Some Filipino TEFL programs are held in university centers, like Cebu, or in beach-resort locations, like Boracay—but taking TEFL certification classes in Manila, the Philippines’ capital city, will put you right in the middle of the most densely populated city in the world! This city between two bays offers the opportunity to experience incredible architecture, extraordinary sunsets, a vibrant museum scene, and diverse historical influences. So if you’re inspired by big city skylines and crave the fast-paced tempo of the urban grind, make the right choice and get TEFL certified in Manila!
Popular Types of TEFL Programs in Manila
As you research the different kinds of TEFL certification programs available, you’ll find an option for almost every teaching/learning goal, and almost every budget!
Most TEFL courses in Manila are structured as blended-learning with a combination of web-based instruction and in-class sessions, leading to a formal teaching practical. If the classroom isn’t your thing, you might consider one of the volunteer-based programs that allow you to trade community service for the opportunity to earn your credential.
Keep the prerequisites in mind—typically, you need to be a native English speaker, at least 19 years of age, with a minimum of a high school diploma. You can expect to pay $400 to $1500 for tuition at TEFL schools in Manila, while costs for volunteer-based programs will vary. Some programs include housing, which can really be an added benefit! TEFL courses in Manila vary from 180 to 300 hours of classroom training—or approximately one month of full-time work.
Once you’re ready for job placement, you’ll find that the income range for ESL instruction in metro-Manila is roughly $300-$700 per month, which is about the same cost as monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment. The cost of living in outlying areas can be significantly lower, but there are fewer available positions and pay is considerably less. You’ll likely find the best paying jobs for qualified ESL instructors in the Philippines are with corporations in need of trainers and translators. Those positions can pay quite well!
You will most likely need to obtain a visa to cover the entire period of your time in Manila. Be sure to check with your TEFL program coordinator for information about what you might need and don’t forget to review the Philippines’ visa policies toward your home country, which can be found in our Embassy Directory.
Life in Manila
TEFL abroad in Manila has an eclectic side, no doubt. This is a city with Indonesian, Spanish, British, Japanese, and American influences that are readily visible in the skyline, landscape, shopping, culture, and food scene. The climate in Manila is hot and humid year-round, with a lengthy rainy season—but even with days of heavy rain, there’s always something fun to see and do!
Sight-seer? In addition to the museums, malls, and bayside boardwalks, you’ll want to visit the historic parks and marketplaces along both sides of the Pasig River, running right through the city’s center. Food-lover? The common Filipino greeting translates to “Have you eaten?”—and you’ll find cafés and street food everywhere with an affordable and delicious mix of local cuisine. Day-tripper? You can get around the entire area on a monthly train pass that will cost you less than $10 - but you can always splurge on expensive restaurants and luxurious spa treatments, if that’s more your style.
While attending TEFL schools in Manila, you’ll find communicating to be fairly easy, as well. The common language is Tagalog, and while residents in Manila also speak Spanish or Chinese, English is used most widely in business, education, and daily life. Manila is truly a city with something for everyone!
GoAbroad’s Inside Scoop on TEFL in Manila
If you’d like to earn your TEFL certificate in an affordable, diverse, international trade-port, bypassing some of the other Filipino locations for the opportunities in Manila is something you should definitely consider! The city of Manila is a major center for commerce and culture. Regarded as one of the best shopping destinations in Asia, Manila also boasts an enthusiastic fan base for sports like rugby and basketball, ample museums and cultural centers and theaters, some stellar tourist attractions, and a year-round schedule of civic, national, and religious festivals and holidays.
Listed as one of the top three locations for start-up businesses, Manila’s professional culture is expanding to include increased opportunities for English speakers and instructors with TEFL certification. As the capital city of the Philippines, the economy in Manila is growing to meet the needs of the global marketplace—including intensified efforts to create space for industries like printing, manufacturing, technology, banking, food production, petroleum refinement, and fashion. More than any other region in the Philippines, this development means a greater need for those with expertise in English language instruction and that need is expected to grow.
This city has a bit of a wild side and inexperienced travelers might need to take some extra care. As with any large city, there is a grittier side of city life. There are wide gaps between the city’s more affluent residents and those living in poverty, and this economic disparity can create problems connected to increased opportunities for crime. As you might expect based on what you’ve read so far, there are many things to see and do in Manila that are not only safe, but exceptional, so you’ll be sure to have a fantastic time while you get TEFL certified in Manila!
Make sure you read our comprehensive guide on getting TEFL certified in the Philippines.