See the change for yourself
Immersion trips are a fantastic way for people from all over the globe to get an up-close picture of how together we can bring children out of poverty.
These trips, designed for all ages, are safe, fun, and rewarding. We encourage everyone to “come and see.” It’s a great way to connect with communities you’ve sponsored and witness the life changes you’ve been a part of, or, for potential partners, to do some ‘hands-on’ due diligence.
We take groups of all sizes, and from all walks of life: corporate CSR initiatives, businessmen and women, families, church groups, high school groups, groups of friends who want a purposeful holiday and many more.
Joey Diao Visit to the Philippines - Medical Mercy Fund
Project Transform 2016: Lancashire
Learning Outside the Classroom
The first day after first grade was over at Hong Kong International School, a group of five students (and their parents) headed to Dumaguete City, Philippines on a service trip with ICM. The group of friends spent four days building container gardens, painting a school and serving nutritious food to children in slum communities. A meaningful learning experience for students and parents alike, this trip came about in response to parents’ concern that their children were “growing up in a bubble.”
Conquering Kids Camp
Over the first weekend in April, more than one hundred children from various communities around Dumaguete gathered for ICM’s annual Kid’s Camp. Held over three days, Kid’s Camp provided a platform for local children to experience the pleasure of companionship, and to share their happiness with staff, volunteers and other children.
FAQ About ICM Trips
ICM trips are a fantastic way for people from all over the globe to learn about what ICM is doing. They are designed to educate supporters about the challenges faced by those living in poverty and the long-term solutions being offered by ICM. If you are a current ICM partner, you will get the opportunities to connect with the actual communities you sponsor and to witness the life changes you have been a part of. These trips are designed for people of all ages, with a range of different activities that encompass ICM’s many programs. These trips are safe, fun, and rewarding. We encourage everyone to “come and see.”
ICM annually serves about 1,000 communities in ten areas in the Philippines. Our bases are in Central and Southern Philippines ( Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Bohol, General Santos, Koronadal, Palawan, Zamboanga Del Norte, Iloilo, Cebu, Capiz). The majority of our trips are scheduled for Bohol, Dumaguete (Negros Oriental) and Bacolod (Negros Occidental) due to flight schedules and internal staffing constraints.
We are happy to accommodate your specific group. We have organized trips for corporate groups, school groups, church groups, family groups and even groups of unrelated individuals! If you have a group of friends who want to come and see ICM’s work, we are happy to work with you to organize a trip to meet your needs.
Group sizes vary from 10-30 people.
Trips are customized for each group. There will be a mix of volunteering in and visiting the communities ICM is working with. There is a lot of variety, including
- See ICM’s Family Academy Program in action
- Volunteering in partner slum communities (painting walls, repairing floors, roofs and comfort rooms)
- Helping at a malnourished feeding outreach (feeding the children and helping to take height/weight measurements)
- Visiting a medical care clinic
- Assisting ICM staff to teach actual livelihood or health lessons in Transform communities
- Interviewing program participants or ICM staff to write stories for ICM’s media department
- Running a day or week-long kids-camp for children.
Our trips are open to families with children. When children are scheduled to attend an ICM trip, activities are appropriately modified. Parents should remember, however, that people (children and adults) will respond differently to the harsh realities of poverty. Parents should be prepared to engage with their children about their responses (emotionally and intellectually) on the trip. There is no minimum age for our trips, however, we have found that children need to be around 7 or 8 years old to start to comprehend the experience and engage thoughtfully. Parents should use their own discretion when deciding on whether their child is mature enough to attend and how well they can cope with new and challenging environments.
ICM has been facilitating group trips to the Philippines since 2002. Each year we run nearly 40 trips for around 650 visitors. We take all precautions to ensure a safe experience for travellers. ICM has local Philippine Travel Officers at each base whose job is to oversee the travel and safety logistics on the ground and engage with foreign groups of visitors. Most of our trips also have a Hong Kong ICM staff member. All our drivers are from the specific regions we visit; are familiar with ICM’s programs and communities, have the appropriate licenses and insurances needed, care deeply for the safety of visitors and have long term partnerships with ICM. We do not take visitors to areas that are considered dangerous. We have an unblemished safety record.
Trip lengths are customised according to the visitor’s needs. We run two-day weekend trips (from HK departing Friday/6pm and returning late Sunday) as well as three-day weekend trips. We also run week-long trips, usually for school groups.
You have the option. ICM prefers to book all flights for the trip as a group departing from Hong Kong. We have special rates with Philippine Airlines. However if you wish to book your own flights, this is fine also, but we would request that you copy us on your itinerary.
No deposit is required, but you will receive an invoice for full payment of trip costs two weeks before the start of the trip.
Yes. ICM does not purchase travel insurance for travellers. Please purchase your own travel insurance if you are not already covered and bring details of the coverage with you.
For those traveling from Hong Kong, the HKG/MNL flight is two hours. Domestic flights within the Philippines from Manila to the bases are approximately an hour. Normally it takes half a day to get to your destination, then half a day to return. We try to travel in the evening (which may involve a stopover in Manila) or the early morning to maximise the time you have on the ground. Ground travel at the base you are visiting is kept to a minimum.
ICM contracts air-conditioned vans to take you between the various locations. Some groups prefer to travel in true Pinoy style, in local transportation (Jeepney’s or Tri-cycles) – we can accommodate this as well.
There is no formal dress code but we ask that people dress conservatively. Pack comfortable, light-weight clothes and shoes. Many visitors wear flip-flops, but for safety and hygiene purposes, we recommend closed toed shoes for visits to poor communities. The ground is often muddy (depending on the season) and is definitely unsanitary. Depending on the communities visited, you may be required to navigate bamboo walkways over dirty waters or makeshift stepping “stones” through flooded pathways. If your group is visiting a church on Sunday, a collared shirt and trousers is appropriate for men, a nice t-shirt or blouse and skirt/trousers is fine for woman. If in doubt, please err on the side of modesty as it shows a respect for the culture.
The average temperature is 25°C (78°F) and ranges from 21°C (70°F) to 36°C (97°F); average humidity is 77%. From November to February is the cool dry season. March to May is the hot dry summer season. June to October is rainy, with the months between July and September characterized by typhoons.
The basic trip costs are paid for. Each person traveling will need to bring at least 750 Peso with him or her to pay for the travel tax at the airport that will need to be paid in cash. Money can be exchanged or withdrawn from an ATM at the airport. It may be more convenient if you brought Philippine peso with you to save time and hassle. You may want to bring additional spending money for snacks, and there is often an opportunity to buy some souvenirs for family back home.
ATMs are available and safe to use.
Hotels accept most major credit cards.
In each of the cities that ICM visits there is a major hospital.
The ICM staff will travel with a basic first-aid kit that will be kept in the van.
Yes, most people are bi-lingual and speak Filipino and English.
The Filipino diet is mainly fish, chicken and always rice. They don’t eat many vegetables. We like to mix local and international options into an itinerary so you get a cultural culinary experience. If your group would prefer to stick to one type of food or restaurant, we can certainly accommodate. Purified, bottled water will be always available. We recommend you avoid ice other than in the hotels.
Of course! We are happy to help with post-trip vacation ideas in the Philippines.
It is extremely rewarding to continue the impact of your trip by making a donation to allow more people to participate in ICM’s life-changing programs. You can become part of the long-term solution to ultrapoverty in the Philippines by sponsoring a specific ICM program to be offered in a new community (Transform), empower Savings Group entrpreneurs (Prevail) help treat serious illnesses (Medical Mercy Fund) or help build a child’s educational foundations (Family Academy). You can also make a donation to be used where needed most. Please visit ICM’s website at www.caremin.com/donate to learn more. Alternatively, please contact your ICM trip coordinator to discuss other donation options. You will receive updates on the impact your donation makes.
ICM welcomes and appreciates volunteers in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Australia, and the UK. Volunteering does not have to be long term in the Philippines. We appreciate a few hours a week at one of our overseas offices to help spread the word of ICM. Whatever your skills are, we would love to have you on board and helping out! Without the help of volunteers, ICM would not be where it is today.
People from all over the globe make life-changing trips to visit our work in the Philippines. Safe, fun and hands-on for families, corporate CSR groups, friends and church groups.
If you’re in Hong Kong or the Philippines we have great opportunities for volunteers in our offices. But wherever you are in the world, we would love to hear from you and get you involved.