Cebu City, Philippines – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

A tourist visiting Cebu City for the first time may well be turned off by some of the city sites. The city has several world class resorts, hotels, beaches and dive sites. It also has some areas of the world’s most devastating poverty. Cebu City is the capital city of the Cebu Province and it is the second largest city in the Philippines following Manila. I always feel at home in the city and lived in the city before building my home in the rural Cebu Province of Camotes Islands. Cebu City is a mix of the old and new, rich and poor, good and bad and pretty and ugly. There is also the mix of clean and really dirty or filthy. The rule for anyone going to Cebu for the first time is to not make a snap judgment.

My first trip to Cebu City was in February 2004. I went to the Philippines to meet a girl (Judith) now my wife. I flew into the Cebu-Mactan Airport and was met by Judith and one of here sisters. My flight started in Florida and the last leg of the flight was from Hong Kong. The Cebu International airport is just a little outdated, but very functional. Once outside of the airport doors I saw waves of people waiting to meet people coming off of the flight from Hong Kong. The airport was not all that busy when I arrived and I think my plane was the only arriving flight at the time. As people from my flight walk outside of the airport door they were bombarded with shuttle, taxi and V-hire greeters, all trying to get a fare. I met Judith just outside the airport doors. She, her sister and I all jumped into an old Kia Taxi and we were off to my hotel.

The taxi was old and not very well maintained. The Air conditioner didn’t work and the window wouldn’t go down. Of course that didn’t matter as I couldn’t close the door because the door latch was broken. So, I got lots of air. The hotel was about a 30 minute drive from the airport. As we traveled the city streets I saw crowded sidewalks made even more crowded by the many sidewalk vendors and street vendors. Some of the roads we traveled were moderately maintained while others were in very poor condition. The roads were crowded with many types of cars, but mostly Kia’s and Hyundais. There were also a lot of Jeepneys, a Philippine traditional method of travel. A jeepney looks like a stretched army jeep with a hardtop and a large cargo area used for two benches for passenger seating. Jeepneys are normally painted with several different colors and lots of chrome. Many of the jeepneys are poorly maintained and most have bald tires and the braking systems may be questionable. Also, there were lots of small motorcycles.

After traveling just a few minutes I decided that the most dangerous vehicle in Cebu was the Jeepney, the Taxi and finally the motorcycle. The jeepney drivers tend to rule the road and stop on either side of the road to pick up or drop off passengers. I saw many jeepneys cut both lanes of traffic off just to drop off people and then saw others swerve quickly to the side of the road cutting off traffic so the driver could jump out of the jeepney to urinate along the side of the road. Taxis are no better, but pose a slightly smaller threat because the vehicles are smaller than a jeepney Motorcycles seem to be a danger only to the motorcycle driver and passengers and anyone walking along side the road or on the sidewalk. Motorcycles make their own traffic lanes on whatever little shoulder the road may have to offer or sometimes drive on the painted divider line as a narrow roadway to make an extra traffic lane for themselves. At other times I saw motorcycles throttle down sidewalks weaving around pedestrians. Yet, the pedestrians seemed little concerned of the carelessness and just continued on their way.

As we continued on our way to the hotel we drove through many different areas of the city. Some areas were very old and the buildings looked as though they were ready for demolition years ago. Many buildings and store fronts are concrete with plywood or corrugated steel sheets added to broken windows and steel bars cover the window or plywood. I can’t imagine what would be worth the cost of the steel bars as the buildings were so poor. I was sure the contents within were no better. I noticed several small store fronts with one big open widow covered with chicken wire. These little stores are about the size of a small closet and there are dozen of these little stores on every street. They are called sari-sari stores and sell just a very few items such as canned fish, rice, snacks, cigarettes and so on. Most of these little stores are attached to the front of private houses and are crudely constructed of unpainted plywood and tin roofs. Most of the Sari-sari stores block the sidewalk, forcing people to walk on the road to get around the protruding plywood box. Other Sari-sari stores have a small table or tables along the narrow sidewalks for their rum buying customers and a karaoke machine assist in blocking the sidewalks.

In many of the old areas the sidewalks are filled with vendor’s shacks, tents or some other type of hurried shelter to sell goods. The sidewalks belong to the vendors and the pedestrian is left to find his own way around the ugly obstructions. These small vendor shacks on the sidewalks block the store buildings behind and I still wonder why the store owners allow the vendors to block their stores. The old neighborhood streets and sidewalks in most areas are filthy. Trash is all over the streets, chickens are tied to utility poles or street signs as well as dogs. Many of the old homes along the city’s commercial streets may or may not have running water and a sewer system. Many people use the streets and sidewalks as their bathroom and even bath on the sidewalks. The infrastructure of the old neighborhoods is almost non-existent. There is poor drainage, poor sewer systems, and electric lines hang low to the ground with hundreds of wires attached carelessly to a single wimpy pole. I often wonder how trucks make it under these wires without hitting the wire. In many cases the bigger trucks do indeed hit the wires and knock out power to large section of the city.

The one thing that stood out for me as we past by all these areas in the taxi was the people all seemed happy. Despite, what I saw as great poverty and terrible living conditions, these people, or least many people were happy. Although, most of the people I saw were rushing down the sidewalks going about their daily routine. I thought these people are doing the same thing as other people do in any major city around the world. Yet, my first visit in Cebu City opened my eyes to the fact that at the very least, the city was poverty stricken or had a large population that lived in poverty.

After about 30 minutes riding in the taxi we came into a much nicer area of the city and there like an oasis in the middle of all the poverty was this beautiful Hotel and a large modern shopping mall next to it, as well as several large modern well maintain high rise buildings. The scene was a stark difference to the old areas of the city. This area could be found in any modern US city and looked very much like a commercial area of a US city. The area is called the Ayala Business Park and the Ayala Mall. This is modern Cebu City and it is everything you would find in any modern city.

Once at the Hotel, the Marriott, I checked into a very nice room and we all went to the dinning room for a pleasant lunch. Soon after that it was just Judith and I as her sister went home. Judith then took me across the park to the Ayala Mall, just a five minute walk and once inside the mall I was amazed. The stores were the same as in the US, Ace Hardware, Levi, MacDonald’s and so on. Plus, several Philippine Department stores and many different types of restaurants and coffee shops. All the store clerks and sale people spoke English and most all the Filipinos walking through the stores were speaking English. Others used a mix of English and their native Cebuano. All the store signs are written in English and the restaurant menus are written in English. In many ways I felt as if I just traveled 20 plus hours from Florida to be in a US city.

Although there were many other foreigners in the mall many Filipinos walking by asked where I was from and in general everyone was very friendly to me. While at the mall I bought a few souvenir type things to take home and Judith and I just did a lot of window shopping. I was happy to see the prices of most things in the stores were very cheap compared to the US. At that time one US dollar bought 56.00 pesos. Today it’s one dollar to about 44.00 Pesos. Still a good deal, but today I’m careful in my spending. By the middle of the afternoon I was ready for some sleep after my long flight to Cebu. Judith went home and I retired to my hotel room.

The next morning Judith was at the hotel bright and early and we had breakfast at the hotel and then off to see the city and some of the beach resorts. Cebu has wonderful and beautiful resorts and all very affordable. The resorts are all well maintained and modern. The biggest population of customers at the resorts are foreigners and the staff Filipino. I quickly change my opinion of the city from a poverty stricken third world to a modern commercial and tourist city with a few old areas that needed a lot of help.

During my trip to Cebu we went into the old area of Colon. Colon is the oldest street in the country and has several landmarks. However, Colon is a dirty area of very old and poorly maintained buildings. Prostitution is a major problem in the Colon area as is street crime. There are some wonderful markets and great bargains to be found in Colon, but not an area for the new tourist to wander alone. Hotels can be had for a really cheap price in Colon. Some just $20.00 a night, but these hotels cater to those picking up street girls and both the girls and the rooms are really dirty. Last year Judith and I stayed at two different Colon Hotels. We went into the city for our monthly shopping trip from Camotes Islands. We decided to try the hotels as they are cheap and close to many of the outside markets. I would never stay at either of these hotels again. The best words to describe them is old, filthy, rat infested and full of prostitutes. Both of these hotels seem to cater to single foreign men and any girls the men may find at the Colon bars or on the streets. The area has several little Bikini type bars with Bar Girls (Prostitutes) also called GRO’s. Unless you are looking for a prostitute there is little reason to go to Colon after dark and even then one needs to be very careful. This is not intended to say that all of Colon is bad. There are some nice stores and restaurants in Colon. I enjoy shopping in the Colon area, but one needs to use caution in Colon.

During my first visit I saw most all the areas of Cebu City and felt safe at all times. Of course we didn’t go into the old parts of the city after dark. Rather we were at the resorts or around Ayala Park and these are all very safe and enjoyable areas.I would recommend Cebu City to anyone that wants to go to a great resort and spend time on a beautiful beach, go diving, take a boat tour of the outer islands and not spend a lot of money. There is just so much to do in Cebu City and so many great things to see. Staying at any of the resorts is very affordable just about $60.00 per night and some as high as $250.00. Dinner at restaurants is also very cheap. Meals at nice restaurants can cost just $10.00 to $20.00 for two people, I had a wonderful time during my first visit. However, I had Judith as my tour guide and as my girlfriend. I’m not sure I would have liked Cebu City as much as I did if Judith wasn’t with me during the first trip.

Soon after my first visit to Cebu City I moved from Florida to Cebu City in 2004. By this time Judith and I were engaged to marry and I wanted to live in Camotes Islands. However, we decided to live in the city while looking for land to build a house in Camotes. Camotes Islands are a rural province of Cebu and just two hours from the city by boat. We rented a brand new two bedroom house in the Lahug area of Cebu City. The monthly rent was just $125.00 plus our TV cable for about $15.00 a month. The house was located on a hillside overlooking the city and close to everything we needed. Lahug is a very nice area and now there are many new housing sub-divisions built in the area. Our monthly budget while living in Lahug was approximately $700.00 and that included the rent, utilities, food, taxi cabs and even lots of dinners at restaurants and entertainment. I assume if we still lived in Lahug the budget would be just a few more dollars a month.

Within just a couple of weeks after moving into the Lahug house I felt as if Cebu was my city and I really enjoyed the city life. The city has many things to offer the foreigner and the city is always trying to attract more foreign retirees. It truly is a foreign (expat) friendly city. The largest group of foreigners in Cebu is Korean then Americans, Australians, British and Japanese. There are no racial tensions or problems in the city that I am aware of and the city is very safe. However, like any major world city there is crime, but using common safeguards and precautions one can have a happy life in Cebu City. Driving in the city is something I have never attempted and I don’t think I ever will drive in the city. The taxi cabs can get you almost anywhere in the city for $1.00 to $2.00 and that’s fine for me.

Shopping in the city is great and there are products from all over the world in Filipino stores. Many food stores stock western brands so you will never get homesick for your favorite foods from home. The outside markets, located all over the city offer great bargains and it’s always fun to negotiate prices with the vendors. Cable TV is available in the city and it offers many American shows and news programs. You can go to the movie cinemas and see a new release movie for about $1.00 and the popcorn is just a few pennies. The city has grown since I moved to the Philippines. There are many new gated housing Sub-Divisions that cater to foreign buyers, new high rise condo buildings and the resorts all continue to attract foreigners. The two major malls in the city, Ayala and SM are both expanding. Many of the roads have been upgraded as well as the infrastructure in many areas. The city is a major draw for tourism and is always attempting to bring in more tourist and more foreign retirees.

Any expat on a monthly pension of about $1,000.00 can live like a king in Cebu City. You can live on less than $1,000.00 but I think $1,000.00 is the right figure if you include saving a little each month for emergencies, trips back home and medical needs. The city has very good hospitals and medical cost are much less in the Philippines. Good dental care at very reasonable rates is also available in the Philippines. Many people go to Cebu for medical or dental vacations. Just remember, if you think you want to move to Cebu City do your homework. Do you want to live in a new country? do you want to be separated from your family and grandchildren?, if you are married how does your wife feel about living in Cebu? If you have young children do you want them to live in a new country and what about their education? Do you have the patience and understanding to learn and live in a new culture? Do you have the money to live a good life in Cebu without the need to find work? Do you have enough money to cover any type of emergency that may require five to ten thousand dollars? Finally, what is your reason for wanting to live in a new country? If you can be honest with yourself and have a positive answer for the above questions, then maybe Cebu City is for you?

Remember too, The Philippine economy is struggling. Filipinos with four and six year college degrees are driving taxi cabs or working as store clerks. Unemployment in the country is through the roof. Poverty is a major issue in the country. For all the beauty of the Philippines Poverty continues to destroy many Filipinos and their futures and creates an ugly face to an otherwise beautiful country. Just this week on November 8, 2007 an 11 year old girl in Manila living with her mother, father and little brother in a shanty town hung herself. The reason left in a note from the little girl was because of the poverty she and her family lived. The father not able to find work for months and the mother working for just $1.00 a day. The little girl had just the night before asked her father for P200.00 for a school project. The father did not have the money, just under $4.00. All the girl wanted was to finish school and buy a new bike. A simple dream complicated by severe poverty in a country struggling to overcome political corruption and theft. Please remember, what you may spend in just one day in the Philippines is what a Filipino may have to live on for a month. Poverty does indeed take lives.

I truly love my lifestyle in the Philippines, but it took some time, patience, understanding and a few sacrifices to live in the Philippines. I made several mistakes before coming here and a few since living here. I didn’t have enough money when I came here in 2004. I’ve made a few trips back to Florida to do some contract work and then returned to my beloved Camotes Islands. I’m currently away from home on a teaching contract. However, for me, it’s worth the price to have just a few months a year in my paradise called Camotes Islands, Cebu, Philippines. I think anyone looking for a great vacation will enjoy Cebu City. Those looking to retire on a modest pension can live well here, but just be sure living in a new country is right for you. Before making a decision to move here it’s wise to come on a vacation first and see the city for yourself. Then you can decide if this is the life you want. Once again, for me this is paradise.

Ecological Aspects of Modern Efficient Replacement Window Design and Construction

There is a wide category of products your windows might be composed of. In these modern times windows and frames can be sustainable and resist emitting lethal fumes that can come about with unmonitored materials. Just because you can still get these products with substantial savings, it is not necessary to be exposed to dangerous materials to have your windows constructed of. Consider the actuality that several parts and pieces for windows at present are built with reuseable hardware that will not fill landfills and poison the earth. A few questions inquired about while you are considering your window purchase will help you make a decision on the desirable materials that won’t leave you gasping for breath.

One of the most life changing revolutions in window manufacturing is the ability to build with tinier and stronger frames permitting more outdoor light to go into a room and lessen the necessity for interior lighting in the course of the day. Lighter colors are now more dimensionally secure allowing a large amount of designer fashions to blend with close to all things. Choices and selections are virtually endless due to the 21st century method to manufacturing counting the choices of color, materials, and accessories to make your project distinctive. Installations of windows at present are striking there is nothing that cannot be complemented.

From modern minimalist style to old-fashioned and accepted design you will find a heap of choices in hardware accessories. From shiny or satin, to burnished nickel and oil-rubbed bronze, the precise hardware adds style to your window; turning ugly to pretty. Even your choices in window screens offer a new look.

Contemporary manufacturing has even evolved in the simple screen industry by weaving smaller and stronger screen meshes. Look into the latest almost invisible screens to keep out the crawling critters while providing outward visibility.

In Dallas, TX the window market is saturated with fly-by-nighters and other, sometimes well-meaning window contractors, having inadequate skills and financing to legitimately pull off a professional project from start to finish. Do not hesitate to thoroughly question your window pro about their experience and depth of knowledge.

Constructing an All-Weather Mutual Fund Portfolio

Equity mutual funds perform differently in different time periods as investment styles and sectors come in and go out of favor. While screening tools readily provide performance data and make the task of identifying top mutual funds relatively easy, there is more to constructing an all-weather portfolio than screening for the top funds.

This article describes methods of constructing an all-weather portfolio. Before getting into the nitty-gritty of constructing an all-weather portfolio, it helps to know how equity mutual funds are classified and how their performance is impacted by market conditions.

Classification by Market Capitalization & Style

Equity funds are commonly classified based on market capitalization of the companies in which they invest their assets and investment style.

Market capitalization is divided into three categories: large, medium, and small. Investment style likewise is divided into three categories: value, growth, and blend.

Combining both types of classifications, equity mutual funds typically fall into one of nine boxes on a 3 x 3 matrix. This classification system works well in analyzing diversified funds.

Classification by Sector & Industry Group

Instead of dividing the equity market by market capitalization and investment characteristics such as value or growth, an alternative way is to slice it by sectors. The Global Industry Classification System jointly developed by Standard & Poor’s and Morgan Stanley Capital International, for example, classifies the equity market into ten sectors, such as financials and information technology. Each sector in turn is divided into several industry groups. This classification system is particularly useful for analyzing sector funds that invest their assets in a given sector like information technology or industry group like computer hardware.

Impact of Business Cycle

The net asset value per share of a fund changes in response to the prices of stocks held in its portfolio. Generally speaking, stock prices are impacted by business conditions. The business cycle has various phases to it: Recovery, Boom, Slowdown, and Recession. Different parts of the stock market as seen from market capitalization, style, or sector perspectives perform differently in different phases of the business cycle.

Impact on Diversified Funds

Growth style funds, in general, fare well during expansion phases such as recovery and boom, and value style funds during contraction phases such as slowdown and recession. Likewise, from a capitalization perspective, small cap funds tend to perform better during expansion and large cap funds during contraction.

Looking at the most recent boom-bust cycle, Spectra Fund, a large cap-growth fund, was among the star performers during the 1997-1999 boom. Spectra gained 141% during the three-year period ending October 31, 1999. However, Spectra fared poorly during the 2000-2002 slowdown and lost 52% during the two-year period ending October 31, 2002.

In complete contrast, Hotchkis & Wiley Small Cap Value Fund, which failed to participate in the 1997-1999 boom, was among the top funds during the 2000-2002 slowdown. Following the 30% loss for the two-year period ending June 30, 2000, Hotchkis gained 88% during the two-year period ending June 30, 2002.

Impact on Sector Funds

Like diversified funds, certain sector funds tend to perform better during some phases of the business cycle. Sector funds that invest in economically sensitive sectors such as technology typically tend to perform better during expansion phases. Sector funds that invest in economically less sensitive sectors like consumer staples typically tend to perform better during contraction phases. As a result, a sector fund that performs best in one time-period may not perform as well in another time-period.

Among the 41 Fidelity sector funds, Fidelity Select Energy Services was the top fund in 2005 with a 54% gain. However in 2003, the same fund gained just 8% to be the worst performer.

Constructing an All-Weather Portfolio

Can one select the top fund by knowing what stage the business cycle is in? Unfortunately, things do not get that easy.

Getting the turning points of the business cycle right is less than a science. Although certain styles and sectors are expected to do better during particular stages of the business cycle, there is no certainty they will do so each time. Additionally, stock prices tend to anticipate and lead the business cycle. The performance of a fund therefore usually varies from one economic cycle to another.

So, rather than chase the top funds, a prudent course is to construct a robust, all-weather portfolio.

A) Constructing with Diversified Funds

One way to construct an all-weather portfolio is to use diversified funds that emphasize different types of market capitalizations and investment styles. To simplify the task, one may construct a portfolio using a large cap-growth fund, a large cap-value fund, a small cap-growth fund, and a small cap-value fund.

In evaluating funds in each category, focus on the long-term track record and see how the funds have fared in different market environments. Complement this by evaluating each fund on non-performance-based metrics such as manager tenure, price volatility or risk, mutual fund fees, and mutual fund fiduciary grade. Choose the best available fund in each category and build your portfolio with managers of a ‘dream team’ caliber.

Alternatively, if you want to restrict yourself to only one fund to start with, you may consider a total market index fund which spans all capitalizations and styles.

B) Constructing with Sector Funds

Sector funds can also be used to construct an all-weather portfolio. This approach offers the advantage of creating customized diversified portfolios by including sectors and industry groups which are likely to outperform the market indexes and excluding those which are likely to under-perform.

The reward potential can be enhanced by concentrating in a few sectors or industry groups. Diversification across several sectors and industry groups serves to mitigate risk. By optimizing the balance between concentration and diversification, one can achieve superior nominal and risk-adjusted returns.

Construction and Building Materials – Different Products to Learn About

A home or a business establishment will not be complete without the presence of construction and building materials. From the planning and the foundation to the construction of a structure itself, these materials are always necessary.

The most common construction and building materials include plywood and cement. Plywood is a layered board that is produced by gluing and compressing thin layers of wood together. Each layer’s grain is attached at right angles to the next layer. Cement, on the other hand is made out of fine gray powder usually mixed with sand and water to make concrete. Aside from these two, there are other products under this industrial product category.

Bricks and tiles

Bricks are rectangular blocks of clay and other similar materials baked until it is hard. This is often used in walls of houses and other large permanent structures. Whereas, tiles are essential coverings not only for floors but for roofs and walls as well. It is a thin piece of flat or curved material baked and glazed to perfection. It makes use of clay or other synthetic materials to come up with the desired output.

There are different bricks and tiles that every homebuilder may enjoy. The common materials include porcelain, igneous rock and stone. These are applied in kitchen, bathroom and living room floors, walls and ceilings.

Paint and surface coatings

These are often referred to as finishing touches of a structure. It can be applied from the roof to the floors and from the walls, to windows and doors. Paint is that colored liquid applied to a surface either for protective or decorative purposes. Just like facial makeup, it makes every edifice or building more attractive to owners and passers-by.

Paints and surface coatings are further classified into semi-gloss latex coating and high-temperature coating. They may be applied with the use of a paint brush or a spray. Anti-mildew coatings are also favored in home improvements and business constructions.

Other construction and building materials

Products are offered depending on the specific purposes they render. There are building materials, construction machinery and equipment and decorations of construction. Other construction and building materials include ceiling and floor items, hardware accessories, heat-barrier materials, wall coverings, toilet partition and accessories and bathroom sanitary equipment materials.

For more complicated work, construction machinery and equipment like boring machines, stone crushing machinery and concrete equipment are used. For decoration, people may also look for doors and window panels, lightings and kitchen systems as well as furniture slides, automatic doors and blinds.

Globalization: How It Has Affected Philippine Education And Beyond

Education before the 20th century was once treated as a domestic phenomenon and institutions for learning were once treated as local institutions. Prior to the 20th century, education was usually limited within the confines of a country, exclusively meant for the consumption of its local citizens. Scholars or college students did not have to travel miles away from their countries of origin to study and to gain skills which they needed in order to traverse the paths of their chosen careers. Moreover, national borders served as impenetrable walls in the name of sovereignty. Gaining a college degree and the skills entailed with it were merely for the purpose of staunch nationalistic service to one’s land of origin. Furthermore, knowledge of the valleys and the oceans encircling the world map, as well as foreign languages and international political regimes were not much of an imperative. Intercultural exchange was not massive and sophisticated, if not intricate. Acceptance and understanding of cultural diversity were not pressured upon anyone, as well as the lure to participate in a globally interconnected world. In other words, before the 20th century, scholastic work were predominantly simple and constrained in the local, the domestic, the nearby. They were limited to one’s own village, one’s own region, one’s own country. A student had his own neighborhood as the location where he is to be born, to be educated, and later to be of service to – the local village which is his home, his community, his country.

Nevertheless, the world has been in a constant state of flux. In the 20th century onwards, the phenomenon called globalization rose and became the buzzword. Anything which pertained to the term globalization was attributed to modernization, or anything that is up-to-date, if not better. Part and parcel of this trend is the advent and irresistible force of information technology and information boom through the wonders of the Internet. The idea of cosmopolitanism – a sense of all of humanity, regardless of race, creed, gender, and so on, living in a so-called global village – is another primary indicator of globalization. Moreover, international media as well as trade and investment have been unbridled and have occurred in a transnational nature. Finally, globalization has involved the uncontrollable movement of scholars, laborers, and migrants moving from one location to another in search for better employment and living conditions.

Apparently, globalization seemed to be all-encompassing, affecting all areas of human life, and that includes education. One indicator of this is the emergence of international education as a concept. Internationalization of education is manifested by catchphrases like The Global Schoolhouse, All the world’s a classroom, One big campus that is Europe, Think global. Act local, and Go West. Students from the world over have been ostensibly persuaded to learn about the world and to cope with technological advancements, if not to become a Citizen of the World. Moreover, globalization and international education are at play, for instance, when speaking of Singapore being branded as the Knowledge Capital of Asia, demonstrating the city-state as among the world’s academic powerhouses; De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines entering into agreements and external linkages with several universities in the Asian region like Japan’s Waseda University and Taiwan’s Soochow University for partnership and support; the establishment of branch campuses or satellites in Singapore of American and Australian universities like the University of Chicago and the University of New South Wales, respectively; online degree programs being offered to a housewife who is eager to acquire some education despite her being occupied with her motherly duties; students taking semesters or study-abroad programs; and finally the demand to learn English – the lingua franca of the modern academic and business world – by non-traditional speakers, like the Chinese, the Japanese, and the Korean students exerting efforts to learn the language in order to qualify for a place in English-speaking universities and workplaces. Apparently, all of these promote international education, convincing its prospective consumers that in today’s on-going frenzy of competition, a potent force to boost one’s self-investment is to leave their homes, fly to another country, and take up internationally relevant courses. Indeed, globalization and international education have altogether encouraged students to get to know their world better and to get involved with it more.

Boston College’s Center for International Higher Education director and International Education expert Philip Altbach asserted in his article “Perspectives on International Higher Education” that the elements of globalization in higher education are widespread and multifaceted. Clear indicators of globalization trends in higher education that have cross-national implications are the following:

1. Flows of students across borders;
2. International branch and offshore campuses dotting the landscape, especially in developing and middle-income countries;
3. In American colleges and universities, programs aimed at providing an international perspective and cross-cultural skills are highly popular;
4. Mass higher education;
5. A global marketplace for students, faculty, and highly educated personnel; and
6. The global reach of the new ‘Internet-based’ technologies.

Moreover, European Association of International Education expert S. Caspersen supported that internationalization influences the following areas: Curriculum, language training, studies and training abroad, teaching in foreign languages, receiving foreign students, employing foreign staff and guest teachers, providing teaching materials in foreign languages, and provision of international Ph. D. students. Nevertheless, globalization’s objective of a “one-size-fits-all” culture that would ease international transactions has not seemed to be applicable to all the nations of the world. In the words of Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz, globalization’s effects are dualistic in nature. Globalization itself is neither good nor bad. It has the power to do enormous good. But in much of the world, globalization has not brought comparable benefits. For many, it seems closer to an unmitigated disaster. In Andrew Green’s 2007 book, “Education and Development in a Global Era: Strategies for ‘Successful Globalisation’”, he asserted that optimists would refer to the rise of East Asian tigers – Japan, China, and South Korea – as globalization’s success stories. But these are just a minority of the world’s two hundred nations. A majority has remained in their developing situations, among these is the Philippines.

In terms of international education being observed in the Philippines, universities have incorporated in their mission and vision the values of molding graduates into globally competitive professionals. Furthermore, Philippine universities have undergone internationalization involving the recruitment of foreign academics and students and collaboration with universities overseas. English training has also been intensified, with the language being used as the medium of instruction aside from the prevailing Filipino vernacular. Finally, Philippine higher education, during the onset of the 21st century, has bolstered the offering of nursing and information technology courses because of the demand of foreign countries for these graduates.

In terms of student mobility, although gaining an international training through studying abroad like in the United States is deemed impressive, if not superior, by most Filipinos, the idea of practicality is overriding for most students. Study-abroad endeavors are not popular among the current generation of students. The typical outlook is that it is not practical to study overseas obviously because of the expenses – tuition fees, living costs, accommodation, and airfare. Although financial aid may be available, they are hugely limited. There may be several universities that offer merit or academic scholarships, talent scholarships, athletic scholarships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, full or partial tuition fee waivers, but actually there is certainly not a lot of student money. Apparently, international education is understood as a global issue, a global commodity, and above all, a privilege – and therefore, it is not for everyone. Hence, studying in America is a mere option for those who can afford to pay the expenses entailed in studying abroad.

The Philippines is a Third World country which is heavily influenced by developed nations like the United States. Globalization may have affected it positively in some ways, but a huge chunk of its effects has been leaning to the detriment of the Filipinos. Globalization has primarily affected not only the country’s education system but even beyond it – economically and socially. These include brain drain, declining quality in education because of profiteering, labor surplus, vulnerability of its workers overseas, and declining family values.

For one, the Philippines is a migrant-worker country. This phenomenon of sending its laborers (also known as Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs) abroad to work and to send money back home has been intensified by globalization. Brain drain – or the exodus of talented and skilled citizens of a country transferring to usually developed nations for better employment and living conditions – is one problem that has been stepped up by globalization. The Philippine foreign policy of labor diplomacy began in the 1970s when rising oil prices caused a boom in contract migrant labor in the Middle East. The government of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, saw an opportunity to export young men left unemployed by the stagnant economy and established a system to regulate and encourage labor outflows. This scenario has led Filipinos to study courses like nursing which would secure them employment overseas rather than in their home country. For more than 25 years, export of temporary labor like nurses, engineers, information technology practitioners, caregivers, entertainers, domestic helpers, factory workers, construction workers, and sailors were sent overseas to be employed. In return, the Philippine economy has benefited through the monetary remittances sent by these OFWs. In the last quarter of 2010, the Philippine economy gained roughly $18.76 billion in remittances which largely came from OFWs based in the United States, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Italy, Germany, and Norway.

Second, the demand for overseas employment by these Filipino professionals has affected the quality of the local education system in the form of fly-by-night, substandard schools which were only aimed at profiteering. A Filipino legislator, Edgardo Angara, once aired his concern over the spread of many schools which offer courses believed to be demanded in foreign countries and the declining quality education. Angara observed that the Philippines has too much access to education versus quality education. For instance, for every five kilometers in this country, there is a nursing school, a computer school, a care-giving school, and a cosmetic school. Angara suggested that lawmakers and educators should find a happy formula for quality education.

Third, labor surplus is another dire effect of globalization. In 2008, the phenomenon of brain drain started to subside in the Philippines. This period was when the United States started to experience a financial turmoil which was contagious, distressing countries around the world which are dependent to its economy. In the Philippines, it has been surmised that the demand for nurses has already died down because the need for them has already been filled. For instance, the United States has decided that instead of outsourcing foreign nurses, they have resorted to employing local hires to mitigate its local problem of rising unemployment. As a result, this incident has receded the phenomenon of a majority of Filipino college students taking up nursing. And the unfortunate result is the labor surplus of nursing graduates. This dilemma which has been caused by a Third World country such as the Philippines trying to cope with globalization’s feature of labor outflows has left Filipinos on a double whammy. Over 287,000 nursing graduates are currently either jobless or employed in jobs other than nursing. Nursing graduates nowadays suffer job mismatch, taking on jobs which are different from their field of specialization like working for call centers, serving as English tutors, if not remaining unemployed because the Philippine hospitals have little to no vacancies at all which are supposed to be occupied by the large number of nursing graduates. Furthermore, these professionals are accepted by hospitals or clinics as volunteers with little to no monetary benefits, or as trainees who are burdened with the policy of forcibly paying the hospitals for their training.

Fourth, a dilemma that globalization has burdened the Philippines is the vulnerability of its overseas workers. For instance, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, and Taiwan, have had no choice but to lay off and repatriate their Filipino guest workers in light of the global financial crisis. Furthermore, the threat of Saudization is a present concern in the Philippines nowadays. Presently, around 1.4 million OFWs in Saudi Arabia are in danger of losing their jobs because the Arab nation is implementing a Saudization program which will prioritize their Arab citizens for employment. To date, with more than 1.5 million OFWs, Saudi Arabia is the country which has the greatest concentration of OFWs. It is the largest hirer of Filipino Workers and has the largest Filipino population in the Middle East. As Saudi Arabia hosts a majority of OFWs, the problem of these Filipino workers losing their jobs and returning to their homeland where employment opportunities are scarce is a national threat. Furthermore, the current national instability in countries like Syria and Libya has threatened the lives of the OFWs, who still have chosen to stay in their foreign workplaces because of economic reasons which they find weightier vis-à-vis their safety.

Finally, globalization has resulted to social costs which involve challenges to Filipino families. Possessing close family ties, Filipino families sacrifice and allocate significant amounts of financial resources in order to support their kin. Filipino parents have the belief that through education, their children are guaranteed with promising futures and achieving decent lives. Thus, given the limited employment opportunities in the Philippines which are unable to support the needs of the family, one or both parents leave to work outside the country. As a result, Filipino children, although their educational goals and well-being are sustained, would have to survive with one or both parents away from them. They would then have to deal with living with an extended family member such as aunts, uncles or grandparents who are left to take care of them. This has deprived Filipino children of parental support and guidance as they are separated from the primary members of their family.

In reality, even though Filipino families have experienced the monetary benefits of a family member uprooting himself from the country to work overseas, this trend has not been enjoyed by the majority of Filipinos. The poorest of the poor cannot afford to leave and work overseas. Also, with volatile market forces, the value of the US dollar which is used as the currency of OFW salaries vacillating, rising gas prices and toll fees in highways, and the continued surge in the cost of living in the Philippines, in general, globalization has precluded long-term economic growth for the country, with the masses suffering a great deal. Moreover, with human capital and technological know-how important to growth, the Philippines suffered with globalization by losing its professionals to the developed countries which, on the other hand, experienced “brain gain”.

Indeed, globalization has both positive and negative effects, but in the Philippine case, it is more on the negative. It is justified to say that globalization is an “uneven process” and that most least developing countries did not grow significantly in light of globalization. Those which predominantly benefited are the affluent and powerful countries of the Western world and East Asia.

The Philippines was once considered as the “knowledge capital of Asia”, particularly during the 1960s and the 1970s. Its system of higher education was marked by high standards comparable to its neighboring countries, much lower tuition fees, and the predominant use of English as the medium of instruction. The Philippines, consequently, was able to entice students from its neighboring nations, like the Chinese, the Thais, and the Koreans. However, presently, this once upbeat picture has now been replaced by a bleak one because of several problems which has long confronted the system like budget mismanagement, poor quality, and job mismatch, thereby seriously affecting its consumers and end products – the Filipino students. Making matters worse is globalization affecting the graduates of Philippine universities by luring them to choose to work overseas because of the greater monetary benefits vis-à-vis the disadvantage of leaving their families home and not serving their countrymen. Now that the world is undergoing financial turmoil, the Filipino workers would then have to cope with these dire effects of globalization.