Manila - Post Report Question and Answers

What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Fine except for the occasional volcanic ash warnings. - Apr 2024

I'm never bothered by it, but I hear others complain, so I will say it is moderate. - Mar 2023

I normally couldn’t tell if the air was bad, although if you’re near cars you may feel it. - Mar 2023

Fresh air and sea breezes. - May 2022

It varies, pollution can be a problem, but it is not overwhelming. - Apr 2021

Poor air quality, as noted above, but better than in some parts of Asia (notably China or India). I would say air quality has a moderate impact on health. It's something to be concerned about if you have pre-existing conditions, but I don't, and I run outside regularly, and I've rarely had any issue. - Oct 2020

Pollution is common, but overall in the three years I've been here, I have complained very little. - Feb 2020

Air quality is moderate to bad. Air quality could lead to congestion or a cough that tends to linger. The pollen seems to be year-round for those who suffer. It is very dry here; I drink a lot more water here than I have before. - May 2018

The biggest source of air pollution here is car exhaust, and on a day-to-day basis, the air quality doesn’t feel much different than a big, humid city in US (think Houston or Atlanta in July). However, unlike in the US, the wind and rain never seem to clear the crud out of the air – it just lingers and lingers without a break. It will take a toll on you the longer you’re here, and it’s good to escape Manila every few months. - Feb 2017

The air quality is bad. Not as bad as China or India, but worse than most other places. Expect a lot of sniffles and allergies. - Jul 2016

Pretty bad. The jeepneys, trikes, and buses blow out black smoke at all times. I've considered getting a scooter, but the idea of breathing all that in make me reconsider. - Jan 2016

Very poor. At street level in particular, the jeepney fumes and car exhaust are very unhealthy. - Jan 2016

The air quality is not very good. - Jan 2016

The air quality is low. The Particulate Matter in Manila is very bad. I recommend wearing a mask if you ride public transportation. - Sep 2015

It's lousy! - Aug 2015

Unhealthy. - Aug 2015

Unhealthy. - Sep 2014

In Manila and many of the other cities, large towns, and villages have serious problems with air quality. The Jeepney is a popular form of transportation, however, there are no air quality controls enforced, and smog control devices on these jeepneys are just as unheard of as well. Because of weak or unenforced laws governing air quality, everyone suffers, and the long-term effects will show new health problems and increased death rates from air quality related health concerns. As long as the local, Provincial, and Federal governments sit on their hands, take bribes, and show no concern for the people and the country, the population of the Philippines will suffer. Unfortunately, this is no stretch of the imagination. Water quality is okay; water is still delivered on a regular bases to most households. - Jan 2014

Moderate, some days are better than others and you will appreciate a blue sky when the smog lifts. Again, getting away from Manila on weekends is key. - Dec 2013

Somewhere between moderate and unhealthy. It's not nearly as bad as I had expected, but it's still worse than most U.S. cities. The poor air quality is primarily from auto exhaust, rather than factory particulate like you see in many Asian cities. - Nov 2013

I would say moderate to unhealthy but I suppose it depends on where you live. The Fort area seems cleaner. I've only noticed the pollution seeming to blanket the city one day since we've been here and I've seen it like that in the U.S. so I didn't think it was too dreadful. - Aug 2013

I would rate it unhealthy. Manila is a very congested and overpopulated city. - Apr 2013

On and around the Seafront compound, it can smell terrible. If you're riding an open-air vehicle (U.S. Embassy staff don't), I imagine it could be bad being directly in the path of car exhaust fumes. But compared to Chinese cities, the air here is fantastic. We don't use the air filter provided by the embassy, and we frequently play tennis outside without any problems. - Feb 2013

Moderate. We live in Rockwell and work in the Fort, and the air quality doesn't seem too bad. I am not sure if it gets worse during the drier times of year when the rain can't just wash the bad stuff away. - Sep 2012

There is talk of the “Manila Crud", an insidious upper-respiratory infection that stays for weeks or months due to the pollution. The pollution here is pretty awful -- people hold kerchiefs and masks over their faces here for a reason. If you enjoy being outdoors in fresh air, this might not be the city for you. Most major embassies issue air purifiers with housing, but these can only do so much. At least once during our stay the airport shut down due to pollution. - May 2012

Air quality is bad, but comparable to any other major over-populated big city. There is no such thing as emission control, so the pollution from cars is pretty bad. I haven't had any issues, but some people have their breathing troubles exacerbated while living here. - Mar 2012

Unhealthy. We only take our son outside for no more than 30 minutes at a time. When we depart for work in the morning, you can see and smell how foul the air is. After the New Year's Eve celebrations, we woke up to a complete haze of smoke and fog. Lots of families bring in their own air purifiers, otherwise you wake up with the 'crud' in your throat and nose. - Jan 2012

Horribly unhealthy. It hasn't gotten to Beijing horrible but certainly surpassed LA in the 80s/90s. If you have a respiratory problem, you will have issues. If you don't, you may develop one. This is a good reason in itself to get out of Manila as much as possible. Get the yuck out of your lungs! - Jul 2011

HORRIBLE. Everyone I know gets upper respiratory infections on a regular basis. Most days the city is covered with a rusty brown haze. - May 2011

Unhealthy. All from automobiles -- there's no industrial base here. Many expats complain about it, but it's nowhere near China's air. - May 2011

Very unhealthy. Emissions laws are not enforced in the Philippines, and the chronic traffic produces a heavy layer of smog over the capital region. Plan on getting some form of respiratory illness once every two months - expats call it the "Manila Crud." - Feb 2010

Air quality moderate to unhealthy. Some days good if windy. I had very little asthma in the states and came here and basically can't workout outside. Every time I do, I get really sick. Some people though have no problems. There is a cough many people have here and they call it the Manila cough. There is no control of pollution and trash so I can't see it getting any better. Once you are here for a while you get used to it though and if you can stay indoors in your house you are good. Also this is reason many people travel out of city once a month because once you get out of city you can instantly breathe well again! - Jan 2010

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