Foreign travel advice

Philippines

Summary

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to south-west Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of on-going terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups. The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao for the same reasons. See Terrorism and Local Travel.

A bomb attack on a market in Davao City, Mindanao, killed more than a dozen people on 2 September 2016. The FCO already advise against all but essential travel to eastern Mindanao, including Davao City, and against all travel to the rest of Mindanao.

The Philippines government has declared a “state of national emergency on account of lawless violence in Mindanao”. Expect heightened security measures including in airports and other major transport hubs. You should co-operate with the Philippine authorities and allow extra time to pass through security.

Around 154,000 British nationals visited the Philippines in 2015. Most visits are trouble-free.

There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping. There has been an increase in kidnapping of foreign nationals since late 2015. It’s likely that terrorist groups continue to plan kidnap operations against western nationals in the region. You should remain vigilant at all times. See Terrorism.

Violating local laws may result in a jail sentence, served in a local prison. Sentences are severe. The judicial system can result in long-term detention until a court hearing takes place. Detention facilities are far below UK standards. Don’t become involved with drugs of any kind. Penalties for importing and using illegal drugs are particularly severe.

There is a high incidence of street crime and robbery throughout the Philippines. You should take sensible precautions.

You should avoid large crowds and demonstrations and follow the advice of the local authorities. The Philippine Bureau of Immigration has warned foreigners not to participate in political rallies. Any foreign nationals taking part in these events could be subject to arrest and/or deportation.

For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Around 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year. Most typhoons occur from June to December. There may be flooding and landslides. You should monitor the progress of approaching storms and follow the advice of the local authorities, including any evacuation orders. See Natural disasters

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.