Where to learn English in the Philippines: Top 5 Cities

If you plan to learn English in the Philippines, the first thing you should ask yourself is this: Where?

With 122 cities cropping over the entire archipelago, the Philippines is an ideal place to study English. Amongst any other countries, you can enjoy qualified courses at affordable prices in the Philippines. Here, almost all academies provide full service including a dormitory, meals, gym, swimming pool, wifi, etc.

If you’re anxious about coming to the Philippines, let me tell you this: DON’T BE. Why? Because this country offers you more than what you can expect. Yes, it’s true, you have many choices to choose from if you want to learn English in the Philippines.

However, finding the best location that offers the ultimate study English abroad experience can be a challenge. Before I give the recommended choices by former ESL learners in the Philippines, let me first tell you the factors you need to consider first.


If you come to learn English in the Philippines, please consider these factors:

1. The location of the school.

This is possibly the best starting point in the research process. When deciding on the location, it’s also essential to consider the climate, the culture, and the cost of living.

Perhaps you can ask these questions: Do you want to study somewhere beautiful? Or maybe in a place where there’s interesting culture? Where opportunities are better? Is the city of your choice safe? Or what place offers studying and living is more affordable?

It’s up to you to decide what factors are important!

2. The learning courses/packages being offered.

If you want to learn English in the Philippines, one of the most important factors you should consider is the learning curriculum. Why? Because your goal is to improve after the entire study abroad duration. You will not just visit the Philippines for sightseeing but you’re also here for a better future.

Try reflecting on what you need, what macro skills you want to improve on, and evaluate what the school is offering will be beneficial to you. If you want to learn IELTS in the Philippines, choose the best school that has the best IELTS package. If you want to master TOEIC, enroll in the best ESL school that offers world-class TOEIC training. You should consider all these things because studying abroad in the Philippines can be a little expensive.

Besides, you should also have the right judgment and a fair idea of the type of things you wanted to learn. Additionally, be nosy and do research, and consider student satisfaction levels. ESL schools with high star ranking will tell you one thing – IT’S WORTH IT.

3. The comfort, security, and safety of the place.

Wouldn’t you consider this when you plan to learn English in the Philippines? Let me tell you this, it’s undeniable that the Philippines does not guarantee you 100% safety and security. I guess we can encounter bad people and other unwanted life interference wherever we go, right? So, to avoid these, we better carefully assess our choices.

When you come to learn English in the Philippines, choose the school that offers almost everything. QQEnglish, for example, has two campuses in Cebu – one fronting the panoramic Mactan beach resort and in the heart of Cebu City. Although the two campuses offer a distinct atmosphere, they still have something in common. Both schools guarantee ESL learners cozy accommodations, 24/7 safety and security surveillance, a cafe that provides nutritious foods, great amenities, and facilities, etc.

Clearly, we visit abroad not just for a single reason. The truth is, all of us want a hassle-free experience abroad. Besides, going to a foreign country is our form of retreat from work and an escape from the busy school life. So if you have the chance, why not choose the school that has everything?

4. Affordability

If you want to learn English in the Philippines, this might not be an issue since learning English here’s cheap. In fact, learning here for a month will just cost you roughly around $600 – $1000 a month. However, this might depend on the package you will choose.

Some ESL schools will charge a little higher, especially that some of its packages include accommodation, food, and other services. But, if you visit the Philippines, I suggest you prepare a little extra. This is because this island paradise will offer you more than just English learning. Interestingly, the Philippines, being a popular tourist destination, will also captivate you with its natural wonders. From white beaches, bewitching dive sites, historical attractions, gregarious people – the Philippines has it all.

After all, it wouldn’t be named Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Top destination if it’s not extraordinary, right?

5. Teaching and training quality.

For more than a decade, the Philippines has become the prime choice of most ESL students for learning English. But not everyone has had the same best experience. And this is because of another important reason – QUALITY.

While it’s true, that Filipinos are great English speakers, not all of them received the necessary training for teaching English. As per requirement, a teacher should at least be TESOL-certified in order to teach English. But sadly, not all have taken it since a TESOL exam is a little difficult and pricey.

But despite that challenge, countless ESL schools in the Philippines have already made it mandatory for teachers to take it. Also, TESOL centers are also growing all over the country since the recent boom of Education Tourism in the Philippines.

If you plan to learn English in the Philippines, give prime importance to the teaching-training quality provided by the school. Do research if the school is in partnership with world-class universities like Cambridge or Oxford. Or maybe with other leading English learning institutions like the British Council and perhaps the Callan School of London.

It’d also be helpful to double-check whether the school’s teachers are university graduates or have an MA in Education.

Now that you already know the important factors to consider when coming to the Philippines, let me take you back to the crucial question at hand – What are the Best Cities to learn English in the Philippines?

Below are the Top 5 Best Cities to learn English in the Philippines:

learn English in the Philippines

1. Cebu

Of all cities, Cebu would be the most popular destination if you want to learn English in the Philippines. There are various high-quality academies here. Some of them would be SMEAG, QQEnglish, EV Academy, CG Academy, CPILS, Philinter, etc. Those schools have TESOL-certified teachers who are university graduates and world-class amenities and facilities.

Moreover, Cebu is a tourism city with many romantic beaches and beautiful landscapes. On this most progressive island in the central Philippines, you’ll get to experience the beauty and bounty of a tropical island. The rich history and culture of Cebu – a combination of multiple cultures – can still be felt even until now. Besides, the grandeur of the so-called “Queen City of the South” enables you to learn English in the Philippines while enjoying travel and tourism, delightful gastronomy, and fusion of Eastern and Western cultures.

Unlike any other Philippine cities, Cebu is geographically safer compared to other cities and has never been affected by storms like Manila. English schools in Cebu, however, have higher tuition fees compared to other areas. And if you’re a student who likes the tropical sun, this place is maybe just the perfect choice!

2. Metro Manila

The capital city of the Philippines can also be a good choice if you want to learn English in the Philippines. Metro Manila offers you almost everything you need – from world-class hotels, shopping malls, and top universities. This city is ideal if you are the city-lover type of student. Here, you can enjoy the best nightclubs, gourmet restaurants of worldwide cuisines, and the remnants of the ancient Philippines.

Among the best ESL schools in Metro Manila is British School Manila and Genius Academy Tutorial Center. We can also find several International schools within the metropolitan. To name some, there’s International School Manila, American Institute for English Proficiency, Canadian American School (CAS), and Southville International School.

When you choose Metro Manila as your choice for studying English in the Philippines, you got to consider several things. It’d be better to live closer to your school since traffic is one of the worst in the world. Besides, some areas in Manila are prone to flooding, especially near Marikina and Pasig City. And since Manila is the industrial and business capital, the prevalence of pollution is also high. Another drawback is that theft and burglary are also common since the number of impoverished people living in the slums is also relatively high.

3. Baguio

If you’re on a budget and prefer to enjoy a comfortable climate, Baguio might be the ultimate destination for you.

Baguio city is located in the heart of Luzon tropical pine forests ecoregion. Hailed as the Summer Capital of the Philippines, it offers a highland climate with a temperature under 20 degree Celsius. The cool fresh air, peace, and tranquility in Baguio would make you feel relaxed.

More importantly, Baguio’s English academies guarantee ESL learners cheaper and more reasonable tuition fees than Cebu. You could save approximately about 20% of the total expenses, yet you get to enjoy a similar quality. Some of ESL student’s recommended academies in the city are Pines, Monol, Beci, A&J, Talk, etc.

Although Baguio offers learners an exceptional experience, it has one drawback: accessibility and distance from Manila. Traveling to Manila from Baguio would take you about 7 hours by bus. Until today, Baguio city still has no international yet. So you need to take the bus from Manila to get there. Additionally, there are few places to visit in Baguio, which may make you feel bored.

4. Bacolod

Another recommended city to learn English in the Philippines is Bacolod. This city has the lowest cost of studying English compared to Cebu and Baguio. If you opt to study here, you could probably save around 40–50%. Comparatively, the city’s cost of price living here is lower than any other Philippine city.

However, you should not expect English academies to be as good as schools in Cebu and Baguio. ESL schools in Bacolod have been in operations for not a long time. Because of this, the quality of its schools is not really that sterling but better, to say the least.

Despite this negation, Bacolod is very suitable for those who need an English environment with acceptable quality. Amongst the list of Academies with good feedbacks in the city are E-Room, LSLC, or OKEA.

5. Boracay

Boracay is not a city, but this island paradise offers more than just a vacation. The island is just 7 km long and 1 km wide, but it has it all! From jet skiing to a trip on a banana boat, sailboat, or motorboat, to scuba diving or snorkeling, you’ll have no shortage of options for enjoying the sun and the beach to the fullest!

For years now, the island has been taking advantage of providing ESL learners the chance to enjoy leisure and education together. An English course on Boracay Island means having an incredible stay in a tropical paradise with flawless beaches.

If Boracay is your top choice when coming to learn English in the Philippines, you got several schools to choose from. There’s Paradise English and Boracay COCO. The ambiance of these schools offers you a very conducive learning atmosphere, and the view of Boracay alone is already a therapy.

After the day-long class, why not tuck into the island’s mouth-watering seafood? Or maybe venture on a sporty set, crossing the island’s 7 km by bike? Besides the adventure, learning the culture of the welcoming and respectful locals can be also thrilling.


In conclusion, there are hundreds of English schools in the Philippines. To select the best one, it should start with your own demands and desires. I may suggest that you could ask educational agencies in your country to have more valuable information. You could also google the website of your ESL school of choice and study yourself to learn more.

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