Teenage volunteers doing building work in the Philippines work on a structure’s roof

Volunteer Building in the Philippines for Teenagers

Work with teenagers your age and build much-needed homes, schools and toilets

At a glance

  • Work with other teenagers from around the world to make a concrete difference. Work under supervision and build a house, toilets or renovate classrooms.
  • Your work will be focused on building for communities that were hit by the typhoon in 2013. You’ll see the project through from start to finish. What you start will be complete by the time you leave.
  • You’ll make new friends from around the world and together you’ll go on supervised weekend adventures. Visiting natural wonders and tasting authentic cuisine.

Start Dates: 

During school break

See Dates

Minimum Duration: 

Two Weeks



Is this project right for me?

Our Building High School Special is great for teenagers who want to be outdoors and get their their hands dirty for a good cause.

No idea where to start working at a building site? No problem! All of your construction work is supervised by qualified Projects Abroad staff. We also have professional builders on site to help you every step of the way. They’ll teach you everything you need to know and make sure you’re safe. All you need is to be fit and ready for tasks like digging or bricklaying.

This project gives you the opportunity to gain practical construction experience and build your teamwork skills. The work is hard, but we’ll make sure you have time to relax and have fun with your new friends.

Our volunteer construction project in the Philippines runs over fixed dates for two weeks at a time.

A teenage volunteer doing building work in the Philippines paints the walls of a school yellow.

What will I do on this project?

During this High School Special project in the Philippines, you’ll work under supervision at building sites. You’ll  work on one or more of these tasks:

  • Rebuilding homes
  • Building and renovating classrooms
  • Building toilet facilities

Your work will focus on the following areas:

Rebuild damaged homes

When Typhoon Haiyan hit in 2013, it was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded. More than a million homes were lost. Many families are still living in damaged houses covered with tarpaulin.

This is where you come in. Working with our local building supervisor, you’ll help build a house. You’ll get involved in everything, from digging foundations to laying bricks for walls. When the house is finished, you’ll give it a fresh coat of paint as a finishing touch.  

Build and renovate classrooms

Typhoon Haiyan also destroyed thousands of classrooms. The United Nations estimates that 90% of classrooms within the typhoon’s reach were damaged. Without a safe classroom, children can’t learn. You’ll help rebuild these classrooms and ensure that children can learn in a safe space.  

What you do depends on which stage of the building process we’re in when you arrive. You could get involved in bricklaying, mixing cement, digging foundations, roofing, or painting.  

Construct toilet facilities

There are a lot of homes on Cebu Island that don’t have modern toilets. Because people are forced to use their surroundings as toilets, diseases are more common and the community’s overall health suffers. By building toilets in homes, you’ll help reduce disease and improve the community’s health.  

The process of building a toilet from start to finish involves a few different tasks. You’ll dig and lay foundations, mix cement, paint, and install roofing. There is even some carpentry involved. Qualified local tradesmen will guide you every step of the way.

Experience the local culture

It’s not all hard work and no play. Your schedule also includes a weekend trip with staff and fellow volunteers to Capitancillo Island. You’ll get the chance to snorkel here. During the week, there will also be a number of cultural evenings organised for you in Bogo City.

Where interns work

You’ll work in two different locations, Bogo City and San Remigio. They are only 12 km apart, so it’s not far to travel from one to the other. Bogo City and San Remigio are both situated on the beautiful island of Cebu, the mainland island of Cebu Province.

The island is surrounded by 167 other islands. We want you to experience all that the Philippines has to offer, so we’ll take you on a guided island tour over the weekend. You’ll have the chance to go snorkelling and relax on a gorgeous white sandy beach.

Bogo City

Bogo City is located in the far north of Cebu Island. It’s quite a young city, having only been granted cityhood in 2007. Admire the beautiful fields of sugarcane and coconut trees, shop for produce at the local market and explore the local landmarks.

Your work location in the city will vary depending on whether you’re building homes, schools, or toilets. The toilet building part of the project is situated in the more rural part of the city.

San Remigio

San Remigio is situated just to the west of Bogo City. Like Bogo City, it’s also fairly small. Unlike its neighbour, San Remigio is very old.

It boasts the longest coastline of any municipality in Cebu. There are also frequent ferry trips from Hagnaya Port to the neighbouring Bantayan Island, which is popular with tourists.

As with Bogo City, your work location will vary depending on what building project you are working on. However, you will commute here when needed, as your host families are in Bogo City.

Airport pickup, flights and visas

When you arrive at your respective airport, a member of Projects Abroad staff will be there to meet you. You can find more detailed information on arrival airports, orientation, and visas on our Philippines Arrival Procedures page.

What are the aims and impact of this project?

This project aims to improve sanitation, child health and ensure privacy and safety. We’re also helping people rebuild after Typhoon Haiyan hit in late 2013.

Nearly one quarter of the country’s population lives in poverty. The sanitation situation is particularly dire. 26 million Filipinos don’t have access to proper toilets, and so are left with no choice but to defecate in the open. Around 26% of the households in San Remigio alone don’t have toilets. This is a huge health risk, which contaminates water sources and spreads disease.

Many people are also still suffering from the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan. This powerful cyclone was extremely destructive, destroying thousands of schools and homes. Many still have not been rebuilt.

With your help, we are building homes and providing better sanitary infrastructure in the Philippines. Access to proper bathroom facilities restores people’s dignity and privacy, and also minimises the spread of waste-borne diseases. You’ll also help either renovate or rebuild damaged structures, so that people can live and learn in safe, sheltered buildings.

"In July 2017, High School Special volunteers helped repair 1 typhoon survivor’s home. Linda is a widow who lives with her grandchild and cuts grass for a living. They haven’t had a toilet since the typhoon.

The volunteers helped to install new walls and a new layout for the kitchen, build proper floor foundations, install proper frames for the house and windows, and build a toilet. After just 3 weeks, Linda received the keys to her new home...the toilet will also benefit another 6 community members."

Teenage volunteers doing building work in the Philippines hand over 200 toilet bowls to a local community.

Measuring our impact

Every year, thousands of High School Special volunteers and interns actively make a difference around the world. During their time abroad, they contribute towards achieving long-term goals and make a long-lasting positive impact on the communities where they work.

We produce an annual High School Specials Impact Report, which documents some of these achievements. Find out more about the impact of these projects, and read the latest report.

Food and accommodation

You'll stay with a host family in Bogo City. They will welcome you into their home, eager to share their customs and have you teach them about your own culture. We believe that this is the best way to immerse yourself in the culture of the Philippines and have a truly unique experience.

We will always try to let you live alongside at least one other Projects Abroad volunteer or intern at the same host family. Your room will be modest, but comfortable, clean, and safe.

Your programme fee includes three meals a day.

Find out more about our accommodation.

Safety and staff support

Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have all the extra support you need as a young person travelling abroad. Our Projects Abroad staff are there for you 24 hours a day during the week and over weekends to provide constant support and guidance. Our staff also make sure you feel comfortable and safe at your placement and accommodation. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.

Find out more about safety and backup.

When you apply you only pay a $295 deposit, which comes off the total program fees.

Things are changing rapidly these days. If you have ANY questions, please call us at (+1) 917 810 4744 and we’ll fill you in on the latest updates.

Please choose a Duration and Start Date to continue.

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