Because the Philippines offers several important advantages for foreign patients who now tend to consider other nearby destinations first, the country is hoping to increase revenue from medical tourism by a factor of ten over the next five years.
One distinct strong-point is excellent doctor-patient communication, a major convenience not available in much of East Asia where pre and postoperative discussions may be limited by strong language barriers.
Filipino doctors, nurses, and many in the general population are fluent in English, a benefit that can prove most helpful when expressing personal preferences that may have major impact on the final result.
Hospitals are modern and well-equipped, and high care and safety standards are emphasized. While physician and facility accreditation and regulation are taken seriously, prices for cosmetic surgery are still so affordable that medical tourists visit from not just the United States but also nearby Japan, South Korea, and Australia.
As a bonus, hotel rates are inexpensive, especially when compared with the often exorbitant costs found in East Asia's major cities.
According to one Filipino plastic surgeon, local doctors are "educated the American way and offer services not unlike those available in Beverly Hills, minus the bells and whistles such as automatic reclining beds." Since cosmetic surgery relies on less high-tech gadgets than many other medical specialties, "the surgeon's really only as good as his hands."
Present downsides to traveling in the Philippines include the same issues faced in many countries in Southeast Asia: political corruption and sometimes violent activity undertaken by social separatists. Unfortunately, the faltering economy has made it difficult for the government to get a handle on these significant problems.