Asia and Pacific featured program: Philippines
The Philippines is the third-largest English-speaking country in the world. It has a rich history, combining Asian, European and American influences.
The Philippines is made up of 7,107 islands covering a land area of 115,739 square meters (299,764 square kilometers). The main island groups are Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and the capital is Manila.
English (official) and Filipino.
The eight major dialects spoken by the majority of Filipinos are Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango and Pangasinense. There are approximately 76 major language groups, with more than 500 dialects.
The Philippines is one of the world’s most urbanized places, with just over half of its population living in cities. Metro Manila is composed of 16 cities and one municipality. With more than 11 million people, it is one of Asia’s megacities.
While poverty remains largely a rural phenomenon, it is shifting—along with the overall population—from rural to urban areas. Currently, about 30 percent of the poor live in urban areas, but by 2025, it is predicted that more than half of the urban dwellers will be poor. People who live in urban areas are confronted with high cost of land, which the World Bank considers to be among the greatest impediments to improving housing conditions.
The government estimates that between 2005 and 2010, the country needs some 3.8 million new homes, with demand concentrated in Southern Tagalog, Metro Manila and Central Luzon. In Metro Manila, more than 126,000 families live in the slums, particularly on low-lying floodplains, precarious slopes, exposed riverbanks and within highly toxic zones close to highways and railroads, along waterways, near transmission lines, as well as at airports, dumps, markets and other areas that are unfit for settlement. Those living in squatter communities also face fire hazards.
Since 1988, Habitat for Humanity Philippines has played an active role in providing decent, durable and affordable housing for families in need. Through a network of affiliates and project offices in rural and urban areas, HFH Philippines has built and repaired over 26,000 homes. Habitat has also assisted more than 5,000 families displaced by typhoons, fire and landslides.
HFH Philippines focuses its activities on four programs or program areas:
- No More Slums, through which Habitat continues its mission of eliminating substandard housing and homelessness by building simple, decent and affordable shelter for people in the economically lowest 30 percent of the population.
- Urban renewal, which focuses on the use of appropriate technology, where efficient and affordable medium-rise condominium-type structures could be built where land is scarce and expensive.
- Disaster risk mitigation, which focuses on helping and relocating informal settlers from endangered zones, thereby preventing disasters from happening.
- Peace Build, which provides attention on internally displaced people in conflict areas, principally in Mindanao.
- Philippines has a large, active and multifaceted volunteer program. The Friends of Habitat is a body of influential individuals from different walks of life who contribute their financial resources, time and talent to promote the cause of HFH Philippines. Church congregations and tens of thousands of students and young people take part in regular Building on Faith and youth builds. The Philippines also hosts dozens of international work teams each year. In 1999, approximately 14,000 volunteers participated in the Jimmy Carter Work Project in the Philippines.
Types of construction for volunteers
Volunteers will help build homes with two technologies that HFH Philippines uses depending on the type of land that will be built upon:
- Concrete interlocking blocks, an innovation by HFH Philippines using Lego-like blocks for building houses and medium-rise buildings.
- Steel frames, a New Zealand technology that is used to quickly build on newly-landfilled or less compact ground.
Teams assisting local volunteers and home partners may do a variety of different jobs including: mixing, pouring and carrying cement; laying bricks; assembling steelframes; transporting materials; CIB production; leveling foundation; excavation; painting; cleaning up the construction site, etc.
Read more about Habitat’s response efforts to the Manila floods in the Philippines. Please contact the regional Volunteer Engagement specialist to learn more about how Global Village teams can contribute to these efforts.
Metro Manila and Luzon area
Food and water
Breakfast: Most often, breakfast is served in the place where your team is staying.
Lunch: Lunch will be served on the work site and will be prepared by the accredited caterer of the affiliate or project site.
Merienda: Local Filipino snack
Dinner: Team leader will make arrangements for dinners at local restaurants, with the assistance of the host coordinator.
Habitat for Humanity Philippines will determine the best lodging option for your team, considering group size and proximity to the construction site. Accommodations are simple, safe and clean. Generally, rooms are shared by two to three people with a private bathroom for each room, though accommodations vary.
All teams will fly into Manila and spend the first and last nights at a hotel there. The team will take an internal flight or ground transportation to the host program district for site locations within country. HFH Philippines will assist team leaders with booking ground transportation and in-country flights.
Hosting structure and services
Volunteers will work on several houses in the community, and projects may vary from day to day. Aside from building houses, work on site may also include the production of blocks, painting, tying and cutting of rebars and digging.
Where available, the team may have the opportunity to interact with Habitat home partners during the build. The site manager or volunteer coordinator will typically accompany the team on site.
Day 1(typically Saturday): Depart for the Philippines.
Day 2: Arrive in Manila.
Day 3: Welcome and orientation with local host staff members; visit to the work site and meet home partners; welcome dinner.
Day 4–8(Tuesday–Saturday): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. with lunch on site; free time after work to clean up; dinner; time for team activities; special events throughout the week.
Day 9: Free days; activity in local community, cultural activities or free time.
Day 10–13 (Monday–Thursday): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. with lunch on site; free time after work to clean up; dinner; time for team activities; special events throughout the week.
Day 14 (Friday): House dedication, if applicable; farewell with community; free time; final team dinner.
Day 15 (Saturday): Departure day.
View what is included in the standard budget. Please note, standard budget and itinerary are pending approval and subject to change
Volunteer Engagement specialist
If you have read the FAQs and have further questions before you submit a Global Village trip proposal, please contact the regional Volunteer Engagement specialist.