31 JANUARY, 2020


Whether you’re a seasoned professional videographer or just a casual traveler who wants to get gorgeous footage of the destination, you can’t deny that bird’s eye shots elevate the view.

It’s a whole other experience to witness the scenery from that breathtaking angle. That’s why tourists have now transcended to another level of travel photography with drones.

The Philippines offers miles upon miles of scenic territory that millions of tourists visit yearly. As eager visitors of our country, whether local or international, tourists are all aching to capture the memories with their own photography equipment, including drones. 

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If it’s your first time in Boracay, one of the new rules you should be aware of is that you can’t just waltz in on any place and shoot over the head videos. In the Philippines, there are certain drone laws you need to take note of before you use your drones, even in destinations you’d think we’re used to being shot for videos.

Tempting as it is to get that perfect aerial shot, you should first familiarize yourself with drone laws in the Philippines. A responsible tourist makes sure they respect the rules and customs in their destination.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) regulates aviation in the country, including flying drones. According to CAAP, flying drones in the Philippines is perfectly okay, as long as you adhere to the rules and limitations set. Here’s a quick overview of the drone laws in the Philippines.

Where can you fly your camera drones?

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Even if for recreational purposes, there are still limitations on where you can fly your drones. You can’t fly your drones on the following areas:

  1. Overpopulated places like schools and marketplaces
  2. Over 400 feet above ground level
  3. Closer than 30 meters from people that aren’t involved with your operations
  4. Over controlled airspace like military bases
  5. Within 10 kilometers of airports
  6. Within 30 meters of children, the elderly and pregnant

In addition to these restrictions, you should never fly your drone in bad weather and at night. Night drone photography can be forgone with a permit. You should also make sure that your drone is always in your line of sight. 

What you need to know about drone flying certifications

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If you’re flying a drone for commercial purposes, or if your drone weighs more than 7 kilograms, you should obtain an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) permit from the CAAP. If you’re shooting drone footage for recreational purposes and if your drone fits the minimum UAV weight, you don’t need to apply for a permit.

The UAV permit has three aspects:

  1. Pilot Certificate
  2. UAV Registration
  3. UAV Operator Certificate

To get your pilot certificate, you are required to complete training and subsequently pass an exam and flight demonstration. This certificate is valid for five years.

The UAV operator, on the other hand, requires a letter of intent that specifies your planned drone activity. This will be valid for three years.

After you complete the authorization requirements, you need to place registration marks on your drone. Make sure these marks are visible and are not easily erasable. 

If you have more questions regarding this particular drone policy, you can contact the CAAP’s drone department at (02) 7944 2152.

How to secure a permit to fly drones in Boracay

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1. Know the specifications of your drone

Before anything else, you need to know everything about your drone before applying for a permit. You need to know the following information to fill out the forms needed correctly:

  • Weight of the drone
  • Color of drone
  • Model and Type of drone
  • Serial Number of the drone
  • How far and how high the drone can reach
  • How long will the drone last when fully charged
  • Dimensions of the drone

2. Fill out and sign your form 

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Request a form from the Municipal Mayor’s office where you will write down all the information the office needs to approve before you fly out your drone.

The information needed for the form are the following:

  • Necessary information like name, address, and contact number
  • Drone information and specifications
  • Purpose of permit
  • Specific locations where you will be flying your drone cameras 

3. Pay your fees 

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According to Gadget Pilipinas, drone flying permits can cost you up to Php1,600 per day. Here is the breakdown of fees:

  • Registration Fee: Php500.00
  • Special Permit: Php1,000.00
  • Certification Fee: Php100.00

These prices may be subject to change; you have to confirm the rates at the Municipal Mayor's office near Station 1 of the island.

4. Bring the original copy of your permit

Wherever you roam around the island, be sure to bring the original copy of your drone flying permit. Officials will and might approach you often for a good reason, so be patient and show them your license. 

The perfect travel video should not be at the expense of breaking the rules. Before you do any photography, you should learn what you can and cannot do, especially if you're in a foreign land. It would be best if you respected a destination's customs and policies to become a responsible traveler.