Traveling Safely: Tips for Exploring the Philippines
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Although traveling around the Philippines is generally safe, there are still some risks that travelers should be aware of and avoid. Some activities may be dangerous, while others may not be worth the risk. To ensure a truly unforgettable vacation in the Philippines, it’s important to follow these travel safety tips
Choose your destination carefully
Although much of the Philippines is safe for travelers, it is advisable to avoid the southern part of the country. Specifically, the Zamboanga Peninsula and the Sulu archipelago are considered no-go zones due to the high levels of danger in these areas.
These places have been associated with numerous incidents of violence, frequent clashes with Filipino security forces, and numerous kidnappings, often perpetrated by terrorist groups. It is important to exercise caution and stay away from these areas to ensure your safety while traveling in the Philippines.
Don’t walk barefoot
It is highly recommended to wear sandals or flip-flops at all times when in the Philippines. Walking barefoot can result in serious injuries that can not only ruin your vacation but also cause permanent damage to your feet. In addition, foot infections are quite common in tropical regions, and travelers should avoid walking barefoot on beaches, where the sand may be contaminated with feces.
Therefore, to ensure your safety and good health while in the Philippines, always keep your feet protected by wearing appropriate footwear.
Think twice about renting a motorbike
It is unfortunate that many tourists in the Philippines end up getting seriously injured or even lose their lives due to road accidents. One of the major contributing factors to this issue is the poor state of the roads in the country.
If you choose to ride a motorbike despite the risks, it is crucial to take appropriate safety measures. Always wear a helmet to protect your head in case of an accident. Additionally, be prepared to navigate mixed traffic, as there is often no segregation of motorcycles from larger vehicles. The road infrastructure design in the country can also be faulty, with deteriorating road conditions, uncovered manholes and drains, and other roadside hazards that can lead to accidents.
In summary, while it is possible to ride a motorbike in the Philippines, it is important to be aware of the risks and take all necessary precautions to ensure your safety on the road.
Avoid food poison
Food poisoning is a common occurrence in the Philippines and can range from a mild inconvenience to a more serious health issue. Nobody wants to spend their vacation confined to a bathroom due to food poisoning.
It is important to note that while the street food may look tempting and delicious, it does not necessarily mean it is hygienic and clean. Therefore, it is crucial to take precautions to avoid food poisoning while enjoying the local cuisine.
To minimize the risk of food poisoning, it is advisable to drink only bottled water and avoid tap water. Additionally, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your food or eating. This practice helps to eliminate harmful bacteria and prevent the spread of infection.
Don’t get wasted
The Philippines is home to many bars and entertainment venues, but it is important to note that getting drunk while traveling can often lead to disastrous outcomes. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying a few drinks, it is essential to distinguish between getting buzzed and getting excessively intoxicated.
It is crucial to be aware that drunk tourists can become an easy target for certain types of crime. Being under the influence can impair judgment, making it easier for criminals to take advantage of you. Therefore, it is important to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings, especially when consuming alcohol in unfamiliar settings.
Don’t Buy or Use illegal drugs
It is highly unlikely that anyone would want to experience the deplorable conditions inside a prison in the Philippines. Testing positive for drugs can lead to imprisonment, and the law in the country may not be lenient towards foreigners. Therefore, it is imperative to avoid buying or using illegal drugs while in the Philippines.
Using or possessing illegal drugs is considered a severe offense in the Philippines, and the consequences can be severe.
Bring more cash than you think you’ll need
It is important to note that rural areas in the Philippines may not have banks and ATM machines readily available. Additionally, many establishments such as stores, inns, guesthouses, and restaurants may not have credit card machines. Therefore, it is advisable to carry enough cash while traveling to these areas.
Furthermore, it is essential to note that the official currency in the Philippines is the Philippine Peso. While some places may accept foreign currencies, it is not always guaranteed. Therefore, it is best to exchange your currency for Philippine Pesos at a reputable exchange bureau or bank.
Don’t book Tight Flight Connections
Regrettably, airlines in the Philippines have a reputation for frequently experiencing delays. If you’re traveling to or within the country, it is important to note that your flight may be delayed due to various reasons, such as weather conditions or air traffic congestion at the airport.
In the event of bad weather or congestion at Manila airport, your flight may be delayed to a point where you could miss your connecting flight. As a result, you may become stranded and suffer significant financial losses. Therefore, it is vital to factor in sufficient time to cater for unexpected delays, particularly if you have connecting flights or other time-sensitive appointments.
To avoid any inconvenience, it is advisable to keep yourself informed of your flight status by checking with your airline or through airport announcements. Also, consider giving yourself extra time in between flights or scheduling your flights with sufficient layover time to accommodate any potential delays.
Monitor the weather
The Philippines is prone to around 20 typhoons annually, with the majority occurring between June and December. It is essential to note that these typhoons may result in severe flooding and landslides, which can lead to property damage and loss of life.
In the event of a tropical storm, it is crucial to stay informed by monitoring local media reports and following the advice of local authorities, including any evacuation orders. Moreover, it is advisable to check the latest typhoon information at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) website.
Don’t travel without insurance
When traveling in the Philippines, it is crucial to obtain travel insurance to ensure you are protected from any unforeseen circumstances that may arise. A typical travel insurance policy offers coverage for various concerns, such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, travel delays, and lost luggage.
In case of a trip cancellation due to unforeseen circumstances, such as illness, travel insurance can help you recover the costs of non-refundable tickets or accommodations. Moreover, medical emergencies can be expensive, and travel insurance can provide coverage for medical expenses, including hospitalization, emergency medical evacuation, and repatriation.
Travel delays due to weather or other issues can cause inconvenience and additional expenses. With travel insurance, you can receive compensation for additional expenses incurred during the delay, such as accommodations, meals, and transportation.
Lastly, lost luggage can disrupt your trip and cause inconvenience. In such cases, travel insurance can cover the cost of lost or stolen luggage and its contents.