A lot of Filipino travelers I know have expressed some frustrations on how less ‘powerful’ the Philippine passport is compared to other countries because we are only eligible to enter a few countries without the need for a visa. To someone who is aiming to visit all nation-states in the world, yes, it would be a struggle, but it won’t hurt if you start traveling to visa-free countries first, right? That’s also what I am currently working on.
But hey, it is not the end of the world, guys! In fact, setting up a good and clean travel record to visa-free countries is a brownie point should you apply for a visa in the First World, like Europe and the US. After all, there is so much to explore in these visa-free countries which deserve to be visited first by us, Filipino travelers.
With “start traveling to visa-free countries first”, I meant the Southeast Asian region. In fact, Southeast Asian region is one of the most popular regions visited by travelers from all parts of the world and from all walks of life. There is so much to see in this region: cultural and historical heritage sites, natural wonders, cities, beaches, mountains, name it! Did you know that your Philippine passport entitles you to travel around Southeast Asia, visa-free? 🙂
Why can Southeast Asian citizens travel around the region visa-free?
The members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed an ASEAN Framework Agreement on Visa Exemption in order to achieve a lasting friendship and cooperation among ASEAN countries, hence as ASEAN Citizens, we Filipinos can travel around ASEAN region without a visa. How cool is that? You can have your own Southeast Asia visa free travel bucket list before exploring the rest of the world!
Without further ado, here is the list of visa-free Southeast Asian countries for Philippine passport holders:
BRUNEI DARUSSALAM (visa-free for 14 days)
Anyone up with seeing some beautiful mosques and feeling a legitimate sense of peace away from your home countries? Brunei is definitely the place to be.
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CAMBODIA (visa-free for 21 days)
Temple run, anyone? You are entitled to roam around Angkor complex in Siem Reap and explore magnificent historical structures around Phnom Penh without a visa!
Oh, btw. Some sad news: Cebu Pacific suspends Siem Reap route
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INDONESIA (visa-free for 30 days)
Whether you’re exploring historical sights in big cities like Jakarta and Surabaya, exploring the countryside and natural wonders in Probolinggo, or having the vacation of your life in Bali, you can do all of these without the need to apply for a visa. How’s that?
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LAOS (visa-free for 30 days)
Laos is the most underrated Southeast Asian country!!! Please please consider exploring this beautiful country! There’s so much history and culture in here, and oh, it’s the most heavily-bombed country in the world (well, Vietnam War-speaking, because I know Syria feels the same way, too). Unfortunately we don’t have direct flights from Philippines to Laos, but hey it doesn’t hurt to include this in your itinerary, let’s say, when you go visit Thailand.
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MALAYSIA (visa-free for 30 days)
Malaysia is a melting pot of different cultures, and as a result, there’s just a variety of good food here! You can explore Malaysia if you want to go shopping (everything here is, for some reason, cheaper than Manila), have some food trip, or have some cultural immersion, Kuala Lumpur can provide them for you. If you want to have some amusement park-ish type of fun with friends, Petaling Jaya is the place to be.
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MYANMAR (visa-free for 14 days)
Myanmar is also one of the least popular Southeast Asian destination to Filipinos because there are no direct flights to here from Manila. But, I could attest that you will not regret going this far because Myanmar is so authentically uninfluenced by any external culture (I’m talking about Westernization hehe). It’s indeed the “Golden Land”, literally, because of the golden stupas all over.
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SINGAPORE (visa-free for 30 days)
Deemed as one of the best countries in the world, this small island nation never failed to impress everyone who goes here. From the vast number of museums, to hawker centres, to the very efficient transport system, and the very progressive economy, I could say that Singapore is really very utopian for me.
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THAILAND (visa-free for 30 days)
From beautiful temples to happy people to nice beaches, Thailand is a perfect destination for almost all types of travelers. Drinking some Thai tea overlooking Chao Phraya River? Priceless.
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VIETNAM (visa-free for 21 days)
Vietnam, being the second largest producer of coffee in the world, is not only home to the best coffee out there, but also to the healthiest set of green leafy cuisine! A legit banh mi sold by the street sides is a must-try!
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There you have it! To Philippine passport holders, Southeast Asia is literally visa-free! It can ease everyone’s travel hassle and more energy and money can be dedicated to this beautiful region. I just hope Southeast Asia visa requirements for all Southeast Asians will be lifted indefinitely because it can indeed contribute to the region’s economy as well as the awareness of ASEAN citizens about the region and the countries surrounding them.
So, I’ll just wait for your travel stories, then? Safe travels and prepare your passports to be stamped now! 🙂