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Philippines Travel Information

Philippines Travel InformationLarge parts of the Philippines are in "lockdown" as a result of infection control measures against the coronavirus. The situation is evolving and may change. Travelers are advised to keep up to date. For more information on coronavirus and travel restrictions - see the section on Health.

Safety

An increasing number of Norwegians visit the Philippines every year and the vast majority of visits go without drama. However, crime, accidents, armed conflicts and natural disasters make it important to be alert and take the necessary precautions.

There is a not insignificant risk of being subjected to criminal acts in the Philippines, including: because of great poverty and widespread street crime. Travelers should exercise caution and caution. There are many firearms in circulation, and foreigners are especially prone to robbery and theft. Valuables should be kept hidden and money should be spent discreetly. The penalties for dealing with drugs are very strict. The same applies to child abuse. Norway has no extradition agreement with the Philippines.

Unfortunately, traffic accidents often occur. At some of the entryways to Manila, the speed is very high and the traffic is not clear. In the provinces, infrastructure can be poor and part of the year the accessibility is reduced. Road lighting is very limited and several vehicles do not use light. It is recommended to prioritize road safety when choosing a vehicle. Always wear seat belts!

Local buses are often in poor condition. Sea transport can be risky as Philippine ferries are often overcrowded, lack the necessary life-saving equipment and are poorly maintained. Storms can blow up quickly. There is a danger of piracy and kidnapping in Philippine waters, especially in the south. It is recommended to be cautious about using a taxi as there are cases of doping and robbery of passengers. The risk can be reduced by taking a taxi from one of the better hotels where the car numbers are written up by the hotel's doorman.

  • Countryaah: Manila is the capital of Philippines. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.

The Philippines has several ongoing armed conflicts, as well as areas of limited degree of government control. On May 23, 2017, the Philippine President declared a state of emergency throughout Mindanao. Terrorist actions occur. Scattered terrorist groups have the capacity and willingness to strike innocent people. Attacks are usually targeted, but can hit more randomly.

In recent years, there have been several cases where foreigners have been kidnapped. The risk is particularly high in southwestern Mindanao and on the Sulu archipelago, including the surrounding waters. However, kidnappings also occur elsewhere in the Philippines.

In August 2018, the Philippine authorities specifically warned of a credible threat of risk of kidnapping on Palawan.

The Philippines is prone to several types of natural disasters. During the humid period, which can last from June to the end of December, there are regular typhoons and tropical storms that can have wind gusts of over 200 km/h. The typhoon warning systems have become very good, and via satellite you can usually track the typhoons for a few days before they hit land and calculate approximate trajectory and strength. Floods and landslides can also occur - especially during the rainy season. The Philippines is constantly exposed to earthquakes and has active volcanoes. An earthquake in the Philippines or in surrounding areas also presents a risk of tsunamis.

Norwegian citizens who stay for a shorter or longer period in the Philippines are encouraged to register at Reiseregistrering.no so that we can reach out with important information should this become necessary.

Norwegian citizens are encouraged to have valid travel insurance. Good travel insurance will cover, among other things, expenses related to injuries, accidents, illness, home transport and death.

If you are in the vicinity of a disaster area - or believe that relatives will call you, you should seek to inform these and/or the Norwegian authorities about your situation as soon as possible. This is true even if you have not been particularly affected by the disaster.

The Embassy in Manila can be contacted by phone +63 2 317 2700 or e-mail emb.manila@mfa.no.

Outside the embassy's opening hours, the public can contact the UD's 24-hour operating center on telephone +47 23 95 00 00 or e-mail UDops@mfa.no.

Furthermore, Norwegian citizens are advised to stay abreast of any possible crisis through Philippine media and to follow instructions from local authorities, police and security forces.

Entry

Please note that entry regulations may change. The Foreign Service is not responsible if the following information on entry regulations or visa requirements is changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.

Norwegian citizens do not need a visa to stay in the Philippines for up to 30 days.

Upon arrival the Philippines is granted Norwegian citizens entry to present a valid return ticket or air ticket to a third country within 30 days (travelers who are going to a visa-required third country may also be required to present a valid visa to the next destination in addition to the air ticket). When applying to the Embassy of the Philippines in Oslo, you can apply for a tourist visa for a 59 day stay.

There is a requirement from the Philippine authorities that a valid ticket out of the Philippines (return or onwards ticket) must be brought in to check in for flights to the Philippines. Some airlines refuse boarding if this cannot be shown.

It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents and visas are valid.

The embassy has been notified by Philippine immigration authorities that it is no longer possible to pay a fine for translating a visa's validity period to the immigration authorities at the airport before departure. Valid stays must therefore be arranged well in advance of scheduled departure, otherwise departure will be denied.

If you stay for more than six months, you must first apply for the Emigration Clearance Certificate with the Philippine immigration authorities.

For more information contact the
Embassy of the Philippines in Oslo at: Embassy of the Philippines
Nedre Vollgate 4, 4th Floor
0158 Oslo
Tel: + 47 22 40 09 00
Fax: + 47 22 41 74 01
http://www.philembassy.no /

Other useful sites:

  • Department of Foreign Affairs.
  • Bureau of Immigration.

Health

Coronavirus (covid-19): Large parts of the Philippines are in "lockdown" as a result of anti-coronavirus infection measures. This means, among other things, very large restrictions on local transport. Travelers are advised to follow information from local authorities. Quarantine regulations and travel restrictions may change at short notice. More information about the coronavirus in the Philippines can be found on the website of the Philippine health authorities .

Updated information on travel restrictions for the Philippines can be found on the Bureau of Immigration website. Travelers are also encouraged to contact the flight and travel agency for updated information on scheduled travel. Philippine authorities have stated the following rules for visas to the Philippines:

  • A foreign national whose visa is expiring within the quarantine period may opt to file for extension within 30 days of lifting the ECQ without penalties.
  • Holders of valid 9th visas should be allowed to enter the country if they are exempted from the temporary suspension.
  • OCA-Visa can accept renewal applications for 9e visas expiring within the ECQ.
  • All visa waiver arrangements are temporarily suspended.

You can find more information and guidance from the Norwegian health authorities on the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. See also UD's answers to frequently asked questions about travel and coronavirus. See also helsenorge.no's advice.

Philippine authorities state that the requirement to be able to present a plane ticket/booking on a foreign flight within 24 hours of entry to any Philippine international airport or port has been lifted for foreign nationals.

It should be noted that domestic flight offers are now very limited and that the situation for scheduled flights can change rapidly.

For travelers wishing to travel to international airports with a view to departing from the Philippines, the following information from the Philippine authorities is particularly noteworthy:

According to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Resolution No. 15 stranded foreign travelers should be freely hired to the airport, see below:

«Outbound and repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and stranded foreign nationals shall be granted free and unimpeded access to and from national government facilities, such as airports, ferries, bus terminals, etc., notwithstanding any LGU pronouncement to the contrary. The said free access will extend to the vehicles carrying the aforementioned individuals in order for them to reach their final destination. No fee or any other requirement shall be imposed by LGUs in this regard. "

Especially about the Embassy's public services: Infection protection measures in the Philippines impose major restrictions on freedom of movement and for what public services the Embassy can offer. Regular applications for passports and DNA testing will unfortunately not be accepted until further notice.

Issuance of emergency passports will still be carried out if necessary, but it can be challenging for the traveler to visit the embassy.

The embassy gives priority to helping Norwegian travelers, and priority is given to acute and serious cases. Due to limited staffing and at times high demand on the switchboard, Norwegian citizens are encouraged to contact the embassy by email (emb.manila@mfa.no), alternatively by phone: +63 (0) 2 5317 2700.

Special information on quarantine regulations : The Philippine government introduced new comprehensive anti-contamination measures, "Enhanced Community Quarantine," for the entire Luzon (the northernmost main island of the Philippine Archipelago and for the island provinces of Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) from midnight March 16. This is extended until May 15 and now applies to the following areas: National Capital Region (NCR), Central Luzon (except Aurora), CALABARZON, Pangasinan, Benguet, Baguio City, Iloilo Province, Cebu Province and Cebu City, as well as Davao City.

" Enhanced Community Quarantine " - essentially means a strict home quarantine for everyone.

Large restrictions on freedom of movement have been introduced - people are required to stay home with the exception of one person per household who is allowed to go out to buy food and medicines. Access to food and medicines - "essential necessities" - is regulated.

It is mandatory to use a home office for large parts of the public and private sectors. Exceptions are provided for the private sector, which is defined as "basic needs". The health service, the police and the armed forces are still operational.

If businesses are kept open, only key personnel should be employed.

Public transport ("mass public transport") is suspended. Large restrictions have been placed on the use of private vehicles, with the exception of government vehicles, emergency vehicles and doctors.

Goods transport is maintained.

Mayors and barangay captains (leaders of the smallest administrative and political unit in the Philippines) are given broad powers to ensure that the quarantine is complied with and the duty to follow up.

Quarantine switches can be arrested and prosecuted. There is a significant presence of police and military forces in the street scene, and they also staff many of the checkpoints created for infection prevention purposes.

The rest of the country begins the "General Community Quarantine" (GCQ) in May. If the number of Covid-19 cases does not increase, GCQ in areas defined as low risk could be lifted after May 15.

As of May 16, only the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has the authority to impose, lift or extend quarantine in provinces, cities and urban areas.

During both ECQ and GCQ, larger gatherings of people are prohibited. Likewise, all providers of sports and leisure activities must still remain closed.

Other measures under GCQ:

  • Children and young people (0-20 years) and people over 60 are still not allowed to go out.
  • Still reduced public transport.
  • A certain reopening of private businesses - up to 50 percent of the workforce is allowed back to work at any given time.
  • Schools re-open at the earliest in September, online education is recommended.
  • Sea ports and airports are reopening in GCQ areas, but it is currently unclear to what extent this applies to passenger traffic.
  • All activity still requires that social distance be maintained.
  • Most shops/shopping centers must still remain closed.

The entire country is set in a "State of National Emergency" pursuant to Congress's resolution of special legislation, The Bayanihan - to Heal as One Act, of March 24.

Norwegian citizens are encouraged to abide by the advice and orders of the Philippine authorities.

***

Rabies are found throughout the Philippines. For more information on rabies see the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. In 2019, the WHO announced that fake rabies vaccines are in circulation in the Philippines. For more information on this, including advice from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, see the FHI website.

In Manila, there is a good selection of private hospitals and medical services today, and only exceptionally, transfer to treatment in other countries will be necessary. Outside of Manila and the big cities, however, the offer is much more varied. Medical treatment in the Philippines can be expensive, and it is strongly recommended to take out travel insurance.

The standard of hospitals and medical services has significantly improved in recent years. In Manila, there is today a large selection of private doctors and dentists, many with some or all of their education from abroad (especially the United States). The public health service has a low standard. Philippine hospitals generally have poor access to blood. The medicine selection at large pharmacies is relatively good. Both medical treatment and international branding can be very expensive.

Insects, especially mosquitoes, can be troublesome, and insect bites can become infected. Dengue fever, a virus that transmits mosquito bites, is found all over the Philippines. There have been cases of zika virus in the Philippines. Malaria mosquitoes occur to a limited extent (primarily in jungle areas), and it is recommended to take malaria tablets when traveling to these areas. Anti-mosquito cream can be purchased locally, or taken with you from Norway.

Cots should be equipped with insect nets, which can be purchased locally. Rabies are found throughout the Philippines. For more information on rabies see the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Be prepared for hot climates. Use high sunscreen to protect the skin. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. It is recommended to drink bottled water. Check the seal on bottles. Air pollution is a problem in Manila. Especially young children are at risk.

Hygiene conditions in the Philippines must be considered relatively good. However, some foreigners experience gastrointestinal infections, but these are not usually of a serious nature.

It is recommended to seek advice from a physician well in advance of departure to clarify vaccination needs. See also the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health for updated information.

Practical information

The Philippines is more western oriented than most other countries in the region. English works well in cities, and is also the language most commonly used in central administration and in business. In the districts, Tagalog or local languages ​​and dialects are often used - there are over 100 in total.

The current is 220 volts, but 110 volt outlets are also common. The sockets are of American type (two flat plugs). Some electrical outlets are of the universal type with support for European plugs, but it is advisable to bring an adapter.

There is mobile coverage in most of the country, including mobile data networks. The quality of the networks varies, and one can experience poor connection even though the phone appears to be in full coverage.

Visa, Diners, Mastercard, American Express are accepted in major cities. These can also largely be used when withdrawing local currency at an ATM. Larger amounts can be withdrawn at the international banks.

Banks are usually open from 9am to 7pm 3 pm, but is closed Saturday and Sunday. Stores are open every day from 6pm. 10am to 6pm. 21:00. Opening hours for public offices are at 8am to 6pm. 17:00.

Emergency telephone: Police 117

The time difference to Norway is + six hours summertime and + seven hours winter time.

Possession and use of any kind of drug, even small quantities, is strictly prohibited and can be punishable by long prison sentences. Filipino laws against pedophilia are very strict. Acc. Philippine law is a person under the age of 18 to count as a child. Single male travelers should exercise caution in dealing with "friendly" strangers with children, as allegations of child abuse and/or rape may be made in attempted extortion.

Norway has no extradition agreement with the Philippines.

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