The relations between the Philippines and Bahrain have always been friendly and cordial. Even before the formal establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries in 1978, the peoples and governments of both countries have interacted closely on all fronts and at all levels of cooperation.
Today, such strong and close partnership continues as both countries work together to implement cooperative arrangements and establish mechanisms to identify, enhance, and expand relations in various areas.
In the political arena, the Philippines and Bahrain engage in mutual exchange of support on international candidatures in the United Nations, other international organizations, and multilateral fora.
A total of 15 agreements/Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) had been signed between the countries in the following areas: air services, manpower recruitment, investments, taxation, tourism, education, health services, development assistance, agriculture, and industry. Four MOUs are currently under negotiations, which are expected to boost cooperation in the areas of Islamic banking, visa, academic exchanges, and foreign ministry consultations.
The exchange of high-level visits between officials of both governments, the most recent of which was the visit of Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2009, has significantly improved the relations between the Philippines and Bahrain.
On the economic front, Bahrain ranks as the Philippines’ 79th trading partner, 65th export market and 101st import supplier. The Philippines’ exports to Bahrain include aviation fuel, aircraft parts, household machines, and pasta. Imports from the Kingdom include aluminum alloys, motor cars and other motor vehicles, plastic trunks, woven fabrics of synthetic staple fibers, and transmission apparatus for radiotelephony, radiotelegraphy and radio broadcasting or television. The two countries have agreed to increase the frequency of visits between their private sectors, the conduct of and participation in specialized exhibitions, and strengthen transport and stock exchange cooperation. A Philippines-Bahrain Business Council in Manila was established to help stimulate economic activities between the two countries.
Tourism arrivals from Bahrain, which averages 2000 annually, is increasing, albeit modestly. Official development assistance for the upliftment of Muslim communities and humanitarian aid during calamities were extended by Bahrain to the Philippines.
In the labor sector, the Bahraini government continues to allow the hosting of Filipino workers in the Kingdom, and has implemented programs and policies that are beneficial to the Filipino community in Bahrain. Today, there is an estimated 40,000 Filipinos in the Kingdom.
The relations between the Philippines and Bahrain have grown and strengthened through the years with the exchange of high-level visits between officials of the two governments, the conduct of trade and investment missions, and foreign ministry consultations, which are instrumental in enhancing the areas of cooperation, and the forging and implementation of bilateral agreements which are of mutual benefit to their peoples.
The presence of about 40,000 Filipino workers in Bahrain have not only created a strong awareness about the Philippines and its people in this part of the Middle East, it has cemented the relations between the two countries in the most basic and profound way, and brought the relations to the most concrete, most basic, and personal level, which is the bedrock of any relations.
High-Level Bilateral Exchanges
28 Oct 1979 Visit to Manila of H.E. Yusef Ahmed Al Shirawi, Minister of Industry and Development, to attend the inaugural flight of Lockheed Tristar of Gulf Air from Bahrain to RP.
7-8 Dec 1996 Visit to Manama of Vice-President Joseph E. Estrada
10-11 Mar 1997 Official Visit to Manama of President Fidel V. Ramos
17 Jul 1997 Visit of Manama of House Speaker Jose de Venecia
17-22 Dec 1997 Visit to RP of H.E. Ali Saleh Al Saleh, Minister of Commerce, as head of a trade and investment mission. The delegation visited Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
6-8 Nov 2001 Visit to Manila of H.H. Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain, on which occasion the President conferred on him the Order of Sikatuna with rank of Raja (on 7 November 2001)
30 Sep - 3 Oct 2002 Visit to Manama of former President Fidel V. Ramos together with a trade delegation from the PCCI
25 Feb - 3 Mar 2003 Visit to Manila of H.H. Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa,Prime Minister of Bahrain, after attending the 13th NAM Summit in Kuala Lumpur
31 Aug - 3 Sep 2003 Visit to Manama of DFA Secretary Blas F. Ople
29 Oct - 1 Nov 2003 Visit to Manila of H.H. Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain
14-15 Dec 2003 State Visit of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to Bahrain
6-7 Nov 2004 Visit to Manama of DFA Secretary Alberto G. Romulo for the Regional Consultative Meeting (RCM) with all Philippine Ambassadors in the Middle East
7-13 Apr 2005 Visit to Manila of H.H. Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain, coinciding with a business mission to RP by a 31-man Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry delegation led by Mr. Khalid Mohamed Kanoo (7-10 April 2005)
26 Dec 2005 - 5 Jan 2006 (Private) Visit to Manila of H.H. Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain
1-10 Jan 2007 (Private) Visit to Manila of H.H. Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al- Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain, on which occasion President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo conferred on him the Order of Lakandula with rank of Grand Collar (on 4 January 2007). The Prime Minister was accompanied by H.E. Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohamed Al-Khalifa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain.
14-19 May 2008 Visit to Manila of Dr. Dr. Hassan Abdullah Fakhro, Minister of Commerce and Industry of Bahrain for meetings with the DTI Secretary Favila, DA Undersecretary Romulo-Puyat, and Philippine manufacturers-exporters of food and construction-related products. The Minister also visited IFEX 2008.
03-04 Feb 2009 Working Visit of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to Manama, Bahrain.
16-18 March 2010 Visit to Manila of H.E. Karim Ebrahim Al-Shakar, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mr. Husain Mohamed Jasim, First Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Special NAM Ministerial Meeting on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace and Development held at the PICC.
9-13 November 2010 Special Envoy to GCC Amable R. Aguiluz V, visited the Kingdom of Bahrain, for Bilateral Consultations.
19-20 March 2011 Visit of Foreign Secretary Alberto F. del Rosario and Undersecretary Rafael E. Seguis to Bahrain.
25 February – 1 March 2013 Visit to Manila of a 5-man delegation from the Bahrain Council of Representatives headed by Deputy Chairman Abdullah bin Halaf Al Doseri, for the Global Organization of Parliaments Against Corruption (GOPAC).
5-7 August 2013 Visit of DFA Officials to Manama for the 1st PH-Bahrain Informal Bilateral Consultations: OUMWA Executive Director Reynaldo A. Catapang and OMEAA Director Mary Jennifer D. Dingal.
20 August 2013 Official Visit of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario to Manama, Bahrain on 20 August 2013.
4-7 November 2013 Visit to Manila of Bahraini Labor Minister Jameel Mohamed Ali Humaidan.
20 February 2014 Courtesy Call of Bahraini Princes, his Highness Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports (SCYS), and His Highness Shaikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, First Deputy Chairman of SCYS, to President Benigno S. Aquino, III.
29 September – 5 October 2014 Private Visit of HRH Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain, on 1 October 2014, the Prime Minister pays a courtesy call to President Benigno S. Aquino, III.
28-30 November 2014 Official Visit of Labor Secretary Rosalinda D. Baldoz to the Kingdom of Bahrain.
24-25 January 2017 Offcial Visit of Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Rivas Yasay, Jr. to the Kingdom of Bahrain.
12-14 April 2017 State Visit of H.E. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to the Kingdom of Bahrain.
11-14 May 2018 Offcial Visit of of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Schramm Cayetano to the Kingdom of Bahrain