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Updates on Philippines Travel Advice

On January 7, 2019, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued the following travel advice.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to western and central Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups. The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao (excluding Camiguin, Dinagat and Siargao Islands) and to the south of Cebu province, up to and including the municipalities of Dalaguete and Badian, due to the threat of terrorism.


On 26 December 2018, the United States Transport Security Administration issued a public notice highlighting poor aviation security at Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Additional security measures are in place on flights departing from this airport to the UK. You should co-operate fully with security officials. The UK keeps aviation security measures under constant review, in conjunction with international partners and the aviation industry.

Boracay island reopened to visitors in October 2018 after a six-month closure for environmental improvements. The Department for Tourism has published a bulletin including a list of authorized hotels that are now accepting guests (available under the ‘Publications’ tab). Some restrictions remain, and you should take local advice on documentation and port of entry to the island before you travel. More information on local requirements in Boracay is available in this article from the Philippine Information Agency.

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in the Philippines, including in Manila. Terrorist groups continue to plan attacks and have the capacity and the intent to carry out attacks at any time and anywhere in the country, including in places visited by foreigners, like airports, shopping malls, public transport, including the metro system, and places of worship. You should remain vigilant at all times and report anything suspicious to the local authorities.

There’s been an increase in kidnapping of foreign nationals, including attacks targeting foreigners and tourists since late 2015. 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 and central Visayas, including Siquijor and Dumaguete).

Martial law is in place across the whole of Mindanao until December 31, 2019. There may be curfews and checkpoints. Monitor media reporting and follow the instructions of local authorities.

A ‘state of national emergency on account of lawless violence’ remains in place across the rest of the country. Expect random checkpoints, security patrols and a more visible routine security presence. You should co-operate with the Philippine authorities and allow extra time to pass through security checks. Make sure you carry a form of identification with you.

The eruptive activity of the Mayon volcano in Albay Province (Bicol region) has reduced since 2018, although it remains at a moderate level of unrest with a risk of sudden eruptions, lava collapses and ash fall. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has lowered the alert to level 2 but an exclusion zone remains in place. If you’re in Albay Province, you should follow the advice of the local authorities, including the advice not to enter the designated danger zone.

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 and follow the advice of the local authorities, including any evacuation orders.

There’s a high incidence of street crime and robbery throughout the Philippines. You should take sensible precautions.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

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Quote of the Day:
“I have found out that there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.”

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