Studying English abroad in the Philippines

Studying English abroad in the Philippines has become popular in recent years among ESL students. In fact, the rise of Education tourism in the Philippines is seen as a new niche for tourism by the Department of Tourism in the region.

The Philippines is the largest English-speaking nation in Asia, with English spoken by most of its citizens. Having ranked 2nd best throughout Asia by the English Proficiency Index, the country has become the hub for ESL students for quite some time now. The country’s professionals thrive primarily because of its wealth of highly skilled workforce who are fluent English speakers.

History of the Philippines

The multicultural influences amongst various colonizers helped the cultural and lingual development of the Philippines. Geographically, the Philippines is an archipelago comprising different provincial islands independently working from each other.

From 1521 to 1898, the Philippines was under Spain for 300 years. The powerful influence of the Spanish on the people and the introduction of Christianity made the country become the only Christian nation in Asia. Moreover, the word the Philippines was given to the country in honor of 6th-century Spanish King Philip II.

In 1898, the Philippines became a colony of the United States of America after the Spaniards lost the Spanish-American War. The Americans then made English the country’s official language and made it the medium for education. Until today, the Philippines still uses English as the primary language in education.

Studying English abroad in the Philippines
Studying English abroad in the Philippines

The Boom of Studying English abroad in the Philippines

Studying English abroad in the Philippines started when South Korea started employing people with good English communication skills in the 1900s. As a result, South Korean entrepreneurs ventured into finding high-quality yet affordable ways to improve their English proficiency.

As a country known to have high-caliber and native-like English speakers, South Koreans considered the Philippines their prime destination. Since then, the Philippines became the go-to country where South Koreans study English abroad.

Besides the world-class teaching quality, South Koreans prefer studying in the Philippines for another reason – beautiful nature and its people. In the Philippines, they didn’t just improve their English, but they also enjoyed exploring tourist attractions and welcoming people. This, combined with the naturally attractive settings and convenient transportation routes, resulted in the recognition that the Philippines was the best place of choice for Studying English abroad.

2-in-1 kind of experience

In the early 2000s, several schools all over the Philippine archipelago opened and saw a constant growth of students yearly. The noteworthy experience South Koreans tried and the word-of-mouth publicity from graduates brought newer students into the Philippines. South Koreans did not just improve their English skills, but also enjoyed the tropical beauty of the Philippines. The 2-in-1 kind of experience gave the Philippines an edge over other Asian countries. Consequently, the Philippines became the prime location for studying English abroad not just in Asia but also in Europe and Latin America.

The recognition gained by the Philippines from South Korean ESL learners cemented the Philippines to become the English learning destination in Asia. Filipino English teachers started becoming recognized as great English teachers because of their commendable English teaching skills. The positive reputation spread to Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, China, and even Russia.

In 2010, the government saw a rise in the number of Japanese studying English in the Philippines. Furthermore, the establishment of Japanese-managed schools catered to students coming from Japan.

In recent years, the Philippines became the primary choice of ESL learners for studying English abroad. Additionally, the influx of the numbers continued to rise on such an impressive scale. More students from Taiwan and the Middle East ventured to study English abroad in the Philippines in 2015. This led to a very positive shift towards greater diversity of nationalities at the schools.-

- Top global study abroad destination -

After being seen as a potential industry, the Philippines started promoting the country as a top global study abroad destination. And besides being so young in the ESL industry, the Philippines has a strong potential to compete with the USA, UK, Canada, and Australia.

In 2018, the Philippines became a global destination for studying English abroad. Apart from neighboring Asian countries, students from Brazil, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan also visited the Philippines to learn English.

The continuous boom of education tourism is a testament to the effectiveness and quality of English education in the Philippines.

Advantages of studying English abroad in the Philippines

Affordable Tuition Fees

One advantage of studying abroad in the Philippines is the affordable price. The low-cost price of living will surely save you a couple of dollars. Unlike the US and the UK, here, you can have a meal budget of $3- $10 a day. Moreover, the tuition fee is not as high compared to others, but the teaching quality is just the same.

Intensive Training

Studying English abroad in the Philippines comes in a different classroom setting. English programs in the Philippines are a combination of both group classes and one-on-one classes. You can assure yourself that you learn privately and also immerse with other learners where you can enjoy group discussions.

All in One Packages

ESL Schools in the Philippines have study program packages for students to choose from. This means that ESL learners no longer need to feel the burden of accommodation and meals because the school has it all already. Studying abroad in the Philippines gives you the chance to just focus on improving your English and make the cut for what you’ve spent.

While you are in the Philippines, ESL schools can guarantee you a hassle-free experience in a very comfortable environment.

Exotic Experience

Apart from learning English, the Philippines also offers you a unique and exciting travel experience. This includes historic sites, pristine white beaches, luscious jungles, and, of course, the warm-hearted Filipinos.

ESL school in the Philippines vs ESL Schools in other English-Speaking Countries

Studying abroad in the Philippines has seemed to have been a little beneficial, especially for beginners. ESL students coming to the Philippines receive a higher ratio of private 1:1 classes every day. With this style of learning, they can practice and study more intensively as opposed to just listening to the teacher. Moreover, guidance and immediate correction are done regularly to ensure they learn it right.

What’s also best when studying English abroad in the Philippines is that they design all courses to meet the learner’s communication needs. And because Filipino teachers tailored the courses specifically for them. Therefore, it is guaranteed they can achieve their desired learning goals.

Truthfully, nothing has been more ideal than learning English in a native English-speaking country. However, the level of attention a student receives is lesser compared to coming and learning English in the Philippines. For instance, schools in the US and the UK are typically group classes comprising about 10-20 students. This style may be suitable for advanced learners however unideal for beginners since they have a lesser chance to practice.

Contrastingly, ESL schools in the Philippines can provide a full day of classes, even up to 10 hours of classes per day. This length of study time is not so common in other countries where you can only learn English 3-4 hours a day.

And since studying abroad in the Philippines includes accommodation, transportation, and meals, students have more time to study. Also, they have much time to immerse in the program since they can meet new friends from other countries.

Studying English abroad in the Philippines

English Skills of Filipino Teachers

Since the American regime, the Philippines has been using English as the official language in commerce and law. And although some Filipinos speak Tagalog and other local dialects, English is the medium of instruction in schools. Having said, a university graduate in the Philippines is already knowledgeable about English. Normally, a typical Filipino student has somehow learned English for around 16 years, making them good English speakers.

Besides, linguists from the Oxford English Dictionary have already considered Filipino English legitimate. It is also said that Filipino English is close to American English because of the history of being an American colony.

Wherever you are in the world, there are always Filipino English teachers in International schools. Recently, the Spanish Ministry for External Affairs and the Japanese government hired Filipino teachers for state-run English education programs. English teachers at English Philippines member schools are all University educated, with many having completed a degree program in Education.

Besides this, all schools also provide TESOL training from the Cambridge Assessment English CELTA program and other TESOL courses.

The Philippines has also been the home of many international companies like JP Morgan Chase, IBM, and Microsoft. Whatever city you may come across always got a call center in it. This is because the Philippines has high English proficiency and reasonable human resource costs.

Subsequently, it is for the same reason that the ESL business is growing in the region. According to a survey conducted by the American company [Global English] which is selling an online business English conversation software, in 2013, the Philippines ranks first for having excellent business English skills* (BEI: Business English Index) based on 137,000 global respondents.

Studying English abroad in the Philippines

Cost of studying in the Philippines

Being the 3rd largest speaking country in the world, the Philippines is the smartest choice for studying English abroad. For a cheaper price, you get to experience the language and receive high-quality training. Compared to other destinations, weekly costs for study in the Philippines start at just 200 USD. But you get more than your money’s worth.

In the Philippines, over 95% of its population speaks English. Over 20, 000 foreign students go to the Philippines each year for education in Engineering, Medical, Dental, among others.

Apparently, English schools in the Philippines mainly focus on 1:1 classes at a pocket-friendly price. Unlike other English schools in the US and the UK, English programs in the Philippines have one student per teacher sessions. These involve actual conversations with global English speakers. When studying English abroad in the Philippines, ESL learners can get more chances to talk in English. Also, he can experience the language more intensively while appreciating the Filipino style of learning English.

ESL schools in the Philippines also give students good deals and special offers on several study programs. Normally, some schools would offer a great study package that covers transportation, meal, and accommodation expenses. In some schools, even housekeeping and laundry services are already part of the package. Therefore, students in Philippine ESL schools do not need to worry about living arrangements and can focus on studying.

The estimated total cost for 4 weeks may range from 1,000 USD ~2,500 USD. This includes: (1) Entrance Fee (2) Course Fee (3) Accommodation (4) Food (5) Transportation (6) Other Services (cleaning, laundry, etc.)

Travel Cost

Traveling to the Philippines is not as costly as traveling to Europe or the Americas. With all the cheap international and domestic flights available, you will save thousands of dollars when coming to the Philippines.

The city of Manila, the capital city, is one of the busiest air travel hubs in Asia. The NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) houses major facilities of airline carriers both for international and domestic flights. Other international airports in the country are in Cebu and Pampanga. There are also smaller airports in Davao and Laguindingan that offer specific international routes.

When studying abroad in the Philippines, traveling in between cities is just so affordable and easy. This is since major local carriers like Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and Air Asia offer promo fares throughout the year.


When studying English abroad in the Philippines, the Bureau of Immigration requires foreign students to have an SSP (Special Study Permit). This SSP costs around 120 USD. However, some students may enter with a Tourist Visa alone. Only after then will the student requests the ESL school to process the required SSP and VISA update on his behalf. Most schools update the tourist VISA every 30 days for a minimal fee of 60 USD.

Living Cost

The cost of living in the Philippines is generally cheap. You can get a completely local meal for as low as 0.5USD. Most study destinations in the Philippines have neighboring restaurants and cafes that serve both international and local cuisine. These areas are relatively near beaches and other tourist spots, and recreational spots for leisure. You can enjoy studying English while taking part in the social scene in the Philippines. All for an affordable price.

Accommodation in the Philippines

There are a lot of accommodation choices to choose from when studying English abroad in the Philippines. Some ESL schools have their own resort hotels. While others have affiliated dormitories, condominiums, and hotels.

Unlike other English study destinations, the Philippines doesn’t offer homestays. Most living arrangements are in the same building or near the school. In other cases, the school provides transportation (bus/van) back and forth. This service is usually scheduled every morning and every evening and is limited to the students’ commute to the school.

Some dormitory rooms may be good for 1, 2, or 4 tenants per room. The good thing is these rooms are regularly cleaned and monitored and they change frequently beds.

As for room assignments, occupants are mixed in nationalities. ESL schools are carefully arranged so that each student can interact with other students using English as their medium of communication. It is the best way to foster communicative language learning and help students practice the functional language.

Accommodation in a hotel is also available. Although this may sound a little pricey, this arrangement is best for those who want privacy and work every after class.

Studying English abroad in the Philippines

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