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The program in the Philippines is the second oldest in the Peace Corps. It began with the arrival of 123 education Volunteers in October 1961. Since then, more than 8,000 Volunteers have served in the Philippines. In June 1990, the program was suspended because of a threat from Communist rebels; it resumed in 1992. Currently, Volunteers are addressing the country's development priorities through projects in youth, education, environment and business development.
Peace Corps History
Main article: History of the Peace Corps in Philippines
In October 1961, the first group of Peace Corps Volunteers in the Philippines arrived to begin classroom assignments in the areas of language, mathematics, and science. Those 123 Volunteers were the second group in any Peace Corps country.
Today, approximately 140 Volunteers continue to work with Filipinos to train primary, secondary, and tertiary teachers; to support organizations working with children, youth, and families at risk; to assist in the management of coastal resources, water systems, and waste management; to provide livelihood assistance; and to promote biodiversity conservation. Since 1961, more than 8,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in the Philippines, and it is the country in which the largest number of Volunteers has served.
The fact that more than 8,000 Volunteers have served in the Philippines is significant. Filipinos tend to like Americans in general and Peace Corps Volunteers in particular. Many of the Filipinos you meet will recall with great fondness former Volunteers they have known.
Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle
Your housing and site location will depend upon your assignment. For Volunteers assigned to rural areas or to small islands, housing is typically composed of hollow concrete blocks, wood, or bamboo. Education Volunteers are often assigned to towns or cities, where housing is better than in rural areas. Most houses in both rural and urban areas have running water (some with toilets that flush and others with toilets that require flushing with a pail of water) and 24-hour electricity.
Trainees are required to live with a host family during pre-service training, and Volunteers are required to live with host families during their first three months at their assigned site (the families usually are identified by the local agency the Volunteer is assigned to). After this period, you may choose to continue living with your host family or move into your own dwelling. Living with a Filipino family can help you integrate into your community, provide you with a deeper understanding of the local culture, and help you become comfortable with the local language.
Main article: Training in Philippines
The goal of pre-service training is to provide you with the language, cross-cultural, community entry, safety and security, and personal and health management skills necessary to work effectively and live successfully at your site.
As management changes in all Peace Corps posts at least once every 5 years, it should be noted that Pre-Service Training changes methods and policies to better suit the percieved needs of the trainees. Batch 265 (Official swear-in date, June 1st, 2006) used the training model shown below:
Pre-service training has three phases. Phase 1 is a one-week orientation, in which you will learn about the Peace Corps’ role in the Philippines, receive administrative and medical information, and be introduced to Peace Corps policies. Phase 2, which lasts nine weeks, includes community entry/technical skills, language, cross-cultural, safety and security, and personal and health management sessions and activities. This phase takes place both at the hub site and cluster sites in the community. Phase 3 is held three months after you have been at your site. This training focuses on enhancing your capacity to carry out the technical aspects of your role based on your assigned sector and the goals and objectives of your project plan.
The training for Batch 266 (Official swear-in August 2007) is similar to that stated above, but Phases 2 and 3 have been merged into one 3 month training.
Health Care and Safety
Main article: Health Care and Safety in Philippines
The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every Volunteer. Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative, approach to disease. The Peace Corps in the Philippines maintains a clinic with two full-time medical officers and a medical technologist, who take care of Volunteers’ primary healthcare needs. Other medical services, such as additional testing, are available at local, Peace Corps-certified hospitals. If you become seriously ill, you will be transported either to the premier medical facility in the region or to the United States.
Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues
Main article: Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues in Philippines
In the Philippines, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyle, background, and beliefs are judged in a cultural context very different from their own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in the Philippines.
Outside of Manila, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What people view as typical American behavior or norms may be a misconception, such as the belief that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. The Filipino people are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to cultural differences that you present.
- Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
- Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers
- Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities
Frequently Asked Questions
Main article: FAQs about Peace Corps in Philippines
- How much luggage am I allowed to bring to the Philippines?
- What is the electric current in the Philippines?
- How much money should I bring?
- When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
- Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
- Do I need an international driver’s license?
- What should I bring as gifts for Filipino friends and my host family?
- Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
- How can my family contact me in an emergency?
- Can I call home from the Philippines?
- Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
- Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
Main article: Packing List for Philippines
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in the Philippines and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything on the list, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in the Philippines.
- General Clothing
- For Women
- For Men
- Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
Peace Corps News
- W.Va. native aids in Philippines recovery - Parkersburg News (Nov 23)
- Impact: Barbara Hiller is still answering Kennedy's call to service - Medill Reports: Chicago (Nov 21)
- Kathryn Fidler: How to help the resilient Filipino people - The Providence Journal (Nov 21)
- Medical mission treats Haiyan survivors in the Philippines - Focus Taiwan News Channel (Nov 16)
- Byron woman's daughter stays in the Philippines for Peace Corps - KTTC (Nov 14)
- Peace Corps Volunteer in Philippines Trying to Help Relief Efforts - YNN (Nov 13)
PEACE CORPS JOURNALS
( As of Monday December 9, 2013 )
Contributions to the Philippines Country Fund will support Volunteer and community projects that will take place in Philippines. These projects include water and sanitation, agricultural development, and youth programs.
- Volunteers who served in Philippines
- Peace Corps Alumni Foundation for Philippine Development
- Inspector General Reports
- Pre-Departure Checklist
- List of resources for Philippines