5 Visa-Free Countries for the Newbie Traveler

Your Philippine passport will take you a lot further than you think. Head out into the world by first checking out these visa-free countries that will welcome you with open arms. Now, get packing and book that flight!

by Mabie Alagbate, 21 June 2017

If you’re still only just dreaming of traveling abroad because you always worry about whether your Philippine passport will get you into other countries or not, wake up and get moving! While it’s true that our passport won’t readily get you into some first-world destinations, it doesn’t mean that you have to stop pursuing your dream of seeing the world. In case you didn’t know, there are actually 61 countries all over the world that Philippine passport holders can enter visa-free. If this really is your first time wandering outside the motherland, here are five visa-free countries that you definitely should consider visiting pronto.

1Hong Kong

Renowned as a world-class shopping destination, and a mere two hours or so away from the Philippines, Hong Kong easily makes it to the top of this list. You can enter and stay as a tourist for up to 14 days without any other travel document apart from your passport.

What to Do: Apart from shopping, you can go on a food trip and binge on all the delectable local treats around—xiao long bao and milk tea galore, anyone? There are also major amusement parks perfect for the whole family, too, such as Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park. 

2Singapore

Another major shopping destination in the region (Hello, Orchard Road and the annual Great Singapore Sale!), Singapore is proven to be a huge favorite among Filipino first-time travelers. It’s a quick three-hour flight, and getting around is really easy because of its efficient train and bus system.

What to Do: Food is another great reason visit the Lion City, apart from Universal Studios in Sentosa. It doesn’t have The World of Harry Potter, unfortunately, but just the same, it’s a great place to visit with the family. They also have Gardens by the Bay, which features the world’s largest greenhouse. One of the main reasons you should consider Singapore as your destination for your maiden voyage: you can stay visa-free for as long as 30 days.

3Thailand

If you want to move away from city destinations, you can opt for Thailand, which boasts of stunning islands and beaches. From quaint little provinces like Chiang Mai to world-famous islands like Phuket, there’s no shortage of clear blue waters and fine sand that Filipinos know and love.

What to Do: Aside from getting a nice tan and basking in breathtaking landscapes, you can also appreciate more of Thailand’s culture by visiting their revered temples. They abound everywhere and are mostly open to tourists. You can also seek the blessing of a Thai monk if you’re up for the experience. Just be sure to be respectful of the rules within the temple grounds because this is something absolutely sacred to them. You can stay in Thailand visa-free for up to 30 days.

4Jeju Island, South Korea

This here is an odd entry, actually. See, South Korea actually requires a visa for Philippine passport holders, but its world-famous Jeju Island doesn’t. If you decide to go, you should be very careful to book a direct flight to Jeju—there’s no stepping on the mainland for you—otherwise your trip will be a bust.

What to Do: If you’re a fan of Koreanovelas, then you’re most probably familiar with this island. It’s a favorite of tourists because, for one, this is where the country’s highest mountain can be found. The island also has some of South Korea’s best beaches. Jeju is also a must-visit if you’re a seafood lover. Enjoy all the freshest catches of the day, brought in by no less than Jeju’s very own female deep-sea divers the haenyos! You have 30 days to enjoy the island visa-free. 

5Maldives

So, do you want to stay home or go big? For your first travel abroad without need for a visa, go to the Maldives. Yes, this little slice of paradise in South Asia opens its arms warmly to Philippine passport holders for as many as 30 days, as well. If it’s a long holiday of peace and quiet by the sea that you want, then this is where you should get it, IF you can afford it.

What to Do: Don’t just lounge by the beach. Dive into the deep blue and take in all the underwater splendor the Maldives has to offer. Get up close (but not too close!) to hammerhead sharks, whale sharks, and other exotic sea creatures, if you are adventurous enough. Otherwise, you can go to the city and enjoy the local architecture, and naturally, do some shopping.