Lessons in the "Philippines" Category

Student Uniforms

Today, let’s talk about student uniforms - what students wear to school, college or university. Depending on the country you live in and its habits may determine whether students wear a uniform or not.

In Britain schoolchildren wear a uniform to school. It installs a form of discipline in them that is valuable in later life. If a girl wears a skirt that is too high on the hemline or too tight a pair of trousers she will be sent home to solve the issue. Come in with a funny haircut and a student will be pulled out of the class, reprimanded and sent home. In Britain students do not wear uniforms to college or university.

Sarcasm and an understandable English accent give call centres in the Philippines the edge

The battle of the world’s call centres between the Philippines and India appears to have been won for the moment by the Philippines. Its secret weapon is British sarcasm! Filipino call centres in Manila and Cebu also speak clear understandable English. Whilst this is positive for Filipinos, it is not good for their Indian call centre rivals.

To be honest many British people dislike speaking to British companies who have their call centres based in India. This is because they can’t understand what the operator there is saying! Their Indian English accent can be so dreadful you sometimes need a translator!

Would you like to try some crocodile ice cream?

Would you like to try some crocodile ice cream? A restaurant in Davao City in the Philippines is selling the unusual flavour. What’s more it is made using actual crocodile eggs! You can snap up a scoop or two today - though I scream in terror at the thought of crocodile ice cream!

The idea for the flavoured frozen dessert came about after the owners of the Sweet Spot restaurant were offered some eggs from a crocodile park next door, where the animals are raised for their meat and skin.

Category: Business / Ice Cream / Unusual Flavours

The Philippines typhoon disaster

Today, we will talk about Typhoon Haiyan that recently caused severe devastation right across the Central Philippines. At the time of writing more than 10,000 people have been killed by the typhoon. The race is on to help survivors. Meanwhile more than a million people in Vietnam have fled their homes ahead of the storms arrival there.

Category: Philippines / Typhoon Haiyan / Weather

End of the road for the Philippine Jeepney?

Today, let’s talk about the Philippine Jeepney. What is that you ask? It’s an open mini bus-jeep that is derived from the American Jeep. Jeepneys can carry about 18 people, who sit shoulder to shoulder in it. There are glassless windows for ventilation in the hot Asian climate.

Jeepneys are the most popular form of transport in the gridlocked streets of Metro Manila. In fact, you will find them all over the Philippines. Each vehicle represents the multi-cultural history of the country. Every one of them is different. They are colourful, distinct and bright! There is a touch of Spanish, Mexican, American and Japanese in each of them.

Category: Transport / Jeepneys / Philippines

More call centre workers in the Philippines than India

Over the last decade more and more companies have relocated their call centres to India. However, it might surprise you to know that the Philippines has now overtaken India with more agents employed there than in India. In fact, some Indian companies have even shifted some of their operations to the Philippines. But why? The answer is simple. Labour costs in India have gone up. It is no longer the cheapest place in the world to put a call centre.

In the Philippines labour is cheap. A call centre shift in the Philippines now costs 1,000 pesos (US$20) (£13.20) (€14.80). This is more than twice the minimum wage. The Philippines Contact Centre Association says that 350,000 are employed locally, compared to India’s 330,000. However, most of the work is overnight. With 12m Filipinos unemployed there are few other options. It has thus overtaken India.

Category: Economic / Business / Call Centres

Philippines calamity following tropical storm

Torrential rains in the Philippines caused by Tropical Storm Ketsana caused utter devastation across the country recently. One of the worst places to be affected was the capital Manila. It suffered its worst ever flooding with more than 80% of the city submerged. More than 246 people were killed. Another 450,000 people were displaced. A further 380,000 people ended up in makeshift shelters. Telephone and power services to the capital were cut.

The government declared a “state of calamity” in Manila and 25 provinces on the weekend it struck. This allowed access to emergency funds. Soldiers, police, medics and a huge number of volunteers were involved in the effort to help rescue over 7,900 flood victims. Local government officials said survivors in makeshift evacuation camps were desperately short of food, water and clothes.

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo visited the devastated areas. She appealed for calm and for donations to aid rescue efforts. She described the storm as an “extreme event”...