Foreigner Fees?

Discussion in 'General' started by Darrin Cook, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. Darrin Cook

    Darrin Cook New Member

    Do you think it is ethical to have one set of fees for Filipinos studying the FMA, and another set of fees for foreigners studying the FMA?

    I am referring to foreigners training in the Philippines.
  2. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise Senior Member Supporting Member

    Probably not but...... the local Filipino's could never afford the rates that instructors would charge to foreigners.
  3. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    I moved this out of the previous thread in hopes it'd get more attention here!

    -FMAT Admin
  4. silat1

    silat1 Active Member

    The majority of the Filipino instructors I know use the fees that they charge to put food on their table, roof over their head and to put their kids through school.. I have no problem with paying a little extra to get a service that I can have a good understanding of and the ability to practice it after I leave the Philippines... I have been going back and forth to the Philippines almost on an annual basis since the 1970s when I started training in the Filipino Martial arts..

    My point is, if you think it is unethical for them to do charge an extra fee for a foreigner to learn something that they are a professional in, then I suggest you not go to a filipino instructor who teaches what you want to train in.

    This question could relate to the same thought process as if you had a toothache, would you consider the fees that he charges.. If you have insurance, you get charged one fee, if you have no insurance, you get charged another, would you consider this unethical?

    Same philosophy as both are professionals in their respective field.. Personally, If an instructor has something that I want to train in, I would pay his fees, but I can also tell you that I would have more video tape and notes that could fill an encyclopedia to use as reference material after I left
  5. Darrin Cook

    Darrin Cook New Member


    Thanks for sharing.

    My teacher had very reasonable fees, and he was supporting a grandchild that the parents could not care for. He also had a mute nephew staying with him who was attending a special school. His family's primary means of support is by selling food out of the front of the house in the evenings.

    So I'm happy that my tuition goes to support a good family.

    How about the case of the Filipino who approached an arnis group, but when they found out he was working in Australia, the price suddenly shot up?
  6. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    If a school in America did that, regardless of the financial circumstances of the person doing it or how nice their family is, people would be crying racism all over the place. Because it happens in other countries, people try to rationalize it in order to make excuses for the behavior. Its BS wherever it happens.
  7. silat1

    silat1 Active Member

    I hate to say this, but when someone who is filipino lets slip that he works overseas, the dollar signs pop up in their eyes.. It's not so much that they are being racist, it is called survival as I related in my earlier response..

    The advent of foreign money being included as a financial infusion into their daily cost of living is a big thing when the majority of the filipino take home pay monthly is right about 125.00 to 150.00 a month if that.

    If the roles were reversed and you had the opportunity to get a substantial increase in your annual income for survival, I am quite sure the same reaction would be done.. When I go to the Philippines to train and visit family, I always negotiate a fee that we both agree on, but I am not so tight with a buck that I won't pick up the daily expenses of the instructor as far as food and transportation.. After all, the fees go to a good place and that is to help the instructor feed and keep a roof over his family while giving them a little boost in comfort for a short time..

    With the current rate of Pesos to dollars, a little extra income to the instructor and family will be a big thing to them while being a small thing for the foreigner to pay for the ability to train in something that they wanted to train in..

    A little financial loss can be a life long experience and bring in memories that will last a life time when you return to your home outside of the Philippines..Plus the friendship gained will last more than the money will remain in the family.. I have friends in the Philippines who I have met over the years and still have even after giving a small financial contribution to their survival.. Friendships last a life time..

    Just my 35 plus years experience speaking for a bit

  8. As a white guy living in the Philippines for over 3 years now I just take it as the way things are. I see it in on a daily basis everywhere I go. It's irrational. I have people driving cars and owning houses telling me I'm rich when I rent and can't afford a car...

    My wife is also affected by it with random people shouting "Jackpot" at her in the street and suddenly becoming God-parent to loads of kids...

    This kind of thing exists everywhere to a certain or a lesser degree. The difference in America or the U.K is that if you don't talk they can't assume you're not American or British based on skin color alone. A 6ft white guy strolling around in Manila gives the game away. As does letting slip you're an OFW as in the previous post...

    I have Filipino friends who work in call centers get people telling them "I'm an American. You should do it" and also living in America too going through almost the same things.

    Unlike other countries as Bill said - this is their occupation and how they put their kids through school and food on the table. The Masters are usually getting on a bit in life with large families. Basic schooling and all medical fees are not free.

    I looked into Thai Boxing fees in Thailand and found them to be roughly the same as what FMA instructors are charging. My previous Wing Chun Sifu was charging $100 an hour for 1-1 tuition. This is way above what they are charging here in the Philippines.

    So I guess my attitude is yeah it's bad but I can't blame them. They will try to charge you as much as you can afford. Unfortunately, this calculation involves a fair amount of prejudice.

    At the end of the day, if you don't like it don't pay. Or I should say

    "Separate the BS from the art and evaluate how much it means to you"

    Because frankly I don't like it but it's not a perfect world.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  9. silat1

    silat1 Active Member

    I faced the same problem when I first got married to a filipina.. Some of her family members who I never have even met call her and make the announcement that she is the god mother to their band of kids that spring up over the years.. I have no problem with some of them as they are dirt poor and we help them out over time.. But when you have people who just show up when they hear you are in town, that is a horse of another color..

    When I was stateside, I attended seminars that were about three to four times of what I would pay for a week long seminar in the Philippines, yet I chose to do so just to get an exposure to what the appropriate instructor taught..

    So this problem is not sololy a filipino trait, it goes world wide and irregardless of the culture, a financial gain is what the name is all about..
  10. Navadisha

    Navadisha New Member

    I try to look at it this way, what is the equivalent hourly income of the person receiving the instruction?
    I have a freind who coaches authors (on how to write better).
    His hourly rate is whatever the person he is instructing makes. If the person is just getting by making minimum wage, that's what he charges. If the person is a high paid lawyer making $$ per hour wanting to learn to get into a different field, ect, that's what he charges.
    He sees his time (while instructing) as worth no more than the value the other person has already put on their own time in their career. What they are paid is OK to them as a value on their time or they wouldn't be doing it (there are of course exceptions).
    But also, his time should be worth no less than theirs out of respect for himself.

    I see the same skewed logic when it comes to seminars. People look at the overall two day cost of a seminar and deem it too high. But I ask them if they did the math of how many hours of instruction they personally received from the instructor for 8 hours per day for two days, sometimes the end result per hour is less than they personally make per hour. Then the light comes on sometimes. Of course how much instruction they received for their 8 hours in a group of 8 vs. a group of 48 is open to interpretation as well.

    So, back to the original question, what is the relative wage of the foreigner vs. the Filipino in question being taught? I would be fine with the instructor making an informed asessment (but not assuming I was a rich Foreigner). Of course he should also consider the overall cost it took me to reach him as well.
  11. Darrin Cook

    Darrin Cook New Member,

    I think we share the same sort of ambivalent attitude. We understand the need, but it still smacks of opportunism and not to use the word lightly, racism.

    I was at the beach this summer with a group of Filipinos and was consistently overcharged for everything I bought, from ice, to sea cucumber, to a bottle of brandy. It eventually reached a point where I had to designate a Filipino to buy things for the group.

    Having spoken with other ex-pats, I think we prefer to be generous by choice, not by exploitation.

    For my part, I refuse to play the "Let's see how much we can charge the foreigner" game when it comes to the martial arts. But when studying Muay Thai in Dumaguete I voluntarily, without being asked, contributed to help with the expenses of the fighters who were traveling. I voluntarily paid my Tapado instructor as much as some rip-off artist teacher was asking.
  12. Hi Darrin, please call me Simon :)

    I know what you mean. Try running a business here...I let my wife handle all negotiations and we have to remember to remove our Surname from the email correspondence some times or the price gets inflated.

    You should read my blog on getting a might make you laugh:

    Navadisha makes a great point. Many Filipinos are denied the opportunity to travel and work abroad. Heck, my own wife was denied a visitors visa for the UK. That's how bad it is.

    Say you're a Master and you're charging somebody say $100 bucks for 20 hours of private tuition. Then the person returns to their country and armed with the knowledge, certificate and photograph from the Master charges $50 - $100 per person per day of a seminar.

    As was mentioned earlier, money and martial arts is a minefield. You just have to make a judgement call and try and be a bit selfish. Make sure you are not getting ripped off, that you are progressing and that it's all still fun!
  13. PG Michael B

    PG Michael B Oso Grande

    I look at it this way...If you want the knowledge your gonna have to pay for it. When we venture across the pond to the mother ship it isn't going to be for free. These guys over there are not rich by any means, hell ina few cases I saw they were barely eaking by. You can't expect a poor man to charge another poor man the same price as he would a foreigner. It is obvious the foreigner has more money and can afford to come to the PI and train, why else is he there? I don't blame the manongs at all for charging what they is as Simon said a way to get their families through life a little easier.

    If ya don't wanna pay then simply don't venture to the's as easy as that.

  14. silat1

    silat1 Active Member

    You and I both know that the prices vary from the Manila area to the areas out in the provinces.. I have been to different regions of the Philippines and have experienced the lesser known instructors of the FMA.. Some people ask why I go to the extent and get away from the major metro areas and travel to the provinces.. I tell them that it is because of the different aspects of the instructors, as you know I try to stay with the lesser known systems and learn from the more direct method instead of playing games with drills and such.. In Pampanga and the Tarlac regions where my wife is from , we have fun up there, see the sites and enjoy the cleaner air than in Manila.. It takes me as long to get to the province as it does for me to fly from here to the Philippines, but it is worth it and everytime I get there, I have a real enjoyable time, get to unwind and then get ready for the rat race back in the western world..
  15. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    I do think it's kind of unseemly, but it's common in many industries and I don't have a problem with capitalism. If they can charge it, why not?

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