COVID-19: Philippines Travel Updates

A wooden hut and white sand on the beach. Siargao Island, Philippines

Updated 17th September 2021.

See here for Southeast Asia Travel COVID-19 overview.


LATEST PHILIPPINES COVID-19 NEWS:

  • 17th September 2021 – Travel ban on four new countries added to red-list, Greneda, Papua New Guinea, Serbia and Slovenia. Source.
  • 14th September 2021 – City-wide lockdown in Manila to be relaxed and new localised lockdown system introduced from 16th September. Source.
  • 10th September 2021 – Travel ban introduced on 9 red-list countries including Israel, Montenegro and Switzerland. Source.
  • 6th September 2021 – Travel ban lifted on 10 countries, including Sri Lanka, UAE and India. Source.
  • 6th September 2021 – New traffic light system introduced to replace blanket ban on all travel. Source.
  • 13th August 2021 – The Philippines extends the ban on travellers from Indonesia, Malasyia, Thailand, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the UAE and Oman. Source.
  • 6th August 2021 – Manila enters its third lockdown as citizens are asked to stay at home except to go the hopsital or to get essential supplies. Movement between provinces is prohibited. Source.
  • 2nd August 2021 – Nighttime curfew extended in Manila, now in place from 8pm to 4am. Source.
  • 16th July 2021 – Philippines tighten curbs as first case of locally transmitted Delta variant is found. Source.
  • 30th June 2021 – Starting 1st July, quarantine is shortened from 14 to 7 days for travellers who can prove they are fully vaccinated. Travellers must have spent 14 days in a low risk ‘green country’ before flying. Source.
  • 22nd June 2021 – President Duterte threatens prison for anyone not willing to have COVID-19 vaccine. Source.

Disclaimer: COVID-19 travel restrictions are changing daily. The following information reflects South East Asia Backpacker’s current understanding of the rules. We work hard to update this information as often and accurately as possible. However, we cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. We strongly advise you to contact the embassy of the country you are visiting for the latest information.


Can you travel to the Philippines right now? SUMMARY:

The Philippines is officially closed to tourists until further notice. From 1st May 2021, the Philippines will only allow the following citizens to enter the country: Filipino nationals, parents, children, spouses of Filipino nationals and government officials or those with a residency or retiree permit or valid work visa. See below the official public advisory from the Philippines Embassy in the US dated 14th June 2021.

Public Advisory on entry to the Philippines from US Filipino Embassy.
Philippines Entry Requirements
Philippines Entry Requirements from the Filipino Bureau of Immigration.

Before you enter the Philippines, you will need:

  • A valid visa.
  • A negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of your departure to the Philippines.
  • At immigration counters in the Philippines, you must present your receipt for your pre-booked quarantine accommodation which must have been accredited by the Philippines Department of Tourism.

Since November 2020, some airports have required passengers to download the ‘Traze Contact Tracing’ app. See this Facebook page for more information. You can download the app on Google Play.

Quarantine Period: 

Anyone who meets the criteria above must undergo 14 days of quarantine. 10 of those must be in a specified government facility, and the following four can be in your own residence. On the sixth day of your quarantine, you must provide a negative COVID-19 test. You will be expected to pay all costs of the quarantine stay and tests. Quarantine hotels average around $80 US per night.

See our list of the best budget quarantine hotels in Manila here.

Face Masks: 

Face coverings are mandatory in all indoor public places and on all public transport, including trains, buses, jeepneys, taxis and boats. You should check with your airline which face coverings are accepted on board.

Read more about the best face masks for travel here.

COVID-19 Tests Required: 

You will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result before departure to the Philippines and be able to show this at the airport counter. You must also be able to provide a negative COVID-19 test result on the 9th day of your quarantine.

Internal Travel Restrictions in the Philippines: 

There are three different levels of community restrictions in the country depending on the number of COVID-19 cases. The levels from highest to lowest are:

  • Enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) – Essentially total lockdown where citizens are advised to stay at home except for emergencies. Travel to other barangays or cities is prohibited. Schools and non-essential businesses are closed and limits on transportation are in place. Gatherings are banned. No domestic or international flights are allowed.
  • Modified enhanced quarantine (MECQ) – People are advised to stay at home but can leave to obtain essential goods. Gatherings are restricted to 5 people. Public transport is limited. Air travel is controlled (returning Filipinos,). Schools are still closed. Approved businesses can operate with skeleton staff, others must work from home. Indoor restaurants can operate at 10% capacity, hairdressers and beauty parlours at 30%.
  • General community quarantine (GCQ) – The vulnerable and elderly must stay at home. Gatherings are restricted to 10 people. Public transport is allowed with social distancing. Travel between other GCQ regions is allowed, with safety protocols.

Read about the different types of quarantine in the Philippines here.

If you are travelling in the Philippines, you should keep a close eye on the quarantine restrictions in your local barangay.

Curfews: 

Manila has a nightly curfew from midnight to 4 am starting 15th June 2021. Source. Different curfews are in place across the country depending on the level of quarantine.

Hotels and guesthouses: 

Hotels and guesthouses in the Philippines are open though operating in many areas with skeleton staff depending on the level of quarantine restrictions. Contact the relevant Philippine Tourism Department Office for advice on local accommodation options.

Public places: 

Restrictions differ depending on the city/barangay. See above. Face masks must be worn at all times in indoor public areas.

Resources: 

Dave Noakes Bio Pic, with Nikki Scott
Nikki Scott | Founder & Editor

Nikki is the founding editor of South East Asia Backpacker. At age 23, she left the UK on a solo backpacking trip and never returned. After six months on the road, she founded a print magazine about backpacking in Asia. The rest is history.

Find me: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

4 thoughts on “COVID-19: Philippines Travel Updates”

  1. Bob Bodnaruk

    So whether or not you have been vaccinated, you must quarantine in the Philippines for 10-14 days at your expense, is there an average cost per day ?

  2. Hi there. Thanks for the info. Would you know of rules for those who have received complete/2 vaccinations? Thanks!

    1. Hi there! At the moment, the rules are the same regardless of whether or not you have been fully vaccinated. We will update this page if that info changes. All the best!

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