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Philippines

If you’re travelling to the Philippines, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Natural Disasters and Climate
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

General advice to avoid non-essential travel and ‘Normal Precautions’ list of exemptions:

In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

Travel to a very limited set of locations is exempted from this advice. Individuals arriving into Ireland from these locations will not be required to restrict their movements upon entry. These locations currently have a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) security status rating. As of 4 August 2020, these locations are:

  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Norway
  • Slovakia

Inclusion on the list is based on the current epidemiological situation and related public health information in each location. The list and related travel advice will be reviewed on a fortnightly basis, based on advice from officials, including public health experts. Any updates or changes will be based on Government decisions. The latest updates will always be uploaded first to this General COVID-19 Travel Advisory. Country-specific tabs will be updated subsequently, and as quickly as possible, but this advisory is the primary source of information for the latest version of the list. The above list was updated on 4 August following the latest review.

If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:

Irish citizens travelling to locations with a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) rating are advised to follow the public health guidelines of the local health authorities and to continue to practice physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette etc. The security rating for all other locations remains unchanged at either to ‘avoid non-essential travel’ (“orange”) or to ‘do not travel’ (“red”).

The purpose of the Department’s Travel Advice is to provide information to the general public so that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves.  The COVID19 pandemic continues to accelerate internationally, and there are significant risks associated with international travel. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad are advised to monitor closely our travel advice and we recommend that citizens download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. Citizens travelling abroad should also register with their local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Should you need to travel for essential reasons, you should inform yourself about any requirements in place in the destination to which you are travelling.  Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate as scheduled. Testing and restrictions may be imposed or may already be in place in other countries. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time.

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Authorities advise anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland and individuals arriving in Ireland from locations with a security rating of ‘normal precautions’ (“green”), to restrict their movements for 14 days, and this includes citizens and residents returning to Ireland. Restricting your movements means staying indoors in one location and avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible. To ensure that this is being observed all passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a mandatory Public Health Passenger Locator Form and to submit it to the relevant authority at their port of entry. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Exemptions are also in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff. Check the Irish Government Advice Page for full information on these requirements and further advice on returning from abroad.

Where to go for more information:

We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Overview

Security Status

Avoid non-essential travel.

Security Status Last Updated: 16 March 2020

Latest Travel Alert

COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus

There is an ongoing outbreak of a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the region.

Emergency responses to the Covid-19 crisis in many countries have included restrictions of flights to/from Europe; imposition of new mandatory quarantine arrangements and new restrictions affecting the admission of Irish people travelling to and within the Asia Pacific region.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade strongly advises against any non–essential travel to the region until further notice.

Entry restrictions

From 1 August 2020, foreign nationals with existing long-term visas are allowed to enter the Philippines, subject to certain conditions:

  • The visa must be existing at the time of entry – no new entry visas will be accepted. Visas must fall under one of the following categories  
    • A non-immigrant visa issued under Section 13 of the Immigration act (Section 13 series visa: a,b,c,d,e,g)
    • Anyone who acquired resident status under Republic Act 7919 or Alien Social Integration Act (RA 7919 visa)
    • Anyone who falls under Executive Order 324 or Alien Legalization Program (EO 324 visa)
    • Native-born foreign nationals (Native-born visa).

Foreign nationals with long term working visas such as 9(g) visa, 9(d) visa, EO 226 visa and 47(a)(2) visa are still not allowed to enter the Philippines at this time.

Spouses of Filipino nationals may also enter the country. A marriage certificate and a copy of their spouse’s identification must be presented on arrival.

Passengers arriving at any international port of entry may be subjected to mandatory quarantine (for a maximum of 14 days) and/or be required to undergo Covid-19 testing on arrival. You are expected to pay the costs of your quarantine and/or Covid-19 testing.

 In the Philippines

Measures have been introduced by the Philippine government to prevent the spread of coronavirus; these differ across the country. The National Capital Region (Metro Manila) is subject to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) measures until 18 August. Domestic air services to and from Manila Airport have been temporarily suspended due to the imposition of MECQ in Metro Manila. International flights may also be reduced. Check with your airline for further details.

Luzon (Batangas), Visayas (Region 7), Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue are subject to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) until 15 August. The majority of the rest of the Philippines is under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).

You should monitor announcements from local authorities to understand the latest restrictions and regulations where you are situated and to check the requirements for any travel outside of your residence, including to the airport.

If you plan to depart the Philippines and are having difficulties accessing the airport due to the restrictions in place, the Honorary Consulate General of Ireland, located in Manila, can provide a letter to facilitate your passage through checkpoints. Your local Department of Tourism office may also be able to provide you with guidance and assistance.

If your tourist visa expired during the Enhances Community Quarantine (ECQ) period. You can apply for an extension, without penalty, up to 30 days after the lifting of the ECQ. Visa extensions will need to be settled in a Bureau of Immigration (BI) office. If you do not settle the extension in good time, you will incur penalties. Foreign nationals should also refer to the Bureau of Immigration websiteto check if you are required to pay for an Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC).

We still advise against all travel to South West Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago and against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao. 

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Please be wary of these symptoms and seek immediate medical attention should such symptoms occur.

Travellers and residents should take particular care to observe travel precautions and the wearing of single use masks, regular washing of hands with an alcohol-based soap is strongly recommended by the World Health Organisation.

For more information on to reduce exposure to the coronavirus please follow the link here.

For more information on novel coronavirus nCov-2019 please visit: https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Please be wary of these symptoms and seek immediate medical attention should such symptoms occur.

HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 is below.

Do:

• wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
• put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands

Don’t:

• touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for the Philippines.

Additional information can be found on the via the following links

World Health Organisation

ECDC

HPSC

Terrorism

There has been an increase in kidnapping in the Philippines, including attacks targeting foreigners and tourists. Terrorist groups continue to plan kidnap operations against western nationals in the Philippines. This threat extends throughout the Philippines, both on land and at sea, but is particularly acute in the southern Philippines (Mindanao, Palawan Province and Central Visayas, including Siquijor and Dumaguete).

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in the Philippines, including in the capital Manila.

There's a high incidence of street crime and robbery throughout the Philippines.

Martial law was lifted across Mindanao on 1 January 2020. A ‘state of national emergency on account of lawless violence’ remains in place across the rest of the country. Expect a more visible routine security presence, including checkpoints. Always cooperate with the Philippine authorities. Make sure you carry a form of identification with you and monitor local media reporting.

Japanese encephalitis (JE)

Mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis (JE) and chikungunya virus occur can all year round. The government declared a national dengue epidemic in August 2019, resulting in a heightened risk of dengue fever. You should take appropriate precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, and plan to travel to areas affected by the Zika Virus, you are advised to discuss your travel plans with your healthcare provider and to consider postponing your travel to affected areas. Irish Citizens are advised to follow the advice of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

In February 2019, the Department of Health in the Philippines declared outbreaks of measles in several regions in the country. These include, but are not limited to:

  • National Capital Region
  • CALABARZON
  • Central Luzon
  • Western Visayas
  • Northern Mindanao

The World Health Organisation recommends that travellers get vaccinated against measles at least 15 days prior to travel. WHO advice for international travel in relation to measles can be found here.

Natural Disasters

Taal Volcano, located 60km south of Manila, experienced a significant eruption in the early hours of 13 January 2020. On 26 January the Philippines’ authorities reduced the alert level from 4 down to 3. Whilst this indicates a decreased tendency towards a hazardous eruption being imminent, it does not indicate that the threat of a hazardous eruption has disappeared. Authorities recommend recommends that entry into the Taal Volcano Island as well as into areas over Taal Lake and communities west of the island within a seven (7) km radius from the Main Crater must be strictly prohibited. For updates please refer to the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) website.

Around 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year, mostly between June and December. There may be flooding and landslides. You should monitor the progress of approaching storms. The Philippines is in a very active earthquake zone and has numerous volcanoes.  For more information read the natural disasters and climate section of this page.

Emergency Assistance

Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in the Philippines, we're limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Honorary Consul in Manila or the Irish Embassy in Singapore.

We suggest you learn as much as you can about the Philippines before your trip from travel agents, tour operators and guide books. The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems when you're in the Philippines, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

EU Directive on Consular Protection

Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
  • Read our Topical 'Know Before You Go' guide

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Unrest

We advise against all travel to South West Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago and against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao and to the south of Cebu province, up to and including the municipalities of Dalaguete and Badian, due to the threat of terrorism.

If you’re travelling to the Philippines, always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser. Avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, which can sometimes turn confrontational. The Philippines Bureau of Immigration has specifically warned foreign nationals against participating in public protests and political rallies. Foreign nationals who participate in these activities may be detained and deported for violating Philippine immigration laws.

Terrorism

There is a high threat from terrorism in the Philippines. Terrorist groups continue to plan attacks and have the capacity and the intent to carry out attacks at anytime and anywhere in the country, including in Manila. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers like airports, shopping malls and places of worship. Be aware of the risk of terrorist attacks to all forms of public transport: road, rail, sea and air. Terrorist groups have threatened to attack passenger ferries and other vessels, particularly those operating from Mindanao. You should avoid using public transport throughout Mindanao.

On 27 January 2019, at least 27 people were killed and many more injured as a result of bomb attacks at a Roman Catholic cathedral on Jolo Island in Sulu Province.

On 31 December 2018 an IED exploded at the entrance to the South Seas shopping mall in Cotabato City. A vehicle based IED exploded at a checkpoint in Lamitan City on the island of Basilan in Western Mindanao on 31 July 2018.

Explosions occurred in the Quiapo area of Manila on 28 April and 6 May 2017, resulting in fatalities.

Kidnapping

There is a threat from kidnapping, particularly in the southern Philippines. Kidnapping could occur anywhere, including on coastal and island resorts and on dive boats and sites in the Sulu Sea. Foreigners have been targeted in rural, urban and coastal areas in the past.

Crime

There’s a high level of violent crime, including gun crime. Criminal gangs sometimes use terrorist tactics like kidnapping. Explosions attributed to criminal organisations have caused fatalities.

There is a high incidence of street crime and robbery. Some taxi drivers and their accomplices have robbed and harmed passengers. Be particularly vigilant when travelling on public transport. Armed hold-ups have occurred on ‘jeepneys’ and buses. In some cases these have resulted in fatalities.

You should take sensible precautions.

  • Arrange to be met at the airport or use a hotel transfer service. Only use taxis from a reputable company.
  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place. 
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
  • Beware of strangers offering drinks or confectionery that may be spiked.
  • Always be careful about your personal safety. Get advice from local contacts, avoid travel off the beaten track and always leave travel plans with friends, colleagues or relatives. Safety standards on taxis, buses and boats can be low.

Reporting a crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in the Philippines, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Singapore if you need help.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Philippines, bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit driving license and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Air travel

With the exception of Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific Air, all air carriers from the Philippines have been refused permission to operate services to the EU due to safety concerns.

Sea travel

Avoid travel on ferries if possible. Ferries are often overloaded, lack necessary lifesaving equipment, are not adequately maintained and have incomplete passenger manifests. Storms can develop quickly.

There is a high level of piracy and armed robbery against ships in and around Philippine waters.

Maritime rescue services in the Philippines may be limited.

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Illegal drugs

Don’t become involved with drugs of any kind. Penalties for importing and using illegal drugs are severe.

Personal identification

You must be able to show some identification if requested by the police. A photocopy of the relevant pages of your passport will suffice. Leave details of your travel plans, passport and credit cards with friends and family and make sure the next of kin details in your passport are up to date.

Law enforcement

Philippine law on paedophile activity is severe, and strictly enforced. A child is defined in Philippine law as a person under the age of 18. Entrapment may also occur where strangers with children have befriended single male tourists; allegations of abuse are then made in an attempt to extort money.

Recruitment

Any foreign national planning to recruit Filipinos for employment overseas must carry out due diligence, comply with local legislation and be licensed. The laws relating to illegal recruitment are strict. Foreign nationals have been known to spend more than two years in prison on remand while their cases are processed.

 

Natural Disasters and Climate

Natural disasters and climate

Typhoons

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 on the websites of the Philippines state weather agencytyphoon.com, or follow @Typhoon2k on Twitter.

To learn more about what to do if you’re caught in a tropical cyclone, see the Gov.uk website.

Earthquakes

The Philippines is in an active earthquake zone. To learn more about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, see the website of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency

Volcanoes

Taal Volcano, located 60km south of Manila, experienced a significant eruption in the early hours of 13 January 2020. On 26 January the Philippines’ authorities reduced the alert level from 4 down to 3. Whilst this indicates a decreased tendency towards a hazardous eruption being imminent, it does not indicate that the threat of a hazardous eruption has disappeared. Authorities recommend recommends that entry into the Taal Volcano Island as well as into areas over Taal Lake and communities west of the island within a seven (7) km radius from the Main Crater must be strictly prohibited. For updates please refer to the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) website. 

Additional Information

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

Visas

Under normal circumstances, Irish passport holders can enter the Philippines without a visa for an initial period of 30 days. Entry to the Philippines may be refused if you are unable to produce evidence of return or onward travel - for example an onward or return air ticket. You can apply to extend your stay at the offices of the Bureau of Immigration Overstaying without the proper authority is a serious matter and can lead to detention pending payment of outstanding fees and fines and voluntary deportation at your own expense.

If you’re unsure of the entry requirements for the Philippines, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of the Philippines.

Passport

Make sure your passport is valid for a minimum of six months after the conclusion of your trip to the Philippines (or other countries within South East Asia).

During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport and your arrival card at all times so you can show evidence of your identity if asked, for example, by the police.

Children travelling to the Philippines without their parents

Foreign minors (under 15 years of age) who are not travelling with one or both parents, or not coming to join a parent in the Philippines are required to carry a copy of their parents’ resident visa. Parents of children travelling unaccompanied to the Philippines must file an ‘affidavit of support’ with the nearest Philippines Embassy or Bureau of Immigration. Contact the nearest Philippine Embassy or Consulate for further information.

Health

Medical facilities

The availability of medical care varies across the Philippines, and may not meet the standards of care in the Europe. Although adequate in major cities, medical care is limited in more remote areas. Treatment can be very expensive. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 117 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Water-borne diseases

Water-borne diseases, including typhoid and cholera, are endemic in the Philippines. You should use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks.

Rabies

There is a risk of rabies throughout the Philippines.

More travel advice

Because we don’t have an Embassy or Consulate in the Philippines, we can’t give you up-to-date travel advice. But you can visit these foreign ministries for more detailed information:

 

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

If you require emergency assistance from the Embassy, please contact us on +65 6238 7616. If you call outside normal working hours with an emergency involving an Irish citizen, you will be given instructions to call another number to speak to a Duty Officer.

You may also wish to call the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dublin directly at +353 1 408 2000.

Embassy of Ireland
Ireland House
541 Orchard Road
#08-00 Liat Towers
Singapore 238881

Tel: +65 6238 7616
Fax: +65 6238 7615

Monday to Friday 09:30-13:00 and 13:30-16:30

Contact us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mrs. Noreen Trota
Honorary Consul General
3/F Max's Building
70 Jupiter St
Bel Air 1
Makati City 1209
Metro Manila
Philippines

Tel: + 63 2 896 4668
Fax: + 63 2 897 8534

Email: Email us