We advise against all travel to central, southern and western Mindanao, and the Sulu archipelago including Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Jolo, where there are ongoing military and police operations against insurgent groups. On 23 June 2006, a bomb exploded in Maguindanao Province, Western Mindanao. Reports suggest that five people were killed and a further 10 were injured. On 27 March 2006, an explosive device was detonated in Jolo Town killing five people and injuring at least 27. You should take particular care and maintain high levels of vigilance when travelling to the rest of Mindanao, including Davao.
There has been an increase in volcanic activity at the Mount Mayon Volcano in Albay Province, south east Luzon. The Philippines Institute of Vulcanology and Seismology has warned that a hazardous explosion is possible. A Permanent Danger Zone of six kilometres has been established around the summit of the volcano. There has also been an increase in volcanic activity on the Bulusan Volcano in Sorsogon Province, which could lead to an eruption. A Permanent Danger Zone of four kilometres has been established around the summit of the volcano. You should avoid the areas surrounding both volcanoes, as sudden explosions may occur.
There is a threat of kidnapping throughout the Philippines. We continue to believe that terrorists and criminal elements plan to kidnap foreign tourists from islands and coastal areas in the southern Philippines – ie Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago. Kidnappings from other parts of the Philippines cannot be discounted. Boats travelling to and from offshore islands and dive sites are possible targets.
There is a high threat from terrorism throughout the Philippines. We continue to receive reports that terrorist groups are planning further attacks and believe that they have the capacity and the intent to mount indiscriminate attacks at any time and anywhere in the country. These attacks could be against civilian targets in public places, including those frequented by foreigners.
A week long state of emergency declared by the President of the Philippines following the arrest of three people for an attempted coup was lifted on 3 March 2006. However, public protests remain likely. You should avoid political gatherings or demonstrations.
Penalties for illegal drug importation and use are severe and can include the death penalty.
Around 50,000 British tourists visit the Philippines every year. Most visits are trouble-free. The main type of incidents for which British nationals require consular assistance in the Philippines are replacing lost or stolen passports, running out of money or overstaying their visa. You should be alert to the risk of street crime.
We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake. Please see: Travel Insurance.