Travelers who have plans to visit the Philippines or are currently in the country need to be aware of potential volcanic activity from Taal volcano, which is located 37mi (60km) south of Manila on the island of Luzon.
On Sunday, 12 January 2020, the state seismology bureau raised the alert level for Taal volcano to level 4 following the expulsion of steam and ash.
Stay alert and up to date with local news and media. Find out how to stay safe if the volcano does erupt, and be prepared for potential changes to your travel plans or disruption to transport.
Typhoon Kammuri (locally known as Typhoon Tisoy) has made landfall in the Philippines and is expected to track across the Central Philippines and southern Luzon in the next 24 hours.
Before midnight on Monday 2 November 2019, more than 200,000 people had been evacuated. Flights have been canceled, and travelers should expect delays and disruption to travel plans throughout the week. Contact your travel provider for information on changes to your itinerary.
Mangkhut will also bring heavy rain which may cause localized flash flooding, landslides and storm surge. Please check with authorities for more information, follow any official warnings and listen to local news reports to monitor the situation.
On April 26, 2018, the Philippines Government shut down tourist access to the island of Boracay as a result of over-tourism and the resulting damage to the island's environment. The closure was announced on April 5 by Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte, who said the beaches and clear blue water had been turned into a "cesspool".
This shut-down is estimated to last for six months, and government authorities aim to clean up the island by flushing out illegal tourism operators and upgrading the sewer networks, which have struggled to cope with the influx of tourists to the island and has resulted in wastewater being pumped into the ocean. Aside from land-based tourists, cruise ships have also contributed to the pressure on the island's resources and infrastructure.
However, this clean up may be short-lived, as approval has been given for a large casino complex on Boracay.
In 2017, approximately two million tourists visited Boracay, 300,000 more than the previous year.
Despite the Boracay closure, that doesn't mean you should stay away from the Philippines. This archipelago nation has plenty of other islands to visit beaches, waterfalls and enjoy off-road adventures including trekking Mt Pinatubo on Luzon, visiting the Cloud 9 surf break at Siargao Island, ziplining on Bohol Island and scuba diving with thresher sharks at Malapascua.
Avoiding being kidnapped is clearly the best option, so in these initial, very chaotic moments lies your best chance to escape the situation, but you’ll have to act fast.
Once the kidnappers have asserted control, resistance could get you killed. Passive compliance is the safest option. You may be beaten or drugged to impose control. Remember you are valuable to them only if you’re alive, they intend to subdue you not kill you at this stage.
Do not threaten or insult your captors. Remain dignified – your captors will be reluctant to harm someone they perceive as a decent human.
Try to keep track of time (watch shadows on the wall, or listen to sounds outside). Use this to establish a schedule of regular events; it may be handy as part of an escape plan.
Keep mentally alert by doing math problems in your head, or playing word games. Hold imaginary conversations with friends and family.
Keep physically alert by doing regular exercise. It will help your emotional state and keep you fit in case an opportunity to escape presents itself.
Futile attempts at escape will only result in you being more strictly guarded or controlled, making further attempts impossible. By observing your situation closely you may be able to devise a successful escape attempt. Plan for that and wait until the time is right.
This is possibly the most dangerous moment for you. There will be confusion, chaos and very tense heavily-armed people all around you. Do not run. Seek shelter from your captors and your rescuers, lie on the floor with your hands on your head. If you are standing or seated, cross your arms over your chest and keep your head bowed.
Cooperate with instructions from your rescuers – even if they mistake you for a kidnapper, the real situation will be revealed after the confusion ends.
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The Philippines' capital city, Manila, has a crime problem. Here are the scams and crimes you need to watch out for.