Philippines

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Advisories

Advisories

PHILIPPINES - Exercise a high degree of caution

There 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.

 

Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda)

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against non-essential travel to the following areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan (locally named Yolanda):

- Leyte Province
- Eastern Samar Province
- Northern Samar Province
- Samar Province
- the northern portion of Cebu Province
- parts of Panay Island (including Northern Iloilo and coastal areas of Capiz)

If you choose to remain in or travel to affected areas, you should prepare to be self-sufficient.

Damage has been reported in other parts of the central Philippines, though major cities, such as metropolitan Manila and Cebu City, were not significantly affected.

Consult the Natural Disasters and Climate tab for more information, including advice about transportation.



Regional Advisory for the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and vicinity

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against all travel to the Autonomous Region of 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. Consult the Security tab for more information.

 

Security

Security

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 of Muslim Mindanao and vicinity (see Advisory)

There is a serious threat of terrorist attacks and kidnappings in this region. Since September 9, 2013, clashes have been occurring in parts of Zamboanga City between Philippine Armed Forces and the Moro National Liberation Front.

On August 24, 2013, the Government of the United Kingdom advised its citizens of a credible and imminent threat of abduction of foreigners in the province of Zamboanga del Norte. On August 31, the Embassy of the United States in Manila informed its citizens of an increased threat of violence toward and abduction of foreigners in the Zamboanga Peninsula. In early July, the United States embassy halted all staff travel to Davao City, Cotabato City and Zamboanga City until further notice.

Dozens of people have been killed or injured by bombings in (but not limited to) Cotabato, Kidapawan, Zamboanga City, General Santos City, Iligan City, Jolo, Isabela City and Davao City. On September 12, 2013, and October 10, 2013, the Embassy of the United States in Manila informed its citizens of a credible threat against foreigners in southern Mindanao. Public shopping malls and western-based cafés in the region are thought to have been monitored, as potential targets of interest, by individuals affiliated with extremist groups. On September 16, two bombs exploded in Davao City, one at SM City Davao Cinema and the other at Gaisano Mall Cinema. On August 5, a bomb exploded in Cotabato City, killing eight people and injuring more than 30 others. On July 26, a bomb attack in Cagayan de Oro City killed eight people and wounded 45. The threat of terrorist attacks remains high in major centres in the region.

A state of emergency was declared in Cotabato City and the provinces of Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat in November 2009 due to election-related violence. The state of emergency remains in effect.

Review your security situation and take appropriate precautions if you are visiting or living in this region, particularly when visiting places frequented by foreigners. 

Terrorism

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.

Kidnapping

Be alert to the danger of kidnap-for-ransom in the Philippines, particularly in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and surrounding areas (see Advisory). Kidnappings have occurred throughout the country, and some cases have resulted in the death of the victim. 

Crime

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.

Demonstrations

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.

Transportation

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.

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Piracy

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.

Emergency services

Dial 117.

Entry/Exit Requirements

Entry/Exit Requirements

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.

Passport

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.

Visas

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

Important requirements

An onward or return ticket is required to visit the Philippines.

Children and travel

Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. Please consult our Children page 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.

Medical screening

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.

Yellow fever

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.

Departure fee

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.

Health

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

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

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

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 or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

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 through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Japanese encephalitis

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 time outdoors in rural areas) while travelling in regions with risk of Japanese encephalitis.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Rabies

Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid 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).

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by 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.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
Food/Water

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, leptospirosis, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southeast Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Schistosomiasis

Schistosomiasis is caused by blood flukes (tiny worms) spread to humans through contaminated water. 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 contaminated water. There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.

Travellers' diarrhea
  • 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 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.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In Southeastern Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, lymphatic filariasis, and malaria.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Dengue fever
  • 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.  
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.

Malaria

Malaria

  • 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

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.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

Tuberculosis

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.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Good medical care is available in major cities. Care is limited in rural and more remote areas and islands. Most hospitals will require a down payment of estimated fees at the time of admission and may require that progress payments be made during hospitalization.

Decompression chambers are located in Manila, Cebu, Batangas, Subic and Palawan.

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. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Laws

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.

Money

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

Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda)

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). Transportation routes, medical services, electricity, telecommunications and sanitation systems, as well as water, food and fuel supplies have been heavily impacted in some areas.

A state of national calamity has been declared by Philippine authorities, as the storm caused thousands of deaths and injuries, and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. Damage to infrastructure is widespread and some regions remain inaccessible.

Although power and telecommunications have been re-established in many areas, it may take considerable time to be restored in all affected regions. You can obtain situational reports and other useful information from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

All commercial airports in the affected regions are operational; however Tacloban airport operations remain limited. If you choose to remain in or travel to affected areas, you should prepare to be self-sufficient and follow the advice of local authorities.

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. 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). Consult our Typhoons and monsoons page for more information.

Seismic and volcanic activity

The Philippines is located in an active seismic zone and is prone to volcanic activity and earthquakes. 

An earthquake of 7.2 on the Richter scale struck near Carmen, Bohol (Central Visayas) on October 15, 2013, resulting in significant damage to infrastructure and loss of life. The provinces of Cebu and Bohol have been declared ‘states of calamity’. Transportation routes and telecommunications services may be affected. Monitor local news, avoid disaster areas and follow the advice of local authorities. 

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. 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.

Help Abroad

Help Abroad

Manila - Embassy of Canada
Street Address 6th, 7th, and 8th Floors, RCBC Plaza Tower 2, 6819 Ayala Avenue, Makati City, Manila, Philippines Postal Address P.O. Box 2168, Makati City 1220, 1261 MakatiPhilippines Telephone 63 (2) 857-9000, 857-9001 Fax 63 (2) 843-1082 Emailmanil@international.gc.ca
manila-consular@international.gc.caInternetphilippines.gc.caServicesPassport Services AvailableFacebookEmbassy of Canada to the PhilippinesTwitterEmbassy of Canada to the Philippines: @CanEmbPH
Cebu - Consulate of Canada
Address 45-L Andres Abellana Street, Cebu City 6000, Philippines Telephone 63 (32) 256-3320 Fax 63 (32) 255-3068 Emailcanada-consulate-cebu@mozcom.comInternetphilippines.gc.caFacebookEmbassy of Canada to the PhilippinesTwitterEmbassy of Canada to the Philippines: @CanEmbPH

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 613-996-8885.

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