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[Review]American Hospitality Academy Philippines : Why you can’t make a worse choice

Please note that this is a reconstruction of the post!! I deem it too important to just delete. I am switching to a cheaper host and have to say good bye to my old one. I have decided to use a more user friendly blog like WordPress and manually copy and paste the posts one by one for future reference. THE OLD BLOG WILL NO LONGER BE ACCESSIBLE FROM JULY 5. The screen caps of the original post are down below

Last year, I decided to go back to Manila to take up culinary arts. The biggest question of course, is which school? Well, after talking to various schools over the phone, and looking over at the internet, I decided, very much to my regret later on, to put my money into American Hospitality Academy Philippines. This is one of the bad choices I have ever made in my life. I’ve kept silent until the day I got my Diploma, and of course, my refund. Now I am speaking up because other people deserve to know. Consider this the insider notes on AHA Philippines (Student April 2011-2012)

Be careful of AHA. If you ever try to make a phone inquiry regarding enrollment, you will be passed on to the Sales / Marketing lady, Mrs. Cordova who will try to sweet-talk you into the merits of their school. She will tell you that AHA is the only trusted school in culinary arts, how much AHA is cheaper than all the other existing culinary schools in Manila (a big b*llshit), how AHa is certified in blah-blah-blah while other schools are not, how lucky I am if I choose to enroll since a certain chef from the US will be coming to visit and teach for a couple of days THIS COMING SCHOOL YEAR for no additional fee! Talk about bonus! She will also ask for your phone number and call you a couple of times regarding the next class start. Don’t ever leave your phone number to her or anyone for a callback. (In my case, she kept calling my mom)

1. The Deception and Hidden Information

When you are baited (and you tend to be, because they are the only ones quite receptive of inquiries, and she just sounds so friendly) and inquire again, she will tell you that the next class starts in three weeks and that actually, when you pay your Php300,000 everything is included (for diploma of culinary Entrepreneurship + Culinary arts). IT DOES NOT. I asked her  a couple of times if the equipment is included, and she said yes, at the same time handing me a flyer that basically only said, “Tuition + Knife kit + Books/handouts + Uniform”. Plus, as a bonus, there will a visiting chef from the US this year for no additional fee. (No such thing, in my case. No Chef from the US came.)

Taking the flyer from her, I searched for phrases like “All equipment included” to no avail, so I asked again to confirm. She said, “Yes, yes, everything is included. No need to buy anything else.” I thought I was the only one who misunderstood her, but it turned out that this misunderstanding is a strategy –  I talked to my classmates and schoolmates later on, who were led to believe the same thing as I have : that everything else that we would need (tuition + knife kit + books/handouts + uniform) is already included in the 300,000 package while the rest is to be provided for the school. It turned out that we would need a lot of other things (A LOT of other things indeed!) not provided for by the school . And no, on top of the Php300,000 you have to deposit a Php2500 for the potential damages you might incur. You might say it is only reasonable, right? But why didn’t she mention it from the very beginning? It’s like all these hidden charges waiting to leap the moment you swiped your credit card – except, of course, you only find out by the next billing statement. By then, it’s too late.

Another reason why I decided to go to AHA was because of the internship. I know how difficult it is to find internship, with competition from all the other schools.  I believed them when they told me they will fix you up with the local establishments they have tie-ups with. I can’t help believe it. There are even logos of famous hotel and restaurant chains printed at the first page of our manual.

It was a lie.

We all had to apply for internship individually. Of course they can help you look for internship abroad (they do have tie-ups abroad, for all those who have the money). For the rest, we are left to our means.

A lot of things told to me before I paid turned out to be lies (Schedule + Equipment + Chef from the USA + Internship). But if if it is only a case of misunderstanding for my part, why is it that, talking to my classmates and schoolmates later on, I found out we had the same “misunderstanding”? This misunderstanding is too systemic and organized, I am led to believe they are nothing but intentional deceptions. False marketing, anyone?

2. The perpetual schedule changes

Our classes started April 2011 until March 2012. This is supposedly an 8 month course only – but why, oh why, did it take so long?

Because AHA is notorious to change schedule last minute. Last year my schedule went like this :

April 25 – Mid-July : Classes

July – August :Break (Back in Tokyo)

August – Mid September : Classes / Classes end for Culinary Arts

Mid September – December : Break (Back in Tokyo, internship)

January – March : Classes, Exams and final requirement (for culinary Entrepreneurship)

They change schedule indiscriminately without regards to anybody simply because they can. Some of my classmates chose AHA over other schools for the schedule they proposed. This is important for those who hold full-time or part-time jobs. After all, many diploma students are already Degree holders, with obligations to fulfill. Definitely not full-time students, fresh out of high school, who can drop everything in an instant to do the school’s bidding. But once a student  has paid, AHA will screw you up big time. Why? Because they want to minimize expenses and efforts on their part. So we, April 2011 Entrepreneurship, ended up taking Entrepreneurship with September 2011 batch. (Saves them time and effort and money!)

But to tell the truth, my problems with their indiscriminate schedule change was a problem I have had from the very start. It should have been an omen – I know. But by that time, I have already paid.

This is my letter to Chef Gene Cordova, dated April 19, 2011 regarding the start of classes.


Dear Chef Gene Cordova :

I have just been informed by Ms. Cordova regarding the postponement of our start date from April 25 2011 to May 2, 2011 with reasons that you are away to Italy. As of our orientation on April 15, 2011 with Chef Mike, it has already been mentioned to us that you are flying to Italy in order to prepare for your students’ European Cuisine course in Italy. Why then, are we suddenly being informed one week before the start date, that the start of classes will be moved yet again, to give way to your Italy trip when this has been planned ahead?

Personally, I am very unhappy and disappointed with the way AHA has been managing our time. Back in Tokyo, I called the school three times prior to buying a ticket, just to confirm the start date in order to maximize my time here in the Philippines. I have been told and reassured that the next class start would be on April 4. I made it to the Philippines on April 1, fast tracking my loan and buying last minute ticket just to make it on the supposedly April 4 start of classes. Please note that prior to my arrival, my mom, Dr. **, phoned AHA several times to inform you of my arrival as well as to secure a meeting with Ms. Cordova. My mother was never told, in any of the conversations with AHA, that the start date was already moved. I was told only on April 2, 2010, during the interview with Ms Cordova, that the start date had been moved to April 25 to give way to the holy week. And then now, I get informed that the start date was moved, yet again, to May. In consideration to us, why didn’t you tell us ahead of time? During our orientation, Chef Mike told us about the importance AHA gives to punctuality and time management. I know your time is very precious : but what about ours? I would really have appreciated it -as a common courtesy, not just to a paying student, but to a fellow human being – if we were told of the school schedule way ahead of time . I would have been able to save money had I known. But most of all, I would have been able to spend more time with my husband. Each day here in the Philippines is a day spent without my husband. By now, I am almost 3 weeks away from him – spent waiting for the classes to start. And this time cannot be turned back.

AHA disrespects our time. For a school that allegedly gives importance to punctuality, this is really disappointing, and reflects badly on you. I can only come up with several negative conclusions : either  this school is disorganized with no fixed schedule, open to last minute ad-hoc changes with no consideration to others,  or that AHA is a school with bad organization and time management system.. or you just don’t respect us at all.

Even with make-up classes, I am very unhappy with these postponements. We didn’t do anything to deserve this. Had we been told ahead, our decisions to enroll in AHA would have been different. It’s unfair to us because we’ve already paid, and given no choice but to wait. My husband said, “That is never going to happen in Japan!” How sad, but true. With all due respect, Chef Gene, but whatever your activities are that caused this delay is no problem of ours. We’re not on unlimited time and budget here in the Philippines. We have lives too.

Respectfully yours,


3. The consequence of an absolutist chef : disorganization, inconsistency, inconsideration

AHA Philippines is a family-ran corporation. As such, changing rules is as easy as buying a soda from 7-11. Student’s schedules and rules are at the mercy of the family, specifically, Chef Gene. When I got into AHA, we have had several class overlaps with the Associates. In the last remaining few weeks of the Associate-4 students, the school suddenly started having quizzes to determine one’s worth to do internship at the school-ran Upper East across the street. Assoc-4 students who don’t make 5/5 in the quizzes were barred from doing internship. (Likewise : Assoc 3 should get 4/5, Assoc-2 should get 3/5, Assoc-1 should get 2/5) . You can imagine how empty the restaurant was – more than half of the those supposedly on duty were barred from the kitchen. And of course, you can’t say, “I didn’t sign up for this!” It’s not democracy in AHA.

Although this did not affect us Diploma students directly, indirectly it did. I have no problem coming in on-time. I live in Japan where a 30-second delay might mean missed train. But I have problem when AHA would make us come on certain times  then make us wait for 2 hours. 2 Hours? Seriously? So here is how it went : Student Assistants have had to come over for preparation of the demo lessons (cutting vegetables up, portioning etc) a day or so ahead of the said lesson. This was supposed to be a fixed schedule for us (usually tomorrow’s preparation happens after- class today) but there were days when the kitchen was full, the ingredients were unavailable etc, then we’d have to come back some other time. When is that, we would ask, and they’d tell us that they’d contact us. The school then would text us (take note – sometimes they don’t even call) to come over say by 11am on Wednesday. Once you get there, they’d tell you, for one reason or another, that you couldn’t start the prep just yet. Could you wait 2 more hours to let Assoc-X finish their prep? Disorganization, inconsistency, inconsideration.

The same thing happened when I wanted to refund my Php2500. In principle, the deposit should be refunded two months after completion. By the third month, I got no notice from them of forfeitures of any kind. At the same time, no initiative from their part to refund you the money. Their policy goes like , “If you want it, go get it. But we’ll make it hard for you to do so, so you just give up.” Anyway, weeks prior to my flight to Manila, I called the school several times to negotiate my refund. I was told a couple of times that they were already “processing it”. In Manila, I dropped by immediately on Monday. They asked me for the deposit slip (which was never mentioned in the conversations I had weeks prior) as a proof that I indeed paid them money. I told them I didn’t have any deposit slip with me, but it must be with our batch head who made the collective deposit. Unfortunately, I have had no contact with him for the last half year, I told them. Anyway they told me to come back the following Wednesday. I contacted my classmates who confirmed to me that the deposit slip was taken by one of the chefs as a pre-requisite for attendance (No deposit slip = no entry). I went back to school Wednesday and explained to them the situation. This time, they told me to come back on Friday 11 am with a copy of my plane ticket to “fast track” my request. (Fast track? It had been 3 months!) I arrived on time.  I was told to wait for an hour as they call Chef Gene to get his approval for the check. What? You would think that after all the “processing” from a month prior, the check was ready for pick-up. But no, AHA has a system that reminds you each and every time why the Philippines remains a third world country. Disorganization,  inconsistency, inconsideration.

4. Bullying and its consequences

I never burst into tears in any of my classes although there was more than one case where I was reprimanded by Chef Gene in front of everyone with the intent of humiliating me (Even my classmate asked me once, “Why is he picking on you all the time??). Fortunately, I am just too tough (and old) to be daunted. Some people are not, of course. Imagine the trauma for a 16-year old girl fresh out of high school being yelled at in front of everyone!  Our emotionally unstable male classmate actually broke down in the kitchen once, after being barred from attending the class more than once.   (Good news for the boys : he favors pretty boys a lot, so it works in your favor!). AHA wants to instill in everyone that a real kitchen is a war-zone, the Chef is the commander and you, students, are the good-for-nothing dispensable foot soldiers. Although the intent is probably good from the beginning, such as to train students to follow instructions from the Chef, every verbal abuse, “pamamahiya” (attempts to humiliate you) and unreasonable demands are supposed to justify this military-like training. But it has gone overboard. I find it so detrimental to the training of future chefs. Why?

1. Loss of self-confidence while becoming more and more timid

2.  Reduction of self-reliance in favor of blind obedience

3. Importance given to what the chef might want over common sense and logic

4. Fear of committing mistakes

5. Loss of enjoyment of the things we should be enjoying the most (cooking)

I did my internship here in Japan under a finalist of Top Chef (tv series) and among  his comments was that I just so timid. Why? Well, it is because of my training. Any littlest wrong thing you do is a ground for verbal abuse. I learned not to rely so much on common sense or logic, and instead tried to feel what the chef wanted (which is not always logical or along the lines of common sense).  Now I learned, that trusting yourself and your senses are  important as important as following directions. I learned that even great chefs make mistakes. In fact, we shouldn’t fear making mistakes – it is a part of the process. No one works in the kitchen without getting cut at least once. And yes, things do get spilled in the kitchen!

5. Money money money

The truth is AHA is just another commercial institution. They will skimp on you one way or another. Once you’ve paid the full money down, they have you by the balls. They will change your schedule accordingly to fit their budget. They will skimp on ingredients (Tilapia forever. I don’t even eat tilapia). You will have to bow down to all their unreasonable demands in the name of your diploma. My classmates who went to Italy were asked to cater to the Italian Embassy (out of their own pockets). AHA will eventually change the rules so they can make the most out of you. They will tell you that they no longer accept make-do knife covers for safety reasons, you need a real one(they happen to be selling). They will tell you that they changed their mind regarding absence limits, so actually you just failed by one day and you have to retake the course again ( fees should be settled first).

6. Maltreatment of staff

Tenure doesn’t just speak for a staff’s perseverance – it speaks volumes about the management style of an establishment. AHA seems to have revolving door for policy staffs – except they don’t. No one can stand the oppressive management, and everyone eventually quits, even the chef instructors. The longest staying security guard lasted for only 6 months. Some quit after three weeks. (To be precise, they don’t quit, they just ask to be reassigned somewhere). Why ? Because AHA treats people horribly – staffs and students alike. Except we students paid, so we have to hold out longer..

During my first few months, my classmate saw a staff (Nori) being jabbed on with a ball pen. (One day I went back, and Nori was gone. Whether he got sacked or he quit, I will never know). We have had a series of new chefs who come and go after several weeks. Like the students, staff and chef instructors can get sent home for the littlest mistakes during the course of the day (no pay of course). Not very conducive for learning. Not very encouraging for student chefs. Verbal abuse, bullying, humiliation – these strategies don’t bring out the best in us. Do we want to support an institution that resorts to these strategies?

7. Unreasonable Demands

Some people would argue that this is for the better of us who want to work in the kitchen. But I beg to differ, not because of the effort, but because of the cost! One of the first requirements we had to do was to tourné 300 potatoes overnight. I wouldn’t mind tourné-ying potatoes (or whatever you want to tourné)had they provided the ingredients. But of course that is not the case – I had to buy a lot of potatoes myself. The next day, they hardly looked at  our efforts and asked us to re-do it, to be submitted the following week.  Just like that. I ended up buying a total of 11kg of potatoes to accomplish this homework. Talk about waste!

Second they require that your uniform be neat and ironed. Bad uniform = no entry. (AHA governs with its x = no entry formula) But several arguments about this :

1. How can one have a neat and ironed uniform after duty in the kitchen? (They eventually started excusing people who had duties. I am not sure if this is consistently being enforced.)

2. The cloth used for the uniforms (of other batches) is the type that gets easily crumpled. My schoolmates resorted to bringing an iron to school and ironing on place (Yes, you heard that right. Ironing in school premises!). But still once they put it on, it starts to crumple. Result : they are still barred from entering.

Also, AHA tends to make you sign an announcement to make sure you have read it. Then they will change something, print out an announcement and make you sign again. Then they issue another and make you sign again (Warning that nothing is ever final the first time around! Repeat this cycle at least 6x at a time for every announcement they make for a conservative estimate.). You forget which one is the  current deal. Or let’s say they hand out a calendar of activities. After 2 days, they change it again and hand you another one. Next week, they hand another one and ask you to turn in the previous 2. If you don’t turn in the older calendars, no entry. What if you lost it? Why do the older calendars matter when there’s a new one? The answer is : because they can.


Have your cake and eat it too

I have finally received my Diploma this year. I also passed the TESDA and ServSafe. I am now working in the kitchen. I made good friends in AHA – I am lucky to have met the people I did- my classmates for making everything else  bearable. Without them, I don’t think I would have lasted. But personally, this kind of school would have long been bankrupt if it were in Japan. Why? Because professionalism is non-existent. There is no respect for time (very important over here). There was an intentional misunderstanding bordering if not an outright case of false marketing. There are a lot of unreasonable demands. I wish I looked harder and inquired more. But alas, it is too late to cry over spilled milk. I just didn’t find enough information in the net or anywhere – anything else I found was just too belated. So I decided the best way I can do is to speak up, write about my experience to let others make more informed decisions. For me, everyone who is going to pay a lot of money deserves to know the kind of school they are getting into, what they are signing up  for. Unless you are willing to forfeit your hard earned money, enrolling in AHA is a consent for you to waive any sort of consideration and respect due you as a human being. Everything works in favor of them, with main consideration given to the convenience of Chef Gene and the school. Yes, at your expense – time and money-wise. Why subscribe to an institution that shows absolutely no consideration to you by  f*cking up your schedule, humiliating you and treating you like a piece of sh*t, all in the name of culinary arts? Why can’t you just  go to another school where you can have both – that is respect to you and your time WHILE undergoing culinary training? On top of that, you can enjoy while learning! Have your cake and eat it too.

TIP : For all those people who still want to consider AHA Philippines, I strongly recommend you do an on-site location visit. You don’t need an appointment to sit outside by the student lounge. Talk to students. Observe. See for yourself what kind of school it is. Be informed before paying.  Ultimately, the decision is yours. By writing this, I did my part to paint you an accurate picture of the kind of school AHA is. Goodluck.

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82 comments on “[Review]American Hospitality Academy Philippines : Why you can’t make a worse choice

  1. Marlon Benzon
    August 29, 2012

    I was expecting a blog like this but not as good and eloquent as this one. I was already thinking of writing one myself but this one takes the cake off everything! Kudos!!! I also wrote AHA Main in the US and sent a link to this blog… “This is certainly not a letter to inquire or find out something about AHA but hopefully, it gets to the proper authorities, particularly the school’s administrative department in-charge of its international branches, particularly, in fact, the one in the Philippines. I am not enrolled with AHA Philppines, but I almost did, until I came across the open-house session that utilized current students as assistants. There and then, I sensed something wrong about what’s probably going on inside… the assistants were too timid, stoic and not just non smiling, virtually trembling. The mistakes they’re exhibiting were patent, like dishwashers suddenly placed in the kitchen to serve a 4-course menu; I knew because I’ve been working in the kitchen for some years already. And they were the ones supposedly considered creme d le creme, best of the best?… Then I decided to talk to the staff, instead of the sweet talking Mrs Cordova, this mother of the owner Chef Gene Cordova,who also have issues I’ve heard of that speaks so sourly of the school. And there I discerned that there really are somethings going on that made me postpone my decision to come in. But then, one of my best friends decided he’d get on it. And so, those were the first 3 months he’d really want to regret. He, along with almost half the original students who enrolled, might be dropping out of AHA soon without even completing the first term… But nothing summarizes and eloquently says everything about the tragedy that’s AHA Phillippines than this blog that went up just a week ago… and i’m putting the link here for you to determine that something has to be done with AHA Philippines or else, things might spiral out of hand and the entire AHA system worldwide could be compromised,or before someone would have the proper authorities, come in to investigate there. Personally, I believe that Gene Cordova should be kicked out and replaced and it’s entire system reviewed and refined. Just imagine that in a few more weeks, this blog would reach the full breadth of cybersphere and who knows what effects this will cause even your other international operations…. http://rakenrol.net/blog/american-hospitality-academy-philippines-why-you-cant-make-a-worse-choice.html

    • ikalwewe
      September 8, 2012

      Marlon, Thank you for your comment. After I posted this my website was hacked! Anyway I am not pointing accusing fingers at anyone, just thinking of who might be responsible for it.. Anyway it is now up and running. I hope AHA in the US will take this seriously. It’s doing serious damage to their name. Cheers.

  2. Jim
    September 10, 2012

    Dear All, Let me first say thank you for posting a blog like this. This is by far the most powerful thing I have read about a culinary school ever. Very well written! I hope that the blogosphere spread this and tell the truth about AHA. Myself am also a culinary student in Manila. Before I enrolled in the school that I now attend I did a lot of research. First of all on-line. AHA’s name pops up here and there especially on blog forums. Often the comments are very bad but also some extreme well written comments about the school itself. Some of these comments are so “well written” that it is easy to figure out that they have been written by the staff itself. I just think that it is pathetic that they are fooling the public in writing false and made up statements from supposed to be students. Anyway I went to the restaurant of AHA for a meal with my parents some time ago to get a feel for the school. Of course it also gave us the chance to talk to one of the students that was enrolled there. He actually said similar things that has been mentioned in this blog. Let me be nice to AHA in saying that the students do not like their school. (The student me and my parents talked to used a much stronger language than that.) The students recommend all the people they meet to not enrol in their school. Of course it was an easy choice to find another school. I am now enrolled in a great school that is almost half the prize of what AHA wanted to charge. Why I am writing this is that I think it is important that future students get warned about a school like AHA. But also inform them about better schools that you actually are happy in and that you feel that you are developing and learning every day.

    • ikalwewe
      September 17, 2012

      Dear Jim,Thank you for your insights.
      I am posting only the truth about my experience in AHA to warn people (or future students) about the kind of environment AHA has to offer. I know I wouldn’t have enrolled if I read something like this a year and a half before. I just want to empower people to make informed decisions. My simple suggestion to readers is, if you don’t believe a thing I say, why don’t you drop by the school and see for yourself? Try talking to current students. Or observe. It doesn’t cost a thing and only a bit of your time. Just to get a feel of the school, I’m sure it is worth investing an afternoon, yes? Repeat clients don’t go to the same restaurant to be surprised. In the same way, we as prospective students don’t want to be surprised – we want to know what we are paying for, and the purpose of this blog entry is just that. If afterwards you still want to enroll, then as we say in Japan, ganbatte kudasai (work hard).

      I am working in two small restaurants now in Tokyo. But you see, here in Japan, your culinary training matters less than your drive to strive hard. Even if you’re a garbage collector with only a high school diploma, you can become anyone or anything as long as you are willing. So whatever I am doing now, it’s not because of AHA, but in spite of AHA. Making or breaking you – the school is not the even half the equation. But still, it’s a huge amount of money (and time) to waste. Making mistakes and learning from them – the kitchen is an on-going learning process and you WILL make mistakes. I still do and even the chef, with thirty- year experience under his belt I work for still does. And the bottom line is, they shouldn’t cost you shame or disrespect. This is a profession we choose to practice out of love, we shouldn’t be maltreated for wanting to learn.

  3. Joey
    September 15, 2012

    What school are you in now? Maybe I’d enroll there instead…

  4. ...
    September 20, 2012

    I used to work in AHA and God i swear! It’s the worst work place ever! No window and aircon will be turned on unless Gene Cordova will tell his brother. You will be verbally and emptionally abused in this school.

    • ikalwewe
      September 23, 2012

      thank you very much for your comments, lea and ex-AHA employee. Oo nga , yun airconditioning dun sa labas may oras yun..bawal i-on kahit may students pa pag hapon na.. but congratulations to you on leaving AHA. we all deserve a better place.

  5. Lea
    September 20, 2012

    Im happy someone put there experienced and just saying the truth and wow from japan,i believe you if no one from phils can say what there experience where lucky other country can say it online,and i believe its just he just say base on experienced 😉 thank you for sharing your experience

  6. Lin Bow
    September 27, 2012

    Can you recommend culinary schools in the Philippines with degree programs? Thank you!

  7. RjC
    October 11, 2012

    Yes! I totally agree I’m currently a student at AHA as BDICM and HeLL! i have never regretted anything in my life as much as my choice of this school. I’m currently thinking of either hifting to ASSOC (for it to be shorter suffering and dealing with this HeLL school full of Bullshits) or just transfer to another Culinary school. a Better school of course. てれたに can you recommend any good Culinary school for me cause I’m planning to work in Japan too. that’s the country I’m aiming for and our 2nd Sem. is about to start next week so I’m in search for a better school so I can get the hell out of this rigid school already. Arigatou for the help. (^^ )

    • ikalwewe
      October 14, 2012

      Hello RJC, Lin Bow, I’m sorry but I am not sure of other culinary schools in the Philippines. Abroad,I would recommend Cordon Bleu but they don’t help in issuing student visas, at least not in Japan.. At least it is better known than Aha. When I mention AHA during the interview, they look at me blankly…
      @RJC, if you’re really keen on working here in Japan, the best culinary school here is Hattori Nutrition College, with a tution fee of 716,000 yen (Culinary Institute 2 years, Culinary Institute 1 year and Patissier Boulanger)(http://qto.co.jp/en/school/hattori.html). It’s almost the same amount as AHA’s Diploma course (JPY600,000). But let me warn you that here in Japan, kitchen people do everything – from prepping to cooking to dish-washing and cleaning. In my other restaurant, I also serve! Wala kasing space dito, mahal ang labor so kayo kayo na din ang gagawa lahat. Ganbatte ne!

  8. Medz Medina
    October 18, 2012

    Hi. I totally respect your blog and your opinion. I just want to write this comment so that the students who would be reading your blog would also be able to know that it is not as bad as it sounds.

    I’m currently a student in AHA and yes, life can be very difficult in AHA, but strongly believe that AHA prepares us for the real thing and makes us better for the long haul.

    I received my uniform, books,and knife kit without making another payment for those things.

    I was a elementary and highschool teacher before enrolling in AHA, so maybe you could say that I’ve been in the other side.

    Students would find it difficult to appreciate the ways of AHA. Yes, it is very unorthodox, but I can see how it can help the students build character and help them with their work attitude.

    I also discourage those who are inquiring/asking about AHA and those who intends to enroll. (But, I only discourage those who wants an easy way out of college, the ones who think Culinary is the easiest job in the world, those who only want a diploma just for the heck of it, and those who are not passionate enough about cooking.)

    I know that AHA is not a perfect school. Schools may have different visions and missions, however it is still a business. No culinary school would be able to survive if they wouldn’t think at the back of their minds that it is still a business. If you want an easy life, you can enroll in CCA, ISCAHM, MICAH, etc. There’s nothing wrong with those schools, however, I bet you wouldn’t learn the things that you would learn in AHA with those schools. Culinary isn’t just about the skills, it’s also about work-attitude and character.

    I also hate it when schedules change, and when some of my efforts are put to waste. But, I’m also sure that it doesn’t only happen in AHA. It also happens in other schools.

    AHA may not be perfect, but other schools are not perfect either.

    I honestly appreciate what AHA wants for their students.

    I also respect that it wasn’t easy for you. I’m also happy that you still finished it.

    Thank you for this blog and good luck on your future endeavors.

    • Marlon Benzon
      October 26, 2012

      @ Medz Medina. It’s good also to find a dissenting opinion here, and this time, a pro-AHA entry… you are right that no culinary school can be perfect. But can we have a consensus here that we’re not really looking for anything perfect? What we’re after is one that’s professional, or at least having a sense of professionalism. We know you – and being in AHA for 2 terms now, only you can say whether your words above are honestly said or not. But know also that you have this responsibility to impart an idea to others so that they may be properly guided. You’re entitled to your own opinion, of course, and whether it’s true or not that you appreciate AHA’s methods, no one can contest it. But would you share further how you felt, and how you are still feeling now, when you were not allowed to take the final exams during the first term and made to wait outside for hours in the hopes that you’d be allowed to take the exam, yet still wasn’t given the chance to do so? Almost everyone heard you cursing AHA and it’s “very nice” instructors to high heavens! Is there really a change of heart in you realizing that what they did to you is truly some sort of grand scheme to instill a great sense of discipline in you that’s properly fit for a culinary practitioner? And I hope also you really enjoy working on tilapia everytime. And are you sure you already have the books as promised by AHA? My friends there, your classmates are just downloading from the internet and some even buying from the bookstore because they don’t have one yet. You’re supposed to get an extra set of uniforms and you’ve all paid for it but still none yet… Do you consider AHA’s practice of doing demos during the lab sessions, and not allowing you to, afterwards, practice hands-on what has been shown in the demo, truly in tune with preparing you for a real-life culinary profession? Are those incredible scoldings, put-downs, and insults coming from the instructors really help make you a good culinary pros? ahhh, why listen to you at all…

      • Medz Medina
        November 2, 2012

        “I also hate it when schedules change, and when some of my efforts are put to waste. But, I’m also sure that it doesn’t only happen in AHA. It also happens in other schools. ”

        To Marlon Benzon, do you even have the slightest idea why I wasn’t able to take my final exams. It’s partly my fault. I admit that I was mad and frustrated at that time, but I was able to take all my final exams and my grades are okay.

        I’m neither pro nor anti. What I just don’t like is when people hate on the wrong things. I’m not saying that I’m living the good life in AHA. But, what confuses me is why do students stay? You have a choice. It’s not as if, AHA will force you to stay. If you don’t like it then go. Let’s not make a big fuss about it. I just want to reiterate that I made that comment so that other people would know that AHA is not as bad as other people think. Please read my previous comment carefully. What my point is, life can be very difficult. But, how you surpass everything and what you become after makes every inch of hell worth it.

        “The commercial kitchen is described as an intense, unpleasant and sometimes hazardous place of work staffed by what he describes as misfits. Bourdain believes it’s no place for hobbyists and all those entering this industry will run away screaming if they lack a masochistic, irrational dedication to cooking.”

        Life in AHA may be difficult and may feel like hell. But you have an option to stay or not, if you choose to stay then suck it all up and stop hating.

        I know my life can be much easier if I transfer to another school. But I choose to stay because I am 100% happy with what I am turning into. And my friends would attest to that. Stop being a baby. If you want to be spoon fed then transfer. Life can be easy. Life can be hard. No matter which path you take, what you become afterwards will be the judge if you made the right decisions or not.

        I just don’t like it when people hate and gripe their hearts out and trying to speak for EVERYBODY. Everyone has their opinion. But base your opinion from your OWN experiences. RESPECT is the key. If you respected mine, then that would not be your reply.

        Peace and God Bless.

    • ikalwewe
      October 26, 2012

      thank you medz medina for your comment. while i respect your opinion, i beg to disagree.

      > But, I’m also sure that it doesn’t only happen in AHA. It also happens in other schools.

      I’m sorry, but that’s not true. Culinary schools, professional schools, day classes or regular universities – I’ve been to handful both here in Asia and in Europe. No it doesn’t happen. One minute delay is a grave matter here in Japan, a lot of people died in 2005 for it! So no, schedule change is even more serious and it just doesn’t happen. If it does, i’m sure they will give the option of money-back, in the name of good customer service.

      You have to think this way : not everybody is a full-time student. There are people who chose AHA over other schools simply because of the schedule, like my classmate who is a working mother. You can’t make light of it, when you are at the brink of losing your job due to absences or tardiness. It is particularly unfair because you explained your situation to AHA prior to enrollment, only to be f*cked in the end. I myself wanted to work while in Manila to support myself but quite unable to find jobs with flexible schedule. 12 months versus the promised 8 months – a lot of wasted time, wasted money.

      i wouldn’t be complaining if its pure hard-work per se. You have no idea how hard work is, unless you’ve worked in a japanese kitchen. please the kitchens in the philippines or europe or america DONT EVEN come close! what i don’t like is the unprofessionalism, the insults, the emotional abuse that has to go with it. these are uncalled for. the system is just– pardon my french-so third world!

      anyway my suggestion to you people who have a bit of money is just go abroad to study.

    • Deborah de Beer
      September 27, 2016

      Dear Medz Medina,

      I am so grateful for reading your comment. I am going to enroll at AHA this coming December, and for some reason I randomly checked the reviews regarding their training. When I came across this blog, I was shocked! I thought to myself, this seems to be really bad for the school’s reputation and even questioned myself if I have been deceived… however as I scrolled down the comments, I read yours and I felt more confident about enrolling. I am not looking for an easy training in the culinary world. I grew up in a family of cooks and my parents had a family restaurant and catering business in South Africa. I started working in the kitchen at the age of 11, I literally focused more on my family’s food business rather than having a normal childhood like my classmates and friends. It was exhausting and extremely difficult to cope because I had school during the week, in the kitchen restaurant during the weekends and the holidays.There was no break for me, however this shaped me up and I embraced it. I hope people understand that culinary arts is not to be taken lightly in the real world as it requires discipline and passion, because bottom line is if you really are passionate about food, you would spend all your time with it, not just cooking it but also evolving it.I also learned that, it is not a cook that makes the dish great, it is the idea of a true lover of taste who appreciates the essence of ingredients that makes the dish revolutionary.

  9. Medz Medina
    November 2, 2012

    And btw, for the record, at that time I wasn’t cursing at AHA nor the instructors. I was plain cursing out of frustration and because I was mad. Stop acting as if you knew how I felt, or what was happening at that time.

    Thanks 🙂

    • ikalwewe
      November 2, 2012

      hi Medz Medina, thank you for your comment.

      > What I just don’t like is when people hate on the wrong things. I’m not saying that I’m living the good life in AHA. But, what confuses me is why do students stay? You have a choice. It’s not as if, AHA will force you to stay. If you don’t like it then go. Let’s not make a big fuss about it.

      To be honest, I wanted to. I consulted a lawyer about it, but from what I understand it is going to take more time, more money and more effort. It’s not like AHA is going to give me back my money without a fuss. Think of the fuss with the 2000 php deposit! what more for 300k! And please, unlike you, I am married woman, living far away from my husband, paying for my own tuition – 300k is a BIG DEAL for poor folks like me. Rich kids in AHA( whether you are one of them or not, I do not know – I am not saying you are, I am not judging you..) will never understand. So please don’t tell me not to make a big fuss and just leave without a fight. This is the form of fight I do – call it a review tell the truth, my side of story (everyone does it now, and it helps future consumers – thats capitalism at work) . Of course this is not for people who can dispose of 300K without a fuss – by all means, if its pocket change then just leave, right! (and boy do I wish its pocket change for me , believe me, so I could just have dropped everything and left) – this warning is for humble people like me who just can’t afford making 300k worth of mistake. So to answer your question I couldn’t leave easily even if I wanted to 😦

  10. Medz Medina
    November 2, 2012

    BTW, for the record. I wasn’t cursing at AHA nor any instructor. I was plain cursing out of frustration. And with regards the uniform issue, it was clear upon enrollment that 1 set is free. And yes, I was able to get 1 par for free. Stop acting as if you knew how I felt and what was happening at that time. At least get your facts right. Thanks. Much respect.

  11. Medz Medina
    November 2, 2012

    I totally understand that. Maybe I’m just too optimistic. Maybe I’m just the type that will just stick to my choice and make the most out of it. Much respect for everyone. Good luck and God Bless. This will be my last reply 🙂

  12. Marlon Benzon
    November 6, 2012

    Just obtained information that would really rattle the spines of those still in AHA. All enrolled in diploma courses will not be allowed to take their OJT’s in the USA anymore. Only those in Assoc and BA. But the clincher, insider info from the admin leaked that AHA might close soon, due to serious financial status mostly of unpaid loans caused in part by the fact that almost half of the students enrolled are quitting. Mapua and Miriam is also about to pull-out from their merger agreement with aha due to several complaints from students of emotional trauma. Despite the fact that I’d already wish my friend would drop out of AHA, he already spent half of his life’s savings and he’s now in his second term… He’s simply in a quandary since he’ll be the bigger loser if he gives up at this time. Here’s hoping that aha survives at least until he graduates next year.

  13. James
    November 13, 2012

    Dear Marlon Benzon, Please contact me as I can help you with getting a position with another school for your friend.

  14. James
    November 13, 2012
    • ikalwewe
      November 17, 2012

      thank you for your replies medz, marlon benzon and james. ive been busy with work/ real life. marlon i posted your comment in my fb, hope you dont mind. i didnt write your name though. i simply put a disclaimer to tell people its not my first hand info. anyway have a good night and wish you all the best luck. feel free to post more info if you wish…

  15. Marlon Benzon
    November 24, 2012

    Hi James. Would it be okay if you post your recommendation for a better school in here? –

  16. Chris
    November 25, 2012

    I am pretty sure that Marlon means First Gourmet Academy in QC. Google it. I am enrolled there now. Great school.

  17. Chef Philip John Golding
    November 28, 2012

    Dear potential students job seekers – as the New VP of AHA & director of linkages – President of Escoffier Philippines.Moving forward please call me personally on 09178179441 if you would like very good advice and help in culinary education & placement ( only serious candidates please) working in our industry is not easy but we are doing are very best and AHA has placed over 600 students all over the world in 5 years and the school is and has evolved they will be around for the long haul – come and talk to some of are recent switched on students and you will find out they are doing very well i have just placed 5 students in very good placements – our top students are being signed up for exciting openings and good paying jobs there is no better time than now to join the industry AHA will do its best to ensure that i can assure you .hope to see you at salcedo market for our cooking demonstrations with our in house culinary team that flew the flag in thailand bagging awards and top prizes now being asked to represent in the culinary competition in malaysia – please also sign up to FB eat & cheat Cancer were aha , Faculty and chefs are working on the book for the children of QC cancer ward – hope to see you potential chefs on site look for me best regards Philip John Golding

  18. nick
    November 29, 2012

    i have the same problem with my school. so many hidden charges (300,000+++++), schedules are changed and not everyone is informed. having problems with my plane tickets too. chefs are busy, it seems that students are their last priority. like we dont have a choice but to follow their ever changing schedules. why cant they just focus on teaching their students? wanted to enroll in a baking class (since the one included in our course is lousy) so i guess i better ask the students for feedback, and NOT listen to the sales talk of the school personnel so, are there any school that you can suggest for a certificate in baking and pastry? thanks!

  19. Marlon Benzon
    December 5, 2012

    This Philip Golding, I heard, is one of just two supposedly decent instructors in AHA. The other is a certain Dra. But I’m a bit puzzled that he’s writing as if he’s making an advertisement on a newspaper on behalf of AHA, fully oblivious of and notwithstanding the topic in this blog. Perhaps he neglected to read from way up to see what’s this all about. He could make a big contribution in changing AHA’s system, if he wants to.

    • ikalwewe
      July 3, 2013

      thank you for your replies medz, marlon benzon and james. ive been busy with work/ real life. marlon i posted your comment in my fb, hope you dont mind. i didnt write your name though. i simply put a disclaimer to tell people its not my first hand info. anyway have a good night and wish you all the best luck. feel free to post more info if you wish…

  20. Marlon
    December 9, 2012

    What system for example? Would you believe AHA requires their students to leave their belongings outside while they have classes inside and neglects to provide lockers for the students. Almost everyday, a theft is reported simply because there’s no one to guard these bags, not even the security guard cares. To think how much the students are paying… What a shitty school

  21. Pat
    December 13, 2012

    I have interestingly been following this blog for a couple of months now.
    I find everything written here very interesting. First of all the first long thread that got everything started. It is for sure very informative. A couple of names are being mentioned like Mrs. Cordova and Chef Gene Cordova. Several specific items is being brought to the reader’s attention, like the deposit slip problem, the wrinkled uniform, the cancellation and postponement of classes, the chef from America and so on. All of these items are very well described.
    What I find even more interesting though is the stir that this has caused among people that are connected to, or has been connected to AHA recently. Most of the people following this blog have very negative things to say and agreeing with the writer of the first thread. This blog has been read for sure, by people that are working for AHA in The Philippines as well as in The USA. It has for sure been read by Philip Golding, Mrs. Cordova as well as Chef Gene Cordova. It is not clear though if it has been read by any representative from Mapua or Miriam. However I would find it likely that it has been read by the mentioned schools.
    The question now is the following: Why do they not respond to the criticism that is being highlighted. Why does not any school representative contact the person that started this blog? They know for sure who this person is. Why do they not reply and try to defend themselves to this criticism using this blog as their way of telling the readers about their different side of the story. Why do not Mrs. Cordova and Chef Gene Cordova defend themselves? After all – this criticism is pretty serious. Why does not any representative of AHA America defend their own school? Why do not Miriam and Mapua defend their partner school? After following this blog it is interesting because the interpretation can only be that all of the writing in this blog is all true.

    • ikalwewe
      December 15, 2012

      dear pat thanks for your comment. you are right they are probably following this blog too, heck i bet they have this page bookmarked. there is no benefit for me whatsoever in speaking out. it’s too late for that, my money is down the drain and i am now stuck with student loans. but i believe in the capitalist market. feedback from a consumer (or student, however you call it, i put my money in it) is a part of it. it is a part of eliminating the bad and patronizing the good, so the market becomes more and more competitive to give the consumer the best value for his money. sure they can say all they want in reply to this, they can start their own marketing strategies and criticize me back. but i wrote here all my truest experience, no exagerations or lies, no malicious intent. i choose to exercise my right to free speech – in the same way that other websites in the internet allow users to rank or comment a service or product. the best way they (AHA) can respond to this criticism is change their ways. However, please note I am not certain about the truth of the replies posted here (regarding miriam / mapua and so forth). another is i dont know how to get the data from this blog!! the developer said my support is expired so i dont know how to extract info (email for example) so sorry I cannot contact anybody except through the comments page.

  22. Marissa Dames
    May 26, 2013

    I actually went there to inquire but left after 10 minutes. Glad I enrolled at the Center for Asian Culinary Studies instead. I got more than my money’s worth and made life long friends! Sorry to hear about your travails!

    • ikalwewe
      September 12, 2013

      hi Marissa thanks for your comment. You did a smart move. I wish I could have been smarter. But anyway it’s been two years and a half, I wish things have changed in AHA for the better. Good luck to us all.

      • Denise Santos
        December 6, 2013

        It’s Dec 2013 and it gotten worst. Recently, they had the Upper East duty in the waiting area of AHA. Imagine the guests eating around the bags of the students. One more problem about AHA, they can’t face problems like real schools do. I mean parents come if there is a problem, that’s normal. But here, they won’t talk to you. They will try to make you wait in the lobby, sweating, and tell you that the person you’re looking for is busy or not there just for you to go away. I mean if they can do that to parents, how about us students. You are really right about the time. If you have money, they got the time.. If not, bye.

      • ikalwewe
        December 6, 2013

        Hi Denise, thank you for your comment. I’m sorry to hear that it has gotten worse. One would think that wouldn’t have been possible to start with. AHA is there to take your money, it’s just not worth it. I hope you spread the news as well so people would stay away. Merry Christmas!

  23. Cheffy
    August 13, 2013

    You got every single detail about AHA right! And I know who brought that iron to school due to his fucking rule!! they may have good training and all but that school is filled with BULLSHITS as if that gay chef/President of aha is the lord of every paying student there he/she might even want to consider that his students deserves to be respected the way he demands respect and the hell with what we paid them we at least deserve Quality ings.? Right? Trust me they suck! And all the acf shit? It won’t matter after you graduate and it will only matter if you pay $100 annually to get your membership active trust me I should have trusted my instincts right ischam is indeed a better school than this crappy aha even surprised that they still have a loyal student like @MedzMedina to the rest here in manila so far you can’t go wrong with ischam there they really do have international chef residents who are not a holes like PJG + good facilities + quality training BTW I was an ASSOC student at aha I guess that school would be best for gays like him for them to understand each others ego!! kidding, just lightening up the air 🙂
    best regards to everyone ! Happy Cooking!

    • ikalwewe
      September 12, 2013

      Thank you for your comment Cheffy. Agree – for the money that we paid we deserve more than tilapia, yes? Everything was sh*tty there, the ingredients were nasty. I don’t know what that student’s name was (who brought the iron) but I saw him in waiting area/student lounge so we must have bumped into each other over 2 years ago. I hope AHA has changed for the better. If not, pity the students who continue to patronize such an institution. Have a great day.

  24. penpowersong
    October 2, 2013

    you are very courageous! we need bloggers like you!

  25. Celsie
    January 12, 2014

    Ooohh.. I finally found something like this. AHA was also my previous school, You really are brave to speak your mind and well yes I do agree that he favors pretty boys.

    • ikalwewe
      January 16, 2014

      Hi Celsie thank you for your comment. I am just speaking out the truth of my experience. If I found a blog like this before I paid, I know I would have changed my mind. But alas, it was too late..

  26. qwerty
    January 15, 2014

    hay nako ung security deposit namin lagpas 1 year na wala padin!

    • ikalwewe
      January 16, 2014

      Inaraw-araw ko sila. Ang gusto ata nila is magsawa at mapagod ang students. Naisip ko dati kung hindi nila ibalik ang deposit namin ipapa-radio ko sila. Good luck and keep on fighting.

      • Celsie
        January 24, 2014

        I highly doubt na ibabalik pa nila yang security deposit. I can’t even remember kung yung akin nakuha ko eh.

  27. Pingback: Guilty until Proven innocent: the Culture of internet Lynching. The case of Carlo Salazar. | When the nail sticks out

  28. Mauie
    May 20, 2014

    I have forwarded this blog to one of my media friends for investigation. I just hope that something good comes out. Since he covers IT beats, he said that he’ll forward it to Phil.Star.

    • ikalwewe
      May 21, 2014

      Hi Mauie,
      Thanks for your reply. I don’t know if they’ve “changed” their ways. I don’t even know if they are still in the same building. I hope something good comes out of this. The tuition fee is NOT a joke!

  29. Mylzie
    July 4, 2014

    Hi there, were you able to get ACF Certificate? Do they really send interns abroad? I’m looking for a good international culinary school in the Philippines any suggestions would be much appreciated.

    • ikalwewe
      July 4, 2014

      Hi Mylzie, Thanks for your comment. yes, I did pass the ServSafe exam. All students enrolled take them. They do send students abroad, but it’s an additional half a million from your pocket.

  30. Anonymous 1
    September 25, 2014

    Hi Tama nga at Mga mukhang Pera sila Just think of it 4 absents drop in a subject pero I only have 3 but hindi na ako pinapasok kasi ang sabi eh drop na daw kagad ako God Damn naman AHA sana pala nag AICA na lang ako promise mas naging Worse sila For F*cks Sake! halos 300 k na ang nagastos namin tapos ang Upper East ngayon ay Forced Payment ng Guest (Bring your own Guest) and ang sabi pa nila eh No Guest no Grade in Upper East F*ck I hate this school

    (Sorry for Cursing)

    • ikalwewe
      September 25, 2014

      Thank you for your comment. Ako din I regret going to AHA. Pero tinapos ko na once and for all. Hindi ko din sila binigyan ng excuse na ibagsak ako or idrop. Mahirap na. They didn’t like my face (or my guts). Ganun din ng time namen, bring your own guest. Palibhasa wala naman talaga kakain dun diba. Pagtiyagaan mo nalang kasi bayad ka na, di mo na makukuha money mo. Try mo sumulat sa kanila about your absences. Good luck!

  31. Adella
    October 17, 2014


  32. Refund
    December 16, 2014

    I graduated at AHA too.. kung diploma ang gusto mo yes maibibigay nila.. pero totoo din yung sinabi mo. Lahat totoo.. pero hindi naman sila naging rude sa batch namin.. Hindi ko alam kung bakit pero ako din ang lagi nilang napapansin sa batch namin.. Culinary entrepreneurship ang kinuha ko pero nung natapos ko na yung Culinary arts gusto ko magrefund about the enterpreneurshit kasi ayoko na magtagal pa sana sa school na ito kasi medyo masyadong malayo ang place ko para pumasok ng 2 hours then uuwi na ulit.. so I demanded a refund. Ayun walang ngyari sa refind na hinihingi ko.. naka tatlong letters ako na naisend sakanila thru email pero hindi daw nila mairerefind yung 40,000 ko kasi daw wala daw sa patakaran ng school etc. Pero hindi pa nagsstart ang class that time and mahabang oras pa bago nagumpisa.. nagsawa ako sa kakasend ng letters and sabi ko nalang. Sige hahayaan ko na wala din naman mangyayare mukhang wala din sila ibibigay so hindi na ako pumasok dun sa entrepreneurshit class.. May mga natutunan din naman ako sa AHA at naabsorb ko naman lahat specially yung time ng pagpasok.. isipin mo galing ka ng province which is 3 and half hours travel tapos papasok ka ng 6am. May natutunan ako pero nakukulangan ako sa nayutunan ko para sa halagang 300k+ now I am working na din.. and sa tingin ko hindi din naman sila tutulong para mahire ako abroad so kanya kanyang sikap nalang din talaga.. nagpapasalamat nalang din ako sakanila kasi mas binuhay nila yung passion ko for cooking..

    • ikalwewe
      January 13, 2015

      Sorry for the delayed reply. Entrep din ako. Naisip ko din magrefund nun una, sa sobrang turn off sa kanila, pero narealize ko na mukha nga silang pera kaya impossible na ibalik nila saken ang pera unless siguro kumuha ako ng lawyer, which is dagdag gastos pa. Tinapos ko kasi sayang ang bayad. Kahit ayaw nila sa pagmumukha ko, hindi ko sila bingyan ng excuse na bagsakin ako. Pinasa ko din yun ServSafe. Nagamit ko naman dito. Pero sana dito nalang ako nagaral or somewhere. Not worth the 300k. Grabe sayang din yun pera mo..

  33. franco
    January 27, 2015

    nice review for the school specially it came from their own experience. And I did not make any decision already not going to this culinary school but after reading all the comments and past experience from you and others that also have from this school it just come to my sense that time and money is precious

    anyway balak ko pa naman pumunta sa school kinabukasan para mag inquire
    kasi dalawa palang ang naiisip kong school na medyo hindi mataas ang tuition fee at isa ang AHA dun pero after ko mabasa tong blog mo nagdalawang isip na ako pumunta at mukang baka hindi na.

    Pinag-ipunan ko kasi for almost 3-years ang perang hawak ko ngayon abroad so syempre kahit sino naman ayaw masayang yung pinaghirapan nila at ang panahong gugu-gulin pa

    Thanks for this review I really hope that future inquirers for that school is mag research muna at baka sakali makita din nila ito and hopefully makita nga din nila katulad ko.

    and I really thankful that I found and read this.

    • ikalwewe
      January 29, 2015

      Hi Franco, thanks for reading and for your comment. I wrote this entry with hopes of giving information to potential students. At least, any paying student should know what they are signing up for diba. Kung may ganito lang akong nabasa – negative review, plus a lot of negative comments- siguro hindi na din ako nagenrol. Unfair kasi masyadong one-sided ang information. Ang bait nila kausap sa phone. Ang bait nila bago ka magbayad. Very deceptive. Pero once nagbayad ka na, lumalabas na ang tunay na kulay. They treat you like shit. That’s it. ANg point ko lang, is ,kung gusto nyo pa din magenrol hindi ko naman kayo pipigilan. Pero at least, alam nyo kung papano sila sa batch namen, kung pano nila ako tinrato. Im sure marami pang schools diyan. Kung wala, ayaw mo ba sa abroad nalang? Halos mag kasing mahal lang kasi e. Ako yun ang naiisip ko. Sana dito nalang sa japan. Anyway, salamat ulet and good luck. Let me know san school ang mapili mo.

  34. Borrie
    February 3, 2015

    aha alumni Here. Yes it’s true being a student in aha maybe like going thru the hitler era. The thing is if your in a kitchen in any hotel or restaurant exposed to different expat chefs etc. cursing and yelling or even discriminating the very existence of your life is the usual atmosphere inside. scheduling in our time was ok. I mean there are a few lapses. But nothing really major. The only thing I hate about aha is the fact that you need to enter the f*cking classroom with a well iron coat. I mean, our uniform that year was I guess the lowest quality of cloth there is. the fact that they even brag it is from chefs garb. The facility suck! Such a small kitchen for alot of students. Knives are weak quality. The only thing learned from aha was to be a tough moth*f*cker I am now.

    • dana
      February 9, 2015

      hi Borrie. Was it worth it attending AHA? As a culinary arts school i am now, can you recommend this school to people like me? i really am interested in attending a culinary arts school this school year but still clueless as to where i should enroll. I want to become a cook or a chef in a hotel here.or abroad someday to provide a .better future.for.my family. Hope you can give me an advice or.something. Also to the author of this blog. Will it be worth each penny that im paying them by the end of any culinary course? thanks so much and will be looking forward for your earnest replies. God bless! ✌

      • dana
        February 9, 2015

        *as a culinary arts school seeker i am now

  35. Dana
    February 8, 2015

    hi. i just read your blog as i am currently looking for a good culinary school here in the philippines. i came across AHA’s website last week and i was planning to call them up this week. good thing ive seen your cents about them. as a new and upcoming culinary school student, ofcourse i want to study in a respective school who will give me my tuition fees worth. 300k is not a joke. anyways, as of .now i found one school and already talked to their people and im kinda pessimistic now bec of what youve written here. the school told me that 300k includes everything, uniform, fees, books etc. i really hope they arent the same as AHA. my parents will really gamble on this one as i really want to land a good paying job as soon as i finish this 1 yr diploma course and the internship. needless to say, i know nothing about cooking. yes, and thats why im enrolling to a culinary school.to learn so and to hopefully to become a chef someday. your blog is very helpful to school.seekers like me. i just hope i make the right decision about.attending a culinary school. thank you! 🙇😄

    • ikalwewe
      February 11, 2015

      Hi Dana. Pls message me what school you chose. Just curious (jaltj@rakenrol.net). Mahirap sa Pilipinas, to be honest, businesses are always best foot forward, almost to the point of deception. No transparency, no accountability. if we only we have better consumer laws, so we can chase after them in the proper channels. But unfortunately, consumers/customers are left to their own devices. Which is why I put up this blog : to reveal the true colors of AHA. because no one deserves to be disrespected like the ordinary AHA student does. Good luck Dana!

  36. Anil
    March 5, 2015

    Hi ikalwewe, thanks for the info for this AHA. I was also abotu to call them up. But after reading your post it makes me think teice. Could you suggest me any other culinary school which is good. It can be anywhere. My budget is more or less around $20000. Thank you

    • dana
      March 5, 2015

      Hi! Are you from the philippines? if you are, you can check out ISCAHM. I visited the school myself and i think they are fairly good plus the instructors are foreigner chefs. The tuition fee is 360k for their 14 month culinary diploma course and they also provide ojt and.internship. I got sold on the Australian Certificate all their graduates get after completing the course. You can check it out yourself . Thats what i did. And im going to enroll for their July batch. Hope to see you there! But if you have the money, i would suggest you attend culinary schools abroad. 🙂

      • Anil
        March 12, 2015

        Thx for the info. I am actually from Indonesia and my budget is only around $20000

      • ikalwewe
        March 17, 2015

        Hi Dana . Yes I am from the Philippines. I got my diploma 3 years ago. I worked for one year sa kitchen here in Japan, then gave up coz the pay is really low. Sayang sana nga nag ISCAHM nalang ako. Anywhere but AHA ! Thanks for the info and good luck. Let us know how it goes.

    • ikalwewe
      March 17, 2015

      Hello Anil. Thanks for your comment. Sorry I am not sure about other schools. Do you mean $ 2,000 or $20,000? With 20,000 , you can go study even outside the Philippines. That’s a pretty big budget.

  37. louie
    March 11, 2015

    thank you for this,i am searching for a decent culinary school in manila too.. so far the best i see in the internet is CACS and global academy

    • ikalwewe
      March 17, 2015

      One commenter mentioned ISCAHM. you might wanna check it out :

      if you are, you can check out ISCAHM. I visited the school myself and i think they are fairly good plus the instructors are foreigner chefs. The tuition fee is 360k for their 14 month culinary diploma course and they also provide ojt and.internship. I got sold on the Australian Certificate all their graduates get after completing the course.

  38. Jo E
    March 20, 2015

    Ahh I admire you, you are so brave. My son is batch 2012 International Culinary. As a mother talking to Mrs Cordova and believing in her sweet talk is the worst decision I made for my son. I got an impression that everything is right because who would even think that a decent mother will be a part of deception just to bring in students to her son’s school?

    For the record, I agree in everything you wrote because I personally heard it from my son too. Since I was the one who was sweet talked by Mrs Cordova I realized that I am the one that was fooled and greatly offended. I was made to believe that International OJT is hassle free and not as expensive as half a million and more and was only made known to the students on their last sem. I thank God my husband works in China and we were able tho facilitate his OJT there. Mrs Cordova made a lot of wrong impressions on me that I choose to forget because I don’t want to entertain negative feelings. She is such a very good sales person and she sells her son Chef Gene and AHA so well. Kaya, WARMING don’t ever talk to her and follow the above advice talk to the students.

    BTW, until now my son’s deposit was not released. I beleive spent more than the amount of his safety deposit in his fare from Cavite just to follow it up. And reading their batch FB group I realize the there’s still a lot of theme who were not able to claim it and to take the Servsafe.

    • ikalwewe
      March 30, 2015

      Hi Jo E. Thank you for your comment. I wrote this blog to warn people what they are in for. There is no other recourse. Since the legal system in the Philippines cannot help us, we’re left to our own devices. Mrs Cordova “intentionally” withheld some information. What she was saying was totally different from the info on the literature that she was giving away. They should have raised red flags- but alas I was too eager. And besides, it’s now too late. I hope this entry will make people ask questions, observe, do more research BEFORE giving their money to AHA.Ultimately, it’s their decision. In our batch, madami din hindi nakakuha ng deposit. Too bad that we cannot make them legally accountable. Pero sa dami ng students, imagine how much they make.

  39. MJ
    April 5, 2015

    Just so you know we just found out that AHA is doing something illegal. They offered a Bachelors Degree Program and Associate Degree Program to us students, little did we know that it is out of their power to offer such degree programs since they are not acknowledged by CHED (Commission on Higher Education) and based on their GIS (General Information Sheet) they can ONLY offer VOCATIONAL COURSES. No wonder our grades tend to be not given and/or it is only a UNOFFICIAL COPY. They said they are tied up with UMAC (University of Makati) and in Miriam College (formerly Maryknoll) but, I highly doubt they are still tied up as of to date.

    • ikalwewe
      April 7, 2015

      Hello MJ,
      Thanks for your comment. Maybe you can report them to the authorities? I don’t know – Tesda, DepEd? So wait, wala ng tie up? Bakit? Pls share! Thanks!

  40. MJ
    April 5, 2015

    Here’s to hoping they get caught and justice be served. Even better if the MEDIA can be involved to expose their crime against students and their parents/guardians who wasted money for nothing at all. If only we had known earlier. I believe that karma will bite them back!

  41. disgruntledAHAstudent
    July 23, 2015

    I am a graduate of the internship program in the States 2006-2007 under AHA. I finished HRIM in a prestigious school in Manila and wanted to have experience abroad.For those people wanting to report AHA Philippines to AHA Main in the United States, you don’t have to, because even the management there (American counterparts) are like that. Cindi Reiman is a great businesswoman and AHA is a moneymaking machine and its capital are the dreams of young people around the world.They exploited young Filipino dreamers to work there for a meager 400$ stipend per month. I was working all alone at the restaurant where I was assigned at and got paid like that. I was expecting to learn under someone else because it was suppose to an internship but instead worked as a regular employee. This blog is an eloquent rant about what is wrong in the AHA system. Young Filipinos are considered cheap labor over there.Attn: Philippine government, please help inform HRM/culinary students about this company

  42. Mis Leigh
    September 27, 2015

    50% off pa naman ang AHA ngayon. Just weird that for a culinary course they’d be offering such a big discount… Looking at their pics about the quality of the training place with previous AHA students Im still having doubts whether to go for AHA than my first choice MIHCA… only that some of my frinds finished in MIHCA and based from the pics they posted during their training, they are really getting what they paid for plus it’s the less expensive culinary school in the Philippines. But then I stumbled into AHA’s 50% discount promos for their Jan-Feb2016 batches, so of course that made my heart leapt for a while. Thinking it’s an International School with international quality training and not to mention connections abroad. But why so high the discount of 50% off? So I researched reviews online about AHA. Good thing I found this post. Thank you for informing me. You see, Im not from a well-off family so my money is reallt hard earned. I dont want to waste my money and my precious time on just some bogus, scam, lies…. Thanks once again. It’s a big help for us, aspiring culinary learners.

  43. Glennix
    July 25, 2016

    This is indeed a very helpful exchange. I want to get certificate only because I want to learn more. What school is best from among the choices in Manila? (hopefully in Makati). Thanks

  44. Clarissa
    January 4, 2017

    I worked there in the year 2009. They are one family there who is handling the business. I worked there for 1 month, but i was not able to continue because the family is so rude to me and the last thing i remembered is the reason i quit this job is when they spank my hand twice.

  45. J Tayao
    February 23, 2017

    Has anyone heard of any recent news about AHA? Its been a few years now since.. and the American Culinary Federation has not taken away their accreditation. Have they finally listened to all the complaints??

  46. John
    April 4, 2017

    Hi my Girlfriend enrolled today in AHA and I was not able to see this post. Does the school have changed already?

    I hope she won’t experience those stories because I don’t want to see her look stressed everyday.

  47. Can
    November 8, 2017

    Is the filipino AHA same AHA or they work all under AHA name? Just curios

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