The Philippines attracts close to four million tourists a year. With so much to see and an overall laid-back atmosphere, travelers look forward to many fun things while in the county. While the people are warm, friendly and quite hospitable, travelers should still make an effort to practice some travel safety tips to ensure that the trip goes off without a hitch.
Exercise basic common sense when going out. Do not draw attention to yourself by wearing expensive or flashy jewelry. Hold your purse or bag in front of you whenever possible, especially in crowded areas. Pickpockets and purse-snatchers are abundant all over the metropolis. When walking on the sidewalk, stay on the inner part since some thieves operate in teams and ride on a motorbike, ready to relieve people of their belongings and to drag unsuspecting victims on the street, which could result in severe physical injury. Follow travel advisories of the country and your embassy to determine the places that you should avoid.
There have been some health risks caused by mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue: bring some mosquito repellant. Be sure to have adequate medical coverage before embarking on your trip. A majority of medical health policies do not extend coverage outside the country. It is therefore necessary to avail of travel medical insurance that will cover you for the duration of your stay in the country. There are a number of good medical facilities in the Metro Manila Metropolitan Area. However, in some rural areas, medical facilities may not be readily available. Fortunately, there are many English-speaking personnel available.
The Philippines is a hot tropical country. Travelers should stay hydrated constantly. Drink plenty of water, especially when going outdoors or enjoying outdoor activities. Travelers should apply a liberal amount of sunscreen as protection against the damaging rays of the sun when going outdoors. Do not drink water from the faucet, as it is often not potable. Order bottled water when dining out, before consuming drinks and items with ice, ask if the water is from a filtered source. Otherwise, you may want to skip it. Also, be careful in trying out the street food and other smaller establishments, since food safety practices may not always be enforced. Bring along some anti-diarrhea medication as a safety precaution. At major chains, hotels and largest establishments, proper food handling safety practices are more strictly enforced so dining at these places is a safer bet. When dining out, tipping is expected. Some establishments already include a service charge, while others do not. You may opt to round up the bill to the nearest peso amount as tip.
Have photocopies of your passport and other travel documents with you. There’s no need to carry your passport with you when you tour, as long as you are able to present some form of identification when needed.