Philippines travel advice

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Risk level

PHILIPPINES - Exercise a high degree of caution

Exercise a high degree of caution in the Philippines due to crime, terrorism and kidnapping.

Western Mindanao - Avoid all travel

Avoid all travel to the following provinces of Mindanao island, due to the serious threat of terrorism, kidnapping, high levels of crime, and violent clashes between the security forces and rebel groups:

  • Basilan
  • Cotabato
  • Lanao del Sur
  • Lanao del Norte
  • Maguindanao
  • Misamis Occidental
  • Sarangani
  • South Cotabato
  • Sultan Kudarat
  • Sulu
  • Tawi-Tawi
  • Zamboanga del Norte
  • Zamboanga del Sur
  • Zamboanga Sibugay

 

Central and Eastern Mindanao - Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel to the following provinces of Mindanao island due to the risk of kidnapping and high levels of crime:

  • Agusan del Norte
  • Agusan del Sur
  • Bukidnon
  • Davao de Oro
  • Davao del Norte
  • Davao del Sur, excluding Davao City
  • Davao Occidental
  • Davao Oriental
  • Misamis Oriental
  • Surigao del Norte, excluding Siargao Island
  • Surigao del Sur

 

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Safety and security

Mindanao island

Extremists have been active in the southern Philippines for several years.

Although local authorities have demobilized some of violent extremist groups in the recent years, there's still a risk of terrorist attacks and kidnappings, especially in the following regions:

  • Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
  • Zamboanga Peninsula
  • Sulu archipelago

Bombs causing deaths, injuries, and property destruction have exploded in public areas of major centres, including the cities of:

  • Cotabato
  • General Santos
  • Isabela
  • Jolo
  • Kidapawan
  • Marawi
  • Zamboanga

Clashes may occur between insurgent groups and security forces.

There's a risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Government of Canada's ability to provide consular assistance is limited if you get stranded in this area.

If you chose to travel in the southern Philippines despite this advisory:

  • remain indoors as much as possible
  • be aware of your surroundings at all times
  • avoid crowded places
  • always travel with identification
  • expect an increased security presence in public areas, especially around malls and transportation hubs
  • stop at security checkpoints
  • monitor local media
  • follow the advice and instructions of local authorities

Terrorism

There is a threat of terrorism in the southern Philippines.

In recent years, the Filippino government has intensified its fight against terrorists. Counterterrorism operations diminished the capacity of terrorist groups to operate in the Philippines. However, militants remain in the country even if attacks are less common.

Terrorist have carried out attacks, including in major cities and places visited by foreigners. Attacks are far more frequent in Western Mindanao, where government forces and rebel groups clash.

Further attacks may not be ruled out. Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including military and police installations
  • places of worship
  • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • public areas such as tourist destinations, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.

Be particularly vigilant during the following:

  • sporting events
  • religious holidays
  • public celebrations
  • major political events, such as elections

Terrorists have used such occasions to mount attacks.

Kidnapping

There is a threat of kidnapping across the country, including in Metro Manila. In coastal areas, criminals target individuals on private boats, in marinas and resorts. They have also kidnapped cargo vessel crews.

Kidnappings are usually for ransom, targeting both local and foreign nationals perceived to have money. Criminals have killed some victims.

While in the Philippines:

  • maintain a high level of vigilance and personal security awareness at all times
  • stay in reputable accommodation with adequate security measures
  • report any suspicious behaviour to security forces
  • if you are abducted, comply with the kidnappers' demands and do not resist

Crime

Crime remains a serious concern throughout the country.

Violent crime, such as armed robbery, sexual assault, and murder, occur regularly. Gangs are active, including in Metro Manila.

The possession of guns and other weapons is common and poorly regulated. Arms trafficking is a significant problem throughout the country and criminals have attacked foreigners, even in wealthy neighborhoods.

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times
  • Avoid showing signs of affluence
  • If threatened by robbers, don't resist

Petty crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, swarming and bag snatching, occurs, especially in urban areas.

  • Ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • Be careful in crowded shopping malls and other public places
  • Avoid carrying large sums of money
  • Keep valuables in safe place
  • Keep backpacks and bags away from traffic, as motorcyclists may grab them from pedestrians, sometimes causing injury
  • Beware of friendly strangers offering to take you around town or on an excursion

Spiked food and drinks

Some criminals have drugged and robbed tourists travelling alone after an invitation to visit a tourist attraction.

Snacks, beverages, gum and cigarettes may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

  • Be wary of accepting these items from new acquaintances
  • Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers

Fraud

Credit card and ATM fraud occurs frequently. Illegal electronic devices are sometimes attached to ATM card readers, enabling them to record information such as the user's PIN.

Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
  • use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

Overseas fraud

Scams

Online financial scams

Internet is frequently used to initiate financial scams. Scammers often use fake profiles to target Westerners and steal from them. Once they succeed in building a virtual relationship, they ask for money for various purposes. This could include business or financial opportunities such as:

  • money transfers
  • lucrative sales
  • gold purchase
  • lotteries
  • inheritance notices
  • job offers
  • bank overpayments

If you intend to do business in the Philippines:

  • ensure that any business opportunity is legitimate before leaving
  • don't travel to the Philippines with the intention to obtain restitution after losing money to a fraud

Internet romance

Internet romance is also common. Victims of this type of scams have lost thousands of dollars. Before travelling to the Philippines to visit someone you met online:

  • keep in mind that you may be the victim of a scam
  • inform yourself about the country's customs and laws on conjugal relations and marriage
  • be sure to retain possession of your return plane ticket, money, and passport

Child abuse

Locals with children may befriend single male tourists and then accuse them of child abuse to extort money from them.

Report any incident of crime or scams to local police before you leave the country.

Women's safety

Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.

Advice for women travellers

Demonstrations

Demonstrations take place, including in Manila. Clashes may occur between security forces and demonstrators, especially in Mindanao and remote areas of northern Luzon.

Filipino law prohibits political activities by foreigners. Participating in demonstrations may result in being detained or deported.

Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Water activities

Coastal waters can be dangerous. Riptides are common. Several drownings occur each year.

Most of the time, lifeguards are not present to supervise swimmers. Many beaches don't offer warnings of dangerous conditions.

Water pollution is also a concern.

  • Seek local advice before swimming
  • Avoid swimming if red flags are flown

Scuba diving

Diving schools and rescue services may not adhere to Canadian standards.

  • Use only reputable dive companies
  • Make sure the company offers proper safety equipment

Water safety abroad

Road safety

Road conditions

Road conditions vary throughout the country. Some roads, including major highways, are poorly maintained. Traffic is very heavy, especially in Metro Manila.

Driving conditions may quickly become hazardous. During the rainy season, metro centres often become impassable due to flash floods.

Driving habits

Many drivers don't respect traffic laws. They are reckless. They often drive at excessive speeds or way below the speed limit on highways. Accidents causing fatalities are common. Pedestrians don't have priority over cars.

Even minor road incidents can escalate quickly and lead to violent assaults.

If driving in the Philippines:

  • avoid travel outside urban areas or tourist centres after dark
  • stay on national highways and paved roads
  • avoid any confrontation

Scooters

Most people travel using mopeds. Fatal scooter accidents involving tourists are common.

If renting a scooter or moped:

  • be vigilant while driving
  • avoid renting from operators who don't provide a helmet with the rental
  • avoid driving on roads in disrepair

Public transportation

The safety and reliability of public transportation are poor.

Buses

Minibuses, known as jeepneys, and large buses are often old, poorly maintained, and overcrowded. Pickpocketing and armed robberies are frequent, especially in large cities such as Manila and Cebu.

Some interurban buses have also been involved in fatal accidents.

Motorcycles

Motorcycle transportation is prevalent throughout the country, whether by habal-habal or tricycle.

Habal-habal are motorcycles with extensions, which can carry several passengers at a time. They are illegal and dangerous.

Tricycles are rather a safe option as they don't drive very fast. However, vehicles may be in poor condition. They aren't metered and can be hailed anywhere.

  • Don't use habal-habal
  • Avoid using tricycles at night on country roads
  • Agree on a fare with the tricycle driver before departing to avoid scams

Taxis

Although most taxi services are safe and reliable, there have been extortion incidents from taxi drivers.

To minimize your risks:

  • avoid hailing a taxi on the street
  • only enter metered taxis from a reliable company and insist the meter be turned on
  • prefer hotel transportation, official airport taxis, or a ridesharing app
  • never share taxis with strangers
  • ask for the windows being rolled up and doors locked at all times
  • never hand your phone to the driver to allow them to see the map
  • record the taxi's licence plate and provide the information to a relative/friend

Ferry

Ferry accidents occur. Some vessels are poorly maintained and overcrowded. Accidents are more prevalent during the rainy season as storms can develop quickly. As a result, local authorities may suspend ferry services on short notice when a storm signal is raised, even if the weather is clear. You could get stranded at ports for several days.

If travelling by sea:

  • use only a reliable company
  • don't board vessels that appear overloaded or unseaworthy
  • make sure you have access to a life jacket
  • plan for extra time, especially during the rainy season

Piracy

Pirate attacks and armed robbery targeting ships occur in coastal waters. You may face an elevated threat of kidnapping in waters:

  • around Mindanao
  • in the Sulu Sea
  • in the Celebes Sea
  • south of Palawan Island
  • south of Negros Island
  • around Siquijor Island

Mariners should take appropriate precautions.

Live piracy report - International Maritime Bureau

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

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Entry and exit requirements

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Philippine authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.

Passport

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave the Philippines.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

Visas

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

If you need to extend your stay above the 30-day visa-free period, you must get the proper authorization from local authorities before this period ends.

The visa that immigration officials issue upon your arrival in the Philippines takes precedence over any visa you may have obtained from a Philippine embassy or consulate abroad.

If you're leaving the Philippines using a temporary passport issued inside the country, consult the Philippine Bureau of Immigration to obtain the required exit stamps.

Bureau of Immigration – Republic of the Philippines

Registration

All travelers must register their entry and exit from the country in the Philippine's eTravel System within 72 hours before travel.

Foreign nationals staying in the Philippines for longer than 59 days must register with the local authorities.

You must present yourself to a Bureau of Immigration office to register your biometrics, such as fingerprinting, and obtain a special security registration number.

Other entry requirements

Customs officials may ask you to show them a return or onward ticket.

Boracay Island

Local authorities are restricting visitors to Boracay Island.

You may need proof of accommodation in an accredited hotel to be allowed entry.

Exit requirements

Travel pass

Foreign nationals travelling on a visa issued by one of the following authorities must present a travel pass to leave the country:

  • the Department of Justice
  • the Board of Investments
  • the Philippine Retirement Authority
  • the Philippine Economic Zone Authority
  • the economic zones

Travel pass – Bureau of Immigration, Republic of the Philippines

Emigration clearance certificate

If you've been in the country for 6 months or more, you must obtain an emigration clearance certificate (ECC), also known as an exit clearance, and pay applicable fees at least 72 hours before your expected departure.

This also applies to children born in the Philippines who are leaving the country for the first time on a foreign passport.

Emigration clearance certificate – Bureau of Immigration, Republic of the Philippines

Children and travel

Children under 15 years travelling alone need a Waiver for Exclusion Ground to enter the Philippines.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

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Health

Relevant Travel Health Notices

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Hepatitis A

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

 

Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain.  It is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is very low for most travellers. Travellers at relatively higher risk may want to consider vaccination for JE prior to travelling.

Travellers are at higher risk if they will be:

  • travelling long term (e.g. more than 30 days)
  • making multiple trips to endemic areas
  • staying for extended periods in rural areas
  • visiting an area suffering a JE outbreak
  • engaging in activities involving high contact with mosquitos (e.g., entomologists)
Hepatitis B

 Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

Malaria

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is caused by parasites spread through the bites of mosquitoes.
 
There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this destination. 

Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic before travelling to discuss your options. It is recommended to do this 6 weeks before travel, however, it is still a good idea any time before leaving. 
 
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times: 
• Cover your skin and use an approved insect repellent on uncovered skin. 
• Exclude mosquitoes from your living area with screening and/or closed, well-sealed doors and windows.
• Use insecticide-treated bed nets if mosquitoes cannot be excluded from your living area. 
• Wear permethrin-treated clothing. 
 
If you develop symptoms similar to malaria when you are travelling or up to a year after you return home, see a health care professional immediately. Tell them where you have been travelling or living. 

Influenza

 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements

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.

Risk

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
  • Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* 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.

Rabies


In this destination, rabies is carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions, including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. Rabies treatment is often available in this destination. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals). 

COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Cholera

Risk

Cholera is a risk in parts of this country. Most travellers are at very low risk.

To protect against cholera, all travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.

Travellers at higher risk of getting cholera include those:

  • visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
  • visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring

Vaccination may be recommended for high-risk travellers, and should be discussed with a health care professional.

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 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

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

Schistosomiasis

There is a risk of schistosomiasis in this destination. Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease caused by tiny worms (blood flukes) which can be found in freshwater (lakes, rivers, ponds, and wetlands). The worms can break the skin, and their eggs can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, flu-like symptoms, or urinary problems. Schistosomiasis mostly affects underdeveloped and rural communities, particularly agricultural and fishing communities.

Most travellers are at low risk. Travellers should avoid contact with untreated freshwater such as lakes, rivers, and ponds (e.g., swimming, bathing, wading, ingesting). There is no vaccine or medication available to prevent infection.

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

Dengue
  • In this country, dengue is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.
Zika virus

Zika virus is a risk in this country. 

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.

During your trip:

  • Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
  • Use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact, particularly if you are pregnant.

If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you should discuss the potential risks of travelling to this destination with your health care provider. You may choose to avoid or postpone travel. 

For more information, see Zika virus: Pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

Chikungunya

There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a country.  Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •  washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

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 professional.

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

Good medical services and facilities are limited in availability, especially outside major urban areas. Public medical clinics often lack basic resources and equipment.

Quality of care varies greatly throughout the country.  Most hospitals will require a down payment of estimated fees at the time of admission. They may also require additional payments during hospitalization. 

Some hospitals require patients to have a full-time caregiver. You may have to hire one if you’re travelling alone.

Emergency services are not widely available. Time response can be slow.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Medication

Some medication that can be purchased over-the-counter in Canada is illegal in the Philippines. If you bring some medicines with you, you’re responsible for determining their legality before departing. If you enter the country with drugs locally considered illegal, including prescription drugs, you may be fined or detained.

  • Make sure your medicines are legal in the Philippines before departure
  • Bring your own medicines, but only in quantities sufficient for the duration of your stay
  • Seal and declare a separate quantity of prescription drugs before departing the Philippines if you’re travelling onward to another country
  • Always keep your medication in the original container
  • Carry a copy of your prescriptions as well as a letter from your physician stating the dosage and your relevant medical condition
  • Pack your medicines in your carry-on luggage

Medical tourism

Canadian citizens have died or had serious health complications following cosmetic or other elective surgeries abroad.

Before leaving for medical travel:

  • make sure you have done your research
  • use reputable health-care providers only

Receiving medical care outside Canada

Air pollution

Air pollution can be severe in several major cities. It may affect people suffering from respiratory ailments.  

During periods of high pollution:

  • limit your activities outdoors
  • monitor local media
  • follow the instructions of local authorities

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Laws and culture

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.

Drugs

Penalties for possession, use, trafficking or importation, including through e-commerce, of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect life imprisonment and heavy fines.

Many drugs considered as legal in Canada are illegal in the Philippines. This includes cannabis, regardless of quantity and purpose of use, as well as some over-the-counter medicine and prescription drugs.

  • Pack your own luggage and monitor it closely at all times
  • Never transport other people's packages, bags or suitcases

Drugs, alcohol and travel

Child sex tourism

Penalties for pedophilia are severe. Under Philippine law, a child is defined as a person under 18.

Police may investigate any adult who is with:

  • an unrelated child 12 years of age or younger, or 10 years or more his/her junior
  • an unrelated child under age 18 inside the room of a house, hotel, or other similar establishments, vehicle, or other secluded location, and is suspected of having the intention to exploit the child sexually

Child Sex Tourism: It’s a Crime

Photography

The government prohibits any photography of official buildings or military installations that is intended for publication.

Marriage

If you wish to marry in the Philippines, ensure that you're well informed regarding legal requirements. Visit the Embassy of Canada to the Philippines website for information on documents and procedures.

Boracay Island

To protect the environment, local authorities restrict access to Boracay Island.

Some activities are also prohibited, including the consumption of alcohol and tobacco in public places, including White Beach.

If you plan to visit Boracay, make sure you know about the rules and regulations before leaving.

Demonstrations

Filipino law prohibits political activities by foreigners.

Attending any protest, demonstration, or political rally as a foreign national may lead to detention and deportation.

Identification

Authorities may request to see your ID at any time.

  • Carry valid identification at all times
  • Keep a photocopy of your passport in case it's lost or seized
  • Keep a digital copy of your ID and travel documents

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in the Philippines.

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of the Philippines, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.

Travellers with dual citizenship

Dual citizens must obtain a certificate of recognition from Philippine authorities to ensure the legal recognition of both citizenships.

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and the Philippines.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in the Philippines by an abducting parent:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in the Philippines to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children's Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country's judicial affairs.

Useful links

Driving

You can drive in the Philippines with a valid Canadian driver's licence for up to 90 days. After that period, you must apply for a local driving permit.

You should carry an international driving permit.

International Driving Permit

Money

The currency in the Philippines is the peso (PHP).

ATMs are available in larger cities but may be scarce in rural areas. Make sure to have access to cash in local currency if you're travelling outside larger urban areas.

You may enter the Philippines with:

  • up to PHP 50,000
  • up to US$10,000 or other currency equivalent

You need a written authorization from local authorities for greater amounts.

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Natural disasters and climate

Climate change

Climate change is affecting the Philippines. Extreme and unusual weather events are becoming more frequent. Monitor local news to stay informed on the current situation.

Typhoons and monsoons

The rainy or monsoon season extends from May to November, but storms can occur throughout the year. The Philippines experiences around 20 typhoons per year, mostly between June and November.

Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged. Flooding and mudslides are frequent following heavy rains, even in Metro Manila.

If you decide to travel to the Philippines during the rainy season:

  • know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks
  • be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
  • stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
  • carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
  • follow the advice and instructions of local authorities

Useful links

Seismic activity

The Philippines is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire and experiences regular seismic activity.

Volcanoes

There are several active and potentially active volcanoes in the Philippines, mainly on Luzon island.

Taal is one of the main active volcanoes in Batangas on Luzon Island. It continuously shows signs of a possible eruption. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology is constantly monitoring the Taal Volcano. Local authorities may raise alert levels and issue evacuation orders on short notice.

Volcanic activity may escalate suddenly. Volcanic ash clouds may cause disruptions to domestic and international flights.

If you are near active volcanoes:

  • monitor levels of volcanic activity through the local media
  • pay careful attention to all warnings issued
  • follow the advice of local authorities, including evacuation orders
  • be prepared to modify your travel arrangements or even evacuate the area on short notice

Earthquakes

The Philippines is located in an active seismic zone. Earthquakes occur regularly and strong aftershocks may occur after the initial quake.

Familiarize yourself with earthquake security measures in public and private buildings, including airports.

Tsunamis

The Philippines is prone to tsunamis.

A tsunami can occur within minutes of a nearby earthquake. However, the risk of a tsunami can remain for several hours following the first tremor.

If you're staying on the coast, familiarize yourself with the region's evacuation plans in the event of a tsunami warning.

Useful links

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Need help?

Local services

Emergency services

In case of emergency, dial 911.

Consular assistance

Manila - Embassy of Canada
Street AddressLevels 6-8, Tower 2, RCBC Plaza, 6819 Ayala Avenue, Makati City, Manila, Philippines 1200Postal AddressP.O. Box 2168, Makati Central Post Office, Philippines 1261Telephone+63 2 8857 9000Fax+63 2 8857 9173Emailmanila-consular@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.international.gc.ca/country-pays/philippines/manila-manille.aspx?lang=engFacebookEmbassy of Canada to the PhilippinesTwitter@CanEmbPH
Cebu - Honorary consul of Canada
Street AddressRD Corporate Center, 96 Gov. M.C. Cuenco Avenue, Cebu City 6000, PhilippinesTelephone+63 999-994-1358Emailcebu@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.international.gc.ca/country-pays/philippines/cebu.aspx?lang=engFacebookEmbassy of Canada in the PhilippinesTwitter@CanEmbPH

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to the Philippines, in Manila, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

Disclaimer

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

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