Sunday, April 19, 2015

teaching English (ESL) in South Korea | for Filipinos and other non-native speakers of English

South Korea is in the top-tier in terms of pay and benefits for expat English teachers. The hagwons or academies alone is a US$20 billion industry.

Ewha Womans University, an exclusive school for women, is one of the top universities in Korea. 

My visit to Korea last year gave me the opportunity to see up close the lives of my expat friends--the non-native English teachers in particular.

After all the news and job qualifications postings online that screams native speakers only, the question begs: Can a non-native English speaker (Filipino, Kenyan, Singaporean etc.) legally teach English in Korea?

The answer is yes. But the teacher must satisfy two basic requirements:
  • a post-graduate degree (any field)
  • teaching experience (preferably in a university setting)
These expat non-native English teachers hold different post-graduate educational qualifications back home. There's one with an MA in Psychology. Another with MA in Organizational Development. Most of them hold an MA in English. A few have Ph.D degrees.

The next question is: How can one apply for a teaching job in South Korea.

The answer and process come easy for native speakers of English because most Korean institutions normally hire the services of a recruitment agency abroad to head hunt for the most qualified applicant. Saves them time and resources. There are job postings online, too, wherein applicants can directly contact the school. Other applicants throw caution to the wind--fly to Korea and apply directly to the institution. If one has Caucasian features, that's already a foot in the door. This is the boon to the industry. These hagwons, to please the parents who demand teachers must be native speakers, would place anyone with blue eyes, blonde hair and fair skin regardless of qualifications, nationality and competence.

So how can a Filipino--a non-native speaker of English--apply for and pluck a teaching post? Most of my friends began their journey back home when a university in Korea went to Cebu to look for ESL teachers to teach in Korea. It was word-of-mouth. When one is successful, he/she gets the documents from the sponsoring university and goes to Embassy of South Korea in Mc Kinley in BGC for an interview to secure the employment visa or E1 Visa. The fate of the teacher now lie in the hands of the consul and on how the applicant answers the questions.  
  • E1 Visa is issued to University Professors of English and other fields of study. 
  • E2 Visa on the other hand is only issued to a native speaker of English.

When one gets the visa, he or she flies (all expenses paid) to Korea and is assigned a flat or apartment (paid for by the sponsoring university). Teaching contract normally is two years and renewable. Some of the teachers I know, toward the end of the contract, apply to other universities. And yes, the pay cheque for English teachers in South Korea is way generous compared to anywhere else in Asia.  

For now, teaching English in elementary, middle school and high school in South Korea is only for native speakers of English. It was in the news that the Korean government plans to allow Filipino teachers of English to teach in basic education but everything is still in the pipeline.

Next post I will talk about the life, lifestyle and work environment of a Filipino teaching English in South Korea.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

the biggest luxury resort in Panglao Island in Bohol opens

The biggest luxury resort-hotel in Bohol welcomed its guests a couple of days ago.

With 400 rooms, 12 luxury villas and a convention center that can accommodate 1,000 guests, Henann Resort Panglao Island is a new addition to the growing list of world-class tourism facilities in my home-province Bohol.

Henann Resort Panglao Island has the longest beachfront and sits on the quieter side of Alona Beach.

Back in the day when I was based in Alona Beach to manage a Language and Culture Camp, the beachfront of Henann (it was Alona Palm Resort back then) was my favorite spot--wide and well-maintained coco grove and a long stretch of a quiet white beach with talcum fine sand.

Henann Group of Resorts owns Boracay Regency, Henann Lagoon and Henann Garden in Boracay Island.

Henann Resort Panglao Island
Address: Beachfront, Alona Beach, Tawala Panglao Island, Bohol 6340, Philippines
Telephone Number: (63) (2) 775-6734

Saturday, April 11, 2015

8 most expensive resorts and hotels in The Philippines

"If you ask about the price, it means that you can't afford it," goes the tongue in cheek remark I read from the society page of a national daily.

Hotel room rates for this list of The Philippines' most expensive hotels and resorts (arranged in random order) are non issue for the mega rich kind of holiday makers. Probably those who live off through trust funds. Well, some. Especially for number one. Walang yaya's meal dito.

Here's the round up:
 1| Amanpulo Resort in Pamalican Island, Palawan
Average rate per night: US$1,000.00 or Php44,600.00. Peak Season: minimum length of stay is 5 nights with US$9,660 (Php430,908.00) price tag. I can buy 10 tricycles already for a pangkabuhayan showcase with that amount.

While the resort neither deny nor confirmed, high profile guests who have stayed here were Michael Jackson, Julia Roberts, Diana Ross, Robert de Niro and just last week, Bill Gates and his family daw

2| Shangrila Boracay
Cheapest rate per night: US$449.99 or Php20,000.00. Villa Balani US$1,500 or Php70,500.00. A private boat will ferry guests from Caticlan jetty port directly to the resort. I can buy one brand new motorcycle pang habal habal with that amount.

3| Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Manila
Known for its Imperial Residence accommodation which costs a whopping US$8,200.00 or Php368,000.00 a night! The guest list includes Imelda Marcos, Justin Timberlake, Antonio Banderas, Tony Blair, Pavarotti, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton and just last year, US Pres. Barack Obama.

Also best known for its buffet at Spiral.With that amount, I can open the biggest sari sari store in my barrio.

4| Pangulasian Island, Miniloc and Apulit in El Nido, Palawan
Overnight rates starts at US$683.00 or Php30,500.00 to US$829.00 or Php37,000.00 for the pool villa.There is also Miniloc Island Resort where rates range from Php22,000.00 to Php28,000.00. And Apulit Island Resort where rates are between Php20,000 to Php21,500.00. No other option to get food elsewhere. Or else swim 2 hours to mainland. 

5| Discovery Shores Boracay
Rate starts at US$600.00 or Php26,700.00 per night. At least may Mang Inasal at talipapa sa Station 2.

6| Huma Island Resort and Spa in Busuanga, Palawan
Rate starts at US$597.00 or Php26,864.00 per person/night. Half year lunch money din yan sa carenderia.

7| Dedon Island Resort in Siargao
The all inclusive rate (food, drinks, massages, excursions to nearby islands and all equipment) starts at US$522.00 or Php23,265.00 per person per night (double occupancy) to US$983.00 or Php43,812.00 for single occupancy.

Past Hollywood celebrity guests include Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie daw. Again, the resort would not confirm nor deny this information. It's a trap. All inclusive, eh.

8 | Balesin Island in Mauban, Quezon
To those who have been curious about Balesin after the yaya's meal trending topic in social media: Balesin Island is an exclusive membership club where membership fee begins at Php3,000,000.00. Yes. Six zeroes! 3 Million pesos! That excludes monthly dues. At walaeng monobloc extension, student at senior citizen discounts sa 25 minutes plane ride.

What resort is missing on the list?