flag of Philippines
landscape photography of island with boats
person in black long sleeve shirt and brown hat standing on green grass field during daytime

Is Philippines Safe?

The Philippines is generally safe for tourists, but there are some risks to be aware of. Petty crimes like bag-snatching and pickpocketing are common, especially in urban areas. Certain regions face threats from terrorism, kidnapping, and civil unrest. Travelers should exercise caution, avoid protests, and follow government advisories. Natural disasters like typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions can disrupt travel plans. Hiring reliable guides and taking precautions can help mitigate risks.

Download Vigilios

Your Pocket-Sized Travel Safety Guide

A phone displaying the Vigilios app and it's safety features.
App Store

Safety & Security

The Philippines is generally safe for travelers, but it's important to exercise caution and be aware of potential risks. Petty crimes like pickpocketing and bag snatching occur, especially in crowded areas. Violent crimes, while relatively rare, can happen. Travelers should avoid isolated areas, especially at night, and be cautious when withdrawing money from ATMs.

  • Scams: Be wary of common scams targeting tourists, such as overcharging for goods or services, fake tour guides, and taxi scams. Only use licensed taxis or ride-sharing services.

  • Civil Unrest: While most areas are peaceful, there have been instances of civil unrest and political demonstrations, particularly in major cities. Avoid large gatherings and monitor local news for updates.

  • Terrorism: The risk of terrorism exists, especially in the southern regions of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. Follow the advice of local authorities and be vigilant in public places.

  • Disputes: Disputes between locals and foreigners can sometimes escalate. Respect local customs and avoid confrontations. If involved in a dispute, remain calm and seek assistance from authorities or your embassy.

  • Robbery: While rare, armed robberies can occur, particularly in isolated areas or on public transportation at night. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or valuables, and be cautious when withdrawing money from ATMs.

Exercising common sense, being aware of your surroundings, and following local advice can help mitigate risks and ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to the Philippines.

Health & Medical

Travelers to Philippines should be aware of potential health risks and take necessary precautions. While the country has decent medical facilities in major cities, rural areas may lack adequate healthcare services.

  • Vaccinations: Ensure routine vaccinations are up-to-date, including hepatitis A, typhoid, and influenza. Certain regions may require additional vaccines like hepatitis B, rabies, or Japanese encephalitis.

  • Insect-borne Diseases: Dengue fever, malaria, and Zika virus are present in some areas. Use insect repellent, wear long sleeves/pants, and stay in air-conditioned accommodations when possible.

  • Food and Water Safety: Avoid tap water and only consume bottled or purified water. Be cautious with street food and ensure proper food handling and preparation.

  • Air Pollution: Major cities like Manila experience high levels of air pollution, which can exacerbate respiratory conditions. Carry necessary medications and limit outdoor activities during peak pollution periods.

  • Medical Facilities: Private hospitals in major cities offer good medical care, but facilities may be limited in rural areas. Comprehensive travel insurance with emergency medical evacuation coverage is recommended.

Natural Disasters

The Philippines is prone to various natural disasters due to its geographic location and climate. Typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and floods are among the major risks travelers should be aware of.

  • Typhoons are a significant concern, with the country experiencing an average of 20 tropical cyclones annually. The typhoon season typically runs from June to December, with peak activity between July and October. These storms can bring destructive winds, heavy rainfall, and storm surges.

  • Earthquakes are also a risk, as the Philippines lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire. Major earthquakes have occurred in the past, causing significant damage and loss of life. Travelers should familiarize themselves with safety procedures in case of an earthquake.

  • Volcanic Eruptions pose a threat, particularly in areas near active volcanoes like Mount Mayon and Taal Volcano. Eruptions can disrupt travel plans and lead to evacuations.

  • Floods and landslides are common during the rainy season, especially in low-lying areas and mountainous regions. Flash floods can occur with little warning, posing risks to travelers.

It's advisable to monitor weather updates, follow local advisories, and have contingency plans in place during your visit. Travelers should also consider purchasing comprehensive travel insurance that covers natural disasters.


Transportation in the Philippines can be a mixed experience for travelers. While public transportation is widely available and relatively inexpensive, safety and reliability can be concerns.

  • Public Transportation: Jeepneys, buses, and tricycles are common modes of public transport. However, vehicles are often overcrowded, and road safety standards may not meet international norms. Exercise caution when using these services.

  • Taxis: Taxis are generally safe, but it's advisable to use reputable companies or ride-hailing apps like Grab to avoid scams or overcharging. Agree on the fare before starting the journey.

  • Driving: Driving in the Philippines can be challenging due to heavy traffic, poorly maintained roads, and aggressive driving habits. Renting a car with a driver is recommended for inexperienced drivers.

  • Road Safety: Road accidents are common due to factors like speeding, drunk driving, and poor road conditions. Exercise caution when crossing streets, and avoid traveling at night if possible.

  • Alternative Options: For shorter distances within cities, ride-hailing services like Grab or Angkas (motorcycle taxis) can be convenient and relatively safe options, provided you follow basic safety precautions.

Cultural Norms

The Philippines is a culturally diverse nation with a rich heritage influenced by various ethnic groups and colonial histories. As a traveler, it's essential to respect local customs and traditions to ensure a smooth and enriching experience. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Dress Modestly: While beach attire is acceptable in tourist areas, it's advisable to dress conservatively when visiting religious sites, rural areas, or interacting with locals. Covering your shoulders and knees is generally recommended.

  • Greetings and Gestures: Filipinos value respect and courtesy. Greet elders and authority figures with a slight bow or nod. Avoid public displays of affection, as they are generally frowned upon.

  • Religious Observances: The Philippines is predominantly Catholic, with a significant Muslim population in some regions. Be mindful of religious holidays and ceremonies, and avoid disruptive behavior near places of worship.

  • Hospitality and Gift-Giving: Filipinos are known for their warm hospitality. Small gifts are appreciated when visiting local homes or communities. However, avoid giving expensive presents, as it may cause discomfort.

  • Festivals and Celebrations: The Philippines is renowned for its vibrant festivals, many of which have religious or cultural significance. Participate respectfully, and seek guidance from locals or tour guides to ensure appropriate behavior.

  • Environmental Awareness: Respect local ecosystems and natural resources. Avoid littering, and follow guidelines when visiting protected areas or engaging in eco-tourism activities.

By embracing and respecting the rich cultural tapestry of the Philippines, travelers can foster meaningful connections and create lasting memories during their visit.

Emergency Services

Emergency services in the Philippines are generally available, but their reliability and quality can vary depending on the location and specific situation. While major cities and tourist areas typically have better access to emergency services, remote or rural areas may have limited resources.

  • Emergency Response: The national emergency hotline is 911, which connects callers to the Philippine National Police (PNP) for emergency assistance. However, response times can be inconsistent, especially in remote areas or during high-traffic periods.

  • Medical Facilities: Major cities like Manila, Cebu, and Davao have well-equipped hospitals and clinics that cater to tourists. However, medical facilities in rural areas may be limited, and some may lack advanced equipment or specialized care.

  • Tourist Police: The Philippines has a dedicated Tourist Police Unit (TPU) that assists travelers in emergencies, such as theft, lost documents, or accidents. These units are typically stationed in popular tourist destinations and can provide assistance in English.

  • Natural Disasters: The Philippines is prone to natural disasters like typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. In such events, emergency services may be overwhelmed, and response times can be delayed. It's advisable to follow local authorities' instructions and seek shelter in designated evacuation centers.

  • Travel Insurance: Comprehensive travel insurance that covers emergency medical evacuation and repatriation is highly recommended, as the costs of medical treatment and emergency services in the Philippines can be substantial for foreign travelers.

Frequently Asked Questions

A colorful illustration with three people and the letters "FAQ" representing a Frequently Asked Questions section

Is Philippines safe for tourists?

The Philippines is generally safe for tourists, but caution is advised in certain areas due to terrorism, crime, and natural disasters. Avoid the Sulu Archipelago, Mindanao, and areas with insurgent activity. Exercise caution in crowded areas and use legitimate transportation services.

Is Philippines safe for solo female travelers?

The Philippines is relatively safe for solo female travelers, but caution is advised. Avoid isolated areas, especially at night, and dress conservatively. Catcalling and harassment can occur, but the locals are generally friendly and helpful.

Is Philippines safe for families?

The Philippines is a family-friendly destination with a welcoming culture. Resorts and tourist areas cater to families with children. However, be cautious of petty crime, traffic, and natural disasters. Ensure children are supervised and have appropriate vaccinations.

Is Philippines LGBTQ+ friendly?

The Philippines is generally tolerant of the LGBTQ+ community, with a vibrant scene in major cities. However, same-sex marriage is not legally recognized, and public displays of affection may draw unwanted attention in conservative areas.

Do you need a visa to go to Philippines?

Most visitors from Western countries can enter the Philippines without a visa for stays up to 30 days. A valid passport with at least 6 months remaining validity is required. Visa extensions are available for longer stays.

Can you drink tap water in Philippines?

Tap water is not safe to drink in the Philippines. Bottled or purified water is recommended for drinking and brushing teeth. Avoid ice cubes made from tap water and be cautious when consuming fresh produce washed with tap water.

What is the currency in Philippines?

The Philippine peso (PHP) is the official currency in the Philippines. Credit cards are widely accepted in major cities and tourist areas, but cash is preferred in rural areas and smaller establishments.

Download the App

Map, Insights & Support - Vigilios is your Personal Safety Companion

A phone displaying the Vigilios app and it's safety features.
App Store QR LinkApp Store
Google Play QR Link
Coming soon to Android
Google Play