Staying Healthy in the Philippines

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You already have your airline tickets, hotel accommodations and tour packages all taken care of. Your swimwear and snorkel gear are already neatly packed in your fancy suitcase. Are you ready to fly to the Philippines? Not just yet!

When traveling to the Philippines (or any tropical destination for that matter), there are essential things that must be included in your packing list. These things may seem unimportant while you are at home but getting closer to the equator is not something to be taken lightly. Aside from the heat, you will encounter other issues that may put a deterrent to a fun holiday or worse, cause a serious threat to your health.

So here are things/tips for staying healthy in the Philippines. Remember, these are just the basic and you might add some more depending on your preference, health requirements and lifestyle. If you have anything essential to add, please leave a comment below. Let us and other Philippine Travelers know!


Sunscreen © Steve Hankins on flickr

If you’re going to the Philippines from a colder region in the world, chances are you’ll be staying in a popular island destination. This means you’d need sunscreen. And even if you’re not going to the beach, I strongly suggest you still slap on some SPF; the tropical heat causes damage to the skin. Sunscreen is available anywhere in the country save for the remote barrios so there’s no need to buy loads before leaving. In my humble opinion, spray-on sunscreen is better: it is lighter and easier to apply.

Mosquito repellant

mosquito repellant
Insect/Mosquito Repellant Products © USDAgov on flickr

Mosquitoes are a serious problem in the Philippines. Mosquitos thrive even in the urban jungles of Metro Manila. Bites can be annoying and itchy but that’s the least of your problems, the worst being dengue fever. Dengue fever causes more than a hundred deaths in a year in the Philippines. Staying healthy in the Philippines means you’d have to make mosquito/insect repellant lotion your best friend. Opt for those with 24-hour protection. Another option would be repellant patches that you can stick onto your clothing. Lotion might wash away when mixed with sweat which will most likely happen since you’ll be going around.

Water bottle

Water Bottle
Refillable Water Bottle © Leo Newball, Jr. on flickr

There may be a lot of water bottles to go around anywhere in the world but there’s nothing safer than your own. And it’s not only safe; it is also environment-friendly. You can buy distilled water in most cities and towns in the Philippines but there are also a lot of places where people will gladly refill your bottle for little or no charge at all. Refilling your own water bottle ensures that your container is clean (you’ll be washing it yourself), and that you reduce the waste that goes to the rivers, oceans and your favorite Philippine beach.

Lightweight clothing

lightweight clothing
Clothes for Warm Weather © Muhammad Ghouri on flickr

Keeping in mind that the Philippines is a tropical country, pack warm weather clothes and bring just one jacket or sweater. Even if you’re coming during the rainy months (June-September), the humidity is still high and you’ll most likely feel discomfort. Here are some essential items: sleeveless tops/shirts, shorts, a pair of jeans, loafers or walking shoes, sandals, swimwear and one button down shirt. The jeans and button-down are reserved for places where semi-formal attire is required.

First aid/medical kit

Basic First Aid Kit
Basic First Aid Kit © John Hritz on flickr

If you are taking any medication regularly, make sure you bring them with a physician’s prescription in case you’d need to buy more. For good measure you can ask your doctor for a letter that describes your condition and the medication needed. Pharmacies in the Philippines are modern and carry most brands of medicine but it would not hurt to come prepared. Once you arrive, you can assemble your own first aid kit or buy a set from a local drugstore like Mercury Drug or Watsons.

Remember, travel health is of utmost importance anywhere you go. Not only do these tips for staying healthy apply to traveling in the Philippines, they’re for most tropical destinations. Understand that while it is definitely fun to just lose one’s self in the beauty of the islands, it’s not fun to get sick while on the road. Cheers to happy and healthy travels!

DISCLAIMER: Philippine Traveler is neither connected to nor advertising any of the products in the photos used in this post.