General Safety, Manila

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    Manila Pickpockets

    by jltan Written Oct 24, 2002

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    Pickpockets in Manila are 'world class'. Please be always aware of your surroundings and get away from suspicious people if they get near you. Carry your valuables close to you all the time (and maybe check them once in a while).

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    by keeweechic Updated Sep 12, 2002

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    I was advised by the hotel tour desk in Manila not to wear any jewellery. Since I was travelling alone I heeded this warning and apart from an old watch, I wore nothing else. They also said it was advisable not to be out on the streets once it got dark..

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    by keeweechic Updated Sep 12, 2002

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    The busy tourist areas, including the information and airline offices, are prime territories for Manila's enterprising petty thieves. Without suspecting every person you encounter, be extra cautious in these areas, particularly in notorious Rizal Park in the district of Ermita. Some cheaper hotels are fire traps, so locate the exits.

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    Pedestrians in Manila!

    by kylian74 Written Sep 7, 2002

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    If you're in Manila, always watch out of crossing streets, even there is Pedestrian lane, some Filipino driver do not consider that rule, they just drive right through....mostly it's a first come, first serve situation, rather than you have to run across the street. Making sign to stop the cars doesn't help sometimes, best way is to wait a good chance or cross with stop lights.

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    Be careful about the traffic

    by Voicu Written Aug 31, 2002

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    While in Philippines you should always watch your step when crossing the roads because the traffic is soo huge, especially during the rush hours.. As a pedestrian you have to have a lot of courage to cross the roads in Philippines. You also have to asure yourself that no car or bike will hit you. I almost got run over by a biker even if I was crossing the road on the pedestrian crossing sign. I got lucky with my baby that pulled me back.Thank you love!

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    ATIVAN Gangs. This gang preys...

    by Ramonq Written Aug 26, 2002

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    ATIVAN Gangs. This gang preys on tourists. They're super-friendly and appear decent. They befriend you and offer you a spiked drink. You wake up in a gutter in an outlying suburb sans wallet and other valuables. Scary stuff.

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    1. Be careful about belongings...

    by Ric Written Aug 24, 2002

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    1. Be careful about belongings (luggage, purses, packages). Pickpockets work crowded areas such as airports, shopping malls, tourist sites, and parks. Never leave anything unattended, even for a moment. 2. Filipino men usually carry a few peso bills in their breast pocket or front pocket. This way they don't have to take out their wallet, especially on the street. 3. A single woman by herself late at night is not usual and can invite trouble. Try to be with a companion when going to late night clubs or returning from concerts. 4. When entering a taxi, tell the driver where you want to go and insist that he turn on the meter. If he says it is broken or for some other reason he won't turn it on, tell him to stop and get out of the cab. However, cabs hired at major hotels have a set fee schedule by zone, which they should show you upon demand. It is always more expensive to hire a cab from a hotel than a metered cab on the street. 5. Do not attempt to change dollars on the black market (e.g. Santa Cruz) unless you are with another person, preferably someone who speaks Tagalog. It is dangerous because people know you are carrying large amounts of cash. The Shoe Mart department stores offer the best rate of exchange that is legal and safe.

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    Always keep your bags,...

    by mariwitch Written Aug 24, 2002

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    Always keep your bags, celphones, wallets and your shopping bags close at hand. Snatchers, pickpockets, and even people who stop you to ask for money abound. The usual victims are those who are not alert and paying attention to their surroundings. The same rules apply: avoid dark, deserted areas.

    Even when eating in restaurants, keep your stuff where you can see them. There have been stories of bags being picked up as the owners enjoy their meal.

    If anyone approaches you for donations or alms, just shake your head and say no. Watch out also for those telling a hard-luck story, especially those who ask for money so they can go home. It's a scam! (Sadly, I have fallen victim to one.)

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Comments (2)

  • onlinekibitzer's Profile Photo
    Jun 10, 2013 at 8:40 PM


    I am a well traveled person and I just wanted to give a friendly tip. People who are often victims of a developing country are those who unnecessarily flaunt their expensive things and money in public or those who go to night clubs even if they know that solicitation and prostitution is illegal in the country. If you are a well researched and educated traveler, you would not simply hop on the plane and go to a place where your instinct tells you. Philippines is economically challenged and sadly the situation of its society is much affected by the culture, influences and abuses of its foreign predecessors, Spanish, Americans, and Japanese particularly.

    A deeper thought may be realized by looking into its history on why it is having a hard time developing and why most uneducated Filipinos opt to do crimes which they actually are not supposed to engage in. If you are one of the victims, please do not commit a hasty generalization by creating exaggerated comments against the country. You also have to look into yourself on how you actually caused to be a victim. Filipinos are very kind, hospitable, and helpful even if you do not give them money. The way you treat them and accompany them speaks a lot on how you will be treated in return. If you think you are far above them because of the color of your skin and because you came from a richer country, and you are abusive of its weaknesses, they will fight in return and abuse you in a way you would not know (killing you softly). The best way to travel in this country is by acting humbly, by being appreciative, and by avoiding illegal activities such as unmonitored gambling and buying women, even if you are really tempted to do so. It may be true that Filipinas are amongst the best looking women and ideal partner/spouse as compared to other females in the world but engaging in mail order bride transactions worsens the situation of their country which would lead further to abuse and in return tourists visiting their country will be taken advantaged of and be seen as an opportunity to earn money the wrong way.

    Before commenting, look into yourself first on how you actually participated and contributed in making the situation of Philippines worse. It is a wonderful country and one of the hidden gems in South East Asia... only if you found the key to seeing its real beauty.

  • Apr 13, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    Manila is the biggest *** hole ever, the people are NOT friendly and the only thing that is on a filipinas mind in manila is how can i get your money off you. They are total scammers and they never smile not even when u check into a hotel, the cops are stupid and corrupt and the security guards are paid to sleep....i could go on forever and i will but right now need to sleep, but ill be back here tomorrow to give ppl a full run down on what the philippines is really like, in short dont waste ur money on a ppl who hate you want your money and are not even nice about it...anyway brb.

    • Jan 22, 2014 at 2:24 AM

      It is not the cleanest city but it has some amazing history.
      I suspect you had trouble with people not smiling or not being friendly do to your own bad attitude. No surprise as this is common in every country I go with westerners walking around with a bad attitude and wondering why bad service.
      People there always smile, some will scam you especially the airport cabbies. The farther from tourist traps you get the nicer people are.
      In short treat others how you would like to be treated.

    • Jun 13, 2014 at 9:07 AM

      I am married to a filipna and we have a house in Alabang. Not in the "posh" part but a "squatter barrangay". I have spent a lot of time there and have travelled to many provinces. In short, it's not safe in Manila if you are an unescorted Caucasian in the "wrong" places. I have never felt really threatened where we live but I am known there. I would not advise anyone to wonder into these off the beaten track communities unless you are with a trusted guide. You have to be street wise and understand that walking around in your RayBans, carrying a wad of cash, carrying an expensive SLR camera, labelled clothes, sporting an expensive watch, cell phone and jewellery is not smart. The people are poor and in some cases, desperate. You are walking around with possessions worth more than they can earn in a year! Dress down both your appearance and your tongue, be respectful and be aware of your surroundings.

      I have seen English tourists sitting outside bars in Manila buying knives and stub guns from street hawkers proclaiming that, if they are threatened, they will use the weapon to protect themselves! Trust me, guns are commonplace here (we have one ourselves and both know how to use it as we are gun club members, but would never carry it outside of the house) and no matter how tough you think you are, the guys that carry guns fear nothing and have nothing to lose. It is far more sensible to avoid the clip clubs, the hookers and the back streets where you may encounter the less savoury inhabitants. Remember life here is cheap and if you think you are superior or tough, and act that way, you are going to come unstuck.

      Manila can be a dangerous city but no more than Bangkok, New York or London if you are in the wrong place or with the wrong company.

      It is true that if you are approached by someone you don't know, wanting to be your friend, you should be suspicious of their motives. That being said, the Philipina people are welcoming and open, friendly and generous, despite having very little.

      If I am honest, I have never found Manila entertaining. Outside of shopping malls and the usual tourist traps, it is a dirty and polluted city. Far better to travel to the provinces and check out some of the less frequented beaches and islands where both the people and landscapes will make you love this country.

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