Visitor Information and Guidelines
We invite anyone who is interested in the work we are doing in the Badjao community to visit the villages we work in, listen to the Badjao's personal stories, and meet our volunteers.
Visiting us will allow you to gain a better understanding of the unique challenges faced by the Badjao in an urban environment. We can tell you about the work we are doing in the Badjao community through pictures and words online, but there's no substitute to coming here and experiencing what we share for yourself. Visiting us allows you to meet the Badjao, see the work we are doing, and truly understand what Badjao Outreach, Inc. is all about.
Below is some general information you will find helpful if you are planning to visit us. If you would like more detailed information such as the costs involved in traveling here and suggestions on places to stay, please do not hesitate to contact us.
First and foremost, the protection of the children we serve in the Badjao community is mandatory. Badjao Outreach, Inc. has a zero tolerance policy regarding the abuse or mistreatment of children. The following list outlines Badjao Outreach, Inc.’s Child Protection Policy components that apply to all volunteers and visitors.
Always treat children equally.
Never discriminate against, show differential treatment or favor particular children to the exclusion of others.
Never give gifts to just one or two of the children. If you want to give gifts, ask the Badjao Outreach, Inc. staff to help you plan the best way to do so.
Children generally love having their picture taken, but please always ask their permission before taking a picture.
Never post pictures with names and private information of the children on social media.
Do not take or share photos of children in an undignified state under any circumstances.
Never act in ways intended to shame, humiliate, belittle, or degrade children, or otherwise perpetrate any form of emotional abuse.
Never take a child or children into a private place out of view of other adults.
Never develop relationships with children that could in any way be deemed, inappropriate, exploitive, or abusive.
Always maintain appropriate boundaries with the children. Always refrain from any behavior that might be confusing to the child (such as dancing in a suggestive manner).
You are always considered to be responsible for maintaining an appropriate relationship, even if a child behaves inappropriately.
You should not place yourself in compromising or vulnerable position. (Be aware of the children who, because of circumstances and abuses they may have experienced, may use a relationship to obtain “special attention.”)
Never hit, physically assault, verbally assault, verbally abuse, or physically abuse children
Never condone or participate in behavior of children that is illegal, unsafe or abusive.
Inappropriate behavior towards children is grounds for immediate dismissal from our programs.
If you witness or are concerned about abuse or any inappropriate conduct, immediately report this to Badjao Outreach, Inc..
TRAVEL DOCUMENTS REQUIRED:
You must have a valid USA passport for international travel to the Philippines. The current processing times for a passport ranges from 4-6 weeks for a routine application and 2-3 weeks for an expedited application, so if you do not have one, you need to make application for yours as soon as possible.
Passport applications can be facilitated at select U.S. Post Offices.
Information on Passport requirements and fees can be found at the US State Department website:
Also be sure you bring an additional picture I.D. besides your USA passport.
The expiration date of your passport to the departure date for the flight must be at least six months. Airlines will not allow you to board an international flight if your passport expires within six months.
There will be no visa requirements for you to visit the Philippines if your stay will be for 30 days or less.
MONEY MANAGEMENT IN THE PHILIPPINES:
The currency in the Philippines is the peso. U.S. Dollars are not accepted for payment of goods or services in most places.
You will want to bring one or two credit or debit cards to cover any unexpected expenses. Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted in the Philippines and there are plenty of ATM machines available.
Personal checks are basically useless in the Philippines – nobody will cash them or honor them for payment, so there is no reason to bring your checkbook.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR LUGGAGE?
Avoid bringing too many pieces of luggage. Pack efficiently and bring only what you think you will need. There are laundries available in Davao Cty that can wash, dry, and fold your clothes at a minimal cost and often with same day or next day service for an added charge.
Try to limit your luggage to one hand-carry item, and one piece of checked baggage. Checked baggage should weigh no more than 30 pounds and carry-on bags no more than 15.
Also be sure to leave room in your luggage for any souvenirs or local items you may purchase while in the Philippines.
Your visit will take you to some very beautiful places as well as some that will be unlike anything you have seen before. We recommend bringing a good camera to record and document your activities while in the Philippines.
If using a digital camera be sure you bring plenty of capacity on your device’s memory card. At least 16 GB of memory is recommended.
POWER CONVERTERS NEEDED
All electrical power supplied in the Philippines is 220 volts, not 110 volts, as it is in the United States. It is also very unstable, with big power spikes or surges being commonplace. If you plan on bringing anything that needs to be plugged into a wall socket for power such as an electric shaver, curling iron, blow dryer, etc., be sure the unit is either dual voltage capable, or that you have a power converter.
Most laptops, tablets, cell phones and camera battery chargers are dual voltage, so for those items a converter will not be necessary.
HEALTH ISSUES, LODGING & PERSONAL HYGIENE
There are no vaccination requirements for travel to the Philippines.
The stress of travel and change in environment and physical activity can often cause illness.
These problems include but are not limited to:
• Sun Burn
• Motion sickness
• Gastrointestinal Illness
The Philippines has a tropical climate and the weather is hot and humid all of the time. Be prepared for this kind of climate.
Bring sunscreen and plan on using it every day. The tropical sun can be very strong.
You may also want to bring a bottle of insect and mosquito repellent as well.
If you are prone to motion sickness, you may want to use a motion sickness medicine for your flights as well as for any boat travel you may take during your trip.
If you are using any prescription medicine, be sure to bring what you will need for the duration of the trip.
Over the counter medicines can be purchased anywhere in the Philippines, but anything special for you should be brought from home.
Personal care products like razor blades, shaving cream, deodorant, feminine napkins, etc. can all be purchased in the Philippines.
WHAT KIND OF CLOTHING TO BRING?
The climate is tropical, so bring light summer-weight clothing which is wrinkle resistant, easy to wear and easy to pack.
Short-sleeve shirts and shorts are the preferred clothing most of the time, but also bring a couple of lightweight pants as well.
You may also want to bring a wide brimmed hat if you are sun sensitive, a good pair of sunglasses, as well as a good pair of walking shoes, beach sandals or flip-flops.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
The island of Mindanao as well as Davao City are currently under a state of Martial Law due to activities of terrorist and armed groups mainly in central and southwest Mindanao.
Please do not let this deter you from visiting us. You’re going to be a long way away from those places, and we would never place you in harm’s way.
While visiting with us you can have piece of mind in knowing that we are well known by the people in the communities you will be visiting while you are here and we know what areas to avoid.
You will be visiting a developing country and while there are real dangers, you can find the same dangers in the US if you were to go into a dark alley at 2am. While it's only my opinion, I feel that Davao City is safer than many places in the US. In fact, thousands of visitors come to Davao City every year and their are many expats from countries around the world who live and work in this city year round without incident.
We will take lots of precautions to avoid any problems, but there is still a risk you assume in visiting with us. You will be in the company of people who have several years experience working and living in the areas you will be visiting, some were even born there; therefore, you can rest assured that our staff and your hosts will do whatever it takes to protect you and will not put you in any situation in which you would not put yourself.