About Philippines

The Global Volunteer Network Philippines volunteer program allows volunteers to become involved in children's aid and education projects in the Philippines. This program has something to suit all skills and experience levels.

You have the opportunity to work in teaching, childcare, reading promotion, school building and maintenance projects, and cultural exchange, centred in Romblon province.

While sharing your knowledge and compassion you will gain an in-depth experience of the country and its culture that will stay with you the rest of your life.

For more information about the program please visit the Philippines volunteer program on the Global Volunteer Network website.

Recent Philippines Journals:

Mingling deep within Manila

 Posted by Lori Safford at 12:49 pm  Philippines  Comments Off on Mingling deep within Manila
Jun 302014

Today, Monday, June 30th, I needed to go to the Immigration Office (I.O) in Manila to extend my visa. Eden & Leighton assured me that the process would be painless but essential since I would not have another opportunity once we arrive in Romblon. Several of the other volunteers had already extended theirs in their respective countries–I wish I had: LESSON LEARNED!!!  (Take note–DO this BEFORE you come to the Philippines!!) Anyway, armed with my passport, my confirmation of my return flight, enough pesos for a taxi and the required fee for extending the visa, and the resolve that I had, after all, come to the Philippines for new adventures, I headed out the door to hail a taxi–also a first for me!!! The heaviness of the 11AM air smacked me in the face the minute I stepped out onto the street, but, I was already accustomed to it. I made a pact with myself that I would NOT EVER utter the sentence:”It is soooo hot.” I found the busy Commonwealth Ave. main street and held up my arm–a white van marked TAXI immediately pulled over. I opened the door and said to the smiling driver,”I need to go to the immigration office, by meter, please.” He understood, started the meter, and off we went. Whew–what a ride, and what a tremendously kind driver. He chatted in good enough English that I could catch every fourth word about him being a sailor and how he had traveled to almost every port city in the world. He said the ports in the USA were his favorites because of all the “sparkly lights and beautiful girls.”  Haha!!! Of course traffic was horrendous–horns blaring, constant jockeying & pushing & shoving with cars & jeepneys & small trucks & bicylcles–even the pedestrians boldly pushed [click here to read more]

Post card style post

 Posted by Madelin Marie Penman at 6:04 pm  Philippines  Comments Off on Post card style post
Jun 292014

Hey all! So sorry I haven’t written sooner! I wish I had better access to wifi in Romblon Province, but it turned out pen and paper was the best way for me to journal about my experiences volunteering and exploring the Philippines. Maybe one day I will transcribe the chicken scratch in my notebook for reader consumption– if I do, I’ll leave the product here. For now, I am waiting to board my plane out of the Philippines, and feeling sad. I loved my time in Romblon Province. I loved learning and teaching and sharing and experiencing. I will really miss this country, and the beautiful people who call this place home. Wish you were here! Madelin

Another new day in Quezon City

 Posted by Lori Safford at 12:31 pm  Philippines  Comments Off on Another new day in Quezon City
Jun 292014

June 29–Number 8, Ricarte Street, Commonwealth Heights, Commonwealth Ave, Quezon City–my new home until July 1. Eden and Leighton warmly greet me and have done everything possible to make me feel at home. The dorm is a adobe-style building on a narrow street lined with all kinds of palm trees and a lovely flowered shrub that I need to look up to identify. The orchestra of bird sounds and dogs barking is constant–much better than any “Canned Music.” I slept soundly, and felt so refreshed–all remnants of weariness have vanished! I enjoy my first cup of Philippine coffee: delicious–sweet & strong. Bless Caffeine!  I am ready to take a stroll out onto the lively streets. Eden and Leighton encouraged me to do so–“Take notice of landmarks so you don’t get lost.” Eden said.  The dorm is in a gated community–I walk out the door and head toward the guards. They greet me with huge smile and wave me through the gates. As I walk, I am overcome with gratitude to all my friends and family who have made this dream come true!!! When I turn onto the busy street, I hear the sounds of basketballs dribbling–truly familiar! I saunter over to a covered gym where about 30 or more spectators are crowded around a fence, cheering  & clapping wildly. Sure enough–there is a basketball game in progress–the “Sunday Club.” How thrilling to see one of my favorite sports in Philippine action! I watch for several minutes–I clap each time a basket is made, drawing stares from little children. I think I am the only female among the onlookers. What fun! I continue my journey to and fro, along the broken sidewalk, marveling in all the shops that cluster beside the walkways: hair salons, mini-markets, tricycle repair, electronic repair, barbershops, water [click here to read more]

First full day in Quezon City

 Posted by Lori Safford at 11:15 am  Philippines  Comments Off on First full day in Quezon City
Jun 292014

June 28th and I have arrived from my day and a half trip from Portland, Maine to Manila. The sights & smells & sounds of manila are intoxicating! Thank goodness I did not have to drive–and will never drive–in Manila. Cars and buses and jeepneys and tricycles and pedestrians all jockey for positions in a moving traffic puzzle that weaves through palm tree lined streets. My taxi driver gave me a mini-tour–he was quite pleased to do so, and was exceedingly proud of his homeland. We passed the American Cemetery–thousands of white crosses lined perfectly among sweeping acres of closely cropped green grasses. “Obama spoke there.” The taxi driver beamed.  I leaned forward in my seat and twisted my head from side to side to catch all the sights–we drove over a bridge and there awaited what I recognized as The Philippine Landscape: tree-topped mountains, azure  ocean, colorful roofs, palm-trees. I had arrived!

Bad Madelin, Bad!

 Posted by Madelin Marie Penman at 7:12 pm  Philippines  Comments Off on Bad Madelin, Bad!
Jun 132014

I have an update today that has nothing to do with volunteering. This is so unfair of me, I know– I’ve been volunteering for two weeks now and I have posted nothing about my placement. But I need to share this with someone: I am sitting in an Italian cafe right now in the capital city of Romblon Province (Romblon City) eating Nutella pie and drinking a cappuccino. The significance of this is huge, given that I’ve eaten nothing in the past two weeks that even remotely resembles Nutella or espresso. What’s more, I spoke to the cafe owner and she just invited me to attend her son’s beauty pageant this evening. She’s trying to set me up with him, I think. Regardless, I said yes! I am told that beauty pageants are very popular here in the Philippines, along with cock-fighting, and male on male dancing.

Sweat dripping

 Posted by Madelin Marie Penman at 6:18 pm  Philippines  Comments Off on Sweat dripping
Jun 012014

When I booked my flight path to and from the Philippines I gave myself a couple cushion days on each end of my four week volunteer schedule. I counted on being jet legged on my arrival, and getting stuck in a typhoon on the way back from the island to the airport. While I can’t speak for the latter, I can say that my jet lag concerns were for naught. Other than feeling uncomfortably hot (surely a consequence of the heat and humidity here) I haven’t experienced the unfortunate symptoms of twelve hour time travel into the future. Today is my third full day in Manila. I appreciate the complexity of this city of 7 million, the irony of the flip flop/ helmet wearing motorcyclists, and the hilarity of the goats (live or dried) lining the streets of the busy highway. Here, I had the opportunity to attend worship service at a church with a tin roof in the morning and walk around an enormous shopping centre worthy of architectural awards in the evening. I road in the back of an jeepney– a stainless steel tin people moving machine on the way to the bank today to exchange money. I like how every female cashier, bank teller, and saleswoman is dressed identical, down to the colour of their lipstick. I like how the male security guards greet everyone with ‘hello sir, good bye madam.’ I like the sound of the language spoken quickly and with the occasional introduction of an English term, that keeps me guessing as to what the conversation might be about. I dislike the blantant poverty. I am excited to begin the long trek to Romblon Province today, and I am anxious to see the city of San Augustin, where I will be spending the next four [click here to read more]

Rising up

 Posted by Madelin Marie Penman at 10:16 am  Philippines  Comments Off on Rising up
May 312014

It may be just after 5am, but I can already feel the heat of the day seeping into the volunteer dormitory in Manila where I am currently staying. I don’t think it was the heat that woke me from my floor mattress at this early hour– I slept plenty well last night.  I think it was the promise of another day of interesting and new that beckoned me to reality. Yesterday was my first full day in this busy city, and it was both a day of recovery and discovery. When I woke yesterday morning it was mid-morning, and I had rested well after my long flight path and the traumatic taxi trek from the airport to the dormitory on Manila’s lawless roads at night. Breakfast of cereal, therefore, was quickly followed by lunch of fish heads and bodies and rice, prepared for us by the hospitable volunteer coordinators.  Their hospitality foreshadowed what would be an afternoon of immersion into Filipino hospitality. Two Australian volunteers and I set out for a walk with and without purpose. We stopped by the drug store to purchase toiletries; ironically, I will need to wash the bottles of Dove brand shampoo and conditioner before I use them. Then we wandered to the market along the busy Commonwealth highway. Not surprisingly, the market provided all the sensory elements of culture shock- new sights, smells, sounds, and sense of  community. We were greeted with a friendly smile, or friendly ‘Hey Dude’ by every salesman, motortricyclist, and child. One little girl invited us to Church with her, where we were embraced by a congregation of children and mothers, and a worship band preparing for Sunday’s service. We were fussed over, prayed over, and generally overwhelmed with the generosity of the strangers we had only just met. We [click here to read more]

Whoa, this is happening

 Posted by Madelin Marie Penman at 7:55 pm  Philippines  Comments Off on Whoa, this is happening
May 292014

Until a few short hours ago it had hardly settled in that I am leaving Canada for one month to volunteer in the Philippines.  I feel the occasional pang of reality which I experience in the form of cramps in my stomach reminding me that something new and exciting is happening. Frankly, I’m still listening to CBC Radio 2 as I wait to board my connecting plane in Hong Kong to Manila and, with the exception of the sea and mountains I can see from the terminal window, I can hardly tell I’ve left Toronto airport. Unlike Toronto Pearson, the free wifi service here is glorious. I don’t trust my iPad however to endure the increasing quickness of my fingers typing this entry, watching my gate expectedly for a boarding call. For that reason I am going to end this first online journal entry now, promising that I am well and that I will write again just as soon as I can get access to the Internet again. Madelin

1 more sleep to go!

 Posted by Heather Binnie at 9:17 pm  Philippines  Comments Off on 1 more sleep to go!
Feb 062014

Hi all, The time has finally come for me to leave all my worldly cares behind and head to the Philippines! I cannot put into words how I feel right now. On one hand I am very excited to get out there and help and then on the other I feel nervous and even a little afraid of the unknown. However as I step onto the path that is marked before me I am filled with great joy as I know I can help make a difference in the Filipino children’s lives and that  is what is most important to me! I will be using this on-line journal to keep in touch with everyone from home while I am away, so if you want to keep up with my adventures then this is the place to look. As internet access may be scarce I am unsure how often I will be able to post my happenings, but I will do my best to update at least once per week. I’d also like to take a moment to thank all the wonderful people who helped me get here by donating to my Philippines fund. If it were not for you I could not be embarking on this most amazing  journey. Thank you!! I will be in touch soon and hopefully I will have some pictures too! Tomorrow 7.30am my journey will begin……..I cannot wait!! Love you all! Heather :-

Heading home

 Posted by Anna Eldred at 2:03 am  Philippines  Comments Off on Heading home
Jan 142014

We are checked in waiting to board for our flight home. Only 24 hours travel – but looking forward to getting back. We got the overnight bus back to Manila OK – as before the worst part was the air conditioning was on full cold! We arrived at 4am and went round to a hotel in the old walled part of Manilla (Intramuros). The good news was that they recognised my reservation made over the internet- even though I had had no acknowledgement myself – but the room was not available until 2pm so we wandered off around the walled town – as it is so warm it was amazing how many people were about at that time in the morning, especially the early morning joggers. We even found breakfast (OK- it was a McDonalds but I got rice not a bun!) – and then saw the dawn break in a large park near the old town. We found a nice secluded Japanese Garden and had a snooze for an hour or so before going to the Museum of the Philippine People (well presented in a magnificent old building). Back for an afternoon nap (I’ve rather got used to that -it will be a hard habit to break) then a meal outside on the terrace with a solo singer all to ourselves (and two carafes of frozen margarita – well it had been her birthday). Next day we conquered the overland Mass Transit System -pretty crowded initially but navigation was helped by there only being 3 lines which all run head-to-tail. We visited the built-up financial area- another world of big buildings and large Malls. I think Amy would have been very happy there. Back for a bit of a touristy Ocean World, a bit commercial but the sea-lions put [click here to read more]

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