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How to Travel to a Manila, Philippine Trade School for Welding Training & Certification
A Work - Adventure
Have you ever considered becoming a welder or attending a welding training course to further your career? If so, why not combine your training with a trip to the beautiful Philippine Islands? At first, this idea may seem a stretch for most Westerners, but trust me, it can be done.
In late 2010 I took a one-week basic welding certification course (SMAW) in a small community just outside of Manila. I chose John McGregor Marineweld Training Center for my instruction and registered for the class at their website before leaving the United States.
I made hotel reservations near the LRT and MRT Terminal Lines(a rail-car network) in order to facilitate easy travel to and from the Training Center. It turned out to be a great plan.
On my first day of class, I walked two blocks to the MRT Station, made one transfer, and then took a Jeepney (a small public bus) for the remainder of the trip. You will do some serious walking, but seeing the sights and culture makes the experience super fun.
When I arrived at the training site, I found what I was expecting. The facility was a simple brick building with no air conditioning and poor restroom facilities. This is a typical problem in many business locations in the Philippines. If you cannot handle the Manila heat and the absence of modern toilet facilities, the trip is probably not for you. Keep in mind that one needs to be a bit rugged to survive this class. I think a lot of welders prefer it that way.
The staff seemed surprised that I had actually arrived, and I was taken to the business office where the course was explained to me. After that, my knowledgeable instructors got right to work with me. There is no book work here. It is all hands-on welding.
The basic welding course is centered around welding two flat pieces of metal together in several different positions. Without getting overly technical, the student will learn to weld square butt joints and tee joints with two small pieces of flat steel. This sounds simple, but it is not easy. The instructors will generally have a student complete several varieties of these joints until he is able to master each with an acceptable weld. The student will also be required to weld these same joints in the vertical and overhead positions. If a student learns all of these welds and positions properly, the instructors can test the student and certify him (Worldwide) at the end of the course.
If you are curious about language problems in this course, let me explain what you will encounter. English is widely spoken in the Philippines, but it is not the official language of the Country. There are many different dialects used throughout the Islands, but in Manila the primary language spoken is called Tagalog. In my experience, the local language seems to be a mixture of Tagalog and English. Most educated Filipinos will speak very good English, but in rural areas there are some communication problems. At the school I attended, the instructors spoke good basic English. There were some minor communication issues, but nothing major enough to impair my learning. Besides, this is part of the adventure, and to me, it was fun.
Physically and culturally, this course was very demanding on me, but I enjoyed every minute of the adventure. The staff and my fellow students were very friendly to this foreigner, and I learned a great deal about welding. I recommend McGregor Marineweld to anyone looking to start out in welding or wanting to obtain an advanced certification. Their certification classes are respected worldwide, and they have trained more than a few of our world's ship-fitters. This said, there are many different training centers for welding in the Philippines, and the price for the training is much better than you will find here in the United States.
For me, the combination of a vacation destination and world class welding instruction was too much to resist. Maybe this plan can work for you as well.
For basic information concerning artists and welding, please see the Hubpage, "Basic Welding Equipment and Techniques for Metal Art Newbies."