Can you drink tap water in the Philippines in 2022?

tap water

Drinking tap water in the Philippines? Welcome back to our blog! We’re pleased to have you here! Whether you’re a first time visitor or a regular, we’re honored that you chose us for some tips and tricks regarding your next trip to the Philippines!  While we know you may have initially visited our website with interest in renting or leasing a condo in the Philippines, we are also more than happy to help you in doing some general research before traveling to the Philippines. Sometimes traveling to a new foreign country can feel overwhelming. You may have so many unanswered questions. From understanding Customs and Border Patrol policies and regulations to navigating the Philippines themselves, it can certainly be tricky planning a vacation to a foreign land.

But, the good news is, you’re not alone! We’re here to help however we can and we are more than happy to provide to you some extremely important safety information regarding water in the Philippines. While we have probably all heard about “Montezuma’s Revenge” in Mexico (the idea that foreigners are unable to drink their tap water because it makes them sick), what about the Philippines? What precautions should you take regarding ingesting tap and ice water while vacationing on these beautiful islands? Keep reading below to find out!

Tap Water Safety in the Philippines

Believe it or not, it is advised for tourists and non-natives to the Philippines to AVOID drinking tap water while visiting these islands. Just as in Mexico, there are microbes in their natural water that natives are accustomed to, but tourists are not. The health penalties that could come from ingesting natural Filipino water range from diarrhea to, in extremely rare cases, death. So whether you are looking at a couple of days of ruined fun or a serious ailment that lands you in the hospital, it is certainly not worth the risk for foreigners to experiment with drinking tap water in the Philippines. But of course, there are exceptions and loopholes in every rule, so keep reading below to understand some nuances that will assist you in sticking to water safety during your trip to the Philippines.

DO– Buy bottled water. With every Philippine Peso being the equivalent of .02 American Dollars (you can check the most current, up to date, exchange rate here: Current exchange Rate (USD to PHP),

it’s a small price to pay to ensure your health and safety. Whether you choose to purchase individual bottles of water or splurge and go by the gallon, so long as the water is labelled “mineral water” or “purified water” or “filtered water,” you should be good to go.

DO– Purchase more bottled water than you need for drinking. Think about everything you intend to do on vacation from the comfort of your accommodations*** such as: making coffee, making smoothies, washing fruit and vegetables, etc. Believe it or not, all these things should be done using bottled water! While it may sound like a hassle, remember that it’s better to be safe than sorry. The Golden Rule? If it’s something that you intend to ingest, make sure it’s been washed with or contains clean, fresh, bottled water. Your stomach will thank you.

DO– Boil tap water, if you really get in a bind. Should you for some reason be unable to locate bottled water in your area or you need clean drinking water in a pinch, you can boil tap water to kill off the foreign microbes that would otherwise cause you to be ill.

DON’T– Take your chances. For the health and safety of yourself and everyone else you are traveling with, it really is worth it to be safe rather than sorry. Don’t be afraid to ask questions concerning water health and safety when you’re out and about; and if you are in a situation where you are truly questioning the hygienic and health practices being carried out, find a new establishment.

***(P.S. When it comes to booking your accommodations for your next trip, we highly recommend renting or leasing a condo for your stay in the Philippines. Check out why renting or leasing a condo is the way to go here: Easy Condo Rental AND once you’re convinced that condos are the way to go, check out this link for the BEST condo listings in the Philippines:

Is Ice Safe in the Philippines?

Just like tap water, you are going to want to be careful with ice in the Philippines. When making ice from the comfort of your vacation condo, do so with bottled water. Additionally, when you are out on the town and considering eating in a restaurant, ask yourself a few questions first:

  • Is the staff willing to answer my questions? Specifically ask them how their ice is made and what water they serve. If they seem unsure, perhaps opt for a drink without ice or find another establishment that better understands your concerns.
  • What do you intend to order? Is your order highly dependent on tap water (such as a fresh salad that might have been rinsed in tap water, or will you be ordering something such as pasta which would have been boiled and therefore free of microbes)?
  • What are the hygienic standards of the establishment? Are you happy with the cleanliness of the place? Are other tourists who are also unaccustomed to the tap water also eating there? What do the reviews online say? Is the staff tentative to your questions and concerns?
  • What part of the Philippines are you in? Large cities that have better access to resources such as main Manila may have more reliable health practices and be more prepared to cater to tourists’ needs rather than small, local provinces.

Can You Brush Your Teeth with Tap Water in the Philippines?

Yes, you can most certainly brush your teeth with tap water from the Philippines. Since you are not ingesting the water, you should not be concerned about completing this and other hygienic tasks with Filipino tap water. However, if you are traveling with a younger child, it may be a better decision to provide bottled water for them to brush their teeth, given that children are more likely to accidentally ingest water and likely have a weaker immune system.

And now that we clarified the issue of brushing teeth, you have probably come to the conclusion that other hygienic practices such as showering and washing your clothes will also be safe to do in the Philippines. We are happy to report that this is true! But of course, if you are traveling with a little one, do keep your eye on them and assist them in bathing, just to make sure they don’t experiment with drinking the natural water.

Is it Safe to Swim in the Philippines?

Again, so long as you aren’t planning to ingest the water, swimming in the Philippines is relatively safe. Much of their water is beautifully crystal clear, making it feel as though you’re swimming in a fairy-tale. As a tourist, odds are that you will be visiting an area that maintains clean water practices. In fact, to see a list of some suggestions about where to swim in the Philippines, you can look here: Why I Love To Vacation in the Philippines where we list a few of the many beaches in the Philippines.  

With that being said, it is also crucial to do your research prior to swimming in certain natural waters of the Philippines, especially those in provincial areas. Not only might areas mostly occupied by natives practice less sanitary water practices, however, heavy rainfall can cause for unsanitary water to mix with otherwise safe bodies of water. For this reason it’s important to check reliable sources about the current state of water in the Philippines to get the most up to date information, such as this website, which reported in 2018 that Boracay Beach was deemed safe to swim in again after being temporarily shut down for sanitation concerns: In fact, one expert recommends staying away from bodies of water in the Philippines that are near farmlands, as this is where fecal matter contamination is most likely to happen.

And on a slightly unrelated note regarding the cleanliness of swimming water in the Philippines, it is also beneficial to research bodies of water in the Philippines for other safety concerns; namely strong riptides and currents. A quick web search can validate for you whether or not a body of water you intend to swim in is safe in regards to both sanitation AND current strength.

We advise our travelers to take the same precautions when traveling to the Philippines as they would if they were traveling to Mexico. Do a little bit of research prior to ensure that the areas you are staying value good hygiene practices and be prepared to stock up on bottled water. With these few tips in your arsenal, you are sure to safely enjoy your vacation to the beautiful islands of the Philippines.

If you have visited the Philippines before, let us know in the comments below! What are the best spots to hang out? Where are the most picturesque beaches? And of course, do you have any other tips and tricks regarding water safety? We can’t wait to find out!

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