Doctors in Manila

The Ultimate Guide to Doctors in Manila

If you have been seriously considering some plastic surgery or esthetic treatment then you should check out plastic surgery in Manila as a viable option.

A brief overview of Manila

Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It has a large number of clinics and hospitals offering all kinds of plastic surgery procedures and is a prime medical tourism destination.

Known as the ‘pearl of the orient’, Manila is on the island of Luzon and is at the mouth of the River Pasig which flows into Manila Bay. It is a big and congested city, yet it offers good medical services whether plastic surgery, cosmetic treatments or elective surgery.

The city is affordable in terms of cost both the cost of plastic surgery and cosmetic treatments, as well as day-to-day living and accommodation expenses. In the Philippines, most of the population speaks English, so you will not face any communication problems.

Where is Manila?

Manila is on the eastern shore of the Philippines, off the South China Sea, and is the political, financial and business capital of the country.

Why choose Manila for plastic surgery?


Manila is a medical tourism destination thanks to its proximity to countries like Australia and New Zealand, though it hosts medical tourists from other countries as well. It has excellent medical facilities and the prices are very reasonable and affordable.  

Some examples of the cost of plastic surgery procedures in Manila:

  • Breast Enlargement in Manila: average cost AUD 4,000 compared to AUD 16,500 in Australia.

  • Eye lid/Eye bag surgery in Manila: average cost AUD 1,500 compared to AUD 8,000 in Australia.

  • Facelift in Manila average cost: AUD 3,500 compared to AUD $25,000 in Australia

Medical Facilities:

Medical facilities in Manila are located all over the city. No matter where you stay, you will find clinics reasonably close by. It is also home to some top-end hospitals that do all kinds of procedures and treatments, including plastic surgery and cosmetic treatments. The Philippines has at least four hospitals accredited with the Joint Commission International (JCI) .

Doctor Training and Qualifications:

Doctors undergo extensive training before getting their degree. They have to be graduates with certain subject like biology, medical technology, pharmacy, psychology or other science subjects, then they have to pass a national medical exam with a high percentage to qualify for medical school.

The medical course is of four years’ duration and leads to an M.D. degree. After this, internship for a year is compulsory. Then the budding doctor has to sit for a licensure examination and only then can practice. Specialty and sub-specialty studies then follow and take many years - a residency program can take three to six years.

Tourist Locations for pre and post-op recovery:

Manila has numerous high end hotels, resorts and chain hotels. You can also find budget accommodations, though the rates at good quality hotels are also very reasonable. You may want to stay close to the sea or you may want to stay in the city centre if your clinic or hospital is closer. Check for good quality hotels.

When you do your hotel booking check that all the amenities you require are available and also see the local transport options from your hotel to the hospital and to other attractions you may want to see. Many hospitals and clinics also arrange the services of a personal caregiver or nurse to meet your post surgery requirements and these are at reasonable rates.

How safe is Manila?

Manila is quite safe, but you should always be careful when you visit crowded and dark places. Always keep your valuables in the hotel and carry very little cash with you. In some areas there may be many pickpockets so avoid very crowded places and be aware of your surroundings.

Just use your common sense and don’t indulge in risky behavior and take precautions as you would do in any big and unknown city. Manila, in general, has a low crime rate.

How can I be sure the quality of care is the same as back home?

Doctors in the Philippines study a great deal for a long time. They are well educated and trained, so you need have no fears regarding their qualifications and training. However, surgery has some risks wherever you elect to have it done in the world, and no procedure can ever be guaranteed completely, simply because we are all different and our bodies react differently. However, you can mitigate any problems by choosing clinics and doctors with verifiable credentials.

Medical Departures always carries out due diligence before listing clinics and hospitals. We check out the qualifications, accreditations, skills and experience of the doctors and the amenities at the clinics and hospitals, as well as checking-out testimonials from those who have used the services - past patients.

What happens if something goes wrong?  What about warranties or guarantees?

It seldom happens that anything goes wrong and most people have great surgical experiences. However, if there is any problem whatsoever, if you suffer from any complications, then Medical Departures is there to help you out and sort out the problem.

For added safety and your peace of mind, you can buy extra medical insurance to cover any additional and unexpected costs, so you will not be out of pocket for extra medical care, stay and flights if you have to travel back to see your surgeon. For a small additional cost we think this is something that is well worth taking out.

Do doctors speak English?

Most Filipinos speak English. Doctors study in the language and you will not have any communication problem with locals anywhere in the country.  

What payment methods are accepted in Manila?

If you have international credit and debit cards – and today almost all banks issue them – you will face no payment problems. Alternatively you may want to use wire transfer or any other international payment option. You should carry some local currency or you can get your money changed at the airport for small cash expenses, gratuity, tips, local transport and purchases at small shops, stalls and markets. Almost all items and expenses can be paid for with an international credit or debit card.

When is the best time to visit for plastic surgery in Manila?

All medical facilities are open throughout the year so you can actually make a trip any time. However, as Manila is in the tropical belt and if you plan to be outdoors, you need to check which time of the year will be most comfortable for you. The Philippines is prone to a lot of rain and even typhoons, so you should avoid that time. From December to May the risk of typhoons is low. During the winter months, the weather is relatively better, cooler and drier.

During March through May the weather can be quite hot and even humid and you may find it uncomfortable, though Manila is near the sea, so it does not get scorching. However, December to February is cool and pleasant. It is also peak season, so prices will be on the higher side, though the Philippines as a whole is relatively cheap.

What is the downside? What should I know about getting plastic surgery in Manila?

The major downside of getting plastic surgery done in Manila is that you are not at home, so you may well feel out of your comfort zone. Apart from that, there is really no downside as long as you are mentally prepared to go to a foreign country for medical procedures, which you would not be able to afford otherwise. The upside of plastic surgery in Manila is that you can afford to stay in a nice hotel, you can choose the hotel and the hospital and you will be well taken care of in both.

If you are getting a major procedure done, then it is best to travel with a companion who can take care of you or handle any problems if they occur or just be there for you, for emotional and moral support. For that reason, you should also ensure that the person has enough to see and do even if you cannot, so there should be indoor and outdoor entertainment options.

After major surgery, you may be required to spend one or two nights in the hospital, so you should be prepared for that as well. For minor procedures or if you only need local anesthesia you will be allowed to leave the clinic as soon as you are mobile. At the same time, if you require additional help, you can hire a private nurse or attendant from the hospital or clinic at affordable rates and this person can take better medical care of you.

What else is there to do in Manila?

There is a lot to see and do in Manila. As the country has a rich history thanks to the fact that at different periods the Spanish and the Americans governed it, you have a mix of the old and new to see. It is a predominantly Catholic country so it has lots of churches to see, with great architecture. The San Augustin Church is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is worth a visit. You can also visit museums, cathedrals, parks, take in shows and check out other churches as well. To make the best of your visit, it is a good idea to take one of the many guided tours. You can also go for a sunset dinner cruise that enables you take in the breathtaking sunsets and enjoy the food as well.

Manila has a vast number of restaurants, cafes and eateries, ranging from high end fine dining, restaurants in star hotels, clubs, bars and cafes as well as small roadside eateries, hawker stalls and street food. There are many Filipino must-try delicacies that are available only locally and for the refined palate there is local fusion cuisine as well.

You are spoilt for shopping options at Manila from high end large malls like SM (the SM Mall in the Manila Bay area is the third biggest in the world) Greenbelt, Glorietta or others. Be warned these are huge places and it would be virtually impossible to go through an entire mall in a day. For instance, the SM Mall has an IMAX theater, Science Discovery Center, Ice Rink, Bowling Alley, shops and restaurants apart from other attractions. You can also visit local flea markets and shops.

Every month there is some-festitval-or-other and people celebrate with gusto. If you are there in December, then check out the Marikina Christmas festival that is held in three areas of the city and has markets, amusement parks, fireworks and food. In December as well is the Sapatero Festival that focuses only on shoes made in the Philippines. At other times of the year are music and book festivals, religious festivals and more.

In case you are in Manila for major surgery that will entail rest and recuperation before heading back home, then you should plan to get your activities before your surgery. If you have only a minor procedure planned then you can plan your holiday accordingly.

Reaching Manila

Manila’s airport is the Ninoy Acquino International Airport. It services most international airlines and is the major international airport in the Philippines. Manila also has a smaller airport on its outskirts called Clark. This is used by low cost carriers.

Approximate flight times from other destinations to Manila

The actual time to reach your destination will vary and depend on the number of stopovers and the layover time. Approximate flight time to reach the country from different destinations is

  • Los Angeles – 12 hours 40 minutes

  • New York  – 18 hours

  • Toronto – 17 hours

  • Osaka – 4 hours

  • Frankfurt – 14 hours

  • London  – 15 hours

  • Sydney – 8 hours

  • Auckland – 14 hours

Transport in Manila

Traveling inside the city is easy because taxis are available quite easily. You should try and go by meter and resist paying a fixed charge. However, traffic in Manila can be chaotic. Local buses and rail (LRT and MRT, three different lines) are also available and are reasonably priced. You can also get Jeepneys, shuttle vans and pedicabs.

Visa Requirements:

People from Britain, Canada, U.S., Australia and EU days can stay for a month without a visa, provided they have a return ticket and passport validity of six months. If you plan to stay longer then you can apply locally or apply for a longer visa from your home country. If you are coming from another country then it is best to check whether or not you require a visa before arrival.  

What now?

Take a considered decision and book with any of the approved clinics on the website of Medical Departures. Look below for easy ways to contact us for plastic surgery in Manila.

(Main Image: Alvin js5)