Personal security is just common sense. However, with the influence of the sun, beautiful women and cheap drinks it is easy to become careless.

In fact the Philippines are more dangerous for the Filipinos rather than foreigners.

Although most of the Philippines is far safer than European and American cities, (not including the bandit areas in Mindanao which must always be avoided) avoid going into squatter areas and places such as Smokey Mountain in Tondo, Manila. It may be a famous place but it is definitely not a tourist attraction. Tondo has the highest crime rates in the country with usually at least one murder a week. These are mostly drug related and do not involve foreigners but there are some very dangerous men living there.There are also pockets of communist insurgents in various parts of Luzon and Visayas which must also be avoided. The Tourist Authority will advise you on places to avoid.

The exception is Divisoria which, although is partly located in Tondo, is safe during the day. If you can get a local guide to take you there, so much the better.

Beware of anyone who wants to befriend you. He or she, may want to rob you. These guys are clever they will come up with a reason like, óh you don't recognise who it is am the hotel security guard' correct response would be to walk away, or see if he knows which hotel you are staying at. Of course DO NOT tell him/her where you are staying.

If you need a local guide, ask at the hotel reception for their assistance.

NEVER wander round anywhere if you are drunk. Dont leave your drink unattended at a bar to minimise the risk of your drink being spiked. Ask the bar security guard to help you to get a taxi back to your hotel.  Remember though, that taxi driver is also likely to overcharge you if he possibly can.If you want to get drunk, then it is best to stay in the safety of your hotel bar to do it. The Greenbelt area and park is safe inside the security guarded area and you can catch a cab drectly outside, Often it is best to hail a passing cab rather than one that is waiting, for a likely 'victim' 

 Public transport needs a special mention. The long distances buses departing from terminals in Quezon City, Manila and Pasay are safe because they do not pick up passengers except at terminals.

The buses on short and medium routes are a different matter. Ordinary buses are usually safe. Air con buses may not be safe. If the curtains on the windows are closed so you cannot see in, do not board that bus!

In fact it is better to avoid the air con buses altogether.

The same goes for FX taxis.  They are often robbed. 2 or 3 robbers will wait for an FX with empty seats in the front and back. Once the vehicle s on the move, they declare a holdup and take all the passengers valuables and drivers earnings. The order the driver to pull over and disappear into the crowds. Sometimes drivers are in league with the robbers.


A new problem is skimming or copying of ATM and Credit Cards.

It is difficult to identify the source because banks hide behind confidentiality laws which also hinder police investigation.

However, it is not difficult to defeat. An investigation has shown it is unlikely to happen in Malls or any other place where your card is presented at the point of sale and so it is never out of your sight.

The most likely place for it to be done is in restaurants where you hand your card over and it is taken out of your sight to produce the vouchers.

To defeat the skimmers, just pay in cash if you cannot watch the online transaction.

You can also ask your bank not to pay any transactions not needing a signature.

The card slot on modern ATM machines is almost flush with the machine. If the mouth for the entry for your card is not flush with the machine, it is possible it has a card skimmer attached. Other clues for the presence of a card skimmer are unnecessary mirrors and or brochure holders. These may have cameras attached to pick up your PIN.

If you see any of these, do not insert your card.


There is more information on the National Capital Region Inside Pages