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Study in the Philippines: Language & Culture

The Philippines has three official languages: Filipino, English and Spanish. There are also more than a dozen regional languages spoken across the archipelago. Filipino is the collective name for the various mutually-intelligible dialects of Tagalog. English is generally the language of the business sector.

Feb 6, 2024
  • Study Abroad in Asia

The Philippines has three official languages: Filipino, English and Spanish. There are also more than a dozen regional languages spoken across the archipelago. 

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Filipino is the collective name for the various mutually-intelligible dialects of Tagalog. English is generally the language of the business sector and is mostly spoken as an additional language, while Spanish survives as a mother tongue in some remote areas. Due to the many regional languages and dialects, Filipino serves as the language of communication between Filipinos, serving a role similar to that of Hindi in India. 

As the Philippines is so linguistically diverse, it is common for most Filipinos to be extremely fluent in three, four or even more languages. As an international student, you shouldn’t encounter many major problems if you find yourself reliant on English. 

island

However you communicate, Filipinos are renowned for their hospitality and their welcoming attitude to people from all over the world. You’ll find it extremely easy to make friends in the Philippines and engage in cultural exchange. Filipinos will want to know as much about your country and culture as you do about theirs. 

Religion plays a role in Filipino culture. The Philippines is a Catholic country with a notable Muslim minority. As such, it can be conservative on some social issues, like LGBT rights, but it's rapidly liberalizing in its attitudes. 

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Crime remains a serious problem in the Philippines. International students and tourists are rarely targeted as most crime involves gangs and traffickers. But, as you would in most places, do keep an eye on your surroundings and don’t flash your valuables. Do also be aware that drug offences are taken extremely seriously in the Philippines. As such, you can expect a lengthy prison sentence and an unlimited fine if you’re caught with anything - even if it’s only for personal use. In the Philippines, it really isn’t worth the risk. 

Due to its geography, China and Hong Kong are popular holiday spots for international students studying in the Philippines. However, relations between Manila and Beijing are, at best, frosty and are known to go downwards at a moment’s notice. Keep an eye on the political situation and travel advice from both the Filipino government and your own home government. Despite this, lots of fascinating countries - Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, to name but a few - are within very easy reach of the Philippines.

Study in the Philippines

Want an overview of the Philippines? This section gives you a quick insight into what life is like in these islands, as well as the Philippines' history and welcoming culture.

Education in the Philippines

Want to learn about how the higher education system works in the Philippines? The Philippines is an evermore popular destination for a variety of students, given its good programs, reasonable fees and its culture and hospitality. Take a minute to find out more about the structure of the education system in the Philippines!

Student Visas

Do you need a visa to enter the Philippines to study? Learn more about the student visa process, and what you need to enter the country, depending on your citizenship. Don't worry! The Philippines keeps it simple enough.

Housing & Living Costs

No matter where you study abroad, it’s important to create a budget in advance so that you’re prepared. Therefore, we’ve detailed average living and housing costs so that you can get a better idea of what you would be paying as a student in the Philippines.

Tuition Fees & Scholarships

Tuition fees for degree programs in the Philippines can vary. Both international and domestic students are expected to pay tuition fees in the Philippines, but these fees can vary a lot. We've put together information on how this works, and on scholarships, in this section.

Application Process

Learn more about how to apply to schools using the Philippines' more ad hoc approach to higher education applications.

Programs

Ready to look at education in the Philippines? Use our search engine to find and compare top programs in the Philippines today!