El Nido, Palawan by Sergio Tittarini via Flickr Creative Commons

Visitors intending to visit the Republic of the Philippines should check out the Department of Foreign Affairs website (http://www.dfa.gov.ph/main/) to determine whether a visa will be required to enter the country. Most travelers, including American, Australian and British citizens may come for up to 21 days without a visa. Foreign guests are required to have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date of arrival, as well as an onward or return ticket. It is advisable to get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, Japanese encephalitis and rabies.

Health and Safety

Generally a safe place, the Philippines is a developing nation which does pose some of the usual challenges associated with such places. Local tap water and ice should not be consumed and food from street stalls should be regarded with caution and only eaten if recently cooked and still hot. Filipinos are generally hospitable and helpful, but high poverty means that tourists should be aware of pickpockets and keep valuables out of sight, particularly in cities and crowded areas. Visitors should stay out of dark alleys and women should not wander alone at night.

Public transport can pose a hazard, particularly boats. Use common sense and don’t board overcrowded vessels or jump into dangerous weather. Visitors should use insect repellants to guard against mosquito and tick borne diseases. Tourists who are not used to hot weather should take precautions against dehydration and sunburn. The governments of several countries, including America, provide official advice that tourists should not visit the Mindanao region due to an ongoing conflict between Muslim militias and the Philippine Government.

Click here for History and Culture in the Philippines