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Teach English in Manila, Philippines

Manila, the vibrant capital city of the Philippines, is a sprawling metropolis filled with a blend of Spanish colonial architecture and modern skyscrapers. As the economic, cultural, and political heart of the country, Manila bustles with life, from its bustling street markets to its historic sites such as Intramuros, the walled city from the Spanish colonial era. Set against the backdrop of Manila Bay, the city boasts a lively arts scene, diverse neighborhoods, and a rich tapestry of history and culture. The ever-increasing globalization and the city's dynamic growth have fueled a strong demand for English teachers, making Manila a sought-after destination for those looking to teach abroad. Warm, hospitable locals and a low cost of living paired with a rich cultural experience make Manila an attractive spot for educators from around the world.

Reasons to Teach English in Manila

  1. High Demand for English Teachers: With the Philippines striving to be competitive in the global market, English proficiency is a top priority. Many Filipinos see English as a ticket to better job opportunities both locally and abroad. Thus, there is a constant demand for quality English educators in Manila.

  2. Experience Rich Filipino Culture: Teaching in Manila gives educators an immersive experience in Filipino culture. From the festive celebrations, like Sinulog and Ati-Atihan, to the unique blend of Eastern and Western influences in food, dance, and art, teachers can truly dive deep into the local way of life.

  3. Cost of Living: Manila offers a relatively low cost of living compared to Western countries. While salaries for English teachers may be modest by Western standards, they often go a long way in Manila, allowing for a comfortable lifestyle with opportunities for travel and leisure.

  4. Language Opportunities: Teaching in Manila is an excellent opportunity for educators to learn Filipino (Tagalog) or any of the other regional languages spoken throughout the Philippines. Being bilingual can be an additional advantage for teachers in their professional and personal life.

  5. Natural Beauty: While Manila itself is a bustling metropolis, it's just a short journey to some of the Philippines' most beautiful beaches, mountains, and natural attractions. Weekends and holidays can be spent exploring the likes of Palawan, Boracay, or the Chocolate Hills of Bohol.

  6. Warm and Welcoming Locals: Filipinos are known for their hospitality and warmth. As a teacher in Manila, you will find students eager to learn, colleagues who are supportive, and locals who are always ready to share a smile or a meal.

  7. Gateway to Southeast Asia: Located in the heart of Southeast Asia, Manila serves as a great starting point for those looking to travel around the region. Destinations like Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia are just a short flight away.

Understanding Manila's Education Landscape

Manila's education landscape is a reflection of its history, cultural influences, and rapid urbanization. The Philippines' education system has been influenced by its colonial history, primarily by the Americans and the Spanish. As such, the system is a fusion of both Eastern and Western educational traditions.

There are a variety of educational institutions in Manila, ranging from public schools, which are funded by the government, to private institutions, some of which are internationally renowned. English is a primary medium of instruction in many schools, making it a pivotal subject at all levels of education.

The K-12 program, which was recently implemented, emphasizes the importance of English proficiency, especially in preparing students for the global job market. This has led to an increased demand for English educators, not only in formal school settings but also in private language centers and for business English courses tailored for professionals.

Eligibility and Requirements to Teach English in Manila

The requirements to teach English in Manila will be similar to the standard requirements for teaching English in the Philippines. However, here are the specific requirements for Manila:

  1. Bachelor's Degree: Most schools in Manila require teachers to have at least a bachelor's degree in any field. Some prestigious institutions might prefer a degree in education or English.

  2. TEFL/TESOL Certification: A TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification is usually required, especially if the applicant doesn’t have a degree in education.

  3. Professional Experience: Previous teaching experience, while not always mandatory, can be a significant advantage when applying for positions in reputable schools.

  4. Clean Police Record: Schools typically require a clean police record, which can be from the applicant's home country or the Philippines.

  5. Local Requirements: Some schools may ask for local certifications or additional paperwork, such as a local health check-up.

Salary and Benefits for Teaching English in Manila

Teaching English in Manila can offer varying salary packages based on the institution, one's qualifications, and experience. Here's a general overview:

  1. Competitive Salaries: While the absolute number might be lower than in Western countries, when adjusted for the cost of living, salaries are competitive. English teachers can expect to earn anywhere from PHP 25,000 to PHP 50,000 per month, depending on qualifications and the institution.

  2. Health Benefits: Health insurance or medical benefits are often provided as part of the employment package.

  3. Contract Completion Bonuses: Some schools offer a bonus upon successful completion of a teaching contract.

  4. Paid Leave: While public schools typically align their vacation days with the school calendar, private institutions may offer additional paid leave.

  5. Professional Development: Many schools and institutions offer opportunities for further training and professional development, allowing teachers to hone their skills and advance in their careers.

Living in Manila

Manila, often referred to as the "Pearl of the Orient," is a city of contrasts. It harmoniously marries the old with the new, tradition with modernity, and the East with influences from the West. Living in Manila offers a unique experience that is both challenging and rewarding, full of life, color, and endless opportunities for discovery. Below is an overview of what it's like to live in this bustling metropolis, sprinkled with some intriguing facts about the city.

Culture and Lifestyle

Manila boasts a diverse cultural scene. From the historic walls of Intramuros, which tell tales of the Spanish colonial era, to the contemporary art galleries sprouting around the city, there's always something to pique one's interest. Festivals, live performances, and local events are frequent, providing residents with ample opportunities to immerse themselves in Filipino traditions and celebrations.


The culinary landscape in Manila is as varied as its culture. While Filipino delicacies like adobo, sinigang, and halo-halo are must-tries, the city also offers a plethora of international cuisines. Street food is an essential part of Manila's gastronomy, with delicacies such as kwek-kwek (deep-fried quail eggs), isaw (grilled chicken intestines), and balut (a fertilized duck egg) being local favorites.


Manila's transportation system is a mix of the old and new. The iconic jeepneys, remnants from World War II military jeeps, are a common sight and a popular means of transportation. Apart from that, tricycles, buses, and the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) help Manileños and expats navigate the city. Traffic can be intense, so it's advisable to plan journeys in advance, especially during rush hours.

Cost of Living

While Manila is one of the pricier cities in the Philippines, its cost of living remains lower compared to major Western cities. Housing, transportation, and food are reasonably priced, allowing for a comfortable lifestyle on a teacher's salary.


Manila has a tropical climate, characterized by high humidity and significant rainfall. It has three main seasons: hot dry season (March-May), rainy season (June-October), and cool dry season (November-February).

Safety and Health

Manila is generally safe for expats, but like any major city, it's essential to be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas. As for health, while Manila offers a range of medical facilities and hospitals, it's advisable to take precautions against tropical diseases and stay updated with vaccinations.

Intriguing Facts about Manila:

  1. World's First Chinatown: Established in 1594, Binondo in Manila is recognized as the world's oldest Chinatown.

  2. Largest City by Population Density: Manila holds the distinction of being the most densely populated city in the world.

  3. Historic Intramuros: The walled city of Intramuros was the entire city of Manila during the Spanish colonial period.

  4. Manila Hemp: Despite its name, Manila hemp is not hemp, but a type of banana. It's a significant export product used for making ropes, fabric, and paper.

  5. Largest Shoes: Marikina, a city within Metro Manila, is known as the Shoe Capital of the Philippines. It's also home to the world's largest pair of shoes, measuring 5.29 meters in length.

Teacher Stories

Hannah from the UK: "When I first landed in Manila, the heat and the sounds were overwhelming, but the warmth of the people was even more striking. My students, aged between 8 and 12, were enthusiastic learners. Their dedication to mastering the English language was truly commendable. Weekends in Manila were spent exploring the historical Intramuros, dining in local eateries in Binondo, or occasionally jetting off to nearby islands. It wasn't just a teaching job; it was an enriching cultural immersion."

Michael from the USA: "Teaching business English to professionals in Manila opened my eyes to the Filipino work ethic. The students juggled demanding jobs and still managed to attend evening classes. Outside the classroom, I relished the city's bustling nightlife and the diverse culinary scene. Filipino 'karaokes' are a must-try!"

Thandi from South Africa: "I initially chose Manila because of its rich history and strategic location in Southeast Asia. However, the connections I made with my students and colleagues made the city feel like home. Their resilience, positivity, and sense of community were infectious. The city's energy, the diverse landscapes within reach, and the students' eagerness to learn made my stint in Manila unforgettable."

Liam from Australia: "Manila is a city of contrasts, and that's evident even in its schools. I taught at an international school, and it was fascinating to see how they seamlessly blended global teaching standards with local traditions and values. Beyond teaching, Manila offered a world of experiences – from its sunsets on Manila Bay to the bustling markets and serene churches."

Eileen from Ireland: "Manila was more than just a teaching destination for me. It was a place of growth. The challenges of adapting to a new culture, navigating through the city, and understanding my students' backgrounds taught me resilience and adaptability. But it's the friendships, the festivals, and the small everyday moments that made Manila special."

Marie from Canada: "The Philippines is known as the Land of Fiestas, and living in Manila gave me a firsthand experience of this. Every month there seemed to be a celebration, and my students would eagerly share their traditions and stories with me. Teaching in Manila was not just about imparting knowledge but also about learning – from the rich tapestry of Filipino culture."

Isaac from New Zealand: "Manila's hustle and bustle reminded me of the big cities back home, but with a unique Filipino touch. While teaching was my primary purpose, I also ventured into local social projects. This city teaches you the essence of 'Bayanihan' (community spirit), and it's a lesson I'll carry with me forever."

Moving Towards Teaching English In Manila

Embarking on a journey to teach English in Manila is more than just a professional endeavor. It's an adventure that promises personal growth, cultural immersion, and countless memories. Every corner of the city has a story to tell, every student a dream to share, and every experience a lesson to offer.

If you're looking for a destination that combines career opportunities with a rich tapestry of cultural experiences, then Manila might just be the place for you.