There is an increased risk of contracting hepatitis A and typhoid in the Philippines, both of which can be contracted through contaminated food or water.
Exercise a high degree of caution in the Philippines overall due to crime and terrorism.
Higher levels apply in some areas.
If you’re planning a trip to the Philippines, you won’t be disappointed. Its natural beauty is unquestionable, from stunning tropical beaches and waterfalls, to volcanoes, caves and picturesque rice terraces. And to accompany all of this, home to one of the world’s smallest species of monkey – the bug-eyed Tarsier.
The capital of the Philippines, Manila, blends the oriental with the occidental, blending historic and modern. From the oldest, most historic walled district of ‘Intramuros’, with its old dungeons and gunpowder rooms to the modern shopping malls and theatres, Manila is filled with life and diversity.
A tropical island paradise still comes with its risks of contracting vaccine-preventable disease or illnesses. Speak with your healthcare professional about the vaccinations or preventative medications you might need to protect yourself prior to your departure.
Before you go to Philippines
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all travellers should be up to date with their routine vaccinations before heading off to the Philippines. These include vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, chicken pox, polio and influenza. These vaccinations are given as part of the National Immunisation Program (NIP).
Travellers to the Philippines who are aged 5 years or older should also ensure they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Depending on the duration of your stay, where you are staying and what activities you have planned, the following vaccinations or preventative medication may be recommended for you by your doctor:
- Hepatitis B
- Japanese encephalitis (particularly if you are visiting rural areas and/or spending a lot of time outdoors)
- Malaria (preventative medication)
- Rabies (can be found in dogs, bats and other mammals)
Medicare will only cover your GP consultation cost in most cases, but some private travel clinics may incur an out of pocket expense. Medicare will not cover the vaccinations, and vaccination prices vary a lot. The average cost of a single travel vaccine can very between $45-85.
If you have private healthcare, you may find they will cover some costs, but this varies from one company to another – check with your personal insurer for more details.
It is best to consult with your doctor or travel health clinic at least a month prior to your departure. They will be able to advise you about any vaccinations that you may need for your trip well before you leave, based on your specific travel plans.
What your doctor will need to know:
- When you plan to travel (time of year/season)
- The duration of your trip
- The regions of the Philippines you are visiting
- Your planned activities (i.e. if you are going trekking or visiting remote and/or wilderness areas)
- If you will be in contact with animals
- If you are up-to-date with your routine vaccinations
Your doctor may also conduct a general health check-up. This may be needed for your travel insurance if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
If you are not up-to-date with your routine vaccinations or if the doctor believes you may be at an increased risk of contracting a vaccine-preventable disease, then they may recommend you get a booster or be revaccinated against a particular disease.
In some circumstances, your private healthcare may cover the cost of the vaccination.
This will however depend on the specifics of your policy with your provider – the type of cover you have (hospital, hospital + extra) and the specifics of your extras cover.
Contact your provider to find out if vaccinations are included as part of your cover.
The standard of healthcare facilities in the Philippines is generally adequate in major cities, although may be stretched in response to COVID-19. Facilities in other areas may vary. So, it is important you are prepared before heading off on your trip.
See your doctor at least a month before departure to discuss your travel health requirements.
- Register your trip with Smart Traveller
- Ensure you’re up-to-date with your routine vaccinations
- Make sure you have enough of your regular prescription medicines
- Take out travel insurance to cover you and your family for medical and other costs resulting from unexpected incidents and accidents
- Put together a travel kit with paracetamol and aspirin, diarrhoeal medicine, oral rehydration salts, antiseptic lotion or ointment, adhesive bandages and other wound dressings, insect repellent, sunscreen, latex gloves, thermometer, motion sickness medicine, and water purification tablets
- 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 (some stores have been known to sell boiled water in recycled bottles). Avoid adding ice to your drinks, and check that salad and fruit have been washed with filtered water prior to consumption.
- Avoid mosquito bites, as insect-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and Japanese encephalitis are quite common in the Philippines. You can protect yourself with insect repellent, wearing clothes that cover your arms and legs, and staying in accommodation that has fly nets or screens provided.
- Avoid animal bites. Rabies is a deadly disease and considered a risk in the Philippines. It is spread by the bite, lick or scratch of an infected animal, such as a dog or a monkey. Vaccinations for rabies are available – your doctor can advise whether vaccinations are required for your trip.
- Use condoms to prevent sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, hepatitis B and AIDS.
Sources & Citations
- Worldometer. Philippines Population (live). Available at: http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/philippines-population/ [accessed 31 August 2023].
- Philippine Government. About the Philippines. Available at: https://www.gov.ph/about-the-philippines.html [accessed 15 February 2022].
- Convention on Biological Diversity – Philippines. Available at: https://www.cbd.int/countries/profile/?country=ph [accessed 15 February 2022].
- Traveller. Secret’s out – Asia’s most overlooked paradise. Available at: https://www.traveller.com.au/secrets-out-asias-most-overlooked-paradise-3e2af [accessed 15 February 2022].
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Travelers’ health – Philippines. Available at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/philippines [accessed 15 February 2022].
- Australian Government Department of Health. National Immunisation Program Schedule (NIP). Available at: https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-throughout-life/national-immunisation-program-schedule [accessed 14 February 2022].
- Finder. Travel vaccinations. Available at: https://www.finder.com.au/travel-vaccinations [accessed 15 February 2022].
- Australian Government. Smart Traveller – the Philippines. Available at: https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/asia/philippines [accessed 15 February 2022].
- Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Traveler’s Health Pack Smart. Available at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/pack-smart [accessed 15 February 2022].
- Australian Government. Smart Traveller – Infectious Diseases. Available at: https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/before-you-go/health/diseases [accessed 15 February 2022].
MAT-AU-2200217 Date of preparation March 2022Show All