“It was an amazing experience. Outside of working there was plenty of free time to socialize with other volunteers and also look around and get to know the locals – I visited most of the worst affected areas and spoke with the people living in the tent cities and slums….”
Robert (Australia) 2014
The Philippines consists of more than 7000 islands and is a land apart from the mainland of Southeast Asia. The people are, simply, Filipinos – and proud of it. Welcoming, warm and relentlessly upbeat, it is they who captivate and ultimately ensnare visitors.
Islands are jungle-clad, mountainous and flanked by aquamarine waters and a world renowned coral reef. But you’ll find plenty of variations on this theme, from marooned slicks of sand in the middle of the ocean to sprawling, overpopulated mega-islands like Luzon and Mindanao.
About half of the Philippines’ 88 million people live in rural areas. Poverty is most severe and most widespread in these areas and almost 80 per cent of the country’s poor people live there. Agriculture is the primary and often only source of income for poor rural people.
Overall, more than a third of the people in the Philippines live in poverty. There are substantial differences in the level of poverty between the regions and provinces and the poverty gap between urban and rural areas is widening.
Location of Volunteer Programs
IVI have projects on in Leyte, Davao & Palawan. Tacloban is approximately 360 miles from Manila. Tacloban is the capital of the Province of Leyte and has a population of 275,000 people. The city offers international volunteers an opportunity to be immersed in a unique Asian culture, which is at least partially left untouched by Western Culture, especially in the rural areas.
In November 2013, Tacloban was one of the most devastated areas of the Philippines when Super Typhoon Yolanda (Hayian) ravaged through the Philippines; therefore, the city and surrounding areas now present an even greater range of opportunities for international volunteers. Tacloban is easily accessible by air from Manila or Cebu through daily flights offered by Philippines Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and Zest Air.
We also have programs in the southern Philippines region of Davao. Davao is the largest city on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines and is one of the Philippines’ most progressive cities. Davao has been awarded the most peaceful city in Southeast Asia for seven years and also has been recognized as one of the 20 best cities in Asia.
Palawan is long and narrow and is surrounded by numerous small islands to make up the Province known (after the largest of its islands) as Palawan. The island is very picturesque and dotted with fishing villages and of course surrounded by beautiful blue sea and green jungled mountains.
Accommodation & Meals
Homestays (Leyte area)
At the core of your experience is the friendly and warm accommodating local homestays who have been accepting volunteers for over a decade. Life inside a homestay is not only safe and cost effective, but is also a great way to contribute to the local economy and to experience the true nature and culture of the Philippines. All homestays have electricity and running water.
You will have a private room by yourself or shared with a fellow volunteer. Mosquito net, electric fan, bed linens and door lock are also provided. The bathroom will be shared with the family and will be basic with cold, bucket baths (hot running showers are uncommon in Philippines) as it’s so tropical and warm! All homestays are English speaking. The homestays have been thoroughly evaluated before being accepted into the program and have been in operation for several years. You will be able to experience the Filipino culture and participate in the daily life of a local.
Breakfast and Dinner is provided but volunteers will need to buy their own lunch which costs approx 50-80 pesos. Access to filtered drinking water will also be provided by your homestay. All meals will be served with rice and typically include fish, chicken or pork. Homestays can cater for special dietary restrictions, however we require advance notice so we can place you accordingly.
Volunteer Centres (Palawan)
In Palawan, the volunteer centres provides lodging in quad share rooms with the houses complete with either a fan or air con, T.V kitchen Wifi, mosquito protection, bed linen and lockable rooms. In most cases volunteers are expected to help prepare meals and keep the accommodation neat and tidy. The volunteer working week is generally Monday to Friday from 9:00am – 4:00pm with weekends free to relax and explore your local surrounds.
3 meals per day are provided with mainly local Phlippine cuisine including lots of vegetables, rice, fish, meat and eggs. Meals are served on site at the accommodation
24/7 Program Support
Throughout your stay, you will have the support and guidance of our local ground operator program coordinators, they will provide you with competent assistance and help with anything that you may need. Additionally, the IVI head office exists within Australia providing additional support where necessary 24/7.
Your first day will consist of comprehensive overview of the program including what to expect, health and safety, introduction to Filipino culture and introduction to staff and fellow volunteers. A guided city tour is also included.
An arrival airport transfer from either Tacloban or Davao airport is included in the cost. Volunteers must arrive on the weekend for a Monday start.
Public transport can at times seem chaotic to outsiders, however after orientation our staff will familiarize you on how to get too and from your volunteer placement. The common method of transport in and outside of Tacloban City is by Jeepney. Most fares range from 8 to 25 Philippine Pesos ($0.20 – $0.50). For shorter distance, tricycles (motorcycle with sidecart) and pedicabs (rickshaws) can be hailed from the curbside for small fares.
For long distances outside of town; buses and vans can be caught from the bus terminal in Abucay, Tacloban City. Fares range from around 100 to 300 Philippine Pesos depending on your location. Should you require any assistance with transportation during your time as a volunteer, you may always seek advice from your volunteer coordinator.
Requirements & Expectations
You are welcome to come with a group, with a friend, with family or own your own. If you are coming on your own don’t worry you will make lots of great friends! Philippines is a popular destination and you can expect to meet many like minded volunteers. Generally, volunteers must be 18 years of age, however we can cater to as young as 16 years old depending on the application There is no upper age limit. Volunteering is becoming increasingly popular with many mature guests, some of retirement age looking to give back to developing communities.
Our programs are designed for proactive individuals with a mindset of supporting the less fortunate. The more you put in, the more you will get out. A high degree of patience and understanding is also necessary as it’s likely that conditions will be very different to your home country. All volunteers are required to submit a police report which clears them for participation in activities with minors.
Weekends & Extra Tours
Weekends are always free for relaxing or sightseeing of your choice. Our ground operators will help you organize additional trips with special (non tourist) rates which can be paid directly in local currency.
-Coron Bay: Found at the northwest of Palawan (between Busuanga and Culion islands) is known for being one of the best wreck diving locations in the world.
-The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park: Located 50km north of the city of Puerto Princesa and has recently been voted one of the new 7 wonders of nature.
GoGetFunding is a Crowd funding site which offers a simple and professional online fundraising solution to help fund a portion of your trip or even a donation toward your chosen project. Simply create a fundraising page to share your story via social media platforms such as facebook & twitter.
Some of our past volunteers have raised over $2000+! Why not give it a try? If you use the above link, our logo will be displayed in your profile to help us share our message through your social network community.
- Arrival Airport Transfers
- 2 meals p/day (Home Stays)
- 3 meals p/day (Standard/Specialty)
- Accommodation (Homestay – Single rooms | Standard/Specialty – Shared rooms)
- Wi-Fi is available in most cases
- Training & Volunteer Coordination
- Use of necessary equipment incl program materials
- 24/7 emergency assistance, volunteer support, local guiding and advice
- Certificate of completion
- Comprehensive project guide
- Discounted travel deals & flight layby options!
What’s Not Included
- Travel Insurance (Mandatory)
- Airfares & Visa fees
- Tours, Souvenirs, Spending Money
- Some daily local transport (depending on program eg. $2 p/day)
Home stay inclusions: Sat/Sun arrivals, 7 nights accommodation, single or twin share rooms, 2 meals p/day, arrival & departure airport transfers, 24/7 in country support & volunteer coordination