteer in the Philippines | Teaching program in Cebu city
Brief Description

  • There are a number of teaching programs in Cebu. The tasks differ according to the institution you work for (University, High School or Elementary school) and can include ‘alternative’ teaching methods.
  • Volunteers on this program can teach music, arts and/ or sports, a foreign language (English or Spanish) and assist on / facilitate training programs such as leadership training. Further activities include assisting during school camps and school field trips (sometimes camps are outside of the province and even outside of the country). For the high school / university programs volunteers may also assist with the development and implementation of different social/community development programs and activities.
  • The institution has students from Nursery, Kindergarten, Elementary and High School.


Volunteer in the Philippines | Working for an NGO in Cebu city
Brief Description

  • Volunteers on this program work directly with our local partner on a number of tasks:
  • Staff assistance in office work, including but not limited to the following: development/updating of programs, promotional materials like print, audio and video presentations, volunteer related advocacy campaigns in schools, communities, institutions, events, etc.
  • Co-coordinator or camp leader for its short-term program to international volunteers participating in work camps
  • Assistance during training/capacity building programs, community visits and other community development related work
  • Assistance with social media / website maintenance.



Volunteer in the Philippines | Working with the hearing impaired in Cebu city
Brief Description

  • Volunteers on this program learn basic sign language in the first weeks and can then help on a number of levels that are most appropriate considering their skills.
  • Volunteers can teach any of the following; mathematics, English, baking, computer literacy, science, sports or other subjects.
  • Volunteers can also help the local employees with the website maintenance and or changes thereof.
  • Volunteers can also work on a parallel project on the side (ex: one volunteer worked on a video dictionary, another helped with construction of the school etc.).



Volunteer in the Philippines | Alternative education program in Dumaguete
Brief Description

  • Volunteers on this program work in an NGO that is recognized on youth empowerment and development by the Department of Education, and Commission on Higher Education. It has empowered more than 200,000 youths and teachers in all its programs and activities in the Philippines and the ASEAN region.
  • Volunteers assist in the different leadership and socio-civic activities, assisting the trainers/facilitators in leadership and youth camp activities
  • They can also teach English or foreign language subjects to the children in the school and/or assist in the development of arts, music and sports programs and may also assist in office or administrative tasks.


Volunteer in the Philippines | Teaching program in Medellin
Brief Description

  • Volunteers can assist the local teachers of an elementary school with typical elementary school subjects. Above all these are English teaching and MAPE (Music, Arts, Physical Education and Health).
  • As English is one of the official languages in the Philippines, the English level of the children is quite elevated and so native English speakers are preferred, though non-native speakers can also be of great help!
  • Some of the classes are very full (up to 60 students) and above all their help could be well used in those classes.


Volunteer in the Philippines | Teaching, day-care, marine sanctuary i.a on Gilutongan island
Brief Description

  • Volunteers on this program work on a small island (24 acres) with approximately 1,500 inhabitants, just a 30 minute (small) boat ride from the mainland. The island’s electricity comes from three generators that are on from 18:00 until 23:00 (outside of those hours there is NO electricity).
  • Volunteers help with the monitoring and cleaning of the sanctuary (so the corals don’t die).
  • Volunteers generally COMBINE the work on the marine sanctuary with some other work (working at the daycare center or school, helping with the waste removal program, assisting in the nutrition and health program, organizing sports, music, arts, etc. activities for the children and youth amongst others).


Volunteer in the Philippines | Teaching program in San Remegio
Brief Description

  • Volunteers can assist the local teachers of a school that teaches children from kindergarten level through to high school level with typical school subjects. Above all these are English teaching and MAPE (Music, Arts, Physical Education and Health).
  • Volunteers can also assist in organizing/coordinating club activities, and assist during school camps and field trips.
  • As English is one of the official languages in the Philippines, the English level of the students is quite elevated and so native English speakers are preferred, though non-native speakers can also be of great help!


Volunteer in the Philippines | Physiotherapy program in San Remegio
Brief Description

  • This program is an amazing initiative that has had a huge impact amongst physically disabled children and adults in the region.
  • Volunteers work with patients with disabilities, observing and treating various diseases and conditions. This project is ideal for both physical therapy students looking to gain experience, and for qualified professionals who want to put their knowledge and skills to good use.
  • As a Physical therapy volunteer you will work with PDAO (Persons with Disability Affairs) in San Remigio, Cebu, assisting patients in home visits or in consultations in community centers.
  • To participate in this project you will need to have completed at least 4  years of physiotherapy, related studies or training in the area of ​​health.


Volunteer in the Philippines | Teaching program in Bais
Brief Description

INTVS volunteers can teach a variety of subjects in Bais, Phiilppines
  • Volunteers can teach English or a foreign language to students, amongst a number of other subjects such as music, sports, arts, etc.
  • Volunteers can also assist on capacity building programs, the organization of clubs and socio-civic activities as well as library management and more.
  • Furthermore volunteers can assist on the school’s community development program with their partner rural communities.
  • Some of the work could also be the assistance of staff with regards to the development of promotional materials like printing, audio & video presentations.
  • As English is one of the official languages in the Philippines, the English level of the students is quite elevated and so native English speakers are preferred, though non-native speakers can also be of great help!
  • Volunteers on this program could potentially combine the work with some work on an organic farm.


The Philippines program info


  • Volunteers stay with local families. Depending on which program you apply to, the accommodation can be quite different. Generally volunteers share a room with another volunteer, but at times they have their own room. Food is included, but must at times be prepared by the volunteer him/herself.
  • In most cases showers are not like the traditional showers one has in the West, but rather consist of pales and dippers, whereby people pour water over themselves with a pale to wash themselves.

The INTVS volunteer program's accomodation on Gilutongan island in the Philippines

A typical room on the INTVS volunteer programs in the Philippines



  • Food is quite diverse and sweet. Breakfast, lunch and dinner can be quite similar. Philipinos like to eat lots of snacks during the day as well.
  • Breakfast tends to consist of bread and rice, vegetable and meat, and depending on the region in which you find yourself in, you can expect a similar type of dish for lunch and dinner, though generally without bread.


What to see & do
(In Cebu and Cebu city)

  • Magallan’s cross and the Basilica del Santo Niño: Volunteers visiting Cebu city will notice a clear footprint from the Spanish and Roman Catholic culture. For this reason, one of its most famous landmarks is Magellan’s Cross; a cross that was planted by Ferdinand Magellan when he arrived to the Philippines in 1521.  The basilique Minore del Santo Niño is close to the cross and is considered the head of all churches in the Philippines.
  • Minglanilla public Market: Just a few kilometres from Cebu city, volunteers can shop in this traditional market where just about any type of food can be found!
  • The Kawasan falls: About 130km from Cebu city, international volunteers often go there in weekends in order to enjoy the chrystaline water coming from natural springs.
  • Beaches: There are numerous beautiful beaches within a 150km radius from Cebu city. These are (amongst others) badian beach, Bantayan island, Camotes island, Moalboal and Oslob.

(In Medellin)

  • Medellin is a quiet seaside city that was hit hard by typhoon Yolanda and had to practically build itself up from its ashes again in 2013. The town itself is charming and colloquial with a nice beach. On weekends however, international volunteers can visit other nearby beaches like Camotes or Malapascua.

(In San Remegio)

  • Like Medellin, San Remigio is a very small and quiet city. It has a nice beach where locals tend to hang out and play sports. As with Medellin, international volunteers tend to visit some of the gorgeous nearby beaches in weekends.

(On Gilutongan island)

  • Being a tiny island, volunteers that volunteer on Gilutongan island have to make do with the 35 acres of land that the island consists of. As there is only electricity from 18:00 until 23:00, people that go to this island should like to disconnect…because on Gilutongan…you literally disconnect! Karaoke sessions, swimming and relaxing by the coral reef are some of the main things to do in volunteers’ free time. On weekends volunteers often go island hopping or head off to Cebu city for some ‘big city time’.

(In Dumaguete)

  • Dumaguete is a very pleasant student city with quite a large population of expats that were charmed by the city’s lovely seaside boulevard, collection of coffee shops, restaurants and bars.
  • Some of the nicest things to see / do in or close to Dumaguete is to stroll through the gorgeous Silliman University campus, walk by the Rizal boulevard, snorkel, surf or kite surf on the nearby beaches or check out the whales in nearby Bais city.

(In Bais)

  • Bais is a small, quiet coastal city that is mostly known for its rich marine life due to its mangroves. It also has some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the area.


  • On average volunteers work approximately 30 to 40 hours per week.
  • Detailed information on each program is provided in the program information booklets, which you receive once you have applied. You can also contact us via the website chat or at [email protected] hould you have any questions!


  • Volunteers can volunteer on a number of locations in and around the on the island province of Cebu, as well as on the islands of Negros, and Bohol.
  • Popular flight destinations from Cebu within the Philippines are Manila and Davao, to which one can generally book a return flight for less than 100€. Popular nearby destinations in other countries are Jakarta (Indonesia), Ho Chi Minh city and Hanoi (Vietnam), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Bangkok (Thailand), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and Taipei (Taiwan) to which you can generally get return flights for 150€ to 250€.

(Teaching programs)

  • Minimum 18 years old, show creativity & initiative, confidence in the classroom & effective time management skills.
  • Fluent English
  • (Depending on the program the requirements can be slightly more; for some a University degree, teaching certificate or being a native speaker can be a prerequisite).

(Working at a local NGO)

  • Minimum 18 years old.
  • Team work skills.
  • Computer skills.
  • Educational degree or practical experience required.
  • Volunteers must send a C.V. and cover letter beforehand and BRING A LAPTOP FOR WORK.
  • Flexibility/Adaptability.
  • Minimum stay 1 month (preferably longer).

(Physiotherapy programs)

  • Minimum 21 years old.
  • at least 4  years of physiotherapy, related studies or training in the area of ​​health.
  • Volunteers must send a C.V. and cover letter beforehand
  • Flexibility/Adaptability.

(Day-care programs)

  • Minimum 18 years old, demonstrate creativity and iniciative, confidence around children and time management skills.
  • Medium level of English
  • Volunteers should feel comfortable working with very young children, should be responsible, mature and should show initiative.
  • Patience and creativity.

The gorgeous, tiny island of Gilutongan in the Philippines, where INTVS sends international volunteers

  • Airport Pickup from Cebu airport (Monday – Friday between 08:00 and 17:00).Volunteers that arrive outside of this time frame should reserve their first evening in a nearby hotel or hostel from where the coordinators can pick you up at a later point.
  • Accommodation (Food and lodging) with a local family
  • Half day orientation session
  • Presentation of aims and structure of the local NGO
  • Short introduction to Philippines and the local area
  • Practical information and arrangements
  • Long term volunteers receive 24 hours of language classes.
  • Visit to Host Placement(s) primarily with a program director.
  • 1- day Mid-term Evaluation (for those who stay for 6 months and over)
  • 1- day Final Evaluation
  • On-going support and supervision during the program

Volunteer period Cost (€)
1 month 350 €
Additional weeks 75 €

(The minimum stay is one month) 

Please click here to convert the prices to your local currency.

  • INTVS charges its own fee of 185€, regardless of the time that a volunteer stays abroad. This fee covers;
  • Volunteer support prior to, during and after the volunteer experience (in English, French & Spanish)
  • All necessary preparatory information including;
    • Visas
    • Vaccinations
    • Travel/Medical Insurance
    • Police Check form
    • The program (the site, schedule, role…)
    • Local contacts & important numbers

And also…

  • History, demographics & local norms
  • What to bring
  • Do’s and don’ts
  • And much more.
  • It also covers work and travel costs that INTVS staff incur to check up on and document the programs on a regular basis.
  • The payments to the local organizations and INTVS are completely separate. We do NOT charge them a commission and 100% of the program cost goes to them.

One of the international volunteers on the Philippines program (INTVS.ORG)

It is impossible to talk about my experience in just a few sentences, because I can talk about so many things; I helped organize three types of work camps, I did field work for a week, I met new friends, I learned about the Filipino environment, I saw touristic spots, I now understand the Filipino behavior and culture, and so much more!

I stayed here for only three months and it was so fast, but I felt I gained so much experience than in this short time!

Takahiro Ukai (Japan)


Why did you decide to become a volunteer? I always wanted to volunteer abroad and help children. This year, I finally decided to ask for a leave of absence and travel to the Philippines with the idea of volunteering and studying English.

What did you find the most rewarding? the laughs with the children and being able to see how they learned new things and evolved. Despite not being able to communicate verbally, because they were too young to speak or because they only spoke Cebuano, we understood each other perfectly. It was amazing to see them asking me to sing songs that I had taught them a few days before, dances or games…

What have you learnt from the experience? I have learned how to live in other circumstances not as comfortable as those we have in the Western world and I realized that you can live well without so many material things. I think the most disadvantaged people are great teachers in terms of attitude to life because despite not having a lot of material things they are calm, happy and they always have a smile to offer.

What advice would you give to future volunteers? They should be brave and leave their comfort zone. They have to be open to new experiences, to meet new people (other volunteers, the family with whom you live or local people), and enjoy everything that this experience can give to them.

Gema Sanchez (Spain)


  • Population: 102 million (2016)
  • Currency: Philippine peso
  • Capital City: Manila
  • Land area:  115,830 square miles
  • People living below poverty line: 26.48 million (2015 estimate)
  • Official Languages: Filipino and English are the official languages, with the recognition of the regional languages as auxiliary official in their respective regions.


  • Family values: Family is key to Filipino culture and includes the nuclear family, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and honorary relations such as godparents, sponsors, and close family friends. It is usual for members of the same family to work for the same company.
  • Philosophical basis: “Hiya” is one value that regulates the Filipinos social behavior. It literally translates to “a sense of shame”. It is the Filipino reaction to anything which is an affront to his honor, dignity, or pride. It reflects in all his personal relations, as well as how he looks at himself relative to another individual. Social approval, acceptance by a group, and belonging to a group are major concerns. Caring about what others will think, say or do, are strong influences on social behavior among Filipinos.
  • Communication: There are approximately 111 dialects in the Philippines but everybody can speak acceptable and readily understood English. Filipinos, because of their friendly and accommodating nature, often have difficulties saying “no”. They often say something like “maybe,” “I am busy,” or even “yes” when they really mean “no”. Filipinos use a lot of non-verbal communication. Some examples are raising eyebrows or lifting the head upwards slightly to indicate “yes” or to greet friends. It is considered impolite to pass between people conversing or facing one another. Some gestures that are considered rude are middle finger erect, waving a pointed index finger and pointing at someone. • Customs & Etiquette: Initial greetings are formal. The standard greeting is a handshake with a welcoming smile. Until you are invited to use their first name, use academic, professional or honorific titles and the person’s surname. Filipinos are very hospitable. They often invite foreigners to their house for meal or put them up for the night. If you are invited to a Filipino home bring sweets or flowers to the host. People often send a thank you notes or a small gift after being invited to dinner, a social gathering or being a house guest. It is customary to arrive 15 to 30 minutes late. In rural areas people tend to remove their shoes when entering a home; in urban areas they keep them on.
  • Helpful Hints: 1) Speak softly and control your emotions in public. Make requests, not demands. 2) Don’t be offended by personal questions. These are asked to show interest. Feel free to ask the same questions in return, especially about family. 3) Verbal assault is a crime for which you can be charged. 4) Never bring shame to a person. This reflects on his family. Personal goals are sacrificed for the good of the family. 5) Never directly criticize anyone, especially in public. Never offer insincere comments or compliments.


The Early Philippines:

The first people in the Philippines were hunter-gatherers. But between 3,000 BC and 2,000 BC they learned to farm and they were able to grow rice and domesticated animals. Filipinos traded with China from the 10th century AD. By the 12th Century AD Arab merchants reached the Philippines and introduced Islam. In 1521 Ferdinand Magellan landed in the Philippines and claimed the collection of islands for Spain.

The Philippines was a Spanish colony for over 300 years (1521-1898) and is named after King Philip II of Spain. Magellan baptized a chief called Humabon and demanded that other chiefs submit to Humabon but one chief named Lapu Lapu refused. Magellan led a force to capture him. However, the Spanish soldiers got scattered and Magellan was killed. In 1565, King Philip II designated Miguel Lopez de Legazpi as the first Governor-General of the Philippines. Legazpi chose Manila to be the capital because of the natural port. They created a feudal system and Spaniards owned vast estates worked by Filipinos. They also converted the Filipinos to Catholicism.

The Philippines in the 19th Century:

Because of abuses and suppression of the Spaniards writer Jose Rizal founded, in 1892, a movement called Liga Filipina. They fought for equality between Filipinos and Spaniards. This movement called for reform rather than revolution. He was arrested and executed in 1896. Meanwhile, Andres Bonifacio formed a more extreme organisation called the Katipunan.

In 1898 a war between the United States and Spain began. On April 30, 1898, the Americans defeated the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay. Meanwhile, the Filipino revolutionaries had surrounded Manila. Their leader, Emilio Aguinaldo declared the Philippines independent on June 12, 1898. However, as part of the peace treaty, Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States. War between American forces in Manila and the Filipinos began on February 4, 1899. This war lasted until 1902 when Aguinaldo was captured.

The Philippines in the 20th Century:

The Americans wanted to “Americanize” the Filipinos, but they never succeeded. However, they did something good. Many American teachers traveled to the Philippines aboard a ship called Thomas and increased literacy in the country. In 1935 the Philippines became a commonwealth and managed to be semi-independent. Manuel Quezon became the president of the country and the United States promised that the Philippines would become completely independent in 1945.

However, on December 8, 1941, the Japanese invaded the Philippines hours after the Pearl Harbor bombing in Hawaii. They captured Manila on January 2, 1941, and before May 1942, all of the Philippines was under control of the Japanese. However, US troops returned to the Philippines in October 1944 and recaptured Manila in February 1945.

The Philippines became independent on July 4, 1946. Manuel Roxas was the first president of the country. In 1965, Ferdinand Marcos (1917-1989) was elected president. He was re-elected in 1969. During this period the Philippines was victim of poverty and inequality. In the 1960s an agrarian reform program began. However, many peasants were frustrated by their slow progress and started a communist insurgency. On September 21, 1972, Marcos declared martial law. He imposed a curfew, suspended Congress and arrested opposition leaders. The Marcos dictatorship was exceedingly corrupt and Marcos and his cronies enriched themselves. Then, in 1980 opposition leader, Benigno Aquino, went into exile in the USA. When he returned on August 21, 1983, he was killed. Aquino became a martyr and Filipinos were enraged by his murder.

On February 1986 Marcos called an election. The opposition united behind Cory Aquino, widow of Benigno Aquino. Marcos claimed victory (a clear case of electoral fraud). Cory Aquino also claimed victory and people took to the streets to show their support for her. Marcos’s cronies deserted him and he bowed to the inevitable and went into exile. Things were not easy for Cory Aquino (she had to survive 7 coup attempts). Furthermore, the American bases in the Philippines (Subic Bay Naval Base and Clark Air Base) were unpopular and many Filipinos felt they should go.

In 1992 Mount Pinatubo erupted and covered Clark in volcanic ash forcing the Americans to leave. They left Subic Bay in 1993. In 1992 Fidel Ramos became president. He improved the infrastructure in the Philippines including the electricity supply. Industry was privatized and the economy began to grow more rapidly. However, at the end of the 1990s the Philippine economy entered a crisis. In 1998 Joseph Estrada became president. Estrada was accused of corruption and he was impeached on November 2000 but was not convicted. However, people protested against him and the military withdrew his support. Estrada was forced to leave and Vice-president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo replaced him. She was re-elected in 2004.

The Philippines in the 21st Century:

Today the Philippines is still poor but things are changing. Since 2010 the Philippine economy has grown at about 6% a year. Today there is reason to be optimistic for the future.