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American safety in the Philippines?

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How safe is it on the Luzon Island, I was told most people carry weapons to defend them selves and americans are targeted by Abu Saieff. Is this true?
7 years ago, July 13th 2007 No: 1 Msg: #16413  
How safe is it on the Luzon Island, I was told most people carry weapons to defend them selves and americans are targeted by Abu Saieff. Is this true? Reply to this

6 years ago, January 23rd 2008 No: 2 Msg: #25900  
the trick is stay first at manila ...near your embassy..then slowly crawl to provinces until you get to feel the place,familiar where are the police stations,know local police numbers. camouflage urself or act like a local or act like poor.

man you dont need to display all ur dollars,jewelries and gadgets here,as u know well that is the main reason here of kidnaps.

act poor.stay at well lighted and populated place.

ashley Reply to this

6 years ago, January 23rd 2008 No: 3 Msg: #25905  
O' Ok! Shall I carry a weapon like a machete at my side to let them know not to mess with me. Reply to this

6 years ago, January 23rd 2008 No: 4 Msg: #25910  
hahhaaa better a shirt with a sign "pro-gun" or "member of pro-gun society" or "i am a criminal" sign will do... do not use anything with FBI or CIA signages too.. Reply to this

6 years ago, January 23rd 2008 No: 5 Msg: #25911  
OMG who are you and what do you want with me. Im in Manila now and you are full of it. There is no problems here. Reply to this

6 years ago, January 23rd 2008 No: 6 Msg: #25913  
hahahahaahhaaaa...well tell me the difference between a big white guy or big black guy wearing THAT shirt...and a local wearing it...even CIA themselves acted and spoke like a local and are not afraid of going anywhere..am nobody... Reply to this

6 years ago, February 9th 2008 No: 7 Msg: #27059  
Are Americans safe in the Philippines....well you are safer in America. I live in Zambales, Luzon and it can be a lawless place. Most of the Americans l know who live here have been held up at gunpoint and tied up and robbed, but other foreigners have had the same. A beach resort, RAMA, run by an Australian in Botolan had 38 bullets fired through the doors and windows at close range, amazingly just one person got a bullet and he survived. No one has ever been caught for any of these crimes. I personally have known of Filipinos who have come to untimely ends, a Senior Policeman shot dead on the steps of the court house in broad daylight...both the security guards had just gone to have a pee at the same time!!!! The killer was never found. A Filipino who used to spray my fruit trees in the village where l live was shot dead by 3 men who turned up at his house at 7pm entered and shot him dead in front of his family...none of the killers were found. I myself had a situation where l was returning at 11 am from a music class with my 7 year old daughter, a car pulled out as l was overtaking, l put my hand on the horn but he continued to force me over. I managed to get by him. But the car drew along side me and the passenger was holding a pistol pointed at my head. I felt like ramming him sideways but my young daughter was in the car. I slowed to let him get ahead and the passenger eased himself out of his window still pointing his gun at me. I went to the police, l had the car number but l never made a charge because those involved would get to know my address, l just had the police put it on record and that is about all you can do. My daughter still talks about that frightening time. Just remember don't get involved in any arguments you never know who is carrying a gun. The age of some security guards is very young and some are not educated to a very high level. I live in Zambales which is peaceful for most of the time, but if you have white skin, talk big, flash your wealth, you could be inviting trouble and don't get drunk out of your mind or stay out until the early hours. So common sense is the order of the day, be careful of some very friendly Filipinos who may other plans for you. Some sobering words l know...you may never ever come across any hostile situations on your visits here but take care. Enjoy your visit if you come to Zambales. Al Reply to this

6 years ago, February 9th 2008 No: 8 Msg: #27103  
Thanks Al
I am not in Luzon and may not be coming at all. I have had many people out side of this blog that says the same thing and I will take it as a warning. Its a shame that the world is in so much turmoil with the US (Bush) screwing everything up. Hopefully we get Bush out of office and get someone in who is not into War. JF Reply to this

6 years ago, June 8th 2008 No: 9 Msg: #37806  
The above posts sadden me as it shows how misinformed some people can be. I am from the Philippines and now live in the Midwest (for 3 years). I went to Manila for medical school. I'll try to be objective :-)
Preface: It's over 7000 islands, and each one can be different.

1. Manila is the least safe place in Luzon (main island), mainly because it is the biggest city, but it is waaaaay safer than Detroit, East LA, or Harlem. We do not have drive by shootings. Guns are nowhere near as commons as here in the US. People would rather buy food. That said, knives are more common (hehehe), but again, read the first sentence..

2. I agree with the common sense above (of course!) which would be applicable ANYWHERE. You wouldn't want to flash any bling in a poor country, and that goes for any country. It would offend the nice folks and attract the bad folks. And stay away from certain places and parts of town (duh!, there's always a ghetto everywhere), and probably stick to touristy places. A guide is always a good idea, 1. so you won't get lost, and 2. much less likely that anyone would mess with you, again, I refer you to #1. :-)


3. Remember that the people you meet on the street don't know you're American. If you're white, they assume you are :-). I wouldn't expect you to be singled out for being American, as FIlipinos actually like Americans (Expect a hey Joe greeting in every city, hehehe). Remember that American GIs were there from 1910s (although that was a bad time, lol) to 1992 (shall we say WWII to 1992 to keep out the bad memories). yes we do have anti Bush and anti war rallies (they have them in Kansas City, too), mainly by students.

4. The Abu Sayaff is listed by the US and Philipine governement as a terrorist group. It is a fundamentalist, separatist Muslim group in the Southern Islands, ade famous by a beheading of an American missionary several years back. At that time, they went as far north as Palawan ( a very beautiful place, I've been there once and plan to visit again). Some say they may have elements in Manila, but as far as I know, they have dwindled in number (the Philipipnes got a lot of help from the US government in fighting them since 9/11.

5. So in summary, No, most people do not carry guns in Luzon. Americans may be targeted by the Abu Sayaff, but historically, they are more of a kidnap for ransom group based on the opposite end of the country and that have dwindled in number. Outside Manila, you should feel safe moving around even by yourself in public transport, but a guide would be a good idea to help you find your way around, help you haggle with prices, even to shoo away vendors and malicious people.

Last words: Let me know if you have any questions, and do read the rest of the blogs and stuff to see how beautiful a country it is and how nice the people really are.

Reply to this

6 years ago, June 17th 2008 No: 10 Msg: #38859  
Infected - I can't agree with you more.

Like traveling in any country besides your own, the best advice you can hear is just use your common sense. If you draw attention to yourself with flashy clothing, expensive jewelry, and rude behavior, then I hate to say it, but you're asking for it. Not only does this apply in the Philippines, but all over the world.

Mind yourself in crowded areas and be wary of over friendly locals. Keep in mind there are also children that learn to pick pocket, so don't be too trusting of everyone.

Also, do your best to stay out of trouble with the law. Unlike in the States, Filipinos find justice through the "vendetta" system and the police may be of little assistance to you. They may be able to help you out though with a generous bribe.

And as for everyone walking around Luzon with machetes and weapons . . .don't believe everything you see in the movies. Reply to this

5 years ago, September 3rd 2008 No: 11 Msg: #47782  
N Posts: 1
everybody is always giving the bad side of things.

i have been to the Philippines 3 times and am going back in 2 weeks for a month vacation.

the Philippines is just like ever place else, there are place you go and places you don't
i never have had any problems over there Reply to this

5 years ago, September 13th 2008 No: 12 Msg: #48618  
you can die wherever you are you ca be rob wherever you are. and philippines is not that worst so dont be afraid to go here. Reply to this

5 years ago, September 14th 2008 No: 13 Msg: #48666  
B Posts: 356
I have been in and out of the Philippines for over 10 years - not counting the times when my ship pulled in during the 70's - never had any problems! Perhaps I was lucky when I was going through the "young and stupid" years but in my most recent travel as an adult - I never flash money, I don't wear any chunky gold chains all over me, if something looks shady or threatening (in my mind) I will pass over to the other side of the street. I avoid dark alleys of course and if anyone says they have a "good deal" or their sister they want to show me just down the alley - I avoid them!

Americans, Brits, Aussies and especially Chinese have been targets of kidnappers or crimes - but I have only read about that and never experienced it myself. There are places you can visit with relative safety and areas that you should avoid and not go looking for trouble!

I flew out Manila just on September 11 after a week in Manila, 8 day side trip in Thailand and another week in Manila in the beginning of this trip. I always stay in the Ermita area of Manila but I have been to lots of places over the years.
Reply to this

5 years ago, September 14th 2008 No: 14 Msg: #48677  
As with Sir Halberd, I've been to the Philippines countless times since 1995. More than 20 I think, including working in Manila for several weeks. Even in the more dodgy areas of Manila, which surely is the most dangerous place in the Philippines, I was never threatened or felt threatened. I also never dressed up, which probably helped.

And on the rare times I got into arguments I always smiled and joked with them, even when they were obviously trying to rip me off. A smile and joke can get you out of most situations with your wallet and skin intact.

And none of the dozen long termers I know in Manila have had any serious problems nor carry guns. Maybe I just know lucky people! Reply to this

5 years ago, September 19th 2008 No: 15 Msg: #49236  
Some people are just misinformed and then spread the wrong information.

The capital of the Philippines is Manila which is just one city under a dozen or so cities in Metro Manila which composes of Makati (business capital) and Quezon City (largest city and most populous) among others. But as not to confuse everyone, most foreigners just say Manila even if they meant Metro Manila.

Anyways, "Manila" is generally safer than most cities around the world. Again just use common sense. Reply to this

4 years ago, July 28th 2009 No: 16 Msg: #81206  
In regards to message #7.

the "true" story is as follows, the Law and Order situation had always been so good in Zambales that we had made ourselves appear an easy target, we never had any form of locking gates or security systems, it was not unusual to have people arrive at odd hours, midnight, 2 AM etc. and it had never been a problem, I guess that you could say that we had lulled ourselves into a false scene of security. It was the Sunday Night of the May Day weekend and we had a group of teenagers, all well dressed arrive at midnight, looking for rooms, apparently they thought that we would have a lot of money on hand at the end of the long weekend, their apparent intent was to force their way into our house when my Wife opened the door to attend to them, luckily though She had seen them suddenly split into 3 groups, 2 headed to cover 1 side of the house, 2 to the other and 2 barged the door, She was, thankfully, fast enough to get the door closed, locked and the safety lock on, the one at the front door tried to shoot the lock out of the door, which in my opinion created "spontaneous" gunfire from His companions who possibly thought that they had been fired on from inside the house. They were I think panicked and all fired wildly, possibly they were high on drugs or something, I did return fire, 2 only shots, which possibly wounded one of them and they then fled. We have lived and operated our business in Zambales for more than 20 years and this in the "only" incident that has ever occurred to us. We very carefully analyzed the situation, as our Daughter was only 2 years old at that time and could see no reason to leave or move, the Police, the Governor and the Mayor were very fast to offer whatever assistance was required, without never asking for any form of payment. I had previously owned Businesses in Australia for almost 20 years before moving to the Philippines and had in fact had numerous breakins, burglaries and 2 robbery attempts there, almost in the middle of Sydney. No Zambales is not an "unsafe" place to live, certainly less so than Sydney.


Roger J. Bound.
P.S. In more than 20 years of living in Zambales, I have never been asked or pressured by anyone, Police, Government Official, Elected Official or Local for any favor or to have anything facilitated. In my opinion the people of Zambales are the nicest in the world, so much so that my Family or I have any intention of looking for another place to live or do business, as I do not believe I could find a better place to live in the entire World. So if you are looking for the nicest place in the Philippines, explore Zambales. Mabuhay Zambeleano.....
Reply to this

4 years ago, July 28th 2009 No: 17 Msg: #81223  
Moderator comment: Please keep comments impersonal. Reply to this

4 years ago, July 28th 2009 No: 18 Msg: #81256  
Filipinos are very fond of Americans. Your Ambassador is very popular in our country. The peace and order situation in Luzon is by far the best, compared to the Visayas and Mindanao. If you are afraid of the Abu Sayyafs then you should stay away from the souther islands. Reply to this

4 years ago, July 29th 2009 No: 19 Msg: #81301  
The comments of #17

The writer leaves out such things as to Police response time... There was a foreigner who was ambushed by men with powerful rifles outside his home in Binoculatan near Botolan, Zambales. He was robbed of a million pesos and got the next plane back to his country. A few months ago a man was stabbed to death, possibly a drug related crime no one was charged. Law and order cannot be compared with Western countries there is just not the money available here. Some areas you are more at risk, so choose wisely where you stay. Mostly it is a peaceful country, the people are benign and friendly and will not want to argue with you, but there are always exceptions to the rule. So take care and common sense is important. Having lived here for ten years, my first arrival as a visitor was in 1989, soldiers then surrounded the airport and gunships were in the air. But l have enjoyed my stay here and you can too.

Reply to this

4 years ago, May 17th 2010 No: 20 Msg: #111065  
Go to Philippine Embassy Office nearest you...bring with you all the papers and permits that you have, they can answer all your inquiries...I hope this suggestion helps. Reply to this

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