The Philippines is an archipelago comprised of thousands of islands. An American colony from 1898 to 1935, the Philippines have strongly embraced American culture. An official language in the Philippines, English is spoken American-style, with American slang and idioms heavily used.
The American influence affects the nation’s health-care system as well. For example, many Filipino physicians have received education and training or have practiced in the United States before returning to their homeland. “That makes the Philippines even more ideal as a medical tourism destination for Americans,” says Dr. Constantino Amores, a Filipino who went to the United States in 1963 for medical training. Dr. Amores is clinical director of neuro/ortho/trauma at the Charleston Area Medical Center in West Virginia and also is co-founder of the Mactan Community Hospital in the Philippines.
The country already treats an estimated 150,000 foreign patients each year—most of them Filipinos living abroad who return home for treatment. But “as word-of-mouth grows about the Philippines as a medical tourism destination, more non-Filipino Americans will give it a try,” expects Dr. Amores. Some industry insiders have projected that the Philippines could become one of the top 10 medical tourism destinations in the next five years.
For now, the hospitals that are most appealing to medical tourists are located in Manila, the nation’s capital. This vibrant metropolis is teeming with a mix of historic buildings and modern structures. With more than 10 million people living in the Metropolitan Manila area, the hustle and bustle can be overwhelming, especially if you aren’t feeling your best. If you are feeling up to it, you’ll find a wealth of world-class restaurants and exciting nightlife in Manila, which has been called the “city that never sleeps.”
Another area in the Philippines expected to be an ideal location for medical tourism is Mactan, a tranquil island within a short drive from Cebu, the nation’s second largest city. This tropical island houses several five-star resorts, an international airport, and a hospital.
Hospitals: Some 1,000 physicians—many of them trained in the United States—treat patients here using cutting-edge equipment. Doctors, nurses, and physical therapists will make “house calls,” visiting international patients in nearby hotels and resorts during the recuperation phase.
Filipino Embassies: http://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/philippines
Foreign Embassies in the Philippines: http://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-in/philippines
Languages spoken: Pilipino (Tagalog) and English are the official languages
People: Tagalog, Chinese, Spanish, and many others
Personality: Caring and compassionate
Infrastructure: First World
Currency: Philippine peso
Time zone: GMT+8
Country phone code: 63
Electricity: 220V, 60Hz
Weights and measures: Metric system
Elevation concerns: None
Climate: Expect hot and humid weather regardless of the time of year.
Clothing: Light, cotton clothing is best.
Getting online: Fax, Internet, and e-mail services typically are available in all major hotels and in cybercafés.
Visa required: Yes, if staying more than 21 days
Immunizations required: None
Public health considerations: None
Cultural Do’s and Don’ts
- Do act, speak, and dress conservatively.
- Do negotiate prices when shopping.
- Don’t discuss religion and politics.
- Don’t show anger.
- Don’t speak loudly.
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