Tap Water Safety in the Philippines

Can you drink the tap water in Philippines?

In general, no.

The US Center for Disease Control's travel advisory recommends avoiding tap water and drinking bottled or disinfected water in Philippines (source).

Like all countries though, water accessibility, sanitation, and treatment vary widely from location to location, so we encourage looking for specific city information.

What do people in Philippines think about the tap water?

Drinking tap water should be avoided in the Philippines. It is rarely purified and may lead to stomach illness. That said, it’s generally OK to have a few ice cubes in your drink or brush your teeth with tap water. One notable exception is El Nido, which occasionally experiences more acute water-quality problems. Bottled water isn’t cheap – up to P50 a litre – so carry your own bottle around and refill it at the many water-refilling stations.

Wikitravel

Metro Manila is home to many bars, watering holes, and karaoke sites. Popular places include Makati (particularly the Glorietta and Greenbelt areas), Ortigas Metrowalk, and Eastwood in Libis. Other big cities such as Cebu City and Davao also have areas where the nightlife is centered. Establishments serve the usual hard and soft drinks typical of bars elsewhere. Note that Filipinos rarely consume alcohol by itself. They would normally have what is called as "pulutan" or bar chow alongside their drinks which is like the equivalent of tapas. At the least, this would consist of mixed nuts but selections of grilled meats and seafood are not uncommon food alongside the customary drinks. When having a party, Filipinos enjoy drinking round-robin style using a common glass. One is supposed to drink bottoms-up before passing the glass to the next person. This custom is known as "tagayan" and one person usually volunteers to pour the drink.
Drink the readily available bottled water. Buko (young coconut) juice is also safe if they have not added local ice to it. Be wary also of Buko juice vendors, some usually just add sugar to water. Buy and eat fruit that has not already been cut up. Cooked food from a karenderia (outdoor canteen) is okay if there is a fire under the pots and the food has been kept hot. If you must drink tap water (it is usually served/contained in a small to medium plastic bag), water in Manila, Cebu City and other major cities, but it is recommended that you boil tap water for at least 5 minutes just to be safe. Elsewhere drink bottled water. There is always the risk of contracting amoebiasis when drinking tap water in the countryside. Also, this applies to ice that is usually put in beverages. Bottled water is best purchased from within stores and sheltered eateries. Bottled waters sold outside (by the roads) are more than likely used bottles filled with tap water, sealed then cooled. Be careful of drinking pampalamig (cold drinks like Sago't Gulaman) as some of the vendors might be using Magic Sugar(formally called Sodium Cyclamate); an artificial sweetener, which has been banned by the Philippine Government because of its adverse effects on health such as higher risk of getting cancer by consuming Magic sugar, it has been used as an alternative to ordinary sugar as it is much cheaper, call 911 (Philippine National Police) if you encounter such situation. Streetfood isn't so safe to consume in the Philippines, hygienic standards aren't enforced much. It is better to eat streetfood as well as pampalamig inside malls and shopping centers than in streets as stalls in malls and shopping centers have better enforcement of cleanliness.

The most commonly searched cities in Philippines are:

For a full list of cities in Philippines, scroll to the bottom of this post or click here.

World Health Organization Philippines Water Summary

The World Health Organization estimates that 94 percent of Philippines have access to drinkable tap water.

In 2000, 36% of the population had access to drinkable, tap water on site, and 86% within an accessible distance, including both rural and urban areas.

In Philippines, like in most countries, clean tap water availability is much higher in urban areas than in rural areas, with urban area availability averages at 61%.

The rural availability figures at 34%

World Health Organization's 2017 Philippines Water Data

The World Health Organization data on water quality and availability throughout Philippines includes the national average, averages for urban population centers, and averages for rural areas.

DataDescription
Safely ManagedA location that safe, drinkable water that is free of biological or chemical contaminants available on premise.
At Least BasicSafe drinkable water is available within 30 minutes from the location
LimitedIt would take more than 30 minutes from the location to access safe, drinkable water.
YearPopulation in 1000sSafely managedAt Least BasicLimited
National
20007799236%86%4%
201710491847%94%2%
Rural
20004211621%79%4%
20175560734%90%3%
Urban
20003587653%93%3%
20174931161%98%1%

What Do People In Philippines Think About The Tap Water?

Travelers and residents of Philippines have rated the water quality and pollution as follows, according to subjective survey data.

A score of 100% is considered very high, and a score of 0% is very low. Please be cautious that "moderate to very high" water pollution is bad and the higher the rate of water quality the better.

DescriptionScoreRating
Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility48%Moderate
Water Pollution74%High
Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility52%Moderate
Water Quality26%Low

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View our tap water report on all cities in Philippines

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