Last fact-checked: 15 November 2020
Plastic surgery in the Philippines is a viable and affordable option if the costs at home are too expensive. More and more people are undergoing cosmetic or plastic surgery abroad, combining their desired procedure with a holiday to get the most out of their trip.
This brief Medical Departures guide explains everything you need to know about travelling to the Philippines for cosmetic treatments, including a country overview, price comparisons, tips on finding a reliable facility and advice for when you're there.
The Philippines is located in Southeast Asia between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea. It consists of more than 7,000 islands, most of which boast sandy beaches surrounded by crystal-clear turquoise waters. With a tropical climate and rainforests, the region is a nature and water lover’s delight. While the county's population is bursting-at-the-seams in its large and modern cities, with thousands of islands to discover (perhaps not all in the same trip), it's easy to get away from it all before or after your surgery, depending on the nature of your procedure.
Unlike most other locations in the region, the country is predominantly Catholic with a number of churches and other monuments with a distinctly Spanish influence. Among the prime medical tourism destinations are Manila, Luzon, Quezon City, Cebu, Makati, Muntinlupa, Caloocan and San Juan.
The Philippines offers low-cost medical care, plastic surgery and cosmetic treatments at affordable rates, as well as lower-priced ancillary items such a diagnostic tests and medicines.
The quality of doctors at all our background-checked clinics and hospitals is excellent, while private hospitals catering to medical tourists are on par with some of the best in the world; English is also spoken by hospital staff, including the doctors, nurses and ancillary staff.
Cosmetic surgery can be hugely expensive, particularly in advanced countries, as elective procedures are usually not covered by medical insurance. If you are considering plastic surgery or cosmetic treatment, then the Philippines offers a wide array of procedures at very reasonable rates.
Some examples of the cost savings for plastic surgery in the Philippines:
Depending on where you go in the Philippines, you can opt for large hospitals, smaller clinics or even chain clinics that may be available in many cities. All those listed with us are technologically advanced and use modern equipment..
Admission to medical schools in the Philippines is strict and only some students make it. Students have to firstly be a graduate with certain science subjects. Then he or she has to sit for an entrance examination, the National Medical Admission Test, before being allowed to study for four years to obtain an M.D. degree. The person can sit for the licensure exam after one year's internship.
It is only after all this can the doctor study for a specialty or subspecialty, which takes three to six years. Becoming a doctor requires grueling studies and a great deal of time. Many doctors travel to Western countries for specialized studies.
You can always find good quality hotels in all regions of the Philippines. You may want to stay close to your hospital or clinic if you need to visit the clinic often pre and post-surgery. If you are having a minor procedure that leaves you otherwise mobile, you may want to stay close to the city center where tourist activities are more accessible.
Before scheduling your hotel booking, determine how far away the clinic is, whether local transport is available, entertainment options and food, particularly if you need to rest post-surgery and are unable to go out for meals.
If you stay in a city, you have a host of options: high-end luxury hotels, chain hotels or boutique hotels in the Philippines. If you choose a beach locale, you may want to stay in a resort with all the amenities and a great view. Many venues offer package deals for the number of days you want to stay and you should also check whether breakfast is included as well as any additional amenities (laundry service, restaurants, coffee or tea in the room, gym, swimming pool, cable television).
While most areas of the Philippines are generally safe, there have been stray incidents that you should be aware of. The two main regions to avoid are the Sulu archipelago and the Mindanao area due to terrorist and insurgent activities. These are far away from cities where you would likely be seeking treatment.
The remainder of these islands are relatively safe. In general, you should use your common sense, just as you would if you were anywhere unfamiliar at home. Follow the rules of the travel road and you should have no issues.
Surgery always carries an element of risk and you can be at risk even if you get procedures done in your home country. If you have any drug sensitivities or chronic conditions, do let the doctor know about these so that due precautions can be taken.
When you book through Medical Departures, we have an added safety factor in place to protect you. We carry out in-depth investigations into the qualifications, training, accreditations and experience of the doctor that we list on our website. We see that the clinics and hospitals follow international standards of care and hygiene. We also conduct interviews with patients after they have undergone treatment so that you can make an informed decision.
Some people may not be happy with the end result of the treatment or may suffer complications. If you do face any problems, Medical Departures will help you get your problems redressed.
At your option, you can elect to purchase additional medical insurance to cover unexpected costs for travel and accommodation if, in the extremely unlikely event, you need to return for treatment.
In the Philippines, almost everyone speaks English well. Doctors undergo their education in English and are all fluent or close-to-fluent in the language.
Almost all items and expenses can be successfully transacted with an international credit or debit card. You can also use wire transfer and other international payment methods. However, you should carry some local currency for small expenses in markets and stalls that accept only cash payment and also for local transport.
Although you can travel any time of the year, some seasons are more comfortable than others, particularly since the Philippines is a tropical country, prone to typhoons and torrential rain. December to May is the typhoon off-season and during November to February, the weather is pleasant. Christmas is a good time to go, although accommodations and travel can be a little more expensive.
March to May is quite hot and can be uncomfortable unless you are at a beach destination. From June to October is the rainy season, but rates are lower during this time.
When you are not at home and on holiday, you enjoy new experiences and places. If surgery is your motivation for going, you may feel apprehensive about being in a foreign country. However, you should know that you will receive good care and, when you are staying in a nice hotel, you are also away from your daily chores and life, so you'll be able to rest and recuperate in peace.
For major surgeries, it is best to take someone with you, your partner or a friend or a sibling or even an adult son or daughter. That person should be there for you when you need him or her and take responsibility should you face any problems. You should also ensure that he or she has planned activities in the event there are periods when you are recovering and would rather be alone.
For major surgeries, you may be in a hospital overnight or for two-three days. For minor procedures, you may be discharged immediately, or as soon as the doctor deems fit. In either case, you will want to take it easy some time afterwards and your companion should be able to help you if required.
You may also be able to avail of the services of a private nurse or attendant at reasonable rates if required.
Decide whether you want to combine a holiday in the Philippines with the surgery and select a place accordingly. For instance, in Boracay, you'll be treated to stunning beaches including a four-kilometre stretch of white sandy beach. It also has a great deal of live evening entertainment options. If you travel to Luzon, you must see the Mayon Volcano, active and splendrous. In Manila, you can find historic attractions, parks, churches, museums and more. If you get work done in Bohol Province you should visit the Chocolate Hills. Mactan Island can be your base to go island hopping and it also has many diving sites.
The Philippines is one of only 17 megadiverse countries in the world, making it a fascinating country to visit.
Whichever medical destination you select, you'll find spas for relaxation, so do take out time some pampering. You are spoilt for choice as far as shopping is concerned with large, air-conditioned complexes in Manila, Cebu, Makati and Davao. You can also visit flea markets for bargains.
Food of all kinds is available in the Philippines and you will find local delicacies vying with the best of world cuisines at all kind of restaurants. In the night most areas come alive thanks to the bars, clubs, karaoke bars and eateries and you can go bar hopping as most places are clustered together.
Unless you are having minor treatments, you should plan your holiday sightseeing before surgery as you may not be enthusiastic or as active after surgery.
Major tourist destinations in the country, like Manila, Mactan-Cebu and Clark, are serviced by international airports. A total of 70 airports dot in the region and if you cannot find an international flight, you will certainly be able to book a local flight from the closest international airport.
The actual time to reach your destination will vary and depend on the number of stopovers and the layover time. As the Philippines is relatively small, even if you take local flights they will be of short duration. Approximate flight time to reach the country from different destinations is
You won't find it difficult to get around in the Philippines. You can always flag down or book metered taxis in Manila and major cities and towns. For other local transport, you can find jeepneys, pedicabs, motorcycle taxis, buses and minivans.
If you are traveling from the US, UK or Canada, you can stay for 21 days visa-free. From Australia and New Zealand, the timeframe is 30 days. If you plan to stay longer then you can apply locally or apply for a longer visa from your home country. For other countries, it is best to check online here.
Complete your booking formalities with Medical Departures for plastic surgery in the Philippines. We have an ever-growing list of approved clinics on our website. Our Customer Care Team will help you with your concerns so that you can book your free appointment without apprehension or ask for a no-obligation quote.
Coservation.org. Website accessed: 28 October 2019. https://www.conservation.org/home
The Philippine Sea. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Website accessed: 28 October 2019. https://www.britannica.com/place/Philippine-Sea
Coping With Chronic Illness: What Goes Wrong. WebMD. Website accessed: 28 October 2019.
When is the best time to visit the Philippines? Audely Travel. Website accessed: 15 November 2020 https://www.audleytravel.com/the-philippines/best-time-to-visit
Plastic and Reconstructive. Royal College of Surgeons. Website accessed: 14 November 2020. https://www.rcseng.ac.uk/news-and-events/media-centre/media-background-briefings-and-statistics/plastic-and-reconstructive/
Boracay. Lonely Planet. Website accessed: 28 October 2019. https://www.lonelyplanet.com/philippines/the-visayas/boracay
Chaneac, Sebastien. 10 famous foods you must try in the Philippines. Nomadic Boys. 27 September 2019. https://nomadicboys.com/famous-foods-philippines/
Applying for a Philippine Visa. Embassy of the Philippines. Website accessed: 28 October 2019. https://www.philippine-embassy.org.sg/consular/visa/important-visa-information/
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