If you plan to stay in the Philippines for a short time, you can get into the country with just a passport. According to the Philippines Department of Tourism, people from nations with diplomatic relations with the Philippines can enter without a visa for 21 days.
Determine whether you come from a nation that requires a special permit to visit the Philippines. People from the United States, Canada and parts of the European Union do not need special permits, and they may enter with only a passport. To extend your stay beyond the standard 21 days, refer to the Philippines' Department of Immigration website.
If you're from Hong Kong or Taiwan, you will have to get a special permit. You can get one from the nearest Philippines embassy or consulate. If you're not sure whether your country has diplomatic ties with the Philippines, contact one of the Philippine consulates general by going to the Department of Foreign Affairs website.
Before you buy plane tickets, make sure that your passport will be valid for the duration of your trip. You don't want it expiring before you get home, as that can cause you some major headaches trying to get back into your country of origin.
If you don't have a passport, or your passport is expiring soon, give yourself plenty of time to get a new one. If you are an American citizen, getting a U.S. passport can take between four to six weeks, according to the U.S. Department of State. If you're in a hurry, try for an expedited passport, which comes in about half that time. Get instructions and applications for a U.S. passport by going to the Department of State website.
As of fall 2009, the U.S. Department of State warns people not to travel to certain parts of the Philippines, due to the threat of insurgency and terrorism. Be sure to read the warnings on the Department of State's website before planning your trip.