Safety Advice in Philippines
Safety in the Philippines and Filipina Scams
There are definite un safe no go areas of the Philippines.Dangerous Muslim extremist known as Abu Sayyaf are actively operating in Mainly Southern Mindanao.Generally for safety you should avoid travelling to the southern parts of Mindanao as a rule but the places that are particularly dangerous are Basilan, Cotabato & Tawi-Tawi. Though there are safer places to travel such as Zamboanga and General Santos City who many argue are fairly safe,but these have also been known to be volatile and considered not safe for tourist and westerners. Even though some Filipinas and Embassies advise against travel to Mindanao,I have travelled the North including paradise islands like Camiguin and also flown to Davao and visited Cagayan De Oro and in fact honestly these places have felt more safe to me than going to Manila
Having talked to a beautiful Filipina you may now be tempted to take the plunge and book your flight to finally meet the Pinoy beauty you have been chatting to all this time. There are some well known Filipina scams which any first time visitor should be aware of and you need to ensure you know before you travel.
The first time I flew to the Philippines I had no idea what to expect, all I knew was it was a third world country, as soon as I got off the plane the heat hit me like an oven door open. I was now in the airport and quite impressed with this seemingly poor country, where is the poverty and how come they have such nice modern buildings I was asking myself?
All that changed as soon as I got outside it was like being thrown into another planet! It was midnight and total chaos, traffic police everywhere blowing their whistles and cars and Jeepneys just hurtling past not paying a blind bit of attention to them Whole families of 5 on one motorbike and no helmets oblivious to the dangers. It was taking your life into your own hands to dare cross the road, pedestrian crossing and traffic lights mean nothing here! However I began to notice everyone was looking at me and smiling, but even though there are many lovely people in the Philippines be aware of the dangers of travel here and always follow these rules. You will soon be aware of these problems whenever you go to such places as McDonalds' or star bucks there is a guard carrying a shot gun in case of hold ups.
Any western man is seen as rich in the Philippines and they will always be trying to charge you well over the odds. Before you even get off the plane, take off your jewellery, watch and put your mobile phone away safe. (I usually just buy a very cheap phone only for use there) Definitely take out at least half your credit or debit cards and put them in a separate pocket or inside your shoe. I always carry a hidden wallet that tucks inside my jeans and keep my passport and money in here. A good idea is to keep just a few hundred peso in your front pocket so if you do get robbed does not argue, give this to them and let them be on their way. This may sound extreme but the determined Filipino criminal will not hesitate to slit your throat if you resist. The reason to take off your jewellery is because snatchings are common place in the Philippines, Particularly Manila. Common sense prevails but never get out cash from a ATM unless there's a guard there, also be aware you may get street children running up to you with their hand outs for some of your cash you just obtained from the hole in the wall.
Never ever take a taxi from a tout, any guy who comes up to you insisting they can take you to your hotel for a bargain just advise them firm No and walk away. Sometimes there are Taxi scams & traps set up and you may be driven to a remote place and robbed of all your possessions and your life may also be in danger. Instead go to the taxi stand and get a coupon, the guard will note down the drivers number and you can also make a note of this number which is usually located in the passenger door. For extra safety, text this to your friend.
The Honey trap Scam
Night life is abound and never ending in the Philippines. Never ever accept any ones offer on the street asking if you want beautiful ladies or a massage etc. There are syndicates of Filipino men and Filipino women and a lot of these are known as honey traps. You may be under the influence of drink already and once back in your hotel room she will slip some drug into your drink and the next thing you know is you wake up with barely any clothes on and worse still your wallet, passport, mobile phone and valuable have all disappeared as quickly as the girl. Worse still some syndicates will report you to the police (PNP) saying you have gone with an underage girl and then faced with the hell of staying in a Filipino prison, you will be forced to pay one of these corrupt police $2000 or more to gain your freedom. I have heard stories of corrupt police (PNP) holding some of these unfortunate foreigners at knife point.
Bar girls and ladies of the night Scam
Prostitution and the sex trade is rife in manila and all the major cities of the Philippines.Most Bar girls work in Manila or Angeles city. However if you do go this route then, never ever take her to your own hotel. Instead either rent a cheap room at the bar or book a cheap quick stay at a small hotel, this may be inconvenient but this will stop the girl having any come backs on you and hatching a honey trap scheme or to fleece you of your cash if she is a devious Filipina.
Viagra and Cialis Scam
There are plenty of sellers on the street at night all too keen to push their love potions on you for a bargain price of 200 peso. About $5 may sound tempting but does not, these are just fakes imported from china and illegal. The only good night you will enjoy is maybe a night in the hospital when you get sick.
Always carry your own condoms, you never know when you will need them if you ever get tempted, some of these girls have nasty diseases and HIV is also catching up in the Philippines with places such as Thailand. Does not get caught out or take chances, you can buy these at any 7-11 or mini stop store any time.
Are you put off yet? I know the above may sound daunting and by now you may be thinking what have I got myself into? But personally I have never experienced a real problem with safety in the Philippines. Mainly because I follow the above rules and keep aware always. Though I admit i have been victim of some Filipina scams but only on a light scale, mainly as I never went there flashing wads of cash at them and was Kuripot (Tight Fisted)
Most Filipina girls are happy to see you. In fact I am probably more unsafe in my own city here at night! Does not travel alone at night especially in Manila and stay in busier areas where it is not deserted you should be fine. Personally myself I often carry a pepper spray or stun gun just in case. Anyway as they used to say on Crime watch TV after showing many real life criminal events id be scared to sleep, then the presenter would say Does not worry few of us will encounter such events, sleep safe and does not have night mares!
Before travelling to the Philippines read the latest security advice on http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travelling-and-living-overseas/travel-advice-by-country/asia-oceania/philippines
Should you encounter any problems it is wise to contact the relevant embassy