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Hospitalization and Medical Emergencies in the Philippines

General Information

The Philippines is a tropical country and as such, diseases that are rare in the U.S. are more common in the Philippines. Depending on the areas that you plan to visit, you may wish to discuss the advisability of obtaining vaccinations for diseases such as Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, and Tetanus.  There are also several prevalent mosquito born diseases such as malaria and dengue fever which can be deadly.  Malaria is not a problem in Manila, but it is prevalent in many rural areas of the Philippines.  Malaria is most problematic on the island of Palawan; here, mefloquine or doxycycline is needed as a prophylactic.  In the other areas, chloroquine alone is recommended.  For additional information, refer to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) website. This page contains specific advice about malaria prevention in the Philippines by region. 

For additional health guidance and a global rundown of diseases, immunization advice and risks in particular countries, please consult the CDC international travelers hotline at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747), their automated faxback service at 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or the CDC home page.

Medical Emergencies

If an American citizen becomes seriously ill or injured abroad, a U.S. consular officer can provide information on the location of medical services and inform family or friends.  If necessary, a consular officer can also assist in the transfer of funds (transfer of funds) from the United States to cover hospitalization charges.  However, payment of hospital and other expenses is the responsibility of the traveler. 

To facilitate identification in case of an accident, complete the
information page on the inside of your passport providing the name, address and telephone number of someone to be contacted in an emergency.  A traveler going abroad with any preexisting medical problems should carry a letter from the attending physician describing the medical condition and any prescription medications, including the generic name of the prescribed drugs.  Any medications brought overseas should be left in their original containers and be clearly labeled.  Travelers should check with a Philippine Embassy/Consulate (PDF) to make sure any required medications are not illegal in the Philippines.

Insurance for Travelers

Before going abroad, learn what medical services your health insurance will cover overseas.  If your health insurance policy provides coverage outside the United States, remember to carry both your insurance policy identity card as proof of such insurance and a claim form.  Although many health insurance companies will pay "customary and reasonable" hospital costs abroad, very few will pay for your medical evacuation back to the United States.  Medical evacuation from the Philippines can easily cost $10,000 and up, depending on your location and medical condition.

The Social Security Medicare Program does not provide coverage for hospital or medical costs outside the United States.

Blood Donation (RH Negative)

If you have an emergency and are in need of Rh negative blood, the blood banks at the Makati Medical Center and St. Luke's Medical Center (both in Metro Manila) maintain lists of possible donors of Rh Negative blood.  In addition, these organizations also may be of assistance:

1) American Association of the Philippines (AAP), tel: (02) 892-5198 during business hours or 0977 251 9357 after hours.  Procedure:  The patient or a family member provides to AAP a hospital form signed by the physician indicating the need for blood donation.  AAP responds within 24 hours with an Info Sheet to be filled out by the patient or a relative.  Upon receipt of the Info Sheet, AAP initiates a phone tree, email blast, and social media blast to request donations from potential donors.

2) American Women's Club of the Philippines (AWCP), tel: (02) 817-7587 or Procedure: Your request should include: a) patient name and contact number(s), as well as those of family members; b) blood type; c) organization/hospital name and contact number(s); and d) blood bank direct phone line (if available).

3) Philippine Red Cross, tel: 0918 918 6531 or The Philippine Red Cross maintains a blood bank and supplies blood as needed nationwide. 

Psychiatric Assistance

There are no private facilities in the Manila area that will accept psychiatric patients unless they have first been so certified by a psychiatrist.  In the event a U.S. citizen will not consent to hospitalization, the police or immigration authorities may sometimes take her/him into custody and subsequently transfer her/him to a hospital.

Psychiatric facilities in the Philippines are:

  • National Center for Mental Health (NCMH), 9 de Febrero, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Tel.:  (02) 531-9001.  (NCMH is a government hospital.)
  • Makati Medical Center, 2 Amorsolo Street, Makati, Metro Manila, Tel.: (02)  815-9911.  (Makati Medical Center is a private hospital.  However, it has a psychiatric ward for the mentally-ill.  The patient's bill for board/lodging, excluding professional fees, laboratory tests, and medicine, is approximately P695.00 a day.)
  • University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Hospital, Espana, Manila, Tel.: (02) 731-3001.  (UST Hospital is a private hospital.  However, it has a community ward for the mentally-ill.  The patient's bill for board/lodging, excluding professional fees, laboratory tests, and medicine, is approximately P500.00 a day.) 

Scuba Diving Accidents

The Philippines is a popular destination for scuba divers.  Unfortunately, there are only three recompression chambers in the country for the treatment of ‘bends’ – a very serious diving accident. 

1. Quezon City: The AFP Medical Center
Address: C. Luna Rd. in Quezon City. This is a 24-hour facility.
Contact information:  trunk line: (02) 426-2701 loc. 8991 Hyberbaric Section (poc: Sgt. Danilo Garcia) loc. 6245 Occupational Therapy Section
2. Cebu City:
Address: Located near the station hospital in Camp Lapu-Lapu. The hyperbaric chamber is staffed by a combined civilian/military personnel and is open 24-hours a day.
Contact information: (032) 233- 9942, x3468 (during office hours) and x3336 (after office hours)
3. Batangas City:
Address: Hyperbaric Department St. Patrick’s Hospital, Batangas City
Contact Information:
Trunkline: (043) 723-7089 loc. 1911 (Hyperbaric Dept. - Office hrs. 8 am. – 4 pm) (on-call 24 hrs.) (043) 723-2167
Hyperbaric Dept. cell: 0915-846-2973 HD Supervisor Mr. Ree’jerund Sebollena: 0917-619-8196
Formerly, there was a decompression chamber at the Subic Bay Yacht Club in western Luzon. However, this chamber has been closed.
Medical Evacuations (Medevacs)
Divers who do not wish to undergo recompression treatment in the Philippines may be able to seek the assistance of the U.S. Navy chamber in Guam, Tel:  (00671) 339-7143.  As in all medical cases, it is the responsibility of the American citizen to arrange transport from the Philippines to Guam.
In-country Medevacs:  In-country or domestic medical transport of patients from an outlying province to Manila may be accomplished with the assistance of the Manila Rescue Coordination Center (RCC).   RCC provides assistance with in-country medevacs, which it refers to as "Airlift Missions."  While RCC does not have the resources to conduct the operation itself, it acts as a coordinating body and can refer the request to the appropriate offices.  RCC's Operations Center is open 24 hours.  Below are telephone numbers for RCC and other Philippine government agencies that can assist with in-country medevacs.

RCC Duty Officer website
Tel:  (02) 832-3013; 877-1109, local 3446, 3800, 3030; 
759-9502 through 03

Air Transportation Office (ATO) Operations website
Tel.: (02) 831-6215
Fax:  (02) 833-0127

Philippine Air Force, 505th Search and Rescue Group
(Helicopter Search and Rescue)
Villamor Air Base, Pasay City, Tel:  (02) 853-5013, 853-5121
Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, Tel:  (077) 773-1499 or 773-2402
Tuguegarao, Cagayan, Tel:  (038) 844-1800
Mactan, Cebu,  Tel:  (032) 340-2212
General Santos City, Tel:  (083) 555-0065

Philippine Coast Guard
Operations, Tel.: (02) 527-3870, Fax: 527-3880
Coast Guard Air Group,  Tel.: (02) 832-3756

International Medevacs:  Although medical care is generally good in the Philippines, there are conditions for which evacuation to the U.S. may be necessary.  Since a private plane can cost more than $10,000 for a single flight, you may wish to consider obtaining medical evacuation insurance coverage prior to travelling overseas.  There are several companies in the United States that offer such insurance. 
Persons needing to be medevaced to the U.S. or other foreign destinations should contact a commercial airline or commercial medical evacuation service.