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Life Philippines

New Zealand Travel Advisory

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Introduction

Most Countries issue travel advisory notices for their nationals. You can sign up for advisories by going to the website for you country. They are free and if you register they will keep you updated. There is usually not much variance between the advisories of the western world, unless a particular nationality or sub-group of that nationality is under threat. For example Jewish people.

^The New Zealand Advisory

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs has updated its travel advice for the Philippines to remove information relating to the aftermath and impact of Typhoon Haiyan. There are no changes to the travel advisory risk levels for the Philippines. Please see the full advisory below.

https://safetravel.govt.nz/philippines

If you live in Mindanao

There is extreme risk to your security throughout central and western Mindanao, including Sarangani, South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (including Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi Tawi). We advise against all travel to these areas. The very high threat of terrorist activity, kidnapping and violent clashes between the military/police and terrorist or rebel groups makes travel to these areas extremely dangerous.

There is high risk to your security in the other provinces of Mindanao, and we advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel to those areas due to the threat of terrorism, kidnapping and violent clashes between the military/police and terrorist and rebel groups.

Elsewhere In The Philippines

There is some risk to your security elsewhere in the Philippines, including in Manila, due to the threat from terrorism, risk of kidnapping and violent crime and we advise caution. We continue to receive reports that terrorists aspire to attack places frequented by foreigners. New Zealanders are strongly advised to exercise a high degree of caution and pay close attention to personal security at all times when travelling anywhere in the Philippines.

Terrorism

There is a threat from terrorist activity throughout the Philippines. A number of terrorist attacks have been conducted in the past and a significant number of plots have been disrupted. The possibility of future attacks cannot be discounted, particularly in Mindanao, but could occur anywhere at any time.

Recent terrorist attacks include:

On 5 August 2013, eight people were killed and more than 30 injured when an improvised device exploded in a vehicle in Cotabato City.
On 26 July 2013, an explosion occurred at a restaurant in Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao, killing eight people and injuring more than 40.

New Zealanders in the Philippines are advised to be security conscious at all times and remain vigilant in public places – particularly at transport hubs and on public transport.

Kidnapping

There is a risk of kidnapping throughout the Philippines, particularly in the southern Philippines. Kidnap-for-ransom gangs target foreigners as well as Filipinos, including in Manila and coastal resort areas. In April 2014, two foreign nationals were kidnapped while sailing in the Sulu Sea. In February 2012, two foreign nationals were kidnapped in the Tawi Tawi island province. An Australian national living in Zamboanga was kidnapped in December 2011 and released in March 2013.

Crime

Violent crime, including gun crime, and petty crime continues to be a serious concern in the Philippines. Criminal gangs are particularly active in Manila, including in the Makati central business district, and have drugged and robbed unsuspecting tourists. New Zealanders are advised to exercise particular vigilance using public transport (including buses and the light rail system), because of security concerns. When taking taxis, it is advisable to use taxis called by hotel staff or alternatively from a taxi ranks located outside malls rather than hailing one in the street. Hotel transportation is a good alternative.

Typhoon Haiyan

Typhoon Haiyan hit the central Philippines on 8 November 2013, causing extensive damage across the Visayas region. Leyte, Samar, northern Cebu, and parts of Panay Island (including Northern Iloilo and Capiz) were particularly affected.

Although the situation has improved, reconstruction efforts are ongoing and local conditions may vary. Essential services may be limited in some areas. We recommend you seek information on local conditions before travelling to affected regions.

Maritime Safety

Ferry accidents are not uncommon in the Philippines, especially when vessels sail in bad weather. We advise against boarding any ferry you believe to be overloaded or unseaworthy.

In August 2013 a passenger ferry, the MV St. Thomas Aquinas, sank after colliding with another vessel in the Cebu strait. This resulted in 111 fatalities.

General Travel Advice
New Zealanders travelling or living in the Philippines should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

Registration

New Zealanders in the Philippines are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Contact details

The New Zealand Embassy Manila, the Philippines
Contact details are:

Street Address 23rd floor, BPI Buendia Center, 360 Senator Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati 1200, The Philippines Postal Address PO Box 3228 MCPO, Makati 1272, The Philippines Telephone +63 2 891 5358 Facsimile +63 2 891 5357 Email nzemmanila@mfat.govt.nz Website New Zealand Embassy Manila Office Hours: Mon-Fri 0800-1630 hrs

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