Foreign travel advice

Philippines

Important COVID-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice

As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice. If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available. Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.

Summary

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Coronavirus (COVID-19): stay up to date

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is advising British nationals against all non-essential international travel at this time. Existing advice for Philippines remains in place:

The FCO advise against all travel to:

  • western and central Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups.

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:

  • the remainder of Mindanao (excluding Camiguin, Dinagat and Siargao Islands) due to the threat of terrorism. See Local travel and Terrorism

It is estimated that over 200,000 British nationals visited the Philippines in 2018. Most visits are trouble-free.

The lake Taal volcano 60km south of Manila has been experiencing increased volcanic activity since 12 January 2020. See Natural disasters

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in the Philippines. Terrorist groups have the intent and capability to carry out attacks anywhere in the country, including in the capital Manila and in places visited by foreigners, such as airports, shopping malls, public transport, including the metro system, and places of worship. You should remain vigilant at all times and report anything suspicious to the local authorities. See Terrorism

It’s likely that terrorist groups continue to plan kidnap operations against western nationals in the Philippines, both on land and at sea. Risks are particularly acute in Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago. See Kidnapping

Martial law was lifted across Mindanao on 1 January 2020. Monitor media reporting and follow the instructions of local authorities. A ‘state of national emergency on account of lawless violence’ remains in place across the rest of the country.

The Philippines is in an active earthquake zone and has numerous volcanoes. The country is also affected by around 20 typhoons each year, most of which occur between June and December. See Natural disasters

You can enter the Philippines without a visa for an initial period of 30 days. You can also get a tourist visa before you travel, which will allow an initial 59 day stay. However, restrictions are currently in place as part of the Philippines response to the coronavirus outbreak. See Visas and Coronavirus

There’s a high incidence of street crime and robbery throughout the Philippines. You should take sensible precautions. See Crime

Prison sentences in the Philippines 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. See Local laws and customs

The Philippines’ ferry and passenger boat network has a poor record of maritime safety. You should exercise caution when considering travel by inter-island ferries and avoid overcrowded boats. Accidents are more frequent during the rainy season between June and December when storms can develop quickly. See Sea travel

There’s a heightened risk of dengue fever during the rainy season (June to October). See Health

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. Consular support is severely limited in parts of the Philippines where the FCO advise against travel, and limited in the areas where the FCO advise against all but essential travel. Full consular support is available in all other areas.

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.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.