When Can We Travel To The Philippines In 2021?
LAST UPDATE: MAY 21, 2021
Disclaimer: This information is collated from official sources but general in nature. Entry requirements are subject to change at any time. Keep checking for the latest advice from your local government, embassy, or consulate to confirm any visa or entry requirements before travel.
Things around the world are gradually returning to normal as the global vaccine rollout gains momentum. While there is no exact date for the resumption of international travel just yet, we at INTRO are monitoring the situation closely. So, can we travel to the Philippines in 2021? Read on for the latest updates.
AM I ALLOWED TO TRAVEL TO THE PHILIPPINES?
Currently most governments are advising against all but essential international travel, including to the Philippines.
ENTERING THE PHILIPPINES
Entry to the Philippines is currently restricted for tourists. Entry is permitted for Filipino citizens, relatives of Filipino citizens, and those with pre-existing valid visas at the time of entry (i.e. long term visas, special residents and retiree visas). Without an approved visa you will be refused entry.
For full details and exemptions, see the Philippines Government website.
Flights to and from the Philippines are limited, and there is a cap on the number of daily inbound passengers.
Under normal circumstances, most nationalities can receive a 30-day visa exemption on arrival in the Philippines for free. This visa-free travel scheme is temporarily suspended, and new visas will not be accepted on arrival.
Travellers who can enter are required to complete a mandatory health form 3 days before their arrival in the Philippines.
NEGATIVE COVID RESULT
Travellers are currently not required to provide proof of a negative covid-19 test before travelling to Philippines. However, some airlines will require a negative test result before flying, so always check before travel.
DO I NEED A VACCINE?
A covid vaccine is not mandatory to enter the Philippines. As more of the global population is vaccinated and international travel returns it is possible this will be implemented.
PROOF OF INSURANCE
Travel insurance is currently not necessary for arrivals.
Travellers are required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival in the Philippines. The first 10 days must be in a pre-booked accredited quarantine hotel/facility, at their own expense, the last 4 days of self-isolation can be completed at their destination. Travellers must do a covid test on day 7 after arrival. Find the list of approved facilities here.
Travellers are required to download and register an account in the TRAZE Contact Tracing App prior to entering the airport. Find out more here.
RESTRICTIONS & OPEN TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Travellers must wear masks in public places. The Philippines has implemented a range of covid measures throughout the country, which change regularly. These measures are different in each local province and barangay. For now, most tourist attractions remain closed.
Each country has different restrictions for travellers arriving from abroad.
From May 17th UK travellers can refer to the ‘traffic light’ system to determine where they can visit without quarantining on return. The Philippines is currently on the red list for entering England, but this can change at short notice when conditions change. Travellers arriving in the UK from red list countries must quarantine for 10 days and take 2 Covid tests during the quarantine. Find out more about UK travel restrictions via this link.
For information relevant to your situation keep up to date with local government announcements.
Like many nations, the Philippines is hoping to reopen when it is safe to do so, but the Filipino government must prioritise the health and safety of its citizens. Travelling to the Philippines is currently not possible for general tourism.
NOTE: This information is general and restrictions are subject to change, so keep in touch with the latest official advice from your local government and Filipino authorities.
WHEN WILL THE PHILIPPINES FULLY REOPEN TO TOURISM?
Due to the groundbreaking work of scientists around the globe, the distribution of covid vaccines has ramped up at incredible speed. Vaccines will hopefully see a return to 'regular' life sooner rather than later, and it's speculated that the Philippines will eventually ease restrictions so travellers may enter without quarantining. Like many countries, the Philippines is considering a vaccine passport system that will allow entry from travellers that have been fully vaccinated. Find out more about vaccine passports from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) here.
We will update this article and our COVID page as official news breaks.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO TRAVEL TO THE PHILIPPINES?
Like many other South-East Asian countries, the Philippines experiences warm tropical weather year-round but has two distinct seasons - wet and dry.
The dry season starts in November and goes until June, and this is considered the best time to travel to the Philippines. December to March are a little cooler, whereas April to June are the hottest (and busiest) months. Weather-wise, these months are perfect for beach-goers.
July to October brings the wet, off-peak season, but this season still has some perks! While the volume of rainfall increases, heavy downpours don’t tend to last long and are usually followed by the swift return of the sun. Flights, accommodation, and activities are cheaper, however, storms during this season can be a threat and potentially disrupt your travel plans. Please keep in mind that we don’t operate our tours during the main typhoon season (July, August, September). Once the borders are open and the sun's out, you can guarantee we'll be on the first flight to the Philippines!
WHY VISIT THE PHILIPPINES?
A tropical haven just next door to mainland Asia, it's no surprise the Philippines is one of the hottest new destinations to travel to. You've got beaches and waterfalls, mountains and jungles, megacities and epic caves, all sprawling over 7000 beautiful islands. Despite decent tourist infrastructure and a large English-speaking population, the Philippines doesn’t receive anywhere near the number of visitors as neighbouring Thailand or Vietnam. For all you need to know about this incredible country, check out our Ultimate Guide to Backpacking the Philippines here!
SOAK UP THE SUN WHILST ISLAND HOPPING
The ultimate way to lap up the laid-back lifestyle and beautiful scenery of the Philippines is on an island-hopping expedition of Palawan. Travelling via boat is the best way to sight-see, swim, sunbathe and snorkel your heart out. With so many islands, it’s not hard to find your own secluded beach off the beaten track. After a day of adventuring, you can watch the sun sink below the horizon, dine on the catch of the day, and snooze under the stars in traditional Filipino accommodation.
SNORKEL THE SARDINE RUN
This natural phenomenon allows you to snorkel in crystal clear water surrounded by millions of sardines. Moalboal is a marine sanctuary and the fish swarm here naturally, so it’s a completely ethical animal encounter! The fish sometimes attract dolphins, sea turtles, and you might even have a whale shark join you.
The Philippines has no shortage of adrenaline-pumping activities! At Kawasan Falls the adventurous can try canyoneering, scrambling through thick jungle to jump into the bright blue pools from heights of up to 20 metres!
WORLD-CLASS SCUBA DIVING
The Philippines hosts incredibly diverse marine life, so it is naturally becoming a popular destination for avid divers. Cebu, Bicol, Anilao, Boracay, and Apo Island are the best hotspots for beginner and experienced divers alike.
LEARN ABOUT INDIGENOUS FILIPINO CULTURES
A little off-the-beaten-track, the island of Siquijor is known for mystical mountain villages and healing shamans who brew traditional ointments good for all kinds of ailments... maybe even hangovers! Just about every bit of this island's coastline hosts great snorkelling, and the inner island has beautiful waterfalls and caves to explore.
Although we can’t travel to the Philippines just yet, we are keeping our fingers crossed for the not-too-distant future. Travel restrictions are beginning to ease and tourism will return with a surge in demand, so now is the time to get planning, especially if you backpack through paradise in the Philippines!
If this beautiful island nation sounds like your kind of destination, click through to check out our Philippines small group tours here! With expertly crafted itineraries, the guidance of a knowledgable group leader, full end-to-end support, and a new group of friends to make memories with, our trips are the ultimate way to discover a new country! Oh, and did we mention that all of the activities on our itineraries are included? You heard right - everything we mention is included in the tour - no extra payments required. Travel with a group and enjoy the best of the Philippines, stress-free.
With flexible booking policies and complete support during this uncertain time, you can be confident when booking with INTRO. See you in El Nido!