Study in the Philippines

The Philippines, officially the Republic of the Philippines, is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. It is situated in the Western Pacific Ocean, and consists of about 7,641 islands that are broadly categorized under three main geographical divisions from North to South: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

International students looking to study in the Philippines will be pleased to read that living costs are very low and, in that light, you'll only need around USD$4.200 and USD$6.000 per year for a comfortable study.

Tuition fees are also on the low side. Universities set their own fees and they will vary between programs, but you’ll pay an average of US$1,000 per year at public universities and USD$1.200 to USD$2.500 at private institutions.

Not only is the Philippines a beautiful country, but it also has one of the best higher education systems in Asia, ranked 46th in the first edition of the QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings.

Offering the opportunity to study in English at an affordable cost, the Philippines attracts over five thousand international students a year from across the globe, with most coming from other countries in East Asia.

There are almost 2,300 higher education institutions in the Philippines, the majority of which are private. Many universities are affiliated with Roman Catholicism, which reflects the country’s colonial past.

Of the public institutions funded by the government, the National University, University of the Philippines, receives the most funding.

Four top universities in the Philippines are ranked among the world’s best in the QS World University Rankings 2018, with a further two featured in the QS Asia University Rankings 2018. The top four are:

*University of the Philippines,

*Ateneo de Manila University,

*De la Salle University,

*University of Santo Tomas.

Finding the right study abroad destination can be a mamoth task considering the many things you have to put into focus. There is a number of distinct reasons why pursuing a degree in the Philippines might be a brilliant idea.

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About the Philippines

Philippines inhabitants dates back to 25000 BC after that Indonesian and Malayan settlers inhabited starting from 3000 BC. There is extensive evidence that during the 14th century AD, extensive trade was being conducted with nearby Asian countries such as India, Indonesia, China, and Japan.

During their sea explorations, it is recorded in history that Spain discovered Philippines in 1521, named it after Prince Philip and colonized it. Its capital, the City of Manila, is in Luzon.

The country is divided into the geographical areas of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. You can also enter through the cities of Cebu in the Visayas, and Davao in Mindanao.

A newly industrialized country and emerging market in Asia, the Philippines has welcomed an increasing number of international students in recent years, and is also a popular tourist destination; not surprising when you look at those tropical, sunny beaches.

However, the Philippines has more to offer than an attractive coastline; those who study in the Philippines will be able to explore its fascinating mix of Islamic, Malay, Spanish and American influences on Filipino culture.

After Spain's possession of the islands for 300 years, it gave it to the U.S. in 1899 by the Treaty of Paris. The Philippines is a series of islands located close to Malaysia and Indonesia. Only about 7% of the islands are larger than one square km, and only one-third have names.

The Philippines is a unitary Presidential Constitutional Republic, with the President of the Philippines acting as both the head of state and the head of government. It proclaimed its independence from the Spanish Empire on June 12, 1898, following the culmination of the Philippine Revolution.

It is a founding member of both the United Nations (UN) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It has embassies and consulates in 62 countries around the world.

The Philippines is known for its phenomenal cultural diversity that stems not only from its history but evident through the multiple languages that are spoken in the country.

There are 183 living languages currently spoken in the Philippines, the vast majority of which are indigenous tongues. Two official languages that are used in the Philippines include Filipino and English.

The Philippines consist of 7,641 individual islands. Even though most of them are uninhabited, that still leaves plenty of opportunity for linguistic diversity to flourish.

The country's primary exports include electronics, semiconductors, transport equipment, construction materials, and minerals. As an open economy, the Philippines trades with other economies around the world. It considers Japan, the United States, China, South Korea, and Germany as its top export markets.

The Philippines was host to a record high of 4.7 million foreign tourists in 2013, thanks to country's tourism brand, "It's More Fun in The Philippines." Among its top tourist drawers are Boracay Island in Aklan, Puerto Princesa Underground River in Palawan, Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Mayon Volcano in Albay, and the Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao, as well as the cities of Manila, Baguio, Vigan, Cebu, and Davao.

The Philippine Peso is the currency of Philippines. Our currency rankings show that the most popular Philippines Peso exchange rate is the USD to PHP rate. The currency code for Pesos is PHP, and the currency symbol is ₱.

Here are some facts that every foreign student needs to know about the Philippines:

*The life expectancy in the Philippines is 68. 2, as noted from the Human Development Report of 2015.

*Adult Literacy Rate currently stands at 95.4% (Human Development Report, 2015)

*Women in third-level government post is 46% (Philippine Commission on Women, 2012)

*Female Participation rate in the labor force is 49.7% (National Statistics Office, 2012)

*Fertility rate 3 (World Bank, 2014)

*Annual growth rate is 5.9% (Philippine Statistics Authority, 2015)

These facts prove the development rate that the country is moving at, with women’s participation in decision making processes being a fundamental aspect in observing democratic rights of the Philippines.

There is no doubt that the Philippines is living up to fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that seek to diminish poverty, increase the existence of gender equality and bring an end to infant immortality by the end of 2030.

The Philippines has important policy frameworks and plans in place for sustainable human development, including the National Framework for Climate Change Adaptation and the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act, the National Human Rights Action Plan, and the Magna Carta of Women.

The Volunteering Act enhances civil society development work through volunteerism. The Local Government Code, transferring governance functions to local governments and decentralizing social service delivery, is 20 years old. However, implementation of these policies and plans is still hampered by gaps in capacities, especially at the local level.

The Philippines is the only Asian nation that is predominantly Christian. While many of its Southeast Asian neighbors practice Buddhism, 86 percent of the Filipino population is Roman Catholic.

About the Philippines Economy

The economy of the Philippines is the world's 36th largest economy by nominal GDP according to the 2019 estimate of the International Monetary Fund's statistics, it is the 13th largest economy in Asia, and the 3rd largest economy in the ASEAN after Indonesia and Thailand.

The country has one of the most dynamic economies in the East Asia Pacific region. With increasing urbanization, a growing middle class, and a large and young population, the Philippines’ economic dynamism is rooted in strong consumer demand supported by a vibrant labour market and robust remittances.

Business activities are buoyant with notable performance in the services sector including the business process outsourcing, real estate, and finance and insurance industries.

Sound economic fundamentals and a globally recognized competitive workforce reinforce the growth momentum. Having sustained average annual growth of 6.4% between 2010-2019 from an average of 4.6% between 2001-2009, the country is on its way from a lower-middle-income country with a gross national income per capita of USD$3.830 in 2018 to an upper-middle-income country (per capita income range of US$3.956 and USD$12.235) in the near term.

Real economic growth slowed in 2019, but was still strong with 6.0% year-on-year. Growth is now projected to significantly decelerate this year due to the impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, including through the slowdown in trade, investment, tourism, remittances, and social distancing, including the associated community quarantine.

Nevertheless, economic growth is expected to rebound gradually in 2021-2022 as global conditions improve, and with more robust domestic activity bolstered by the public investment momentum and a boost from 2022 election-related spending.

In recent years, the Philippine economy has made progress in delivering inclusive growth, evidenced by a decline in poverty rates and its Gini coefficient. Poverty declined from 23.3% in 2015 to 16.6% in 2018 while the Gini coefficient declined from 44.9 to 42.7 over the same period.

The ongoing increasing trend in real wages, which is expected to have a positive impact on household incomes, particularly those from the lower-income groups will be hampered by the impact of the COVID-19, with negative consequences also for poverty reduction in the Philippines.

The Philippines' economy is based on food processing; production of cement, iron, and steel; and telecommunications, among others. The agricultural sector employs 25% of the labor force but contributes only 9.3% of GDP.

The sector only grew by 0.9% in 2018, showing signs of stagnation. The Philippines is the second-largest producer of coconuts. However, the agricultural sector suffers from low productivity, weak economies of scale and inadequate infrastructure.

As for mining, the Philippines is one of the richest countries of the world in terms of minerals such as gold and zinc with an unexploited mineral wealth estimated at more than USD$ 840 billion (Inquirer).

The industry sector contributes 30.7% of GDP and employs 18.4% of the population. Industrial food processing is one of the Philippines' main manufacturing activities. The big industries are dominated by the production of cement, glass, chemical products, and fertilizers, iron, steel, and refined oil products.

The tertiary sector which represents 59.9% of GDP and employs 56.7% of the country’s workforce has developed substantially, particularly in telecommunications, call centres and finance. Service sectors government goals include attracting investments in human resource development, design, R&D, finance, and infrastructure; bolstering manufacturing-derived services; and establishing new ecosystems linked with manufacturing (Department of Trade and Industry and Board of Investments). The sector grew by 7.4% in 2018.

Why Study in the Philippines

Affordable Tuition Fees in Philippines
Quality Education

Philippines has a comprehensive transnational education (TNE) strategy, which sets out the terms of engagement between domestic and international higher education institutions (HEIs).

From an overseas HEI perspective, however, the limitations on operating through a local partner institution, which must have at least 60 percent ownership of the venture, represent a significant setback. HEIs with strong global brands, many of which will be keen to retain ownership and direct control over the quality of the education being provided.

Affordable Accomodation in Philippines
Leading Study Destination

The Philippines places a great deal of importance on education and its impressive 93.9% literacy rate is a testament to that. Its educational institutions, which follow the US college system, have a high academic caliber, particularly the University of the Philippines which is consistently ranked the country’s top University.

The most popular universities for both study abroad programs and full-time enrolment are generally located in the country’s capital of Manila, however, depending on the subject, there are other universities throughout the country.

International Environment in Philippines
Universities & Programs

Close to 2300 public higher education institutions in the country offer a wide range of unique specializations and courses for both local and international students. Similarly, many private and public universities offer international programs in English and other foreign languages with the same high standards as their conventional courses.

Life in the Philippines is considerably cheaper than life in a Western country which will be a large factor in deciding where to continue with higher learning. The Philippines provides the same quality of education as Western countries at a fraction of the cost, from rent prices and tuition fees to the cost of having an active social life.

Great Weather in Philippines
Cultural Diversity

With a distinct and modern Hispanic-American appearance, its Asian roots are still firmly implanted within the family structure and traditional customs. This unique cultural identity is most often expressed through creative means such as a varied island-to-island cuisine, an abundant selection of art galleries and museums, the ink of its traditional tribal tattoos, and the color and movement of its street parties and festivals.

More than 8,000 foreign students have enrolled for the 2015 - 2016 academic year. Note that the country has the whole of Asia's best higher education system with 40% of faculty staff having a Masters and 13% a Ph.D.

Like many other countries, the Philippines has pockets where more violence tends to occurs and areas that are generally considered safe. While it is important to be aware of threats, it can be inaccurate to label an entire country as dangerous because it has known trouble spots. It is prudent to avoid known areas of danger and build your itinerary around popular (and populated) tourist destinations.


Several scholarships are awarded to international students every year. A number of Universities in the Philippines awards merit-based scholarships to talented bachelor’s and master’s students based on the overall assessment of applications.

Scholarships are offered by the admission board upon admission to the most outstanding candidates. Scholarships cover travel expenses, tuition fees, board, and lodging for one academic year and can be renewed for the following years on the basis of academic performance.

The Philippines Student Visa

All International students will need a student visa, which you’ll need to apply for from the Philippine Embassy or consulate in your home country after you’ve gained admission at a Filipino University.

You’ll need to provide the right documents (which should be stated on your embassy’s website) and then attend an interview at the embassy or consulate. Your Philippines visa will be valid for a year and is renewable each semester.