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For me (if you don't join a group) the courses have been very fast and practical (one to two hours a week) and make you think. Which is inspirational and motivational. 

Education Category: 


English Proviciency (from our retired english teacher volunteer)



-- Be aware of the fact that for most of your tourists you will be the only Filipino they will really meet and spend some time with. Make your tour a memorable get together of authentic human beings. Do not give a lecture, but make the meeting a real conversation. The tourists will remember you as a person more than your stories and information.


-- Be aware of the confrontation of rich versus poor. And the resulting culture shock. All your tourists know that the Philippines is a poor country. And they have seen poverty on TV. But the direct confrontation with actual naked children, who look you in the eyes, grab your hands, fold their arms around your legs is an experience for which they are not prepared.


-- What your tourists see will make a far deeper and much more lasting impression than what you tell them. All the words you use they have heard hundreds of times before. It is the things they see that make the tour a stirring and unforgettable experience. Ten times more life-changing than seeing Rizal Park or Intramuros or Quiapo Church.


-- Do not be a talking head. Meaning: do not give too much information in too short a period of time. The human mind is relatively slow when it comes to processing information. All teachers know that. Therefore: after giving them two or three pieces of information, be silent for a while. Give them time to reflect on what you said. And deal with the emotional impact of what they see and hear. ....................The tour will have relatively little intellectual impact ........ but the emotional impact will be tremendous.


-- Language is communication. Do not act like a teacher and force your clients to act like students. Only there to listen to you. If you want them to be interested in you and willing to listen to you, be first interested in them and listen to them. Give them the feeling that you are there for them. They are not there for you.


-- Again: let the tour be a meeting of humans. Tell your tourists a few things about yourself. Let them tell you a few things about themselves. The very ordinary, traditional things: marital status, children, profession. Ask them why they came to the Philippines. Ask them how they liked it so far. Ask them questions every now and then. Not only about the places you visit..... but also small talk: the weather, the heat, how expensive everything is or how cheap, the traffic, the MRT, Filipino TV programs.


-- Constantly check if they really understand you. Especially if your clients are not native English speakers. Also realize that they may be completely unfamiliar with names like EDSA, Roxas Boulevard, SM ( may easily be misunderstood), President Aquino, President Marcos, lichon, the Black Nazarene  the LRT and MRT, the mall of Asia.


-- A few minutes of silence now and then will work miracles. As soon as you lose contact with your audience stop talking. Look them in the eyes and see if they are still listening. If not, stop talking. Also stop talking when they begin to talk among themselves or start "playing" with their cell-phones, i-phones and so on. Or turn their backs to you.


-- Study the way of talking of President Obama. By far the most eloquent man the world has these days. Study how he uses things like pauses and repetitions.After each important sentence there is a break of a few seconds. All his sentences are extremely short and simple. If he wants to give emphasis to some of his words he repeats them. Or even twice or three times.


Let me give you an imaginary example 


My fellow Americans-- BREAK - in which all the viewers realize that the speaker is one of them

We have all heard what happened at the Roosevelt High School a few hours ago- A LONGER BREAK- to give the audience a chance to focus on the topic of his speech

A High School- JUST THREE WORDS AND ANOTHER BREAK - the audience realizes that high school children should be safe at their schools

Children of 12, 13 or 14 years old. Nine of them shot dead, twelve in hospital. - AGAIN A LONG BREAK - now the audience has the time to realize how horrible this is


Thirteen years old! She could have been dead -- A SHORT BREAK-- the viewers realize that their own children and grandchildren could have been the victims

This is not the America that our ancestors built up. This is not the America we want to live in. --A BREAK AGAIN- the viewers realize that something ought to be done

Why don't we hear such stories about high schools in Sweden or in the U.K. or in Denmark. -A BREAK -- the viewers get some time to conclude that there is something fundamentally wrong in the USA.



Practical conclusion:

If you come across grown-ups and children working as scavengers ..... each word you speak is a word too many. Be silent. Let the picture do its work. It is the picture that your tourists will never forget.


While walking away, two or three minutes later, just add four or five  words: if you this the whole day you can earn about a hundred pesos.


Be silent again. Let the minds of your clients do the calculating: two dollars.

Hardly enough for a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

The ticket with which they flew to Manila may cost 500 to 1000 times more.

Their pension may be 2000 times more.

Pronunciation exercises from our retired english teacher Wim



Filipinos have no problems with consonants. Probably because the consonants of the Filipino languages are pronounced in the same way as in English. But they do have problems with the English vowels:

-- they make them too short

-- they do not distinguish between long vowels and short vowels (so that the vowels of man and men and the vowels of ship and sheep sound the same)

-- they are often not aware of the differences in pronunciation between vowels that more or less sound the same: like the vowels in star, stare, man, men )


We will practice the correct pronunciation of all English vowels in our series of lessons. In a systematic way. And repeat what we have learned again and again. BUT: this will not be enough. If you have pronounced certain vowels in the wrong way for a lifetime it is very hard to unlearn your way of speaking (if learning is hard, unlearning is a lot harder). What is the solution? 

The solution is practicing at home. With this piece of paper. Try to do it a couple of times a day. Just one or two vowels. For only thirty seconds. And just be patient: it will take months before you have unlearned wrong habits and replaced them by good habits.


a short vowel:

mud     cup     duck     none     run    sun    one    


a long vowel (make it really long)

far     father    star    mark     park     task    vase


a long vowel ----- make it really long and open your mouth wide

man    stand    band    hand    land    sand    tanned    


a short vowel--- the English sounds a bit like an i      Note the difference between this sound and the sounds in far and man

men    pen     ten     blend    send    mend     lend


a short vowel

sin    thin    gin     win    wind    kin    limp


a long vowel (make it really long)

bee    knee     see    tea     we     bleed    seed


a short vowel --- a typically English vowel --- often used as the last sound of a word-- as the last sound of a word this short vowel is often made a little longer than other short vowels

in the following words, just pay attention to the last sound of each words

father    mother    brother    weather   leather   never    river    clever


a long vowel --- also a typically English vowel-- mind two things: the vowel should really be long and there should be no lip rounding---- fifty years ago my mentor told me to practice this sound with a pencil against my lips to prevent lip rounding 

bird     third    burden    heard    learnt     insert     flirt     word    murder


a simple short vowel: 

not     dot    hot     lot     pot     rotten    what    gospel


a simple long vowel:

door     floor   more     nor    tore     war     glory


a long vowel:

moon     soon     noon    tune    balloon    shoe


a short vowel: 

ship     trip    lip    dip     hip     sip     tip     


a long vowel:

sheep     sleep     leap     deep     peep     reap    weep


DIPHTHONGS These are strange and complicated sounds. You actually combine two sounds and go from one vowel sound to another vowel sound. In a word like mice you go from to i. In an word like mouse you go from to u. In a word like lake you go from to i. In a work like toy you go from toi. In a word like vainyou go from to i. In a word like stare you go from to the last sound you hear in river.

Mind: Filipinos do not have problems with diphthongs. But we can practice a few for the sake of being complete:


mice     lice    lies    rice    price   prize


mouse     lousy    house     arouse    vows


lake     steak    make   shake    take    awake


toy    boy    annoy   Ninoy   annoy


main    vain    rain     stain    blame    gain


stare     there    where   bear    fair     rare


Just a thought I would like to share with all of you. Making the sounds that form a human language is an extremely complicated process. It involves the lungs, positions of the throat, positions of the mouth cavity. positions of the lips. A baby cannot see how grown ups make their speech sounds. This really makes it a miracle how fast babies learn to imitate the sounds their parents make. And how fast they learn to understand words, make words themselves, and start to combine words into sentences. By the age of three to four toddlers have a an active vocabulary of hundreds of words. Without having ever learned one single grammar rule they can construct sentences that are correct, except for some occasional slight mistakes.

This ability of babies and very young children to learn their mother tongue so fast and so well points to the existence of God. It must be God who has equipped babies with this wonderful ability. 

Which, at a given moment, disappears. Learning a second language and learning how to make sounds that are never made in the mother tongue requires a lot of hard work and never becomes a full success.

If you listen to me, realize that I studied English for seven years, got my master's degree and taught it for some fifty years, but I still have a Dutch accent. Listening to me you still hear the remnants of my mother tongue, remnants of what I learned from my mother. Some seventy years ago.


Ice breakers for our Smokey Tourleaders

Possible games / ice-breakers for trainings

  • Peoples attention span is limited, so make the trainings as interactive and fun as possible
  • Participants have to actively participate. This way they learn much much more
  • Through playing we learn and remember – while at the same time having fun 



  1. May I? (Ella knows this game)
    Form a circle. Each one states his/her name.
    Then call a name and ask the person „May I?“. The person answers with „Yes, you may“. And the person asking will move to the place where the other person is standing. 
    The person being asked has to do the same again. Call a name and ask „May I?“

  2. Super-hero poses (good as introduction, Ella knows the game)
    Stand in circle so that everyone can see each other, say the name and do your personal super-hero pose.
    Then a person calls another person with her/his name and her/his super-hero pose. Do this until people know names and each others super-hero poses 
  3. Introducing each other 
    Form groups of 2. Give them 5-10 minutes to get to know themselves better. Tell them to ask many questions about their lives.
    Then come back to a circle (ideally in standing) and then each one has to introduce the person he/she was with to the others. 
    (So not introducing yourself, but the other person you just got a lot of information from) 



  1. 3-times circling around a person (an energy booster, make people laugh and move, Ella knows the game) 
    Stand in circle. 
    Each one has to pick a person – but do not say it out loud, just pick the person quietly – and then cound 1, 2,  3 and at 3 each one circles 3 times around the person you picked. Then go back to the place in the circle you were before. 
    It will be chaotic and fun. 
  2. Zip – Zap -Zop 
    Form a circle. Standing. One person claps hands, points at another person and makes „zip“ at the same time. The other person received and makes then „zap“ to another person. This person then goes on with „zop“. 
  3. Energy levels: 1-7 
    People are moving around in the room. Then define the energy levels as 1 = standing / lying still and 7 = running as fast as possible. 
    The facilitator of the game then shouts the different numbers, any number between 1 to 7 and the participants in the room have to assume this energy level and move accordingly 



  1. Counting to 15 (listening/feeling each other) 
    Stand in a circle. Close together, shoulder to shoulder
    Then someone starts to count with 1, another person says 2, another one says 3 and so on until 15. 
    Important: as soon as two people say at the same time a number, you have to start from scratch with 1. 
  2. Positive gossip (make people feel good / valued, appreciated) 
    Form teams of 2. 
    Make the 2 people sit down on chairs in a way that they do NOT face each other. One person starts and talks only positive gossip about the other person to an imaginary friend. 
    The gossip is about a persons strengths you know, things you like about the people or things you imagine the person is good at by looking at her/him (e.g. I am sure he is a very creative person. The other day I saw how she interacted with the foreigner – she was so confident. I like the way she can motive other people. It is fun to be with him - he always make me lough.) etc. Etc. 
    Say things which you feel are true or you can imagine the person to be good at. Don’t just say anything – the more honest these „gossip“ is, the better. 



  1. Small presentations
    Each participant has to do a small presentation about a topic.
    Either they can do research themselves or much easier (for the beginning) give them a few basic facts on something and they have to present it in a nice way to the group 
  2. Asking questions – Interview ( highlight cultural difference)
    Have a person being the Interviewer and asking questions to the different people who represent different countries / or perhaps even come from different countries 
    Questions like: What do you eat for breakfast? Do you sing Karaoke? What is your religion? How do you pray? Without what could you not live? What would you do if you get PHP 10´000? Etc. Etc. 

Stories by experienced tour leaders 
Tour leaders with experience should share interesting insights, lessons-learned, challenges

From the old box Tourleader Role Playing

Tondo Tourleading Program

By Juliette Kwee



What is tourleading?

What is important when you are a tourleader?

To tour:a journey for business, pleasure or education often involving a series of stops and ending at the starting point.

Guide: to act as a guide to, direct in a way or course. One that leads or directs another’s way. A person who exhibits and explains points of interest. 

GUIDE: implies intimate knowledge of the way and of all it’s difficulties and dangers.

LEAD: implies showing the way and often keeping those that follow under control and in order.

What do you want to learn?

Roleplaying: This is a training. We are not going to make it very difficult. The goal is for you to learn. Only the actor /actress is acting. You are always yourself. The actress will be flexible and join you in the given situation.

Role plays:

1. You are a tourleader. It is a beautiful day. You have taken your visitor up to the mainattraction of the place. He/she is complaining all the time about the heat and the dirty road.

Assignment: make sure you make it clear to your visitor that the route will be pretty dirty later on. Tell him/her friendly that the tour is too hard for the visitor.

2. You have been tourleading for a while. The visitor you have today is annoying you. He/she asks questions all the time.

Assignment: talk to your visitor and explain that you don’t know everything in a responsible manner.

3. You are almost finished with your tour. Your visitor has hardly asked any questions, so you made it sure you can make it home before lunch. You rushed a little.

Assignment: your visitor tells you at the end that he/she is not satisfied. The tour supposted to be 2 hours but finished in 1 hour. Explain the visitor and tell him/her why.

4. You just started tourleading. After your training you have been taught the basics of tourguiding. The visitor you have with you today is very interested about all the animals and plants. You don’t know what to do or say anymore.

Assignment: make it clear to your visitor that you don’t know everything.

5. You are ending your tour. One visior stays and want to keep talking with you. You have already another group waiting for you. 

Assignment: make it a point to tell your visitor that you have more work to do.

6. Today you have a visitor, she looks bored and she is sighing all the time. You are curious what is going on. 

Assignment: Your task is to figure out what is on her mind.

7. Brief  the visitor(s) about the tour of the day. There is one visitor, she doesn’t understand what you are saying.

Assignment: your task is to explain in different ways that the tour can be physically demanding.


Giving and receiving Feedback

Feedback is always positive and about behaviour.

Model how to handle difficult situations: professionalism

Ignore conflicts: Let the visitor talk, shout and express feelings, give the visitor space, be quiet for a while, silence.

Make contact: eye contact, smile, repeat, mention/use the name of the visitor, mention similarities.

Active listening: repeat, nod, ask questions, give a summary, continue asking questions.

Confront: tell what the problem is, tell how it makes you feel.

Finish: finish the conversation, ask if there are any questions, summary, solutions.

Reactions come out of our thoughts, sentences of visions we have in our head. Those mental processes lead to certain behaviour. Our behaviour is a powerfull instrument to influence a conversation. You can lead mental and emotional processes.

It is about selfcontrol: breathing, relax the muscles. 

If there is too much tension, the results will be less. If there isnt any tension there is no concentration and low results.




How do you respond when you don’t know the answer?


Topics to be discussed

Cultural differences, western/eastern/europeans. 

What are difficult situations?

History Tondo.

Culture of the Philippines.

Sights, famous people, figures about health etc.

Way of living.


General information of Barangay 105

Difficulties and dangers.



Further topics to be discussed

Topics to be discussed: Why hire a tourleader? Explain the routes. Value as a tourguide (empowerment).

Topics to be discussed: Brainstorm why should I hire a tourleader? Introduction. Memorize english sentences (Please forgive me...)

Topics to be discussed: History Tondo, gathering data of Tondo itself, geographic figures.

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