Philippines - Tips for a safe and secure journey

The Island Nation of the Philippines – Tips for a safe and secure journey

With more than 7000 islands, the Philippines attracts Nordic travellers with its exotic beaches, a unique culture, and many natural wonders.

SOS International helps Nordic travellers, for example if they are injured or fall ill during their holiday in the Philippines.

At our alarm centre, the winter period December-March is traditionally considered a high season for cases from South-East Asia.

After a few winters with limited opportunities to travel outside Europe, we are now seeing an increase in cases from South-East Asian countries, including the Philippines.

We have gathered several tips and recommendations for when your holiday takes you to the Philippine archipelago. This way you will be well-prepared if you should be unlucky to fall ill on the journey.

Tips for travelling in the Philippines

Before your trip, we encourage you to keep up to date with the travel advisories at your local the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


COVID-19 entry rules in the Philippines

For your trip, check the entry rules for travellers at the Embassy and local authorities for rules and restrictions regarding COVID-19.

You should also continuously keep up to date with COVID-19 regulations.

Rules or easing of existing COVID-19 regulations in the Philippines can be introduced at very short notice. For example, it may be a good idea to keep documentation for vaccination and/or test results on you.

Ill with COVID-19 on vacation in the Philippines?

Always follow hospital and government guidance if you fall ill with COVID-19 while on vacation in the Philippines.

Also check how your travel insurance covers and therefore what help you can expect to receive. Additionally, please note that SOS International is also subject to local COVID-19 regulations and restrictions.

Do I have to be vaccinated if I travel to the Philippines?

In good time before your trip abroad, you should consult your doctor and/or vaccination centre for advice on vaccination, disease prevention, precautions, and diseases in the area you are planning to visit.

I have a chronic illness. What should I do?

Check if you need a medical assessment that can tell you if your chronic or current illness will be covered on your trip if you need treatment.

If you are in doubt about your specific situation, contact SOS International or your insurance company.

Top claims countries in South-East Asia (2019–2022)

  • Thailand
  • China
  • Indonesia
  • Vietnam
  • Singapore
  • The Philippines
  • India

Since 2019 SOS International's alarm centre has helped more than 2000 travellers in the Philippines.

Typical cases from the Philippines

Typical cases from South-East Asian countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia are infectious diseases, such as “Travellers’ diarrhoea” or, in medical language, “gastroenteritis”, respiratory and urinary tract infections, and injuries such as broken bones and abrasions.

“Travellers’ diarrhoea” is one of the most common diseases SOS International helps with in South-East Asia.

Hospitals and clinics in the Philippines

As the Philippines consists of more than 7000 islands, there are great differences in the standards of hospitals and clinics around the country.

Always contact SOS International before seeking medical treatment in the Philippines. We can guide you to a treatment facility where we can ensure you get the best treatment.

The standard in public hospitals is generally good. There are also private hospitals with highly trained staff. Outside the larger cities, hospitals and clinics are far below Western standards, and there may be far between pharmacies and rescue services, for example.

International works with a local assistance partner in the Philippines who with great local knowledge assists in for example transferring patients from one hospital to another or in providing guarantee of payments to hospitals.

Four rules to remember about medicine
  • Investigate whether is it necessary to have a ”medical certificate/passport” for the medicine you bring. Also remember to put the medicine in your hand luggage. This way you will have the medicine at your side if the other luggage is lost.
  • Bring plenty of medicine for the diseases that you are suffering from. If you are traveling outside major cities or on remote islands, pharmacies can be far apart.
  • Please note that as a patient, you may be asked to pay in cash for medicines and other materials.
  • Be aware that hospitals and clinics outside big cities usually require cash payments
Be aware of bites from dogs and apes

Rabies is caused by being infected with rabies virus, which is transmitted by being bitten by infected animals, e.g., cats, bats, or dogs.

However, monkeys may also be infected with rabies, and for this reason, travellers must be aware in i.e., monkey parks, where monkeys may attack people who feed them or merely walk around carrying food and drink.

As rabies is associated with a high rate of fatality, it is paramount that you contact medical advice without delay, if you were to be bitten by a monkey.

Malaria, dengue, and other mosquito-borne diseases

There is malaria in the Philippines, for example in Mindanao and Palawan, but not in Manila and other major cities.

There is also currently an increase in the number of dengue virus infections, particularly in central Luzon, including the metropolitan area.

Mosquito-borne diseases are infectious diseases (bacteria, viruses, or parasites) that are spread by mosquitoes where the mosquitoes themselves are not affected by the disease.

Always contact SOS International before seeking out medical treatment in the Philippines. At the alarm centre we have doctors with expertise and knowledge in tropical and mosquito-borne diseases who can ensure you get the right treatment.

To avoid being stung by mosquitoes:

  • Apply mosquito spray or balm to uncovered skin
  • Wear clothing that covers as much of the body as possible
  • Sleep under mosquito nets and with windows and doors closed
  • Be attentive around stagnant water
  • Take particular care outdoors, at the times when mosquitoes are most active:
    • During the day for, e.g., dengue fever and zika
    • At dusk and at night for malaria

SOS International's alarm centre is ready to help 24/7

+45 7010 5050

Get help online when travelling

Safe travel in the Philippines

The Philippines is considered a medium risk destination. The risk is highest in central Mindanao and in the southern Philippines, but lower in the tourist areas.

There is a risk of blackmail and kidnapping, particularly in the south of the country such as the island of Mindanao. Pickpocketing and other kinds of petty theft are very common in major cities, for example on public transport.

  • Keep an eye on your things as much as possible
  • Contact the authorities if you are the victim of a crime
Local emergency numbers in the Philippines

For emergency calls and ambulance: 911

Look where you are going when walking or driving a car

The quality of the roads in the Philippines varies, and despite their paved highways, traffic can be heavy and slow in major cities.

No paved roads can be expected outside major cities. During the rainy season, there are often floods and potholes due to a lack of drainage systems.

If you rent a car in the Philippines, be aware of certain rules about which vehicles are allowed or not allowed to drive on certain roads and for certain periods of time. Check with your local authority or rental car company.

Contact us

Are you travelling and in need of acute assistance?

Contact SOS International's alarm centre on +45 7010 5050.

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