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1: A yellow fever or typhus vaccination certificate is required from travellers over one year of age arriving within six days from infected areas. A certificate is also required by those arriving from small pox or plague infected areas.

2: Following WHO guidelines issued in 1973, a cholera vaccination certificate is not a condition of entry to the Philippines, unless travellers arrive from infected areas. However, cholera is a risk in this country and precautions are essential. Up-to-date advice should be sought before deciding whether these precautions should include vaccination, as medical opinion is divided over its effectiveness. See the Health appendix for further information.

3: Malaria risk exists throughout the year in areas below 600m, except in the Provinces of Bohol, Catanduanes, Cebu and Manila. No risk is considered to exist in urban areas or in the plains. The malignant falciparum strain is present and is reported to be resistant to chloroquine.

4: Water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should have first been boiled or otherwise sterilised. Milk is unpasteurised and should be boiled. Powdered or tinned milk is available and is advised, but make sure that it is reconstituted with pure water. Avoid dairy products which are likely to have been made from unboiled milk. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Pork, salad and mayonnaise may carry increased risk. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled. Rabies is present. For those at high risk, vaccination before arrival should be considered. If you are bitten, seek medical advice without delay. For more information, consult the Health appendix. Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) is endemic in the south. Avoid swimming and paddling in stagnant fresh water. Swimming pools that are well-chlorinated and maintained are safe. Hepatitis B is highly endemic. Hepatitis A and E may occur.

Health care: There is no reciprocal health agreement with the UK and health insurance is, therefore, essential. Approximately three-quarters of the hospitals are private.

Travel - International

AIR: The Philippines' national airline is Philippine Airlines (PR). Other airlines serving the Philippines include Air France, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Qantas, Singapore Airlinesand Malaysia Airlines.

NOTE: The period over Easter, from Good Friday to the following Bank holiday (and sometimes beyond), is a major holiday in the Philippines as is Christmas and New Year. There may be some difficulty booking a flight during these periods.

Approximate flight times: From Manila to London is 16 hours; to Paris is 14 hours 10 minutes; to Los Angeles is 14 hours 25 minutes; to New York is 17 hours 30 minutes; to Singapore is 3 hours; to Hong Kong is 1 hour 40 minutes; to Bangkok is 2 hours 35 minutes; to Tokyo is 5 hours 15 minutes and to Sydney is 8 hours.

International airports: Ninoy Aquino (MNL) is 12km (7 miles) southeast of Manila. Airport facilities include banks, post office, medical clinic, baggage deposit area, duty-free shops and car hire. Bus and taxi services are available to the city (travel time - 15 minutes). Mactan International Airport (NOP) (Cebu Island) is 45km (28 miles) from the city centre. Hotels and tour operators provide their own coaches; taxis can be hired.

Departure tax: P550 for international departures. Children under two years of age and transit passengers are exempt.

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