Volunteer Diving Expeditions in the Philippines with Marine Conservationists

by Julia Escaño

A few months ago, in October 2016, nature conservation groups World Wildlife Fund and Fondation Segré added over a million hectares of offshore and coastal waters to the Philippines’ Marine Protected Areas. These are found within 2 barangays in Palawan: Cagayancillo and Aborlan. They flank the Tubbataha Reefs in the Coral Triangle and are meant to bolster fish stocks.

The residents of Cagayancillo welcomed this news, after clamoring to be declared a Marine Protected Area for years. They claim that the conservation efforts being done in the Coral Triangle result in a better livelihood. Though it’s still a long way before all of the Philippines’ 1557 MPA’s become as successful as Cagayancillo, it’s still a step in the right direction.

If you are passionate about our oceans, and the riches beneath them, you can be a part of these efforts, too. By volunteering in marine conservation projects in the Philippines, you can take part in protecting the seas with these group of conservationists:

Marine Conservation Philippines

If you’re an avid scuba diver and you want to give back to the habitat you so enjoy, check out Marine Conservation Philippines. This non-profit organization works to preserve, protect, and enrich the country’s underwater resources. Marine Conservation Philippines’ has a range of projects with different durations. Some projects such as the creation of artificial reefs are one-offs. Meanwhile, others are continuous, such as research and documentation.

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Coral Cay Conservation

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Coral Cay Conservation or CCC is an international NGO that’s been running since 1986. They entered the Philippine marine conservation scene in 1996, and until Continue reading Volunteer Diving Expeditions in the Philippines with Marine Conservationists

Got Skills? Stay for Free at These Lodgings When Traveling Around the Philippines

by Julia Escaño

You’ve booked your flights. You’ve searched through every digital nook and cranny of your destination. You’ve outlined your Must-See and Must-Do lists. You might have even created a special playlist for the trip. All that’s left to tick is finding your home away from home.

Finding cheap accommodations anywhere in the country should be easy enough, but why settle for cheap when you can get it for free? If you’re willing to sweat it out and share your skills, the Philippines has free accommodations for serious travelers who want more bang for their buck.

From the city to the countryside, from the land to the sea, here is a list of free accommodations in the Philippines that allow you to travel while giving something back to the community!

Share your skills for a bed in this Tacloban hostel

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What would you do for a free bed? In this hostel, talent and skill are the currency.  Yellow Doors Hostel, an award-winning hostel in post-Yolanda Tacloban, offers a stay-for-free program for skilled guests. By imparting your knowledge through different kinds of workshops, sharing your music by joining jam sessions at their rooftop bar, or offering any other talent that might be handy, you can stay in the hostel for free. It’s not just about saving money,  you get to help enrich the experiences of others while fostering community and Continue reading Got Skills? Stay for Free at These Lodgings When Traveling Around the Philippines

How to Get Free Lodgings Anywhere in the World by Volunteering

by Julia Escaño

We’ve all been there: slumped on your office chair, longing for ice cold beers by that hidden beach you had discovered on your trip last week, and wishing you could do it all over again. Then reality kicks in: Your travel budget is tight. Accommodations aren’t free, and neither are cold beers. That reality is just about to change.

There is a whole world of free lodgings available to travelers everywhere. Through various volunteer programs and work exchange opportunities, you can stay for free and help a community at the same time. Most organizations even prioritize longer stays which allows you to fully immerse in the local culture.

If this sounds like your thing, explore the possibilities with these organizations and websites below. All it takes is a strong desire to help, some elbow grease, minimal membership fees, and you can bid that office chair goodbye. It won’t be seeing you anytime soon.

Mind My House

House-sit and dog-sit while living in scenic Northern France 

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Who doesn’t fantasize about living in the French countryside; those quaint stone houses, surrounded by rolling green fields and blue skies? If you’re willing to trade a little housework for it, one of those houses could be yours for free. Through Mind My House, a website that brings homeowners and house-sitters together, you can handpick a location and volunteer to take care of a home there while its owners are away. The website offers listings from all over the globe, which means that wherever you want to go, there’s probably a house waiting for your care. This listing, for instance, requires caring for animals and tending the Continue reading How to Get Free Lodgings Anywhere in the World by Volunteering

Volunteer in Palawan: Make Your Next Trip Fulfilling and Fun

By Claire Marie Algarme

Traveling is a way to relax, rejuvenate and get away from the daily grind. But many who take the road do so in order to gain new experiences and learn from them. While gallivants go to a certain place to enjoy its environment, some have found a way to give back to the community and help preserve the beauty of their surroundings and work on what still needs to be improved. Others call it volunteer travel, while some refer to it as voluntourism or volunteer vacation. Whatever it is called, the main objective here is that, while you are on your adventure trail, you take some time to render service, without putting burden on the host community.

Palawan, in all its glory and splendor, still has areas where locals need assistance. Although tourism has enabled many families to earn a living, non-profit organizations have identified certain areas and sectors of society where they can lend a hand. If you are eyeing Palawan as a travel destination, or if you are wont on doing some volunteer activities in the provinces, then these activities and organizations may be your best bet to travel and volunteer in Palawan.

Serve children with cleft lip or cleft palate

Operation Smile
Image Source from Operation Smile.

For several years, Operation Smile has been traveling all over the world to serve children with cleft plate, cleft lip or facial deformities. Its team is coming to Palawan, Philippines in August and October this year as one of their medical missions. You can be a medical volunteer or a local community volunteer. To be part of its medical team, you can assist in the actual medical operation process. Local community volunteers, on the other hand, can assist in preparing medical tools and supplies, fundraising, and events organizing.

Operation Smile Philippines Foundation, Inc.
Address: 19th Floor UCPB Corporate Offices Building, 7907 Makati Avenue, Makati City
Contact information: +63 2 811 9737 to 40
Website: www.operationsmile.org | For Info | Facebook | Sign Up
Details: Spend on your own transportation and accommodation. Upcoming medical missions in Palawan are on August 8-13, 2016 in Taytay (Northern Continue reading Volunteer in Palawan: Make Your Next Trip Fulfilling and Fun

5 Organizations You Can Volunteer in this Weekend

by Mich Escultura

These days everyone’s busy with something, whether it’s work or school or a time-consuming hobby. We tend to be so immersed in our own little world in the city that we sometimes forget that we’re more than capable of lending a helping hand to those who aren’t as privileged as we are. But contrary to popular belief, being a volunteer doesn’t need to take up too much of your time. In fact, if you just have a couple of hours to spare on the weekends along with a genuine desire to help out, you’re more than welcome to find volunteer opportunities at these organizations in Manila.

1. U! Happy Events

volunteer opportunities in U! Happy Events in Manila
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Whether you want to celebrate your birthday by volunteering or you just want to come to their weekly events, U! Happy Events is a fun and fulfilling way to volunteer. U! Happy Events provides support and teaches values to marginalized kids in the Philippines though creative events such as interactive games, fund raisers, field trips, and workshops. You’re even free to customize an event for the kids!

Continue reading 5 Organizations You Can Volunteer in this Weekend