Volunteering in the Philippines is on the rise.
Due to its geographic location; the Philippines has often been a nation that has failed to attract the same volume of volunteers as some of its South East Asian neighbors like Thailand or Vietnam. However despite being slightly off-the-beaten track, the number of volunteers now reaching Philippine shores is steadily on the increase.
A number of factors have contributed to this trend, including (but in no way limited to) an increase in Philippine government spending on its tourist industry, more accessible and affordable regional airfare options and a surge of activity and marketing efforts by coordinated between local NGO’s and their international partners.
In particular, a GoAbroad.com study has highlighted that in the last three years there has been an approximate 32% increase in individuals participating in structured volunteer abroad projects.
On GoAbroad.com alone, the Volunteer Abroad in the Philippines Results Page received over 12,000 Page Views in 2012 whilst on a month to month basis, Google records approximately 5,000 searches related to volunteering in the Philippines.
The country’s growing popularity isn’t difficult to comprehend either; thanks to its hospitable and English speaking inhabitants, the Philippines excels as being a nation that is perfect for accommodating foreign volunteers.
Aside from this, the natural beauty, warm climate and ecological diversity of the Philippines – which boasts some of the worlds best diving spots is also an enticing attraction especially for individuals wanting to get involved with marine and rainforest conservation.
What are Volunteers Doing in the Philippines?
Despite some of the recent economic improvements; the Philippines continues to be a nation that faces numerous socioeconomic hardships as 1 in 3 of its citizens live beneath the poverty line making less than a dollar a day. As a result, access to basic healthcare, education and social welfare support continues to be a daily struggle for numerous Philippine families.
As volunteering increases, so to do the number of projects related to Public Health. In recent years the growth of Public Health Volunteering has dramatically increased as volunteer-related projects begin to focus on fundamental social issues such as basic human nutrition.
Some multifaceted volunteer organizations such as Volunteer for the Visayans have recently posted that approximately 58% of its volunteers now visit the Philippines to engage in public health programs; with its Nutrition Public Health Project leading the way as its most popular project.
“Our Nutrition Public Health Project has been progressively getting more and more popular since it was launched in 2009, we have a lot of international interest in the project and are beginning to formalize more academic partnerships with universities in Europe, the United States and Australia who want to get involved in this type of Public Health work” says Wimwim Canayong, Director of Volunteer for the Visayans.
Aside from this, Child Welfare Projects related to orphanage work and street children programs continue to be popular as local NGO’s and government organizations attempt to address the issue of thousands of unwanted and abandoned children; many of whom face health, education and psychological problems.
As the Philippines also begins to move from a traditional agriculture based economy to an industrial one, the threat of damage and destruction to the fragile local ecosystem is also becoming more of a major concern. Programs coordinated by company’s like Coral Cay which aim to promote marine and coastline conservation are also remaining strong.
Who is Volunteering in the Philippines?
Whilst countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia have tended to lead the way with regards to volunteering in the Philippines; recent years have shown an increase in volunteering from regional neighbours such as Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. Aside from this the Philippines has begun to draw an increase in volunteers from other nationalities including the Middle East and Scandinavia.
Due to a combination of an overall industry trend and the strong attraction of Public Health and Child Welfare Projects, the Philippines continues to be a popular destination for solo female volunteers.
With a rich and vibrant culture, the Philippines looks set to continue to grow as a volunteer hot spot. For more information on volunteering in the Philippines check out GoAbroad.com’s listings for volunteer abroad programs in the Philippines.