Here is something that most Filipino travellers dread: visa applications. It is true, applying and re-applying for visas can be dreadful, difficult and frustrating. Especially when you are a young digital nomad, like me. It takes energy, money and a whole lot of patience in order to deal with visa processing because we literally have a 50/50 chance of getting approved or denied.
But fret not! On this post, I will be listing down 10 of the most loved and visited visa free destinations for Filipino travellers. Also, you have to take note that this list does not limit to Asia only. Because, believe it or not, there are countries outside of our continent that we can visit hassle-free and visa-free!
Also, I just wanted to say that the photos used in this blog post were grabbed from Unsplash, a community of generous and talented photographers.
Anyway, here goes the list:
Photograph by Shuja Zed from Unsplash.
I feel like, out of everything, Hong Kong is probably the most popular travel destinations for Filipinos. It is a convenient less than 3-hour flight from Manila. Plus, airlines like Cebu Pacific and Air Asia always put up promos so you can score flight tickets at a relatively cheap price.
I also feel like this place is the destination that you would go if you are you travelling with your family because it is not that expensive, compare to Singapore, and there are activities for everyone! The teens can go to Victoria Peak, Tsim Sha Tsui or to the Kowloon Harbour to take photographs for Instagram. The kids (and kids at heart) can enjoy Disneyland Hong Kong. Plus, the elders can conveniently hop aboard a ferry to go to Macau for the casino! I think that it’s a win win for everyone!
You can stay in Hong Kong visa-free for 14 days.
Photograph by Fabio Ha from Unsplash.
This is another travel destination that is popular for family holidays. Singapore is a little country surrounded by Malaysia and Indonesia. But not because it is small, it does not mean that it is not worth going to. On the contrary, Singapore may be one of the most beautiful and probably the cleanest country I have been to! The locals are disciplined, the food is amazing, and the culture is so diverse. It is basically a melting pot of cultures from all around Asia.
Singapore is no more than 4-hours away, by plane, from Manila. You can also score cheap flights from airlines like Cebu Pacific, Air Asia, Jet Star and Scoot.
You can also stay in Singapore visa-free for 30 days.
Photograph by Joyce Romero from Unsplash.
About a year ago, Taiwan has become officially visa free for Filipinos. I went there early in 2017 and still needed a visa. Well, technically I was exempted since I hold a valid US Visa. But yeah. Since the removal of the visa, a lot of Filipinos flew to Taiwan to experience what this beautiful country has to offer.
From the beautiful buildings of Taipei, the colourful streets of Juifen and the nature in Kaohsiung, Taiwan is truly one of East Asia’s gem. Also, if you want to visit and try out the birth place of milk tea and the original Din Tai Fung, this country should be on your list!
You can stay in Taiwan visa-free for 14 days.
Photograph by Milada Vigerova from Unsplash.
I first went to Cambodia as a 19-year old solo traveller. I feel like it was not a very popular destination for Filipinos back then because as I was roaming the streets of both Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, not once did I ever bump into a fellow Filipino. But because of the increasing popularity of this country and because of the many cheap airfares being introduced by various airlines, Cambodia has been a place for travellers who love art, history and cheap beers!
With a little more than a 3-hour flight time, this beautiful country is filled with hidden treasures and monumental architectures. Cambodia should be on the list for people who are mesmerized by a country’s different culture. Plus, the Angkor Wat is a real life gem!
You can stay in Cambodia visa-free for 21 days.
Photograph by Paul Morris from Unsplash.
From roaming the streets of Ho Chi Min City in search for the best phở, to cathing the sunset at Halong Bay, Vietnam is a country that welcomes its travellers in a special way.
You can fly directly from Manila to Ho Chi Minh City for less than 3-hours. How convenient is that? Also, I was made a millionaire in Vietnam. With $200 or PHP 10,000 you can be millionaire! But don’t be deceived by this because most of the time, their phở’s are about VND 20,000+ each. Ha! Although, if you love good food and history, Vietnam is the place to be.
Also, if you are on the more adventurous side then you can rent or buy a motorbike then travel from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. I, definitely, would do that once I come back!
You can stay in Vietnam visa-free for 21 days.
Photograph by Alec Bennett from Unsplash.
I know that we have some of the best beaches in the world inside the Philippines. But sometimes, it also helps to see other beaches in different countries like that of the beautiful country of Fiji. You can hop on a flight from Manila to Nadi and it takes less than 11-hours to get there.
I haven’t been to Fiji yet but it is on my list, for sure! If sipping coconuts by the beach is not that appealing to you then Fiji is not the place for you. But if it is, then you have to give it a go. Also, Fiji has so much more to offer. You just have to come and see it for yourselves.
You can stay in Fiji visa-free for 4 months.
Photograph by Tom Watkins from Unsplash.
India is one of my favourite countries ever. Although, I have never been, the photographs I have seen are enough reason for me to want to experience this beautiful country for myself. From visiting the magnificent Taj Mahal, to participating in the Holi Festival, and just stuffing your face with a good Indian meal, if this isn’t paradise then I do not know what is.
Travel times from Manila to India varies but more or less, it takes less than 15-hours.
You can obtain a visa-on-arrival in the major city airports in India and you can stay in the country for 30 days.
Photograph by Omer Rana from Unsplash.
I feel like everyone I know just dreams of going to Bali. But there is more to Indonesia than just Bali. From Java, Jakarta to Kuta, there are different cities in Indonesia that caters to your different interests. Although Bali can be really tempting, I could agree to that. Flights from Manila to Bali are less than 5-hours. Ha! But when you come to Indonesia, try to see as much places as you can and experience these different cities for yourselves.
You can stay in Indonesia visa-free for 30 days.
Photograph by Ferran Feixas from Unsplash.
Morocco is the place that I dream to be in right now. I am happy to say that in a month’s time, I will be walking in this country like how I dreamt that I would. With flights from Manila to Casablanca (and other ports of etnry) for less than 20-hours, Morocco is a beautiful and great destination that not many Filipinos aim to go to.
If you like good food, beautiful and diverse architecture, and if you would love to explore the Sahara Desert, then Morocco is the place for you. From cities like Casablanca, Marrakesh and Fes, the culture changes as you go on. Also, the main languages spoken in this country are Arabic and French. But English is also widely spoken. So you can easily navigate the country.
You can stay in Morocco visa-free for 3 months.
Photograph by Agustin Diaz from Unsplash.
Ah! The farthest place on my list would have to be Brazil. I feel like the thought of reaching a completely different continent is both a scary and liberating thought for Filipino travellers. Brazil is a beautiful country with different activities and places to go to. There is Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Salvador and so much more. From Christ the Redeemer, the Olympic Stadium and beautiful beaches, there is always something to do in Brazil. Although it is less than a 2-day trip from Manila, you should always consider visiting Brazil.
As I finish travelling through Africa in 2018, I hope to come to Brazil next year. I guess, we shall see how life goes and where it takes us.
You can stay in Brazil visa-free for 3 months.
I know that applying for visas can be a bit much. I have been down that road a couple of times before. But being a Filipino traveller is such a beautiful thing. There are so many places in this world to explore that does not require heading to the nearest Embassy or paying a ridiculous amount of money just to get into that country. I know that our passport is not that powerful. I mean, it is not powerful at all. But we cannot let this be the reason that hinders our dreams of seeing the rest of the world.
The world is such a big place and there are so many places to see…some of these are visa-free. So save up, pack up your bags and head off to an adventure of a lifetime!
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
Proverbs 19:21 NIV