Rules and behavior guidelines in a Gawad Kalinga village
When participating in a mission in a Gawad Kalinga village, it is important to respect the rules in the community. Even during times when the residents do not respect the rules, we urge all volunteers to set a good example and be a positive influence to the younger generations.
It is strictly prohibited to have romantic relationships with the beneficiaries of Gawad Kalinga communities. In the Philippines, dating traditions and practices are different and often misinterpreted by volunteers. This cultural gap is even more pronounced in marginalized communities.
Volunteers must follow a dress code when conducting a mission with Gawad Kalinga. This code is not restrictive, but must be followed rigorously.
Women are allowed to wear shorts, but must take care not to show their underwear or wear low necklines. When going to the beach, female beneficiaries of Gawad Kalinga do not often wear swimsuits but instead wear shirts and shorts.
However, if you are going to a tourist area outside of a Gawad Kalinga village, you could wear a swimsuit or bikini.
It is prohibited for men to go topless in the community. Showing the body from the waist up is a way to display tattoos which are sometimes associated with gangs. In being part of a GK village, the villagers have accepted the rules put in place to change certain lifestyle habits in marginalized communities, and this includes involvement in gangs.
Alcohol and cigarettes
Drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes are strictly prohibited in GK villages. If there are smokers among the group of volunteers, an agreement must be arranged with the GK caretaker regarding appropriate smoking areas in the village. If no such area exists, smoking can be done outside of the community.
If you wish to have a party or organize an evening with friends, it must be done outside the village and during your days off. Avoid getting drunk because you are representing France and Gawad Kalinga.
Mobile phones and computers
It is recommended to have at least one mobile phone per group (an old cellphone with low value is recommended). Purchase a SIM card upon arrival at the airport (it costs between 1-2 euros) to be able to contact the local team in case of problems. Contact numbers are indicated in the booklet “Mabuhay Sa Pilipinas” which is sent to interns and volunteers before departure. You could also use this card to contact your parents and family in France. Computers are not required, as there are internet cafés in the Philippines; however, bring a computer if you will be needing it for your project.
Money and valuables
We recommend leaving valuable items in France to avoid misplacing them or having them stolen. Since you are foreigners, you are more susceptible to robberies and pickpockets. You could also purchase locks for your luggage. We recommend for you to withdraw just enough money to be used upon arrival and exchanged into pesos (around 100-200 euros). You could withdraw cash in ATM machines of banks such as BPI, HSBC, or Citybank; however, it cannot be done in certain local banks. Once you arrive in the city nearest your GK village, inquire with the local team regarding accessible banks.
Communicating in English
Speaking in English is required to communicate with the villagers or if you can, in Filipino or the local dialect. Simple English vocabularies will do, as most villagers will have the same level of English as you do. This will facilitate interactions with the villagers. The national language is Filipino (which is very similar with Tagalog) and not English, but everybody can speak a little bit of English.
Vaccination, malaria and water
No vaccinations are required but we recommended consulting with your doctor before your departure. The risk of malaria still exists in some places but the chances of contracting it are very low. If you wish to be protected from malaria, there are treatments existing (Malarone) but it is expensive, not reimbursed by the CPAM, and it could have side effects.
When it comes to water, Filipinos almost never drink water directly from the faucet. Purified water is widely available for purchase – no need to buy water purification tablets.
Days off and vacations
Volunteers and interns are entitled to 2 days off per week. We recommend you to not take these days off during the weekend because these are the days when the children are not in school and some adults are not at work. Therefore, it is easier to organize community activities during the weekend. Always inform the GK caretaker or the village president in advance when you are taking a day off, as well as your adoptive parents. Inform them of your time of departure and return because they will consider you like their own children.
Have you succeeded raising funds for your project? If yes, congratulations! This will help you implement your projects in the community. If not, try to gather funds before your departure to avoid having to pay yourself or feeling frustrated during your mission due to lack of materials. If you have not raised enough funds, we recommend raising small amounts among your family or friends and pooling it together within the group to raise a considerable amount. It is not required but will be practical for your project.
Evenings and schedules
The sun rises at around 5h-6h in the Philippines and nighttime falls at around 18h-19h. The villagers wake up at around 6h-7h and go to sleep at around 21h-22h. You will quickly get used to the rhythm of the village because of the tropical heat. Please respect the schedule of the village and do not return very late during the evenings, especially if you are staying with families with kids. It is prohibited to go out of the village at night, except for certain cases authorized by the caretaker.
Transportation will be available for the first 3 days of introduction in Manila. The cost is included in the 250€ fee. However, transportation required to reach your assigned village will be at your own cost, as well as if you wish you go out of the village during your stay. Various methods of public transport are available in the Philippines, and the price varies depending on the location and distance.
The payment of 350 PhP per day per person is applicable for all GK villages, in the Enchanted Farm AND in the assigned village for your mission. The fee is for 5 days per week, as there are 2 days off per week wherein you could visit nearby areas. Please organize your days off in advance (every week or every 2 weeks) and inform the person who is in charge of preparing your meals. The budgeting of daily fees differ per village, so discuss this with your GK takecaker upon arrival.