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Is it safe to travel to the Philippines?

Jun 28th, 2022

Some people believe that the Philippines is a dangerous place to visit, but the reality is that you are as safe in the Philippines as you would be walking down your own street at home. There is very little to worry about in a trip to the Philippines, and it is just as safe as anywhere else you might travel to, probably safer.

Here are some true facts you should know about travel to the Philippines, to dispel some of those myths

Is it safe to travel to the Philippines during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Currently, there are very few restrictions for travelers to the Philippines regarding COVID-19 and the pandemic. The country is still in a state of declared “emergency”, but that is low level now, and most restrictions have been lifted.

Full vaccination, which is to include two shots and one booster, is required to enter the country, or a Rapid Antigen Test taken at least 24 hours before travel. Quarantine is no longer a requirement, and travelers are required to complete the eARRIVAL CARD online at least 72 hours prior to travel.

As of November 2022, there are very few new cases of COVID-19, and the risk of infection is now limited across the country. Face masks are no longer required except in public places, such as shopping malls and on public transport of all kinds, including taxis. And the former vaccination card requirement to enter buildings has been lifted, though some businesses still require masks and proof of vaccination.

Is the Philippines safe for solo travelers?

The Philippines has always been a relatively safe place for solo travelers, including women, as long as you follow some guidelines on personal safety and security.

Generally speaking, the Philippines are safe to travel alone.

Here are some simple rules for solo travelers to stay safe in the Philippines.

1. Do keep you valuables in a belt bag or pouch.

2. Do stay in built up areas with people and not wander off in strange areas you don’t know.

3. Do stay in well-lit and populated areas at night.

4. Don’t pull out big wedges of cash to pay for small items.

5. Don’t wave your money around and wander around late at night on your own in dimly-lit areas.

What to Expect for Safety in the Philippines

Transportation Safety in the Philippines

The officially registered taxis are usually safe in the Philippines. They all have a taxi sign, yellow-colored license plates, Land transport Franchise Regulation Board (LTFRB) Registration clearly displayed where you can see it, and a meter.

For island tours in the Philippines, ferries vary in safety levels. The larger ferries that run between major ports in different islands may appear old and worn, but they are safe to travel on. The smaller ferries are generally safe in calm or average weather, and the little boats that run along the coast to take you to isolated islands are fun, but should not be used in inclement weather of any kind.

The special jeepneys and traysikels in the Philippines are worth to try, since it is a great way to get around as locals do. But it is recommended to take it with a local friend or ask your local guide to go with you because it is quite confusing to travelers.

Food Safety in the Philippines

Street food in the Philippines comes in all shapes and types, from chicken skin to fish balls, kikiam, and kwek-kwek, and much more. And it is usually safe to eat, since it is all usually fried food, but just check the cart for cleanliness. It won’t be spotless, but as long as it is generally clean, it will be safe to eat.

Street food in the Philippines is safe to eat.

Common Scams in the Philippines

Most crime in the Philippines is opportunistic, though there are some that will target tourists to try and perform scams, as they know travelers usually have a lot of cash with them.

One of the most common scams is the “friendly face”, where someone claiming to work in your hotel offers to help you find your way around and assist you, and usually ends up with one scam or another to separate you from your money.

Another common scam happens in the airport, where “greeters” catch your attention and ask who you are meeting, and when you tell them the name, they tell you that they are from that person and have been asked to meet you instead and take you to the hotel where they are going to meet you. Once in their clutches, they will overcharge you for everything you need to pay to get to the hotel and check-in, from the taxi cost to luggage carrying, and often have some deals with the hotels for kickbacks from your check-in. And then they will ask for something for help while you wait for the person you are meeting and walk away with thousands of pesos before you even realize you have been scammed.

A simple tip to avoid these scammers is to not talk to someone who says they can help you get somewhere or find something, or take you to someone. Filipinos are friendly, but when someone is over-friendly, it is normally a scam at work.

Natural Disasters in the Philippines

Aside from the odd earthquake, the only natural disaster in the Philippines happens seasonally, when typhoons come. It is recommended to avoid traveling to the Philippines in the wet season from July to October, as this is the time of year known as typhoon season when tropical storms are common weekly.

Places that are not safe to Travel in the Philippines

Some places are certainly not safe in the Philippines, and these should be avoided, though things are improving slowly.

Certain areas of Mindanao, the Sulu Archipelago, and the Zamboanga Peninsula are considered dangerous for foreign travelers due to terrorist activities of the NPA, CPP, MILF, and Abu Sayaff that are prevalent in these regions.

Travelers should generally avoid the more dangerous areas of the Southern Philippines, and stick to the main tourist regions in the north and central areas.

Tips for Staying Safe in the Philippines

In order to stay safe, there are a few things to consider when traveling to the Philippines.

Respect for the local culture, customs, and religions will help you to stay safe, as Filipinos do take such things seriously, and don’t take kindly to insults in those areas.

Booking a Philippines tour with a reputable local travel agency will help to keep you safe. A reliable Philippine local travel agency can arrange your hotel and transfer from the airport, to reduce the risk of scammers. And for better security, that little extra cost is well worth it.


The Philippines is safe to travel to, as long as you know what to look out for, how to take care of your valuables, and avoid potential scammers. And for that added safety, remember to stay in populated places, don’t wander around at night, and use a travel agency to book your Philippines tour.

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