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UK travel advisory on the Philippines

  • 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 on Mount Mayon is imminent.  The Permanent Danger Zone around the summit of the volcano has been extended to eight kilometres.  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.

  • The typhoon season in the Philippines normally runs from July to November.  Please see the Natural Disasters section of this Travel Advice and Hurricanes for more information.

  • 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.
  • 10 Little Things

    TEN (10) LITTLE THINGS
    OFWs, Balikbayans & Pinoy Expats Could Do
    TO HELP DEVELOP OUR PHILIPPINES

    By Alexander Lacson
    a) Spend your vacation, your dollars, in our Philippines

    It is understandable for our OFWs, balikbayans and Pinoy expats to
    spend vacation in other countries. The world is truly beautiful and
    majestic. But please do spend some of your vacation, and some of
    your dollars, in our Philippines. Every dollar that you bring into
    our country will help build our Philippines. It will help our
    tourism industry. It will mean more sales and more jobs for our
    local industries. It will mean an increase in our country’s
    international dollar reserves. It will help stabilize the Peso. And
    ultimately, it will help stabilize our economy.

    b) Teach your relatives back home to be good citizens & good
    Filipinos

    Whether or not you are sending money to your relatives in the
    Philippines, you are one of their heroes. They look up to you as
    models. They listen to every word you say, to whatever you tell
    them. Please teach them to become good Filipinos, to become good
    citizens. They can start with my book – 12 Little Things Every
    Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country. Please ask them to help me
    spread the message of the book. In particular, please ask them
    to “Buy local. Buy Pilipino.” In an article in one of the recent
    issues of TIME Magazine, it was said that the most crucial factor
    for economic progress is not foreign investments, but economic
    nationalism, i.e., when people learn to support their own country’s
    products.

    c) All OFWs, Balikbayans and Pinoy Expats should do more during
    elections in RP

    In the next and all future elections, the OFWs and Balikbayans and
    Pinoy expats should do more by helping your relatives back home in
    choosing the right leaders – the national ones especially – for our
    country. Your relatives at home will surely listen to you. This
    means that as OFWs and expats, you need to surf the internet and
    read the news so you’ll know the candidates who should be elected to
    office. There are organizations and websites which can help you on
    this.

    If is true that there are at least 8 million OFWs all over the world
    now, and if it is also true that every Filipino has at least 4
    family members or relatives, then the 8 million OFWs have at least
    32 million relatives back home in the Philippines. This means that
    the OFWs and their families, by their own numbers, can already
    change and transform the political leadership in the Philippines,
    our government, and eventually our nation as a whole.

    d) Buy Pilipino, wherever you are in the world

    If you look at the Japanese and the (South) Koreans, wherever they
    are in the world, they buy and patrionize their own products. They
    are like that too in the Philippines. That’s why there are so many
    Korean stores sprouting all over the country now. The Chinese, Thais
    and Malaysians are almost like them too, but in a less passionate
    manner.

    We Filipinos have a trait of preference for imported products – the
    so-called “colonial mentality” – because we were ruled and
    controlled by the Spaniards for 333 years up to 1898, and by the
    Americans thereafter up to 1946. Truly, while they ruled us, they
    made us believe that only the Spanish and American products, ideas
    and ways were better and superior. And that ours were inferior.

    But that’s history. Our Philippines today is different. There are
    many good Filipinos now, with equally good Filipino products or
    bands. Look at Bayo, Kamiseta, Bench, Penshoppe, Jollibee, among
    others. In fact, some of the best branded products you see in New
    York, London and Italy are made in our Philippines.

    Please be an ambassador of the Filipino, by wearing Pilipino. Show
    to your foreign spouses and officemates and to the world, the
    elegance of our culture and beauty of our people. All these things
    begin with us, with each one of us.

    e) Adopt a poor child as a scholar back home

    According to government sources, around 40% of our people are poor.
    But according to our bishops from CBCP, the figure is much higher
    than that, possibly at 63%. Since we have a population of almost 86
    million now, please imagine how many is 63% of that. And most of the
    poor are children, young children a great many of whom are out there
    in the streets, because their parents cannot afford to send them to
    school. Is there something that we, in the private sector, can do to
    help the many poor around us, particularly the children?

    My proposal is this – let’s adopt as scholars our poor children in
    the streets.

    There is this group called World Vision. It is an international
    foundation which does scholarship for poor children in different
    areas of the Philippines. It is also operating in more than 100
    countries around the world today. Under World Vision, you can adopt
    a poor child as scholar for only P450 per month. Yes, for only P450
    a month. If P450 is expensive for you, convince your best friend to
    pay half of the P450 monthly. You and your best friend will be
    partners in adopting 1 scholar.

    If you wish, World Vision can give you the name, address and
    personal profile of your scholar so you can talk or write to your
    scholar.

    Can you imagine if we are able to convince 5 million Filipinos
    (including OFWs, Balikbayans and Pinoy expats) today, each one
    wiling to sponsor 1 scholar each under World Vision? It means that 5
    million poor children will be taken out of the streets – where they
    are exposed to all kinds of criminality – and sent to school as
    scholars. This means that 5 million poor children are given the
    chance to have a better future.

    This could be one of the fastest paths to progress and social
    transformation in our country. And this is a very Christian way.
    Even Jesus Christ, who was born very poor in a manger, had to be
    adopted by Joseph.

    f) Support a charitable organization

    There are many good charitable organizations that truly help build
    our Philippines to become a better place for all of us. Gawad
    Kalinga, Pondo ng Pinoy, Caritas Manila, World Vision, among others.
    These groups are beyond the dirt and mirth of politics.

    Like most of us, you too are busy. Often, you will have not the time
    and skills to help others. Charitable organizations are there to
    allow us to help others while we are busy. So please seriously
    consider this. Every little help that you send will help one poor
    Filipino, often one poor child, in our country.

    g) Teach your children about the Philippines, and to love it and its
    people

    Teach your children and your foreign spouses, wherever you are in
    the world, about our Philippines – the home of the Filipino, and the
    birthplace of our race.

    Let your children and foreign spouses hear it from you – that you
    appreciate and love our Philippines. Because if they hear and see it
    from you, their beloved, they too will appreciate and love our
    Philippines. Or they will find a way, sooner or later, to appreciate
    and love it, because, as I said, you are their beloved. I see that
    all the time, everywhere, in practically all the fathers and mothers
    in this world. Their sons and daughters often carry and continue
    their parents’ loves, causes and advocacies.

    If you make your children see and hear that you love our
    Philippines, believe me, someday your children would grow up with
    love and admiration for the Philippines in their hearts and minds.

    h) Speak positively about our Philippines and our people

    Surely, there are things that will disappoint and dishearten you in
    the Philippines, especially if you look at our government and the
    politicians who run it and those businessmen whose companies earn so
    much but pay very little to their employees.

    But there are also many good things in our Philippines. We are a
    race capable of greatness and excellence, and you see this in the
    likes of Lea Salonga, Dr Josette Biyo, Diosdado Banatao, Efren
    Reyes, Ninoy Aquino, Jose Rizal, among many others. Except for our
    leaders, we are essentially a breed of honest people, and you see
    this in the likes of Nestor Sulpico, the Filipino driver in New York
    who, on 17 July 2004, drove 43 miles from New York to Connecticut,
    USA to return the US$80,000 worth of rare black pearls to his
    passenger who forgot it at the rear back seat of his taxi. We are a
    people of truly good hospitality even to strangers, and a people who
    are very forgiving, and very caring of our olds. There is so much
    humanity and Christianity in us as a people. I really believe that,
    someday, we can be the most, if not one of the most, beautiful
    peoples on earth.

    We just really have to learn to elect our leaders properly. If we
    learn to do that, we can be a great people and a great nation.

    What I am saying is this. Let us focus on our beauty and strengths,
    and build from there. If we have beauty and strengths as our
    foundations, we can only get beautiful and strong from there. You
    and all the Pinoy expats and OFWs should be, and could be, the best
    ambassadors for our home country and people. Rafael Salas, the
    founder of the United Nations’ Population Fund, said that every
    Filipino is an ambassador of our country.

    i) If you are remitting funds to your relatives in the Philippines,
    teach them to save 15%
    or 20% of the funds

    If you are remitting funds to your relatives in the Philippines,
    please teach them to save at least 15% or 20% of the funds. Please
    teach your relatives the importance of savings. These savings seem
    small at the start, but even only after 2 years of savings, they
    would already see the growth of their savings and how fast these are
    growing.

    Teach them also to take their savings away from their reach, and
    invest them in high-yielding investments like mutual funds or
    treasury bonds. There are many good financial advisers in this area.
    Teach your relatives to consult one on a regular basis. The
    book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” of Robert Kiyosaki is very good on this
    matter. The book “Pera Mo, Palaguin Mo” of Filipino author Francisco
    Colayco is also a very good here.

    These savings, if handled and invested wisely, could mean the
    financial independence of your relatives from you in the future, or
    even from themselves.

    Teach your relatives too to live simply, and not to spend so much on
    consumer items that are unnecessary. There is so much beauty in
    simplicity. There is so much elegance in modesty.

    j) Invest in the Philippines

    Finally, if you have extra funds and are looking where to invest
    them, please invest in our Philippines.  Spend your vacation, your dollars and other foreign currencies in our Philippines.
    It is understandable for our OFW\’s, balikbayans and Pinoy expats
    to vacation in other countries. The world is truly beautiful and
    majestic. But please spend some of your vacation time and some of
    your dollars in our Philippines. Every dollar that you bring into
    our country will help build our Philippines. It will help our
    tourism industry. It will mean more sales and more jobs for our
    local industries. It will mean an increase in our country’s
    international dollar reserves. It will help stabilize the peso. And
    ultimately, it will help stabilize our economy.
    Encourage and teach your relatives back home to be good
    citizens & good Filipinos.
    Whether or not you are sending money to your relatives in the  advisers who can help you in this regard. Philippines is a growing
    market – an emerging market in the language of international banks
    and financial institutions. Almost 86 million in population. If you
    have investment ideas that can cater to the basic needs and desires
    of these 86 million Filipinos, you will make it big in our
    Philippines.

    But more than that, every cent or dime that you invest in the
    Philippines will certainly help our people and our country. And when
    you do it, you become our partner in building our nation. You become
    a good Filipino. You become a hero of our country.

    *** Alexander L Lacson is the same author who wrote the Book “12
    Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country.”

    UK travel advisory on RP

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.