Frequently Ask Questions for Prospective and New staff
Faith Academy loses about 25% of our missionary staff every year to home assignment or leaving the mission field. Because of this, we cannot guarantee accommodations for students with special needs. Please make the registrar aware of any potential needs and she will advise how to proceed.
- Preschool through Grade 2 students are mainstreamed, with support from the classroom teacher.
- Grades 3-5 students are given one-on-one time with the ELL teacher once or twice a week in a pullout program. They also receive individual assistance from the ELL teacher in the mainstream classroom during language arts.
- Middle school provides classes for ELL students three times per week with the ELL teacher.
- High school ELL classes are provided for 9th and 10th grade.
- ELL students have the opportunity to test out of the program and move into the mainstream English classes.
Each classroom has a Windows based computer equipped to use an LCD projector to display digital content for large group viewing. Non-teaching staff will also be provided with a desktop computer, if needed. If you are coming and prefer to use your own laptop or tablet for projection in the classroom, that is fine. However, please be aware that Faith does not provide the adapters you may need to connect your preferred device to our LCD projectors; the increasing numbers of devices and possible adapters makes this impossible to meet everyone’s needs. As you prepare to come serve, please plan ahead and purchase / bring the adapters you need to connect your preferred device to a VGA connection coming from our LCD projectors.
- For Mac users, it probably means getting a mini-display port to VGA adapter.
- For PC users, this may not be an issue IF your laptop has a VGA connection already present. However, recently, more and more PC laptops are being manufactured without this VGA connection. Thus, you may need to obtain an HDMI to VGA adapter for your use.
- For tablet users, each tablet is unique. You may need to search the vendor’s website to determine what you would need to connect your device to an LCD projector.
When are breaks, holidays, and events on this year’s calendar?
Visit our calendar page here.
Philippine holidays link
Faith Academy does not offer a pre-field orientation. Many mission agencies offer a pre-field orientation. If your mission agency does not, we recommend you consider the Association for Christian Schools International (ACSI) 2-week orientation for those who will be working with Third Culture Kids (TCKs). Check the information for this year’s orientation.
Your mission organization will determine how much you will need to raise in order to live in Manila. Here is a document that can help you itemize your needs.
- Check with your mission organization to see if they will assist you in finding housing.
- Most of our staff rent condominium apartments or single family homes close to Faith Academy.
- These come both furnished and unfurnished. Faith Academy does manage the lease of some apartments close to the campus; they are available on a first come/first serve basis. The HR office also keeps an ongoing list of available housing. Contact Annette Isaac if you would like to see the list.
- Some staff will be looking for people to housesit for them while they are on home assignment (furlough) for six months to one year. This allows newcomers to get an idea of what things are like and where they may want to live in the future. The HR office will also be able to give you information about this.
- The Philippines is a tropical country; it is hot and humid. You will mainly want modest summer clothing. If you’re planning to purchase clothing in the Philippines, be aware that sizes run small here. Clothing that is equivalent to US size large or bigger can be difficult to find in local stores.
- You will want a light sweater or shawl for when in air conditioned classrooms, malls, churches and movie theatres (often kept very cool).
- Shoes can be purchased here, but larger sizes are very limited.
- School Dress Code: Professional dress, following a modesty code that is guided by the student uniforms.
- Capri or full length pants
- Knee length or longer skirts
- Men – polo/collared or regular shirts
- Women – avoid showing cleavage, midriff; avoid spaghetti straps or strapless
- Exceptions to professional dress dependent upon role, as approved by administrator
- Casual Fridays (optional) – Jeans can be worn with a dress top/shirt. Staff need to remember that we have many visitors to our campus, so dressing in a way that shows respect for others is essential (jeans must be neat – no holes or frayed edges).
- School-type wear is also appropriate for going to church or shopping.
- Dressing more casually is fine for watching sports, taking walks, etc.
- Faith has a pool, so be sure to bring your bathing suit (see pool dress code for acceptable types of swimwear).
- There are a few opportunities during the year (ie: banquets and concerts) to dress more formally, so you may want to bring something special for these events.
- If you have a native costume from your home country or somewhere else in the world, bring it. We have international celebrations during the year when it may come in handy.
It is recommended that you budget for a car; this should be discussed with your mission organization. Faith Academy is not easily accessible by public transportation, although some staff choose to take public or arrange for rides with others.
- First, contact your mission. They may have a procedure in place for you to get cash and process bills.
- At the New Staff Orientation, you will have an opportunity to open an account at a nearby bank. You will need:
- One 2”x2” picture (which can be purchased here in Philippines, if needed)
- 2 photo IDs with photocopies
- Letter from Faith Academy certifying that you are a Faith Academy staff member
- ATMs are all over, including one on the FA campus. They can be accessed using either a local bank card or one from overseas that has exchange services (although there may be a fee at both ends).
- Credit cards such as Visa, Amex and Mastercard are accepted at most restaurants and shopping centers, although there are a few places that only accept locally issued credit cards.
- The currency in the Philippines is the Philippine Peso. The exchange rate does fluctuate, so it is best to confirm the rate on the internet.
- It is recommended that you bring US dollars with you that can be exchanged at local locations until you get things set up.
- Faith Academy will accept Credit Cards, US dollars and US dollar checks to pay school bills.
- The FA Business Office will exchange dollars to pesos to a maximum of $100 per day.
- Bring your current driver’s license from your home country. This license is valid for the first three months.
- You may convert your foreign driver’s license to a Philippine license, as long it is still current, without taking a written test. If it has expired, you will be asked to take the written test.
- You will need to have:
- 2×2 picture (can be done upon arrival)
- driver’s license from home country
- Your mission organization may help you obtain a Philippine Driver’s License. There will also be an opportunity during the New Staff Orientation to arrange for this.
- The majority of cars/vans are standard shift, although automatic vehicles are becoming more available.
- Electricity is 220V in the Philippines, though some homes may be wired for both 110V and 220V.
- Unless you know for sure where you will be living it is best to wait and buy your small appliances in the Philippines.
- Appliances can be found in major department and appliance stores.
- Second-hand appliances are also often available from other expats who are moving.
- You are able to purchase converters in the Philippines.
- Bring your computer and other electronic devices. You will need to confirm they are able to go from 110 to 220.
- Board Games – You will find some here but they are more expensive and more limited. You can sometimes buy secondhand ones through the missionary community.
- Christmas Ornaments – If you have a few favorites, bring them to help you feel at home. Christmas is a big celebration here and decorations are available and even start going up in September!
- Classroom Resources – Bring posters to decorate and use as classroom tools, particularly if you are teaching MS and HS.
- Computer and Small Electronics – probably cheaper in your home country – remember that they need to be 220V or interchangeable.
- Home Decorations – If it makes it feel like home to have a special wall hanging or photos, bring them.
- Music and DVDs – Bring your favorite music CDs and favorite TV shows on DVD. Most current movies can be bought here and are cheaper.
- School Supplies – Such things like pocket folders and 8 1/2×11 lined notebook paper are hard to find here – most other office supplies can be found.
- Sheets – (Bed linens) Not all would agree, but some staff feel that if you like nice sheets they are cheaper and better quality outside the Philippines.
- Special Books – We do have bookstores here with reasonable prices, but not all books are available. If you have special ones, particularly for teaching, bring them.
- Toiletries – Deodorants are available, but some staff find they are not as strong as the ones in their home countries and not all brands are available. Toothpaste and shampoo of many varieties and brands are available. In terms of feminine products, tampons are not always available and, if found, they are expensive and only come in small quantities. Other feminine products are readily available.
- Toys – There are toy stores here, but name brand items like Fisher Price, Lego, etc. are more expensive.
- Vitamins – some can be found here, but are much more expensive.
With the airlines restricting luggage more these days, you may be wondering how to bring your things. Many of our staff use a balikbayan box. You can ship this box, with no weight limit, door to door for one flat rate.
There are a number of companies that offer this service throughout the USA and Canada. Forex is one of the more popular companies. You can have it shipped to:
Faith Academy Manila
Penny Lane, Valley Golf Subd.
Don Celso Tuazon Ave
Cainta, Rizal 1900
- Keeping in touch has never been easier or cheaper!
- Everyone uses cell phones in the Philippines. Manila is the texting capital of the world!
- Texting is very inexpensive.
- You can purchase cell phones for $40 and up.
- You can purchase cell phone plans or choose to purchase pay as you go cards.
- Note: wifi and cell service can be unpredictable throughout the region, especially during typhoon season. While Faith’s wifi is usually reliable, your family and friends outside of the Philippines should be made aware that you may not be reachable at all times. You may also need to try different cell phone services to determine which one works best for you.
- Skype allows you to call computer to computer, and charges a small fee to call from computer to telephone.
- MagicJack uses an internet connection, has an initial cost and a yearly fee but is very reasonable and comes recommended by staff. Check it out online at www.magicjack.com. You will want to buy the small device before coming. You can register a phone number using an area code from your home city, state, or province.
- A vonage phone is located in the central office at FA. It uses an internet override system that enables phone calls to many countries at no additional cost. You can bring a vonage phone with you if you already have one.
- There are other computer programs that enable you to connect with home.
- Snail Mail or good old air mail – it costs approximately $1 to send a letter from the Philippines to North America.
- The Faith Academy Nurse’s Office recommends that every staff member submit a copy of their medical records to the Nurse’s Office.
- Competent physicians and dentists are available locally. Manila also has many well-equipped hospitals.
- Most medicines are available at reasonable prices.
- Vitamins can be more expensive. If you prefer a certain brand or type, we recommend you bring some to hold you over until you are able to find out cost and availability in the Philippines.
- Immunization before you come…
- Check out the CDC website on Traveler’s Health http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/philippines for their advice on immunizations and health in the Philippines. Our Faith Academy Health Services office usually recommends that at a minimum, you get Hep A & B (most from the US will have Hep B but may not have Hep A) and typhoid before coming. The website also recommends Japanese Encephalitis and Rabies – but these may require a look at your lifestyle and doing some additional research into the vaccine risks before making the decision.
- Malaria is not needed in Manila, but is needed in some of the other islands. It is suggested that you go to a Travel Clinic in your area, if there is one available, for more advice and counsel on travel health and immunizations. Some of these immunizations take up to 6 months to complete – so plan ahead!!
- If you are unable to complete an entire series, the following vaccines are available to order through the Faith Academy Health Services: Hep A, Hep B, Hep A & B combo, Typhoid and tetanus.
- Your mission organization will typically arrange for your visa application.
- If, however, your mission does not have an office in the Philippines, Faith Academy will assist you with your missionary visa application process (Missionary – 9-g visa) or tourist visa extensions.
- It is recommended that you enter the country as a tourist and apply for your missionary visa (9-g) later. Therefore, it is best not to use the words ‘working’ or ‘employed’, ‘teacher’ as that could jeopardize your entry.
- Visas – For confirmation of the current process, call your local Philippine Consulate. Be sure to record the name of the person you talk to in case you require a follow-up discussion.
- 30-Day Visa – If you are coming from a non-restricted country (Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, all Asian countries, see www.immigration.gov.ph), you will automatically be given a 30-day tourist visa upon arrival at the airport if you do not have the 59-day tourist visa.
- 59-day Tourist Visa
– You can apply for a 59 day tourist visa in your home country for initial entry prior to leaving if you so choose. This may need to be renewed while you process the 9-g visa.
– You can also ask the immigration officer at the airport terminal for a 59-day tourist visa. If you do not ask for it, it will automatically be stamped for the 30-day visa.
– The fee for the 59-day visa at the airport is approx 2300 pesos. However, asking price is usually closer to 3000 pesos for quick processing.
- 3-Month Tourist Visa (Non-Immigrant Temporary Visitor Visa) – This can be obtained prior to leaving the country; it can also be done through the mail. The price for the 3 month visa is only $30 which is much cheaper than what you pay if you get the visa here and renew it again.
- Tourist Visa Extensions & Approximate Costs: The first visa extension applied for after arrival in country will have a US $50 fee, which is for your I-Card (each trip out of country cancels the previously issued card, and a new card must be applied for upon re-entry). Multiple month-extensions can be applied for, and costs vary for length-of-stay. Planning your visa extensions around any trips out of country will save you in the long-run. (Pricing listed below is approximate and subject to change)
– 1 month extension: Php 3000
– 2 month extension: Php 4000
– 4 month extension: Php 6000
– 6 month extension: Php 14,000
- Make sure you:
- have a return ticket to show the Immigration officials in case they ask for it. If you do not plan to use it, make sure it is refundable, or
- purchase an outgoing ticket to a nearby destination, for example, from Manila to Malaysia. Cebu Pacific Airlines often has huge sales that are very cheap or refundable.
- For married applicants: Authenticated* marriage certificate from the Philippine Consulate abroad (country of origin). Make sure you bring this with you when you arrive in the country.
- For all applicants and dependents: Authenticated* birth certificate from the Philippine Consulate abroad (country of origin). Make sure you bring this with you when you arrive in the country.
- *For all applicants: Before leaving your home country, contact the nearest Philippine Consulate and request information on how to have your marriage and birth certificates authenticated. This is a formal document that they prepare with a seal and red ribbon after you have sent in the needed information. Please leave enough time (2 or 3 months) for this to be done or else you will have to send it from the Philippines and this will add time and cost to your visa process. These documents are needed when you apply for a missionary visa and you will not get these documents back from the Philippine government.
- Proof of missionary qualifications: missionary ordination/credentials. This means any certificate or document from the supporting mission organization as proof of missionary ministry involvement. *Someone at the embassy may tell you that this authentication is not necessary. Our experience is that it is better to have your documents authenticated in your home country, saving the hassle should you need them once you arrive.
- You will need to start the visa extension/renewal process shortly after your arrival in the Philippines. Please notify Cherrie Jose, in the Central Office, upon arrival regarding your visa application.
- Filipinos are extremely gracious and non-confrontational.
- Time is not a primary value. Filipinos are people-oriented and event-oriented, not schedule-oriented.
- The nation is mostly Roman Catholic with a strong god-consciousness as seen in posters, public transport, etc.
- Upon arrival, you will be given a book entitled, Mabuhay, that will provide information to help you navigate your new life at Faith Academy and in Manila and in the Philippines. If you would like to read ahead, please contact the HR department and it will be send it to you via dropbox.
- The Manila area of the Philippines has three seasons: Hot, Rainy and Cool.
- The hot season is typically March through May and the temperatures are in the lower to mid 30 Celsius range (90 to 100 degrees F).
- The rainy season is June through November. There are monsoon type rains and occasional typhoons. Temperatures range from 20-30 degrees Celsius (80 to 90 degrees F).
- The cool season is December through mid February. It is typically a little cooler and drier with temperatures in the upper 20 degrees Celsius (70 to 80 degrees F).
For Middle and High school teachers, please read before arrival:
- A Repair Kit for Grading: 15 Fixes for Broken Grades by Ken O’Connor; Publisher – Pearson. Grades 6-12 follow a grading policy based on current best practices in assessment. To help our new middle and high school teachers understand the underlying principles, we ask them to read A Repair Kit for Grading. It is also important for new staff to be familiar with the school’s grading policy. Of the 15 ‘fixes’ described in the book mentioned above, please note that the school has not yet adopted fixes 7 and 11. Additionally, fixes 2, 4, 12 and 13 have been implemented in a modified manner.
Suggested reading for new staff:
The following books have been suggested by current staff to help new staff acclimate to both the Philippine culture and the international culture at Faith Academy. Reading these before arrival is good preparation, and some find that reviewing the books on cultural differences after being in the Philippines for a short time is also beneficial.
- Dos and Don’ts in the Philippines by Maida Pineda
A great book to help prepare for some of the cultural differences you will encounter.
- Culture Shock: Dealing with Stress in Cross-cultural Living (1983, 1993) by Myron Loss.
- Confucius Meets Piaget: An Educational Perspective on Ethnic Korean Students and their Parents (Jonathan F. Borden)
This is particularly helpful given that our student population is made up of a significant percent of Korean. This book provides a glimpse into the historical, cultural, and educational realities of contemporary South Korea that mold the lives and minds of the increasing number of Korean children found in international schools throughout the world.
- The Last Time I Saw Mother by Arlene J. Chai
This is a fiction book written about four Filipino women within a family over a number of generations. It gives insight into the Filipino cultures and a historical overview which is helpful in understanding the Philippines today. It is on a recommended reading list for our high school students.
- Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot – And Cold – Climate Cultures by Sarah A. Lanier.
This book comes highly recommended for anyone dealing with other cultures (not just the Philippines).
- Ministering Cross-Culturally: An Incarnational Model for Personal Relationships (2003) by Marvin K. Mayers & Sherwood G. Lingenfelter.
- Figuring Foreigners Out: A Practical Guide (1998) by Craig Storti.
- 7,107 islands make up the archipelago of the Philippines. The three main geographical divisions are Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Lots to explore!
- With a population of about 98.7 million people, the Philippines is the 12th most populous country in the world.
- Manila ranks as one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas and the fifth largest urban area by population. Manila is also ranked as one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
- Faith Academy is one of the largest schools in the world serving the children of missionaries.
- Faith Academy was founded in 1957. More than 20 nationalities are represented among the students.
- As of the 2014-2015 school year, about 37% of students are Korean. Americans are the second-largest group at about 29% of the student body, and Filipinos represent 19% of the student body. The rest of the students are from all around the world – Commonwealth countries, Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.
- Faith Academy was founded in 1957. More than 20 nationalities are represented among the students.