Taught in the Philippines , Anyone?

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Taught in the Philippines , Anyone?

Postby Ducked » 09 Nov 2011, 19:45

They want me to teach biology at (I think) Grace Christian College, near Manila, in the summer.

Sorry, a bit out of scope, since its not English and its not in Taiwan. Also a rather vague question, but I'd be interested in any general impressions of teaching (or indeed living) in the country.

It'd make a change from the TEFL grind, hopefully, though my science teaching experience, such as it was, is a long time ago, and I don't really want to work through my summer vacation.

If one can judge from their website (doubtful) the institution seems to be a bit more in-your-face with the Christian thing than Chang Rung, but that's OK as long as they keep it out of mine.
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Re: Taught in the Philippines , Anyone?

Postby finley » 09 Nov 2011, 21:34

In my (admittedly limited) experience, people in the Philippines take school a bit more seriously than Taiwanese people and aren't so robotic. The general quality of education is patchy. Some of the universities are just degree mills. Some of them are probably better than Tai-Da. If this university is one of the better ones, you'll probably find it a refreshing experience.

Manila is a shithole. Imagine Taipei except with worse plumbing, no building maintenance, and taxis made from converted Hummers (I think they're actually custom-built, but that's what jeepneys look like). Poverty is not rife, but it's visible. You do get the occasional old person holding out their hand for cash as an instinctive reaction to seeing a foreign face, or the occasional girl (they look like girls, anyway) offering unusual services. Food ain't that great - street food certainly not even close to Taiwan's. Philippine people are in general very nice, which makes it all the more depressing that petty scamming and theft are part of the national psyche. There is quite a bit of overt Catholicism - or at least a veneer of it. They've adopted the Catholic Church's more poisonous edicts (such as the ones about mandatory teen pregnancy) and haven't paid much attention to the others (thou shalt not steal, kill, etc etc).

Cost of living (except electricity) is very cheap, but you get what you pay for.

Outside of the cities (out in the sticks) is much nicer, but I get the feeling you need to watch your back in some places.

If it was me, I think I'd go for it, just for the experience. But the country will start to wear you down after a few years. It has a lot of vitality, but it's also very depressing.
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Re: Taught in the Philippines , Anyone?

Postby bigbeauties » 10 Nov 2011, 16:17

I snooped around and GCC is described as a Traditional Chinese, born-again Christian college - very strict (no proms or school fairs) and expensive. It's likely that the students wouldn't be your average happy-go-lucky Filipino but rather more similar to your Taiwanese/Chinese students who love tests and memorization :wink: You might be surprised that they speak Fukien Chinese and not Mandarin Chinese (they study Mandarin but don't use it at home.) I don't even know if this school accepts pure Pinoys or just citizens with Chinese blood... The Chinese/Filipino-Chinese community keep to themselves and look down on Pinoys most of the time.

The school is in Quezon City (QC) and it's quite far from Manila (capital), considering how long the commute would take (at least 1.5~2 hours). But it's part of "Metro Manila" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metro_Manila) which is comprised of Manila, as well as other cities - QC is the largest. If you look at the map in the link, I believe the school is near the "Caloocan (North)" area. Not much to see or do there, or within Metro Manila for that matter. There are lot's of huge malls... so that a typical weekend for the family would be going to the mall on Saturday, and church on Sunday. Traffic is really bad so it would be better to live near the school.

If it's only for the summer, it'll be a new experience and I'd say go for it. There's poverty and crimes, but just be sensible and aware of your surroundings - don't take out your mobile phone/cash/valuables in public, don't eat street food, don't go out alone late at night, don't talk to dodgy looking strangers, don't stare, don't confront bad drivers, and don't sing "My Way" in KTV (several people have been killed over it)... be more vigilant than usual. Pinoys turn everything into a joke (and dirty ones, more likely) so don't get offended too easily. There's a tendency to be lazy... not everyone is willing to work hard for high grades or more money, and exerting pressure will be useless. You'll also hear a weird language which is a combination of Tagalog and English, or "Taglish" and it's quite unusual to hear a Filipino speak pure English outside school/work because this is considered "showing off" :lol: If you have more questions, just PM me and I'll try my best to help!
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Re: Taught in the Philippines , Anyone?

Postby Ducked » 10 Nov 2011, 20:01

Thanks both. Lots of detail there.

A Taiwanese staff member here has apparently been seconded to that college in the past. I'm not sure exactly how tight the institutional connection is, and I'm a bit vague on denominations, but they are in a similar praise-de-lawd-league.

I've sent her an email. No response yet and I dunno how frank she'll be on the downsides, especially if the school have had a word.

I might have some more questions later, once I know/procrastinate a bit more.

Pity about "My Way". I kid myself I do that rather well.

Any reason that song is particularly fatal, or was that just a random violence example?
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Re: Taught in the Philippines , Anyone?

Postby bigbeauties » 10 Nov 2011, 20:20

Several KTV bars have banned the song so there must be something about it... :ponder: Don't know if the explanation in this link is valid, but it's better not to put yourself at risk:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Way_killings
:lol:
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Re: Taught in the Philippines , Anyone?

Postby CanadianTeacher » 10 Nov 2011, 21:54

bigbeauties wrote:Several KTV bars have banned the song so there must be something about it... :ponder: Don't know if the explanation in this link is valid, but it's better not to put yourself at risk:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Way_killings
:lol:


Woooowwww that's a pretty crazy/ridiculous read. I've heard of books making people kill, but karaoke? Priorities people!
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Re: Taught in the Philippines , Anyone?

Postby finley » 10 Nov 2011, 21:58

That IS the one seriously weird thing about the Philippines that I cannot get my head around. Their priorities are just ... can't describe it, you have to see it.
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Re: Taught in the Philippines , Anyone?

Postby Ducked » 11 Nov 2011, 12:57

Hmmm... I sing it at prizegivings/graduations sometimes, (like for KTV-in-English student competitions) with modified "You did it my way" lyrics.

That might enable me to dodge the bullet, though I guess students in the Philippines might have more firepower, and in the heat of hot contact, finer points of lyrical content might be missed.

Maybe I should shop for a kevlar T-shirt / smoke canisters.

I sort of understand though. One hot summer many years ago I was trying to write up a Masters dissertation in a flat above the open skylight of a karaoke pub on Edinburgh's Rose Street.

If I'd had a grenade....... :fume:
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Re: Taught in the Philippines , Anyone?

Postby dasaint » 11 Nov 2011, 17:35

bigbeauties wrote:Several KTV bars have banned the song so there must be something about it... :ponder: Don't know if the explanation in this link is valid, but it's better not to put yourself at risk:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Way_killings
:lol:


Did you know that Elvis is Alive?!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elvis_is_alive

Can't help myself :roflmao: when I saw this post about the My Way killings. WIKI mentions one particular incident and vague reference to a half dozen total in the last decade and calls it a phenomenon? Give me a break.

Anyway, re: OP, first you have determine which summer you are talking about. Summer break in the Philippines is from March to May which is quite different from summer here in Taiwan. As has been previously posted, only the more affluent people in Metro Manila goes to Grace Christian College, mostly of Filipino Chinese ethnicity. There are taxis (some of them dilapidated), that you can use for commuting, but these are different from what was mentioned as converted hummers called jeepneys. Jeepneys came from the original American Jeep and was redesigned by Filipinos to accommodate more passengers. This is the most common public utility vehicle in the Philippines. Avoid the MRT/LRT, because most of the time they are packed with people like sardines! they smell like one too :roflmao:

Most Filipinos live in poverty so beggars are a common sight in the streets. Beware of thieves and snatchers too. Never bring your gadgets in public, as well as jewelries. A thief will not hesitate in cutting your hand to snatch anything worth selling. Corruption is quite rampant too, and be afraid of the local police. They are the most corrupt police force in the world. They can easily "frame up" and accuse a foreigner of drug possessions which is punishable by death in the Philippines. I would advise you to get home before 10PM every night if you want to get back here in Taiwan unscathed.

Having said that, the cost of living in the Philippines is quite cheap. The cost of food in 3 to 5 star restaurants is almost equivalent to what you pay when you eat in a mom & pop restaurant here in Taiwan. Lots of good tourist spot to go too. Quality clothing is also cheap. I myself goes to the Philippines every year to buy my clothes and shoes there.

Just one last thing, there is no such thing in the Catholic Church as mandatory teen pregnancy! Not in the Philippines, not anywhere in this planet.

Obviously, I am Catholic. And I was born and raised in the Philippines.
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Re: Taught in the Philippines , Anyone?

Postby finley » 11 Nov 2011, 20:40

Somewhat OT, but:

Just one last thing, there is no such thing in the Catholic Church as mandatory teen pregnancy! Not in the Philippines, not anywhere in this planet.

The Vatican recently informed the president of the Philippines that he is not permitted to promote contraception. If he does, there will be ... consequences [sound of metaphysical round being chambered in metaphorical shotgun].

Overpopulation is one of the main reasons far too many Filipinos live in poverty. Far be it from me to comment on what God wants, but I imagine he's not especially happy about that.
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