Trade School Manila: Interesting Classes for Less

When in Manila,  sign up to learn  or teach a class with no charge at  TRADE SCHOOL Manila. 

TRADE SCHOOL MANILA is a non-profit, non-traditional, independent learning community where students barter with teachers in exchange for instruction.

Which means students do not have to pay any amount of money to take part in a class. Seems unusual, huh? The teaching volunteers are appreciated through the barter items given by the students. They do not go home empty-handed for the good act.  The students bring an item to “gift”  or “barter” in exchange of the class from the volunteering teacher’s wishlist.  

TradeSchool Manila Ukulele Class

Ukulele Class of Trade School Manila
(Photo courtesy of Trade School Manila Facebook Page)

It has been a couple of months since one of their volunteers, Paula Nieras,  invited me to check out Trade School Manila. I was amazed to see how versatile and different each class is from one another. And yes, I’m already addicted to joining their classes myself.

You can learn a variety of skills for Art and Lifestyle. You may study foreign languages like Nihongo, Chinese and Spanish. You can also learn to play musical instruments, such as guitars and ukuleles. There are also various crafts classes available, like lantern making, paper mache and origami.  They also have seminars like Public Speaking, Personality Development and Financial Planning. There are also classes catering to different hobbies, like photography, crafts and calligraphy.

Trade School Manila Photography Class

Photography Class of TradeSchool Manila

The people behind Trade School screen the listed items for barter.  This approach ensures that the classes are both affordable and friendly. The items range from water bottles, crayons, cellphone credit, stickers and parchment papers to Gift Cards and Vouchers. 

As of today, the school is only on their third season.  After December 7, they will already start looking for new sets of topics to add to their class list the following season.


Be a Volunteer of Trade School Manila


As a volunteer of Trade School Manila you will be part of their core group. You will also be entitled to attend the class that you will facilitate without charge or barter. You will also have the privilege to advertise and communicate in that particular class. 

TradeSchool Manila Make Up Class

Make-Up Class of TradeSchool Manila


Become a Teacher of  Trade School Manila


If you are passionate about what you do and want to share it with other geeks of the same wavelength, then why not do so? This is your chance to man up and help someone else. Be part of this learning community. To sign up for a class, you just need to submit your proposal to their website. While registration for this is closed as of the moment, you can start registering again once the next season starts.


Trade School: A Global Community of Barter Knowledge


Did you know that other notable cities like Paris, London and Edinburgh have their own Trade School franchises, which have been operating for quite some time now, as well? As a matter of fact, Trade School Manila got its certification from Trade School New York. Clarice Fong, one of the brilliant minds that brought Trade School to the Philippines, said that they got inspired to do this after they heard about it in Singapore. According to her interview with (read about it here), they believe that this is a simple way to alleviate poverty in the country.

(Read about my experience in joining and teaching a class on the next page.)