Located in Southeast Asia, the Philippines is a massive archipelago of 7,600 islands scattered in the western Pacific Ocean.
The nation is an exciting juxtaposition of cultures. It was under foreign rule for much of recent history: mostly Spanish, and following that, U.S. ownership. It is Asia's largest Catholic nation, and the population is a mix of indigenous people and those with Chinese, Indian, Spanish, American, and Japanese ancestry who settled here. This potpourri of culture is an exciting place to visit with plenty to offer. But before you arrive, make sure to buy travel insurance or travel medical insurance as a safety net in case the unexpected happens.
Philippines Travel Medical Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
Disease does not provide a warning, nor does it care about vacation. Though the Philippines has a public healthcare system, it is not suitable for a tourist from abroad. Most public healthcare facilities in the Philippines are crowded and dingy. There is no option but to fall back on private medical healthcare in the capital city Manila if you fall ill. And given that private healthcare is expensive, you’ll need a travel medical insurance plan in case the worst should happen.
Do I need travel medical insurance for the Philippines?
You may be wondering if there is a Philippines travel insurance COVID requirement. As of May 30, 2022, the Philippines has ended its requirement for mandatory travel insurance for fully vaccinated visitors. Insurance is now optional for those who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19. However, the Philippine Department of Tourism still strongly encourages appropriate travel insurance for all visitors.
The government of the Philippines has also ended its COVID testing requirements for certain travelers. Fully vaccinated visitors age 18 and older with at least one booster shot can now present their proof of vaccination and booster and not be subject to any COVID-19 testing. Fully vaccinated visitors who have not received a booster shot must still provide a negative COVID RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure, or a negative rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of departure.
Children age 17 and under are now exempt from pre-departure testing, so long as they have received at least two COVID-19 shots. Children under 12 must be accompanied by fully vaccinated/boosted parents or guardians to be exempt from testing.
Unvaccinated visitors are still required to have travel insurance providing at least $35,000 in medical coverage, including coverage for COVID-19.
In addition, unvaccinated visitors must present a negative COVID RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure, or a negative rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of departure. Upon arrival, unvaccinated visitors must complete a mandatory, facility-based quarantine until the completion of a negative RT-PCR test on their fifth day in the Philippines, followed by a home-based quarantine until their 14th day in the country.
Why buy travel medical insurance for the Philippines?
Travel medical insurance is a requirement for unvaccinated travelers to visit the Philippines. However, even if it wasn't required, a vacation can quickly turn sour if you or someone in your family falls ill. Rest and relaxation at a beach can change overnight to a distressing situation if you become ill due to malaria or dengue, which causes a high fever and can be extremely debilitating. It is best to buy travel medical insurance and make sure that you receive good medical care when you travel.
Philippines Trip Cancellation Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
It is every traveler's worst fear, yet it does happen: Just before you’re set to leave home, someone falls ill or passes away. It is a time of trauma, and you need to stay behind. To add to the mental stress, there is also significant financial loss due to the cancellation of your vacation.
Why buy trip cancellation insurance for the Philippines?
Before you depart, you would have already spent a tidy sum of money. Hotels and airline tickets have to be paid for in advance, as do many tours. Philippines travel insurance would be able to provide you partial or full compensation, provided that you cancel for a reason covered under the policy. This allows you the financial leeway to plan another vacation later.
What all is covered under trip cancellation insurance for the Philippines?
Be sure to check the fine print of your plan for a list of cancellation reasons eligible for trip cancellation insurance. Many standard, common reasons are included. If your trip has to be canceled due to death or illness in the family, that would likely be covered. Likewise, almost every policy covers cancellation due to bad weather. Some policies, of course, are more comprehensive and provide for other extenuating factors. It is best that you buy Philippines travel insurance before setting off on your vacation.
Things to Do for Travelers in the Philippines
Beautiful islands in the Pacific, sun-soaked beaches, and huge cities—the Philippines presents an interesting mix. Whether you want to paddle around in a canoe or try your luck at a casino, there is no shortage of excitement in the Philippines. If you really want to see what the Philippines can offer, you have to be prepared to head out of Manila to the other large islands, such as Cebu and Bohol.
- Hinagdanan Cave: Situated in Bohol Province, the Hinagdanan Cave is a karst cave made from limestone. The cave was discovered by accident by a farmer who owned the land above it. The stalactites and stalagmites are fascinating and eerie. Inside the cave is a quite deep pool of water that offers you the chance to swim. The cave interior is wet and slippery, and it is best to take a local guide's help.
- Chocolate Hills: Staying in Bohol province, visit the Chocolate Hills. These hills have an unusual shape like chocolate truffles, hence the name. There are 1,268 of them arranged in neat rows, and they look like an alien landscape on earth. The vegetation dries out during the dry season, and the hills turn a dark chocolate hue as the compost ripens. This natural phenomenon is a protected area, and visitors can only travel along the outer periphery and look over the strange geographical formation from vantage points.
- Watersports at Bulabog Beach: Bulabog Beach is on Boracay Island. It is well known for kiteboarding and windsurfing. Aquatic sports are the main attraction here, since the beach is hard and firm and does not offer scope for sunbathing. The wind speed is substantial since it is located on the eastern end of the island, making it ideal for water sports and paragliding. The beach entrance is lined by shops renting out water sports gear, and if you want a fun-filled day, there is nowhere better in all of the Philippines.
- Gamble a bit: Casinos are legal in the Philippines. There are several in Angeles City and Subic Bay Freeport Zone, but by far, the best experience is offered by City of Dreams in Manila. Spread across 15 acres, it is a paradise for those who love gaming and gambling. The most popular games are poker and slot machines. Though it’s not as glamorous as Macau, it is a more affordable option.
- Go diving at Panagsama Beach: Located in Moalboal in Cebu Province, Panagsama Beach is reputed for being one of the best locations for snorkeling. It is not a sandy beach and not ideal if you are looking to sunbathe. However, if you want to learn diving, this is the place to learn and practice. With coral reefs close to the shore, you can find hundreds of types of fish and numerous species of crabs and other aquatic life.
Travel Risks for International Travelers in the Philippines
At times, your travel plans can take an unexpected turn. It does not happen to every traveler, but unfortunate occurrences are not all that rare. Most of the time, it is a sudden spell of sickness, perhaps food poisoning that is the culprit. Though travel to the Philippines is popular among international tourists, there are few risks you must know about.
- Avoid dimly lit alleys and stay close to the more populated areas of the city late at night.
- Scam tourist agencies fill Manila. They prey on Western tourists, offering trips to outlying islands. The guides never show and vanish with your advance payment. Ask the hotel to arrange all the sightseeing.
- Be careful in bars and nightclubs. Drinks can be spiked, often with the help of waiters. Women, especially, should be on their guard against the widespread use of sedatives in drinks.
- Several islands, such as Mindanao, have an endemic malaria problem. Use mosquito repellants liberally and do not stay outdoors after dark.
Before You Travel to the Philippines - Do This
Enjoy your vacation in the Philippines, but remember these travel tips.
- At all times, be careful that you do not fall prey to scams and criminals.
- Keep your travel documents either with you or in a safe location at all times
- Buy adequate travel insurance to take care of any emergency. Enter some basic information, compare a wide variety of options side by side, and purchase the plan that best fits your needs.