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Most Dangerous Places in the Philippines for Foreigners

Monday, October 12, 2015


It's more fun in the Philippines--NOT ALL THE TIME! You are probably thinking of retiring here and wondering where to live. You've probably been here dozens of times and stayed for a month or two each time. Do you feel safe? Visiting is different from actually living here. As a tourist, your activities are limited and your knowledge of the area only revolves around what you actually experienced during your stay.

Crime against foreigners are increasing. Recently, news about kidnappings in Mindanao has alerted expats living in the Philippines. Just to get some ideas, here are the most dangerous places in the Philippines:

1. Zamboanga

Zamboanga city hall. Photo source: www.zamboanga.com

Zamboanga city is the 9th most dangerous city in the world according to the website www.destinationtips.com. After a series of abductions by terrorist groups, Zamboanga is regarded as the most dangerous place in the Philippines for locals and foreigners alike. Victim of kidnappings varies from foreign tourists, town Mayor, public school teachers, and etc. 

2. Cotabato

Cotabato city. Photo source: www.cotabatocity.net.ph

Just like Zamboanga, Cotabato is also considered extremely dangerous. From bombings to kidnappings, you wouldn't want to visit there. In 2013, a car bombing occurred in Cotabato city, killing 8 people and wounding 40 others.

3. Basilan

Lampinigan beach, Basilan. Photo source: www.rappler.com

If you want to keep your head up (literally), don't go to Basilan. Aside from kidnappings and bombings, Basilan is also known for the 2007 beheading of 11 members of the Philippine Marines.

4. Jolo

Jolo, Sulu. Photo source: www.waltokon.org

Just last May, there was a twin explosion near a Mosque that injured at least 18 people.

5. Davao del Norte

Samal Island. Photo source: www.samal-island.com

Davao city may be one of the safest places in the Philippines but its neighboring towns aren't as safe as you'd think. On May 2001, Abu Sayaff members attacked Pearl Farm and killed two employees. Just last September 21, two Canadian nationals, a Norwegian, and a Filipina were kidnapped from a fancy beach resort in Samal Island. 

6. Manila 

Manila. Photo source: www.boring.ph

We all know Manila is dangerous but compared to those places in Mindanao, it's actually safer. Opportunistic crimes here are common but easily avoidable if you take proper precautions. 


7. Angeles City

Fields Avenue. Photo source: www.theville.com

Known for its nightlife, male tourists flock here to have a good time. There has been a series of crimes against foreigners in this city ranging from robbery, carnapping, assault, and murder. Personally, I don't think this place is an ideal place to retire if you are a foreigner (particularly white) since the crime rate is increasing each year.

Crime against foreigners in the Philippines

Like other countries, there are hundreds of crimes committed each year against foreigners in the Philippines. From petty crimes to violent ones, there is really no surefire way to avoid them as each situation is unique. But if you plan on living here, here are some tips:
  • Do not live in a secluded area. If you are white, you will be a target no matter where you live. Living in a secluded area makes it easier for criminals to rob your home as there will be no neighbors to help you. Live in a secured guarded village or condominium. For me, condominiums are much safer.
  • Do not hire maids (if you can). Most crimes committed in a household here are by maids or their boyfriends as a way to "get rich quick". Even locals here are wary of hiring maids because of the increasing crime committed by them.
  • Do not tell anyone about your finances (even your girlfriend). 
  • Do not post too much information about yourself in the Social Media (for obvious reasons).
  • Keep your doors locked at all times and do not open your door when somebody you don't know knocks especially at night. A foreign retiree was stabbed in the stomach when he opened the door to check who was outside.
  • Do not join a drinking party with locals (unless they were your trusted friends).
  • Secure your bedroom door with a good deadbolt lock and keep it locked at night.
  • Do not walk in dark alleys. Avoid going out late at night. 
  • Only withdraw money from ATMs inside malls.
  • Do not be too friendly with locals. You are always seen as the "rich one" and some will attempt to borrow money from you. If you decide not to lend them money, they will hate you for it and you can be a target for crime.
  • Avoid dating younger women as you can be a victim of extortion. There are syndicates who use underage girls as baits. These girls will pretend to be of legal age and lure unsuspecting foreign men.
 

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