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PHILIPPINES - Exercise a high degree of cautionThere is no nationwide advisory in effect for the Philippines. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to an ongoing terrorist threat to Westerners and Western interests.
Regional Advisory for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and vicinityForeign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against all travel to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (consisting of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi Tawi, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao), as well as to the Zamboanga Peninsula, Sarangani, Lanao del Norte, Davao, North and South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat, due to the serious threat of terrorist attacks and kidnapping. See Security for more information.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and vicinity (see Advisory)
There is a serious risk of terrorist attacks and kidnappings in this region. Bombs have exploded in public areas of major centres, including the cities of Cotabato, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Kidapawan, Zamboanga, General Santos, Jolo, and Isabela, causing deaths and injuries.
Security forces in Davao City and other parts of Mindanao are on high alert since late June 2014 due to possible terrorist attacks.
Clashes occur between insurgent groups, and between armed groups and security forces. These incidents often result in deaths and property destruction, and innocent bystanders have occasionally been taken hostage.
Several foreigners have been kidnapped in this region. Threats of abduction of, or violence toward, foreigners continue to occur.
If you are visiting or living in this region despite this Advisory, review your security situation regularly and take appropriate precautions, particularly when visiting places frequented by foreigners.
The threat of terrorist activities exists, particularly in Mindanao. Westerners and Western interests could be targeted. Bomb attacks could occur at any time in Manila and other key cities, and could target places frequented by foreigners. Bombs have exploded on public transportation, at airports and port facilities, and in shopping malls, convention centres, places of worship and other public areas. Further explosions are possible anywhere in the country. Expect to be subject to frequent security checks at public and private facilities, including shopping malls and public transportation stations.
Bombings and crime-related shootings have occurred in Mindanao, Manila and other parts of the country. Explosive devices continue to be discovered by security authorities. Be vigilant and comply with all security procedures.
Be alert to the danger of kidnap-for-ransom in the Philippines, particularly in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and surrounding areas (see Advisory). Kidnappings have occurred throughout the country, and some cases have resulted in the death of the victim.
Both petty crime and violent crime, sometimes involving guns, are a serious concern, especially in urban areas. Avoid showing signs of affluence or carrying large sums of money, and keep valuables in safekeeping facilities. Criminal gangs are active in Manila, including the Makati central business district, and have drugged and robbed unsuspecting tourists. Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as they may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery. Do not accept transportation from strangers. Bystanders have been hit by stray gunfire during armed robberies and subsequent pursuit of the perpetrators by authorities. Avoid disturbances. Violent incidents may increase around election periods.
Avoid protests, demonstrations, political rallies and large gatherings. These events can turn violent without notice. You could face detention and deportation if you attend a demonstration, even as an observer.
Avoid travel outside urban areas and tourist centres after dark.
Driving conditions are poor. Roads are crowded and many drivers do not follow safe driving practices. Stay on national highways and paved roads.
Exercise caution when using public transportation, including buses and the light rail system, due to safety and security concerns. Incidents of taxi drivers using threats to extort money from passengers have been reported. Arrange to be met at airports, use hotel transportation or use the taxi booking services in arrival halls. Use officially marked taxis only and do not share them with strangers.
Ferry accidents are not uncommon due to overloading and poor maintenance of some vessels. Do not board vessels that appear overloaded or unseaworthy.
See Transportation Safety in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Philippine authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit the Philippines, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of departure from that country. If your passport does not meet this requirement, you will be detained at the airport until you can board the next available flight to your country of origin, which may not take off on the same day you landed. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf in this situation.
Canadians do not require a tourist or business visa for stays of up to 30 days. Apply for a visa at an embassy or consulate of the Philippines if you intend to stay for more than 30 days. Another visa, which takes precedence over the visa issued by the Philippine embassy or consulate abroad, will be issued upon arrival. Alternatively, while in the country you may apply for an extension before the 30-day period expires at the Philippine Bureau of Immigration.
Canadians using a temporary passport may need to secure an appropriate entry visa at an embassy or consulate of the Philippines prior to arrival in the country.
Tourist visa: Not required (for stays of up to 30 days)
Business visa: Not required (for stays of up to 30 days)
Student visa: Required
An onward or return ticket is required to visit the Philippines.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
Special entry requirements are in place for unaccompanied children under the age of 15 who are seeking entry for a purpose other than meeting a parent. For more information, contact the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines.
Philippine authorities have implemented enhanced screening measures at all international airports in response to the H1N1 flu outbreak. Travellers entering the Philippines are subject to a body temperature check. In some cases, travellers may be isolated and treated.
Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination before allowing entry. Consult the World Health Organization’s country list to obtain information on this country’s requirements.
An airport user fee of 550 Philippine pesos (payable either in local currency or the equivalent in U.S. dollars, in cash only) is payable upon departure from the international airport in Manila. If you are staying in the Philippines for more than 59 days, or if you hold an Immigration Card (I-Card), you may be required to obtain an exit clearance certificate and pay a corresponding fee at the Bureau of Immigration prior to departure. Consult the Philippine Bureau of Immigration for more information.
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Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is low for most travellers. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to mosquito bites (e.g., spending a large amount of time outdoors) while travelling in regions with risk of Japanese encephalitis.
Lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis, is caused by filariae (tiny worms) spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can cause a range of illnesses. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for lymphatic filariasis although drug treatments exist.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Southeast Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southeast Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Cholera is a bacterial disease that is most often spread by drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated. It causes diarrhea and in severe cases it can lead to dehydration and even death.
Most travellers are at very low risk. Travellers at higher risk include those visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation, or to areas where outbreaks are occurring. Travellers at higher risk should discuss with a health care provider the benefits of getting vaccinated.
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers at high risk visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently an outbreak of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a viral disease spread through the bite of an infected mosquito that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. Protect yourself from mosquito bites, particularly around sunrise and sunset. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in some areas in Southeastern Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & Culture
Laws & Culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Attending any protest, demonstration or political rally may lead to detention and deportation.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can face life imprisonment for certain drug-related crimes.
A lifetime sentence is also often imposed for rape.
Conviction for "swindling" or "bad debts" can result in sentences of up to 20 years.
Penalties for pedophile activity are strict. Under Philippine law, a child is defined as a person under the age of 18. Locals with children may befriend single male tourists and then accuse them of child abuse in order to extort money from them.
Foreigners are required to carry identification. A photocopy of the identification page of your passport is acceptable.
An International Driving Permit is recommended. However, apply for a local driving permit if you wish to remain in the Philippines for a lengthy period.
You may travel with over-the-counter medicines, but only in quantities sufficient for the duration of your stay. Bring a letter from your physician if you are carrying prescription drugs, stating the dosage and the condition for which you are receiving treatment. If you are travelling onward to another country, a separate quantity of prescription drugs should be sealed and declared again before departing the Philippines.
The currency is the Philippine peso (PHP). Credit cards are accepted in major establishments. Credit card and bank card fraud is common. Pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others during payment processing. U.S. dollar traveller's cheques can sometimes be exchanged in certain banks and hotels. Verify with the issuing authority in Canada before purchasing them for use in the Philippines. Automated banking machines (ABMs) are available in larger cities.
Natural Disasters & Climate
Natural Disasters & Climate
You can obtain situational reports and other useful information from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
Typhoon and monsoon season
The typhoon and monsoon season extends from May to December, but storms can occur throughout the year. The Philippines experiences around 20 typhoons per year, usually between June and November. These storms can result in significant loss of life and extensive damage to infrastructure, and can hamper the provision of essential services. Heavy winds and rains make flash-flooding and landslides a significant threat. Telecommunications and transportation (air, sea and land) can also be affected. Stay informed of regional weather forecasts, avoid disaster areas, and follow the advice of local authorities.
Flooding is frequent following heavy rains, even in central Manila. Be careful when moving around cities during extreme weather conditions as roads can quickly become flooded and impassable.
For local weather forecasts, consult the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH). See Typhoons and monsoons for more information.
Super Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) hit the central Philippines on November 8, 2013, causing severe damage in Leyte Province, Eastern Samar Province, Northern Samar Province, Samar Province, the northern portion of Cebu Province, and parts of Panay Island (including Northern Iloilo and Capiz). Although the situation has improved, reconstruction efforts are ongoing and local conditions vary. Transportation routes, medical services, electricity, telecommunications and sanitation systems, as well as water, food and fuel supplies may be affected and/or limited in some areas. Seek information on local conditions before travelling to affected regions.
Seismic and volcanic activity
The Philippines is located in an active seismic zone and is prone to volcanic activity and earthquakes.
A magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck near Carmen, Bohol (Central Visayas) on October 15, 2013, resulting in significant damage to infrastructure and loss of life. Familiarize yourself with earthquake security measures in public and private buildings, and follow the advice of local authorities in the event of an earthquake. The Government of Canada provides helpful tips on what to do during an earthquake.
There are a number of active and potentially active volcanoes in the Philippines. On September 15, 2014, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology raised the alert level for Mayon Volcano to 3 (critical), indicating that an eruption is possible within the coming weeks. Pay careful attention to all warnings issued, avoid restricted areas and follow the advice of local authorities in the event of an eruption. Consult the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology for current information on earthquakes and volcanoes.
Manila - Embassy of Canada
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Cebu - Consulate of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the Embassy of Canada in Manila and follow the instructions. You may also make a collect call to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613 996 8885.
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