BBC News: The Philippines- Low-cost English teacher to the world

The Philippines is fast becoming the world's low-cost English language teacher - with numbers of students trebling in the past four years.

There might be other countries that people think about as a classic place to learn English, such as the UK, the US or Australia.

But there is one key reason that they are switching to the Philippines. It's cheaper. And in the competitive market for language students, it means the Philippines is attracting people from countries such as Iran, Libya, Brazil and Russia.

"We have very competitive rates compared with other countries," says English teacher, Jesy King, saying that her school's fees are a third of the price of an equivalent course in the US or Canada.

The BBC's Kate McGeown reports from Manila.

BBC News (


Philippines now Offered… "It's More Fun to Learn English in the Philippines"

Philippines ESL (English as a Second Language) Tour Program   

What Is the ESL Tour Program?

 ESL Tour Program is a tourist activity in which the study of English as a second language forms part of a structured tour package. The study of English becomes more exciting and fun through dynamic and creative ways of learning where participants get to interact, practice and use English more often in real-life settings thru games, outdoor activities, excursions and immersions. Aside from learning the English language, participants get to see the beautiful sceneries of the Philippine countryside and immerse with the local culture.

Why study English in the Philippines?

The Philippines has the following advantages as your alternative destination for the study of English not too far away from your home country:

English is widely spoken in the Philippines. It is used as the business language as well as the medium of instruction in schools and universities. 93.5% of Filipinos can speak and understand English well.

The Philippines offers the same quality English education at a much affordable cost.

The Philippines prides itself with rich natural and cultural resources that fascinate visitors.

What are the Requirements for Foreign ESL Students?

A.  Entry Requirements

Visit the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in your country to apply for a tourist visa. For prior information, you may refer to the Philippine website at

Requirements for tourist visa:

  1. Completed application form
  2. Passport size photo
  3. Passport (valid for at least 6 months beyond the maximum stay being applied for )
  4. Return airline ticket
  5. Proof of financial capacity
  6. Waiver of exclusion for minors 14 yrs. old and below
  7. Any other documents as may be required by the consular officer
  8. Visa Fee - $30 (approximate)

B.  Special Study Permit (SSP)

The Philippine Government, through the Bureau of Immigration (BI) requires all foreign tourists who wish to enroll in a non-degree course for less than one (1) year (which include short English courses) to secure a Special Study Permit (SSP) upon arrival in the Philippines.

Requirements for SSP Application

1.  Letter of request prepared by the applicant enrollee

2.  Affidavit of support prepared by the applicant enrollee or by parent/guarantor duly notarized by an attorney together with a bank certification (with English translation) in dollars and a minimum deposit of $800 (approximate).

  • -Parent or guarantor stating financial support for the applicant enrollee (for applicant below 18 years old)
  • -Self support stating the applicant enrollee's financial capacity to shoulder related expenses (for applicants 18 years old and above)

3.  Photocopy of passport reflecting the applicant's valid stay

4.  Birth Certificate

5.  Certificate of Acceptance from the school. Note: The school must be authorized by BI to accept foreign students. A list of BI-authorized schools may be secured from the Philippine Embassy in your country.

6.  Any other document as may be required

7.  SSP Fee - 3,730.00 or $68 USD (approximate)

Procedure for SSP Application:

Prepare all the required documents.

Present documents to your preferred school or Philippine tour operator to check if all documents are in order.

Submit application with supporting documents to the Bureau of Immigration or thru the school or tour operator. SSPs are issued within one (1) week upon application.

 C.  Visa Extension

Holders of tourist visa are allowed to stay in the country for a maximum of 59 days. Extension may be applied with the Visa Extension Section of the Bureau of Immigration.


Completed application form

Photocopy of photo, data, and latest arrival pages of the passport

Visa extension fee - $ 65 (approximate)

  • Nationals who enjoy 21-day visa-free stay may apply for another 38-day extension. Visa waiver application fee is $37 (approximate).

 How long are the English courses?

 The duration of English courses vary depending on the need and/or objective of the student. Modules may range from one (1) week to one (1) month depending on the level of proficiency of students. In 1-week modules, English lessons are conducted daily. Excursions, immersions and other outdoor activities are integrated in the program to provide the students opportunity and conducive venue for practical application of what they learned in the classroom. For 1-month program, overnight out-of-town tours are arranged during weekends. In-depth English courses for more than a month can be arranged by the schools.

What are the costs?

Costs of English courses are dependent on the duration of the course, number of enrollees, type of instruction (group or one-on-one basis) and facilities/amenities provided by the school. Refer to Inventory of DOT-ESL Partner English Training Centers (see link below) for indicative fees.

Where do I get more information about ESL tours offered in the Philippines? How do I avail of these packages?

For information about ESL tours, please refer to the Inventory of DOT-ESL Partner English Training Centers (see link below) or contact any of the English training centers.

For other information on the Philippines ESL Tour Program, please send e-mail to:

E-mail: /

Office of Product Research and Development

Department of Tourism

T. M. Kalaw Street

Manila, Philippines

For detailed information on the English courses, please download the list of participating English Training Centers:

 Inventory of the Department of Tourism - ESL Partner English Training Centers (authorized by Bureau of Immigration)

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