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How to keep healthy when travelling in the Philippines?

Page last updated 14 November 2018

The standard of healthcare facilities in the Philippines varies from place to place. So, it is important you a prepared before heading off on your trip.

See your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before departure to discuss your travel health requirements.

Before travelling

  • Register your trip with Smart Traveller  
  • Make sure you have enough of your regular prescription medicines
  • Put together a travel kit with medication for pain, diarrhoeal medicine, oral rehydration salts, antiseptic lotion or ointment, adhesive bandages and other wound dressings, insect repellent, sunscreen, latex gloves, thermometer, motion sickness medicine, water purification tablets and compression stockings
  • Ensure you’re up-to-date with your routine vaccinations
  • Take out travel insurance - to cover you and your family for medical and other costs resulting from unexpected incidents and accidents

During travel:

  • The tap water in the Philippines is not safe to drink. 
  • Drink bottled or filtered water only and check the plastic seal on bottled water is intact. Avoid adding ice to your drinks, and check that salad and fruit have been washed with filtered water prior to consumption.  
  • Traveller's diarrhoea is common in Philippines. 
  • Important ways to prevent traveller’s diarrhoea include:
    • ensure you wash your hands with soap and water regularly 
    • where possible, opt for fully cooked fresh food and only eat fruit that you peel yourself. 
  • Avoid mosquito bites, as mosquito-borne illnesses such as malaria, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis and Zika are considered a risk in the Philippines. Preventative medication or vaccines are available for malaria and Japanese encephalitis, but not for dengue or Zika. It is important to protect yourself with insect repellents, wear clothes that cover your arms and legs and stay in accommodation with fly nets and screening. Talk to your doctor before your trip regarding how you can prevent mosquito-borne diseases.
  • Rabies is a serious concern in the Philippines, which is among the top 10 countries in the world with the highest amount of reported cases. If you are travelling with young children, or if you will be participating in activities that will bring you into contact with animals such as dogs, cats or bats, it is recommended that you consider a pre-exposure vaccination prior to your departure. Your doctor can advise whether vaccinations are required for your trip.
  • Use condoms to prevent sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, human papillomavirus, herpes, syphilis, hepatitis B and HIV
  • Diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B can also be spread through fluids such as blood and semen. To protect yourself, do not inject drugs, do not share needles or devices that can break the skin including those use for tattooing, piercings or acupuncture. Vaccinations are available for hepatitis B.

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Sources & Citations

  1. Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Smart Traveller. Philippines. Available at: [accessed 22 May].
  2. International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers. Country Health Advice, Philippines. Food & Water Safety: Overview. Available at: [accessed 23 May 2018].
  3. Department of Science and Technology. Philippine Council for Health Research and Development. All you need to know about rabies. Available at: [accessed 23 May 2018].

SPANZ.SAPAS.18.04.0160a - Date of preparation July 2018