Health Care in the Philippines

by Jose Marc Castro on August 8, 2009

healthcareAUSTRALIAThinking about living permanently in the Philippines? Before you finally make a final decision as to living in the Philippines is right for you, there are a lot of factors that you need to be knowledgeable about, and out of them is the health care in the Philippines.

Officially called as the Republic of the Philippines, this island nation is situated in Southeast Asian regions. Its capital is Manila, and it has more than seven thousand islands, making the nation as the world’s twelfth most populous countries. Most Filipinos are of Austronesian descent, although there are also some significant minorities of Arab, Spanish, Americans and Chinese. The Philippines is home to the most hospitable people on earth, having been very popular because of its hospitality to local and foreign tourist. This attitude is one of the many reasons why a lot of people are thinking about relocating into this Southeast Asian country.

The Philippines has about 95,000 or about 1 per 800 people with about 1,700 hospitals where 60% are private totaling 85,000 beds. An expat in the Philippines shared how cheap it is in the Philippines in the Rest of the World Expat Forum last August 7, 2009:

Health insurance , well, I have never had it since leaving my parent’s home at 18 and raised our daughter without a family doctor. Hospital care is cheap here so we chose to keep U$10,000 ready for any type of medical emergency rather than feed the insurance company money every year. You and many others may feel differently than us about that issue. I’m about ready to get my first “executive check-up” at 55 years old for 3 days on an out-patient basis for only P19000 ( 300 quid ). So really can’t advise oyou on that other than I just created a new Philippine Healthcare webpage where I have included many choices with links for you to investigate on my website at: Health Care Philippines.

Health Issues in the Philippines

Like any other third-world country, the Philippines have been struggling in some health issues and one of it is illegal drug use. A lot of Filipinos are addicted to prohibited drugs. However, the Philippine government has dealt with this issue and although there are still some recorded incidents of drug abuse, the number of drug dependents in the Philippines has gradually decreased.

One major health issue in the Philippines, is malnutrition. There have been studies conducted and accordingly, most of the Filipinos that suffer from malnutrition are the poor ones. The Philippine government, thru the Department of Social Welfare and Developments along with the Department of Health has provided projects to help poor Filipinos from starvation.  Other health issues in the Philippines are dengue cases, but then, these health concerns are only happening in the rural area of the country. Most of these cases are properly attended to by the Philippine government.

Health Care in the Philippines

Although there have been recorded cases of drug dependency and malnutrition in the Philippines, you can still consider the health care of this nation is of good quality, despite the fact that the facilities may not be as impressive as those found in high-end US hospitals. Top Philippine hospitals include the Medical Center in Alabang, the Asian Hospital, the Makati Medical Center, the Medical City in Ortigas, and St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City.

Medical practitioners in the Philippines are graduates from top universities in the country, and most of them have in United States medical schools. Additionally, there are also doctors that have practiced medicine in the US before sharing their expertise in the Philippines. Filipino nurses are also trained by nursing schools with the best standards. In fact, most of the nurses working in the US are Filipinos.

If you are looking for a dentist or a doctor, it is better that you seek for the suggestions of expatriates that have been in the Philippines for quite a number of years already. All in all, Medical care in the Philippines has improved and services expanded, there are still issues to access and poverty that hamper the development of the system.

Hospitals in the Philippines

Finding the right hospital in the Philippines is not that difficult because there are a number of options to choose from. The Philippines has both private and public health care institutions. Most of the government hospitals provide quality healthcare the same way private hospitals do.

Some people have these wrong misconceptions though than when you are seeking for medical advice from doctors in public hospitals, these are not reliable. However, you should be aware that most of the well-trained doctors in the Philippines are serving government hospitals. What differs the Philippine government hospitals from the Philippine private hospitals is simply the facilities. Most of the public hospitals in the Philippines are not equipped with the latest technologies in medicine. But then, most Filipinos seek for advice from these government hospitals because charges are not implemented.

As for the private hospitals, there are also a hundred ones located in key cities of the nation. There are also tertiary hospitals that have the latest in medical technologies. However, because they are private hospitals, they are a bit expensive than the government hospitals.

Emergency in the Philippines

The Philippines have stand by ambulances for any emergency situation. They also have a hotline number where on can call in times of emergencies. Hospitals are also equipped with the latest in first aid treatments.


There are also a thousand of pharmacies in the Philippines that provide Bureau of Food and Drug approved medicines. Most of the standard pharmacies are manned with professionals that have studied and trained in top medical schools in the country. Also, the Philippines is not that very lenient when it comes to prescription drugs. While there are some countries that allow their patients to obtain drugs without being prescribed by their respective doctors, the Filipino pharmacists are very strict in dealing with such situations.

Cost of Medicines and Hospitalizations

Generally, hospitals are not that expensive in the Philippines. Medicines as well are very affordable. Both locals and foreigners can attest to the fact that medicines sold in the Philippines are very much affordable.

If you are thinking about relocating in the Philippines, one of your least worries should be health care. Since the health care system in the Philippines is affordable, and the doctors are well trained, plus nurses can properly aid you, you really never have to worry that much.

Additionally, unlike in some countries where most of the population does not speak English, in the Philippines, almost ninety percent of their population can understand and speak English well. Communication is never a problem when you are in the Philippines.

With the low cost of medicine and health care, living in the Philippines is really not a thing to worry. The people are very hospitable and accommodating, the doctors and medical practitioners are friendly, and the place is really very inviting. If you wish to settle down and relocate in the Philippines, have no doubt about it. In fact, a lot of people have already relocated in the Philippines and so far, there have been no recorded negative incidents, as far as their health is concerned.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

john January 9, 2016 at 2:19 am

if your coming to ph and you need pain meds forget it. if you have surgery your post op med is advil, so if you are on meds for pain you should stay where you are. john


Karl March 15, 2016 at 9:01 am

There is a Philippines law against holding a patient hostages in a hospital.
Patients, except those who stay in private rooms, who are partially or

Patients, except those who stay in private rooms, who are partially or fully recovered and who wish to leave the hospital or medical clinic but are incapable to pay, in part or in full, their hospital bills or medical expenses/ hospitalization expenses shall be allowed to leave the hospital or Hfmedical clinic and shall be issued the corresponding medical certificate and other pertinent documents for their release from the hospital or medical clinic upon execution of a promissory note covering the unpaid obligations. The promissory note shall be secured by either a mortgage, or a guarantee of a co-maker who shall be jointly and severally liable for the unpaid obligations.


john jones December 21, 2016 at 6:55 pm

my girl friend live in the philippines and has a blood disorder. she has to go to hospital about every 4 to 6 months. for 4 dayes and meds for the 4 days is 800 us. dollars and the meds are 320 dollars per month.
is there any health insurance i could get to help eith the costs. i running out of money


Amy June 12, 2017 at 5:51 pm

My brother has a stage 4 cancer, had radiation therapies, broken bone surgery and had blood clot removed from his head recently, etc. He is currently in ICU at a hospital in Manila. His two surgeries cost approximately 500,000 pesos (about $10k). We receive prescriptions daily by which we have to go out and purchase the medications and bring it to the nurse to give to my brother. If we do not have the money, my brother may not receive an immediate care or medications. He will have to wait a long time to get a bed at a charity ward. The hospital does not have the amenities needed to provide the patients. We were instructed to purchase 2 pillows, body pillow, egg crate mattress pad, etc. and bring it to the ICU for his use. I am assuming that it’s different at a private hospital.

If we notice something that we feel should require an immediate attention, like blisters on the arms of the patient, open wound or swelling due to bandage wrapped so tight on his arm, the nurse won’t touch the patient nor call the doctor for directives. The nurse simply instructs us to talk directly to the doctor or wait for him or her to show up for their rounds.

It’s very tough to think what else could be going wrong during the time that we are not present since visiting before or after the visiting hours is strictly prohibited. In ICU, only one person can visit at a time and family members waiting outside ICU to enter are thrown out for congregating. No accessible waiting room available nearby. Before I arrived in the Philippines, my brother’s family live in the car day and night just to be accessible if called. If you can afford a hotel, find one nearby the hospital. That is what I did. Flight and hotel package is the best to save money. They can finally get some good rest with me in my hotel room, shower and eat better food.


Ron Kronebusch November 11, 2017 at 12:05 pm

Well I look at the world in a different way. No human being on this planet should suffer and have to buy for medical, starve or be homeless just not right. Earth is all our planet and home we all need to start sharing it. United States, Insurance company’s, corporations that make billions of off sick people and the poor is so so sad. Then get subsidized by the government at the same time. But yet poor country’s and even north america suffers big time. With no coverage on medical. But at the same time question where does all this million and millions of dollars go when we donate to charity’s like Doctors without Borders and other charity’s, red cross, and others, where can a family go if they have a 40.000 dollar bill to buy hospital and they can’t even afford food so so sad.


Thomas July 28, 2018 at 9:35 am

I have heard normally private hospitals in the Pi are very good, but it seems crazy that you have to have someone there with you to buy meds and get your food???. what if you do not know or have anyone you can trust under those circumstances,that would be a pretty scary situation


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