Once you have your plane tickets and travel documents in order (including your Philippine visa) and there’s not much time left before your departure, you may be wondering what to pack and what items you can bring on the plane.
As many other countries in the world, the Philippines issued a list of forbidden and regulated items that travelers should consult before packing their bags. Not only there’s a limited amount of cash that you can carry into the country, but restrictions apply to a number of other goods and products.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- The difference between prohibited and restricted goods
- What you can and cannot bring into the Philippines
- What items need to be declared to customs.
What Is the Difference Between Prohibited and Restricted Goods?
Although terms may seem confused, the difference between prohibited and restricted goods is very simple:
- Prohibited goods are forbidden. This means that you cannot import them into the Philippines under almost no circumstances. Export of these items is also forbidden.
- Restricted goods are not forbidden but must be cleared. This means that the import and export of these items must be first cleared with the Philippines authorities.
What Regulated Products Can I Take into the Philippines without Clearance?
There are then items that, under specific circumstances and with clear restrictions, you can carry across the border without having to obtain clearance. Regulated products can be imported only if the following conditions are respected:
- The items must be for personal use only
- The products must not exceed the quantity indicated by the Philippines authorities (more details below)
- The goods must be brought into the Philippines either in the traveller’s personal baggage, a balikbayan box, or a parcel sent through mail or delivery service.
What Are the Regulated Products and the Quantities Allowed?
Here’s the list of regulated products you can carry into the country without prior clearance and the respective quantities allowed:
- Assorted cosmetics: max. 5 kilograms
- Bar soap: max. 2 kilograms (max. 500 grams of the same variant allowed)
- Childcare articles: max. 5 kilograms
- Household hazardous substances (detergent, fabric conditioner, fabric softener, dishwashing soap): max. 5 kilograms
- Insulin needles and lancets: up to 100 pieces
- In-vitro diagnostic items: 1 piece of each type
- In-vitro maintenance test strips: up to 100 pieces
- Lipstick: 10 lipsticks of different variants (up to 3 pieces of the same variant)
- Lotion: max. 2 kilograms of several variants (up to 1 kilogram of the same variant)
- Medical devices: 1 piece of each type
- Over-the-counter drugs: max. 50 grams
- Perfumes: 5 items
- Prescription drugs: only the quantity indicated in the prescription (travelers must carry the original prescription, indicating the physician’s license or practice number. They should also make sure to have their vaccinations for the Philippines done well in advance)
- Processed food (including cooked food): max. 10 kilograms
- Shampoo: max. 2 kilograms
- Toys: 10 items of different variants (up to 2 pieces of the same variant)
- Vitamins and supplements: max 500 grams total
- Alcohol: 2 bottles not exceeding 1.5 liters
Remember that if you exceed the quantities indicated above, the products will be seized by the Bureau of Customs.
What Can I Not Bring into the Philippines?
There are a series of items that are not allowed on planes into the Philippines. These are what frequent travelers might expect — objects that represent a safety threat for passengers and staff.
You should not bring in your luggage (whether carry-on or checked-in):
- Air guns
- Ammunition shells or bullets
- Bolt guns
- Components of guns and firearms
- Compressed air guns
- Flare guns
- Harpoon guns
- Nail guns
- Pellet guns
- Replicas or imitation firearms
- Spear guns
- Sport-related firearms
- Tear gas
- All types of explosives and incendiary substances and devices
Moreover, the Philippines have a zero-tolerance policy regarding illegal drugs that involves heavy sentencing even for possession of small amounts.
Can I take food into the Philippines?
As stated above, a maximum of 10 kg of processed food is allowed into your luggage. However, unprocessed food cannot be imported into the Philippines without prior clearance. This includes fresh and frozen food like fruits and vegetables, meat, and fish.