Is the Philippines safe to travel, especially Cebu City, Surigao City & Siargao Island? My country advices to only go if necessary. My boyfriend and I will stay 9-10 days in the Philippines if we go. Is it a really big risk?
Jake Way, former Tagalog Linguist, US Marines 2007-2012
Answered Nov 1, 2017
The Philippines is safe! But read on..
I was a former Taglog linguist in the Marines and I’ve been all over the Philippines in my days. In the south where terrorists are present, to Mindanao, also in the north. 3 years. Nothing bad happened to me, though I have been scammed out of some money a couple times but whatever. Someone probably was planning to jump me once (see my pro tip #11) but I know when people are up to no good and know when to leave bad situations.
Over 200,000 foreign citizens living there that enjoy it and feel safe enough to make it their home. Just stay out of the rural areas in Mindanao where communist separatists are present and many of the regions in the south where kidnappings and such happen with some frequency. In cities like Cebu City ( I don’t know much about the other city you mentioned) you will be very safe.
The article you mentioned had a map, it’s actually quite good except there are more places in Mindanao I would keep away from. The article is misleading. It says even experienced travelers ignore warnings about the Philippines at their own peril! The thing is, there are plenty of safe, wonderful places in the Philippines to go to.
Dangers in the cities if you’re a foreign tourist is nothing physical. If something bad happens it will probably someone just stealing from you or scam you. There’s no reason to cause harm.
If you’re into it, do not in any way get involved with drugs in the Philippines or really anywhere in Asia. Stiff, stiff consequences.
Here are some pro tips for the Philippines:
1.) Use metered taxis, or use an App like Uber or Grabtaxi.
2.) Do not fall asleep in taxis.
3.) Both of you should get Filipino SIM cards and be able to communicate with each other. If you get a bad vibe from a taxi, take a photo of its license in the car and send it to your boyfriend. Also, call your boyfriend and tell him where you are, that you’re in a taxi that yeah you always get the license number and that you’ve sent it to him. The taxi driver is listening to all this.
4.) If you begin a trip with a taxi and they refuse to use the meter, ask him to stop the car. Then, get out of the car and walk away.
5.) If a taxi driver is being sketchy and isn’t stopping the car after you’ve asked him to, pull his e-brake handle and then walk away. (This is like worst case scenario stuff, I’ve only heard of someone having to do this one time.)
6.) Keep your wallet and other carried valuables in your front pocket.
7.) Walk with purpose, like you know where you are going. Even if you don’t. This tip is really for any country. Easy prey is a tourist that looks lost. If you need help just anyone on the street, most know basic English since High school and College in the Philippines is in English.
8.) If you’re in areas you don’t know, wear sneakers rather than flip-flops so you can run away from a bad situation if you need to.
9.) Walk on the outside of the sidewalk closer to the street rather than close to the walls. Very, very rarely someone might jump out from a building corner and whack you with a piece of wood and steal your money.
10.) Shake your hand back and forth (Youtube this before you go) when ambushed by groups of kids asking for money. This hand signal means “wala..” (you can also just say “wala..” which means that you don’t have anything to give them. If you do give them something, give them a healthy snack or a drink. Usually they are just working for some older guy and they give all their money to him and people that give them food usually just give them sodas and non-nutritious food. Be nice. It sucks to be a street kid but also don’t let them manipulate your compassion.
11.) Don’t raise your risk profile by getting involved with drugs (especially know in the era of President Duterte) hanging around bars when it gets rowdy, giving people too much information about who you are, where you are travelling, and how many people are with you, and continually walking back to your house/hotel at the same time each day and from the same way. An example of this, I was at a night club with a couple friends that was a bit seedy. A cute girl walked up and started talking and then wanted to dance. I said sure, so we were dancing and she started asking weird questions. The red flag went up when she asked several times “are you here alone?” Nothing happened to me because I just told my friend about it and we left.
I hope this helps! The Philippines is great, and it’s safe but still be mindful of your surroundings. I’m jealous! The Filipinos are such kind, hospitable people and I miss them very, very much.
Tilman Fliegel, Software Engineer, Architecture Champion at Finnova (2018-present)
Answered Nov 7, 2017 · Upvoted by D. Richard Carlson, lived in Cebu City, Philippines (2007)
I have travelled to these places and felt safe at all times. You should take the necessary precautions just like anywhere else, but the majority of Filipinos are hardworking honest people. Cheating tourists is not as popular in the Philippines as in a lot of other countries. They might ad 10 to 30% to the prices, you will hardly notice because everything is cheap. Go to Italy or Tunesia, they will try to overcharge you by 100% or more. And the dangers for your life are also minimal as long as you don't get too involved in local life by starting a business or an affair.
Sam Lim, Bachelors Degree Nurisng & Science (2011)
Answered Dec 18, 2017
Surfing In The Philippines
Siargao - a tropical island paradise known for its surfing in the Pearl of the Orient Seas. Its just one small island among the 7000 that make up the Philippines.
Yet Siargao boasts a unique mix of excellent surfing, relaxed vibes, deserted beaches, warm water, and a practically unlimited supply of fresh coconuts.
If you’re a surfer, or want to learn, you really need to visit Siargao.
Siargao Island Paradise
Where is Siargao Island? It’s located in the South East of the country. They have a small airport that you can fly into from Cebu, or another option is the 3 hour ferry from the city of Surigao (careful, SURIGAO and SIARGAO sound similar but are different places!). Once there, it’s easy to jump on a shuttle to General Luna, the island’s main surf-town.
The 40 minute drive mansion88 provides a glimpse at life on this island as you pass simple thatched roofed homes on stilts, rice fields, lush tropical forests, online slots Malaysia, barefoot children and large carabao (water buffalo) on the side of the road.
What really sets Siargao apart from other islands in the Philippines is the surfing! With over 15 different surf breaks around the island, both on & offshore w88, there are plenty of options for every skill level.
Just rent a small motorcycle with board rack for $8 a day.
Surfboard rentals cost about the same. The selection isn’t the greatest (boards are difficult to ship here), but Fat Lips Surf Shop has decent stuff.
To reach offshore breaks you need to hire a local outrigger boat, called a banca, to take you there. Round up a group or wait at the beach for other surfers to join you. It only costs about $5 per person.
Michael Burden, former Retired Drainage and Sewerage Engineer at Severn Trent Water (1975-2016)
Updated Nov 15, 2017
Having been married to a Filipina for over 20 years and having visited the Philippines more than a dozen times I have always felt safe there. I do not think I can add much to the useful advice already given in other answers to this question, except to say that the only time I experienced any trouble was during my last visit in August this year, when I had my pockets picked at Antipolo Cathedral just outside Manila, but fortunately had only a cheap digital camera stolen and not my wallet, cards or cash. Actually this happened inside the church and was recorded on the CCTV cameras there, and you can read about it in my answer to the Quora question “Have you been pickpocketed ?”
Alfred Santos, I build houses, amateur watch collector and a father to 4.
Answered Nov 1, 2017
Jake is right!..Philippines is safe. Safer than most developed countries where you get mugged practically anywhere.
Try avoiding only places in Southern Mindanao where extremists abound. I think these concerns are quite typical now even among many western countries where tourists can get run over by runaway trucks! Huh!
Enjoy your stay in the Philippines. Dont leave without going to Tagaytay, Palawan and Boracay!
David Renshav, lived in Cebu City, Philippines
Answered Jan 19, 2018
these places are all safe, trouble is 9–10 days may not be enough to enjoy each of them.
you have not disclosed which city you are initially flying into. It will probably be Manila, but it might be Cebu.
Siargao island should probably be the focal point of this trip.
you can fly to Siargao now from both Manila and Cebu (previously it was only Cebu), so if you want to get the feel of a Philippine city, allow a couple of days in Cebu or Manila at the start before going on to Siargao for 6–7 nights and then a couple of days in either Cebu or Manila at the end.