Philippines

The Philippines is an archipelago in South-East Asia, with more than seven thousand islands situated between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea., who gained independence was obtained in 1946. The Philippines is a vast paradise with a mild year-round temperature and a wide variety of activities. The majority of tourists seek white sandy beaches and incredible diving, that will impress them for several years ahead. Among the top activities on the island are kayaking, diving, surfing, and snorkeling. The capital of The Philippines is Manila, attracts most tourists. This place is a mix of a mega resort, shops, restaurants and other entertainment complexes. There are over 80 provinces, categorized into 17 regions with more than 120 cities, with a population of more than 95 million people. Generally, the regions of the country are divided into 3 major island: Luzon: includes Manila, Cordillera and others north cities. This island group is a center of the government, economy, history and a home for a capital. Visayas: central part of the country and a heart of antiquity, nature, and biodiversity. The best beaches of the Philippines are here. Mindanao: Area with a population of more than 22 million inhabitants. This island is considered as the food basket. 8 of the 10 agri-commodities exported from the country come from Mindanao. Major touristic spots are scattered all over the island. Beach resorts, diving, surfing, nature parks, mountain climbing are among the top activities on Mindanao. On the whole, the main areas frequently visited by tourists are highly secured by the police, because tourism is the country’s main source of income. However, there have some reported cases when tourists were robbed at gunpoint or knife point in tourist locations, sexual assaults are not rare. Among the most frequent type of crimes on the islands against tourists are armed robberies, theft, purse or bag snatching. SafeAround has compiled information from numerous sources make sure you have a safe trip while in The Pilippines, and be aware of all potential dangers.

SAFETY INDEX

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Are the Philippines a Safe or Dangerous Country?

The Philippines is the 104th country in the world, based on the safest and most dangerous countries ranking. Manila is assessed as being a high-threat location. Crime remains a concern in urban areas throughout the country. Theft (including pickpocketing), robbery and credit card frauds are among the most common types of crime. Drink spiking in metropolitan pubs and bars common, travelers should never leave a drink unattended, nor accept drinks from strangers and do not visit that kind of places alone. Sporadically carjacking and violent assaults occur; and there are known incidents in which criminals have rear-ended the bumper of a targeted vehicle. At a time when a driver gets out of the vehicle in order to examine the damage, the offenders rob the driver and steal the car. Therefore, we advise to refrain from driving in a remote, dark streets of the outskirts of Manila, as most of such type of crime took place in these areas. Due to the increased frauds with credit cards, it is recommended to use credit cards only at major retail facilities and check a bank statement regularly.

Manila areas which are considered sketchy Neighborhoods

  • Malate and Ermita in the center of Manila. The presence and high density of muggers, who dupe tourists regularly, make theses neighborhoods are very sensitive. We recommend to exercise constant vigilance and do not flash any valuables or banknotes with a high denomination.
  • A criminal center and a place, which is better to avoid at any cost is Tondo. Slum, non-touristic area.
  • Baclaran is a very touristic place and thanks to that, has a very high density of pickpockets and bag snatchers. Constantly keep an eye on your belongings.

The country’s most dangerous spots, where due to the safety concerns traveling is not permitted.  

Jolo Province & Basilan Province 

Infamously known for a high kidnapping level of tourists for ransom. Abu Sayayaf is a Muslim rebels group in charge of the kidnappings. They use these islands as a lair.

Mindanao

Cotabato province, where violent clashes between Muslims populations and government forces happen on a regular basis. A civilian could easily get caught in the crossfire. Due to the security reasons, traveling to the next regions is also prohibited: The Sulu Archipelago and the Suu Sea. The risks of sexual assault in the Philippines is moderate. In some incidents, the victims were drugged. SafeAround recommends to be vigilant, avoid poorly lit areas especially in the capital of the Philippines.

Other areas of concern:

  • Another area of concern for newcomers who operate their own water craft is to encounter vessels operated by armed smugglers. Due to numerous uninhabited islands, criminal groups take an advantage on this and widely use it for storing illicit drugs and weapons for further illegal importation.
  • Rabies is also common among street animals in the country. Be aware and vaccinated.
  • Due to a spread of tuberculosis in the countryside, try to avoid individuals who cough and look weak.
Are the Philippines safe or dangerous? Find out on the Travel Map

Warnings & Dangers

Mid Priority-96 OVERALL RISK : HIGH

The criminal threat on the Philippines is high. Since recent years it significantly increased. It is ranked 104th out of 162 on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous cities.

Mid Priority-96 PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW

As a frequently visited tourist destination, the risks of petty crimes exist, especially in the beach area and main touristic spots in the capital. However, in comparison with the pickpocket’s threat in Barcelona, it’s trifling.  Excessive vigilance in all public place is recommended.

Mid Priority-96 MUGGING RISK : HIGH

Mugging is an area of concern for newcomers, residents, and locals. Assaults and robberies are often all over the islands. Last year there were reported 22 kidnappings in the country, most often in Mindanao.

Mid Priority-96 SCAMS RISK : HIGH

Vendors of the small shops may tell you that they have no change for a large currency bill (500 – 1000) and offer you to buy other goods, just to get an appropriate change. Be aware of that and try to have small bills at your disposal.

Mid Priority-96 TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : HIGH

  • Intolerant drivers speeding and reckless driving is a result of numerous fatalities on the roads. Flooding sometimes makes roads impassable.
  • For travel around the city the safest and most convenient will be a taxi, however never use a taxi without meters, and usually, check that it is running. A good option will be to negotiate a price of a ride in advance.
  • Traffic jams in the capital are the worst worldwide. Advance departure to the airport is recommended.

Mid Priority-96 NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : HIGH

Among the top environmental hazards in the country are typhoons, floods, landlines, tsunamis. Volcanic eruptions are an area of concern.

Mid Priority-96 TERRORISM RISK : HIGH

Terrorism is a threat around the world. Risks of terrorism in the Philippines is high.

Mid Priority-96 WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM

In recent years’ rapes and sexual assaults became a problem in the Bahamas. Many rapes happened near the hotels and casinos. SafeAround advises to consume alcohol moderately and avoid being intoxicated in the public places. Being vigilant and avoiding poorly lit areas will significantly reduce the risks of being sexually assaulted.

Carte

Useful Information

U.S. travelers coming for tourism will not need a visa for travel up to 90 days. All other travelers will need a visa and/or work permit.
The official currency of the country is the Philippine peso. 1 PHP is equal to 0,5 $. However, the exchange rate might fluctuate significantly. The safest and easiest way is to exchange your money at the official establishments like Bank of the Philippine Islands or Banco De Oro.
Being a tropical island. The Philippines has only two seasons: the dry and the wet. Between May and November is a rainy season. December is the coldest month. May is supposed to be the warmest.
The largest and the busiest airport on the Philippine is International Airport in Manila. More information about the airport can be found on its official website – http://www.manila-airport.net/.
As in any country, we advise travelers to get a travel insurance that covers not only medical problems but also theft and loss of personal items. Learn more on our travel insurance page