Language is what we use in order to vocalize our thoughts and the things we want to share to other people. And because of globalization, the English language has dominated business transactions, and more and more non-English speakers are forced to embrace English so that they can communicate more effectively. When it comes to learning English, there are local teachers who teach at their respective schools and there are private businesses that offer tutorials. In addition, English learners have a choice: they can choose to learn locally, or they can travel abroad to have a better experience. Thus, many non-English speakers flock to English speaking nations such as the United States, Canada, Australia, or the UK to improve their English more effectively.
Many foreigners, however, have overlooked one country, the Philippines. More recently, Koreans and Japanese have chosen the Philippines as their choice destination for learning English. More specifically, many Filipinos have noticed many Koreans in Metro Manila, Baguio, and even at the many beaches such as Puerto Galera and Boracay. These foreigners have largely contributed to the economy of the Philippines as they not only spend money in their enrollment, thus providing income to Filipino teachers, they have also spent on different expenses such as food, travel, entertainment, and accommodation. So why has the Philippines become so popular when it comes to learning English?
- English is the Philippines’ national language
Most countries have their own language as their national language, but in the Philippines in 1973, the English language became the official national language along, of course, with Filipino or Tagalog. English was lawfully mandated in the Constitution of the Philippines as the other national language of the Filipinos. The present constitution, which was ratified in 1987, made Filipino and English as joint national languages of the Philippines. Therefore, Filipinos cannot escape English, and they use it in every aspect of culture, society, business, and government.
- The Filipino people is an English-speaking population
The constitution indeed made English a common language in the Philippines. Therefore, it paved way for an English-speaking Filipino people. The Spanish occupied the Philippines, but Spanish was slowly eroded when the United States occupied the Philippines, and by 1901, English had begun to be used in public education. As a result, unlike in other countries, English is introduced to Filipinos in schools early in their childhood days not only in school, but at home as well. English has become a major part of life, culture, and lifestyle of the Filipinos. From public vehicle drivers, sales people, janitors, to executives, company managers, almost all people in different careers and walks of life can speak and understand English. The Philippines is in fact the third language English-speaking population in the world.
- The Philippines is the best in business English
People in this beautiful island archipelago can certainly be proud of one major accomplishment: The Philippines was recently ranked by GlobalEnglish, an international English and education provider, as the best in business English in the world. The study conducted by GlobalEnglish surveyed and tested non-native English speaking professionals who were using English as their primary means of communication in business, and the Philippines came out on top, ahead of the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. This doesn’t mean that the population of the Philippines is better; it simply means that the Philippines’ professionals who were not native English speakers scored higher than those from other countries.
- The Philippines is the leading country in the BPO industry
Another sign that the Philippines is very good when it comes to English is that the country is currently the most popular business process outsourcing (BPO) site in the world and has beaten India, which had been best for many years until recently. The BPO sector in the country contributed $13.3 billion in 2014 to the GDP, a dramatic rise from $1.3 billion about 10 years ago. Clients and accounts from the US, UK, Canada, and Australia became aware of the BPO growth in the country as a result of the Filipino’s command of the English language, and many of them have relocated from India to the Philippines. Foreigners see this as a clear sign that the Philippines is an excellent place to learn English.
- There are many excellent schools in the Philippines
Universities especially like Ateneo, De La Sale University, University of the Philippines, and University of Santo Tomas are very good schools, and they produce good to excellent English speakers. There are also many private schools that use English only as their medium of instruction, and as a result, their graduates are globally prepared. Many foreigners have enrolled in Philippine universities because they can have an English immersion as they are forced to speak with their teachers and classmates in English. Today, most schools in the Philippines have a large international student population.
- The Philippines is home to excellent English learning centers
There are many English training centers in the Philippines, but the most popular one is the American Institute for English Proficiency, which has two branches, one in Makati, the Philippines’ central business district, and one in Quezon City. What sets them apart from other English schools is that their specialists (teachers) are well-traveled, experienced, and have lived in the United States; they also have specialists who were American university graduates, campaign leaders, debaters, and managers in the United States. Furthermore, they immerse their students in an American-style English learning experience. According to co-founder and general manager Chris Delacruz, a political science graduate from Seattle University, The American Institute has many local and international clients from different industries, including the BPO. Their clients include lawyers, doctors, accountants, teachers, actors, office managers, entrepreneurs, and recent graduates.
- Inexpensive cost of education and English classes in the Philippines
Many foreign students have discovered that taking English courses here in the Philippines is much more cost-effective than taking courses in the US, UK, Canada or Australia. The cost of learning English in the United States could cost as much as $2,000 a month, and that doesn’t include food and accommodation. In the Philippines, one can study at the American Institute for English Proficiency for only $1,050 in Quezon City and $1,250 in Makati, and the great thing about their enrollment cost is that it includes a comprehensive package of 40 hours of private or one-on-one classes, 80 hours of group classes, and 30-day accommodation in a condotel, and airport pick-up. That is a definitely a dramatic difference when it comes to cost of education between the Philippines and the United States. Add to this the cost of living in the Philippines, where one can get cheaper food, entertainment, and transportation, and foreigners can now easily choose the Philippines.
- Filipinos are easier to understand
Because of the Filipinos affinity for the American culture, they can easily adopt the American accent. Sure, many of them still have the local accent, but many say that compared to other accents, the Filipinos come closest to the American accent. Many Filipinos who want to work in the BPO industry or call centers must learn to speak with a neutral or standardized American accent as they have to deal with American clients when handling business transactions. There are also many Filipinos who lived in the United States and have returned to the Philippines, and they definitely have the standard or neutral American accent.
- Filipinos are a sincere, happy, and hospitable people
Filipinos are known to be the people of extreme hospitality. A lot of foreigners admire how Filipinos are well-educated, well-mannered, and always very helpful. Thailand is known as the land of smiles, but the Philippines is known as the country of very nice and friendly people. Wherever you go, you not only see smiles, but people willing to talk to you and help you. In fact, there are so many OFWs, or overseas Filipino workers, and this goes to show that Filipinos are so easy to get along with anyone. When you are in the Philippines, the Filipino people will certainly make you feel at home.
- The Philippines is a great tourism and travel destination.Check out this video!
Learning English in the Philippines is no longer a new discovery as we have solidified our place in English language learning. When foreigners first learned that the Philippines offered great English language education, they couldn’t believe it. It took just a few years for the Filipino people to show to the world that the Philippines is an excellent place to study English.