I'm not paranoid, but it's the first country we visit for our trip around the world. I was reading some stuff about kidnapping, bombings etc.
Also my girlfriend is blonde, i was just wondering if that's a trigger effect...
please advise, and thanks a lot!
Anywhere you go safety is not always 100%!,(MISSING) all I can say is when you travel to the Philippines you must take care of yourself and your belongings more.
If you're planning to stay in Manila which is the main city you better be careful with your expensive things when you walk around and don't leave them unattended.
Visit our islands and I'm sure you'll have nice time staying near the beach and enjoying good seafood.
Please don't be too paranoid, I love my country no matter what and I hope you'll have a nice time there.
It's as safe as anywhere else, really, but you will still be advised to be careful with your belongings . As you should, even in first world countries like France, Italy, Spain. Specific to the Philippines, you will be safe in most areas but you can skip the southern Philippines like Sulu, Tawi Tawi and other remote places (though a fellow blogger --- Ed Valance , you may check out his blogs --- has been to the remotest villages here and did much better than I would have! ). We have been under American rule for 50 years, so you can say we are quite used to seeing and meeting blondes. If at all, Filipinos would give you guys the second look out of admiration 😉
I just returned from the Philippines 8 days ago. Like the previous posts mentioned you have to be careful with your belongings - but just like you would in other countries you visit. I have been a visitor every now and then for over 12 years to the Philippines, previously I was there in the military.
Be forewarned that when you enter malls, banks, bars, supermarkets, hotels, etc. you will notice armed guards at their doors. Some places (like at the malls) guards may inspect your bags and pat you down for weapons - this is not a new thing! (Women pat women down not some guy if there is a woman in your party.) Door guards have been kind of normal at these places for many years.
I usually stay in the Ermita area of Manila, not far from the Robinson Mall. In this area you will often see women and children sleeping on the streets. You may encounter some begging when you pass by. Also you will be offered all sorts of things for sale like belts, watches, silver dollars for some reason, ladies for the night and even Viagra. So better be forewarned than surprised.
When you are in a city like Manila dont carry too much cash when you go out, always handy to have a credit or atm card. (and do not put them in your wallet or put ur wallet in your side pockets not the back) Take the LRT or MRT rather than a bus or a jeepney to travel main highways like Edsa. If you dont want the hassle and polution in Manila take the Cebu city Route if you are planning to visit the visayas and south side of the Philippines. If you are going North up to Batanes land at Clark or Subic.
By the way it is not a bad thing in the country when people stare at you just like when we see foreigners slam their doors hard enough to break the hinges out of em.
This can be a lengthy reply but I hope you bear with me.
In social networking sites where I am a member of, I've been asked by countless online friends the same question. I would like to think that the perception of the Philippines as unsafe is also brought about among others by the irresponsible press (mostly negative headlines & banner stories in dailies & tabloids), Filipinos who emigrated to other countries without sufficient, objective appreciation of the condition of his/her country, and the general thinking that Metro Manila is Old Manila, or just Malate.
The problem with Tourism Philippines is the lack of Marketing and Promotions to erase or counteract this extremely negative perception. Unlike, Amazing Thailand, Malaysia Truly Asia, Uniquely Singapore, and Incredible India.
Thailand has a worse Muslim terrorism problem in the south compared to ours. The separatist-Muslims beheaded several monks in Narathiwat last July. They also have a red shirt-yellow shirt problem who blocked tourists from leaving the Suvarnabhumi International Airport for a week. But they manage their image problem very well. They go all out to reverse this perception with promos of zero airfares, free hotels and free tours. This will entice even the scared tourist to come and take a look because it's free. Actually, I was one among those whom they succeeded to entice because I went to Bangkok just one week after the rallyists occupied the airport. Now, that's the reason why Thailand probably has 14M tourists compared to 3M in the Philippines. And tourists still love Thailand despite the real political problem. And one thing very funny is the fact that Thailand is in the Asian peninsula with only a sprinkling of islands. And it managed to market its islands. Lonely Planet even has a full book dedicated to Thailand's Islands and Beaches. Whereas the Philippines has 7,107 islands and the best beaches in the world, but Lonely Planet does not have a dedicated book for this.
But there is something we can do together. I'm not here to sell you anything. But read this blog and realize another major reason why the Philippines "seems not safe" for travelers.
I spent 6 months traveling in the Philippines. Other than very small pockets in Mindanao, Mindoro, Panay, Palawan and Northern Luzon I think the whole place is WAY safer than say London or New York. And these pockets where its not safe are really so tiny and so far away from where most tourists would ever go, it's really not worth even thinking about
I have been to The Philippines more then 8 times and never encountered any problem or felt unsafe. Use common sense and don't flash your money around and you will be fine. Mindanao is a different case and I would not recommend going there, except for Davao which is one of the safest cities in The Philippines.