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Old 09-06-2019, 07:29 AM
Not Carlson is offline
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Anyone been to the Philippines?


If so, please streetwisen me.

So my 19yo son is going to the Philippines in a couple of weeks for a 2-moth English course (2nd language).
The last time I studied anything much about the Philippines was around the time the Marcoses got kicked out.

What are some things he should be aware of before going?
What are some things he should be careful of? (I imagine “Don’t do drugs” would be an obvious one in the current circumstances.)

On the positive side, what are some must-do, must see things?
I think he’ll have time (if not money) for exploring on weekends.
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Old 09-06-2019, 07:57 AM
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FWIW, English is not a native language in the Philippines.

Which part of the country?
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Old 09-06-2019, 09:53 AM
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English is an official language of the Philippines and the primary medium of instruction from preschool to university. That said, the definition of "primary medium" can really get stretched thin especially when it comes to schools in remote areas.

However there are lots of people who speak English fluently and I wouldn't be surprised to hear that the ESL course is run by people who have studied / lived in the US, UK or Aus.

He can expect to find friendly helpful smiling people but should also be aware of con artists.

As for weekends, it depends, where is the course? Metro Manila? Cebu?

Last edited by gkster; 09-06-2019 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 09-06-2019, 11:11 AM
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Don't pet any stray/feral dogs!!

My granddaughter's other grandma is from the Philippines. Grandma took a bunch of her grandkids there to see relatives a few years ago. On their last day, my granddaughter went to pet a stray/feral dog that was roaming the streets along with a million other stray dogs and it bit her finger. When she got home she had to get rabies shots - just in case.
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Old 09-06-2019, 02:46 PM
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Metro Manila is not as safe as many of the large cities in east Asia, but one shouldn't have a problem as long as you stay out of the seedier areas downtown after hours. Walk with a group and don't be too surprised if you are approached by women of the evening.

The islands in the South like Bora Cay are magnificent to visit, but just too far away for a short visit to the Philippines.

The famous rice terraces around Banaue in northern Luzon are beautiful and not too far away from Manila and definitely worth a visit. Plan on staying a couple of nights as the bus trip is around 10 hours one way.
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Old 09-06-2019, 03:49 PM
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Look up 'Philippines bullet scam.'
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Old 09-07-2019, 05:29 AM
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Filipino graduates’ English skills lower than target for cab drivers in Dubai, study says

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The English proficiency level of college graduates in the Philippines is lower than the proficiency target set for high school students in Thailand and the competency requirement for tax drivers in Dubai, the preliminary results of a two-year study showed.
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Old 09-07-2019, 09:41 AM
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The English proficiency level of college graduates in the Philippines is lower than the proficiency target set for high school students in Thailand
If this quote is from someone who is, well, proficient in English he/she may have had tongue-in-cheek! It implies that the actual proficiency ... in Philippines is lower than a target proficiency in Thailand.

Here in rural Thailand, there are many Filipinos with work visas to teach English in primary and secondary schools. It adds to the school's prestige to have a Filipino teaching English. The competence of the native Thai teachers of English is often [checks forum] not entirely satisfactory.
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Old 09-07-2019, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by ralfy View Post
Which part of the country?
Quote:
Originally Posted by gkster View Post
As for weekends, it depends, where is the course? Metro Manila? Cebu?
Yes, he’ll be staying in a dorm in Cebu.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gkster View Post
He can expect to find friendly helpful smiling people but should also be aware of con artists.
I have heard (from way back) that the people can be very friendly and outgoing.
Are con artists particularly common? What kind of cons are commonly contrived?

Last edited by Not Carlson; 09-07-2019 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 09-07-2019, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Mangosteen View Post
The islands in the South like Bora Cay are magnificent to visit, but just too far away for a short visit to the Philippines.

The famous rice terraces around Banaue in northern Luzon are beautiful and not too far away from Manila and definitely worth a visit. Plan on staying a couple of nights as the bus trip is around 10 hours one way.
Thanks. I've wanted to see the rice terraces myself ever since I learned about them as a kid.
Sadly, both Banaue and Bora Cay look to be too far away from Cebu.


Sorry folks, I should have mentioned where he'll be staying in the OP.
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Old 09-07-2019, 11:07 AM
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Don't pet any stray/feral dogs!!
Crikey!
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Originally Posted by jnglmassiv View Post
Look up 'Philippines bullet scam.'
Struth!
I'll have to warn him about that one.
Although it seems they've cracked down on that scam.
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:13 AM
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In Cebu City the must-see places are the Taoist Temple, Temple of Leah and the aquarium at SM Seaside. If possible arrange a snorkeling trip to one of the Marine Protected areas about a 20 minute boat ride from Mactan Island. That should cost P3,000 including equipment rental.

The Lonely Planet series of guidebooks is excellent. Never get in a taxi which has no meter. The yellow taxis are twice the price of the white ones.

The province of Bohol is a 3 hour ride on a fast ferry. It's much better for tourism (and cleaner!).
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Last edited by Mr. Duality; 09-09-2019 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 12:19 PM
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The province of Bohol is a 3 hour ride on a fast ferry..
Correction- it's a 2 hour ferry boat ride.
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Old 09-10-2019, 05:33 AM
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I was in Cebu, but that was 1989. I do have a friend who is living there so I could ask him (he is Australian) if you have specific questions. Of course, he may not have all the answers.

Last edited by Cicero; 09-10-2019 at 05:34 AM.
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Duality View Post
In Cebu City the must-see places are the Taoist Temple, Temple of Leah and the aquarium at SM Seaside. If possible arrange a snorkeling trip to one of the Marine Protected areas about a 20 minute boat ride from Mactan Island. That should cost P3,000 including equipment rental.

The Lonely Planet series of guidebooks is excellent. Never get in a taxi which has no meter. The yellow taxis are twice the price of the white ones.
Thanks. Those definitely sound like places worth checking out.
He’s found some place that offers a chance to swim with whale sharks (!), so that may well be the aquarium you mention.

Good to know that tip about the taxis, too.
(Hmm. Speaking of... is tipping expected in the Philippines? ... [Google] ... Seems not so much.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cicero View Post
I was in Cebu, but that was 1989. I do have a friend who is living there so I could ask him (he is Australian) if you have specific questions.
Nice of you to offer. No specific questions.
Just general parental hand-wringing and hopes that he'l have a safe and rewarding trip.
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
If this quote is from someone who is, well, proficient in English he/she may have had tongue-in-cheek! It implies that the actual proficiency ... in Philippines is lower than a target proficiency in Thailand.

Here in rural Thailand, there are many Filipinos with work visas to teach English in primary and secondary schools. It adds to the school's prestige to have a Filipino teaching English. The competence of the native Thai teachers of English is often [checks forum] not entirely satisfactory.
You need to read the article.

Also, the mean percentage score of Filipino students in English sub-tests is around 50 pct.

FWIW, their scores are also low in math and science.

Their scores are low because up to 50 pct of primary school children drop out due to poverty, up to 50 pct drop out of secondary school, etc. The dropout rate per year level reaches 7 pct.

Most Filipino teachers fail board exams. Significant numbers even fail exams that they give to their own students.

There are major shortages for textbooks, classrooms, teachers, principals, etc. Many schools lack potable water, roofs, doors, seats, blackboards, electricity, and so on.

Finally, similar problems take place across the board. For example, in civil service exams, where questions are similar to those given to high school graduates, only around 11 pct. pass. Some continue failing even after a second, third, and fourth try.

Another example: one motorcycle group decided to give a traffic rules exam to members. Out of 9,000 riders, 7 passed.

No, not 7,000. Not 700. Not 70. 7.

7 out of 9,000.
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:00 AM
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Yes, he’ll be staying in a dorm in Cebu.


I have heard (from way back) that the people can be very friendly and outgoing.
Are con artists particularly common? What kind of cons are commonly contrived?
I don't know much about Cebu, but I was told it was better before. Metro Manila has been getting worse. In general, the largest cities are best equipped, especially those places where the rich live, but these cities are also overpopulated, which means breakdowns in public utilities and infrastructure.

Crime rates are high and understated, and prison conditions wretched. The corruption rate in the police force is between 10 and 40 pct. It is estimated that 30 to 50 pct of gov't revenues are also lost to corruption.

The reported unemployment rate is around 5 pct. The actual or broad unemployment rate is around 20 pct.

The official poverty rate is 25 pct. The actual poverty rate is around 75 pct.

Around 75 pct of Filipino workers are found in the informal sector, where there are no safety nets. Around 76 pct don't have bank accounts, and significant numbers lack identification, from birth certificates to various gov't IDs.

There is no national ID system and no centralized databases to counter crime.
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