The Philippines has been listed for many years on the US State Departments list of dangerous places to travel. This is a little unfortunate because as a result many people get the impression the Philippines is a dangerous place to travel. To be honest I really don’t understand this listing. I realize there are some dangerous places in the Philippines like Muslim controlled areas of Mindanao, or out of the way isolated mountain regions. The answer to that problem is simple. Don’t travel in the dangerous areas.
In general I find the Philippines to be a reasonably safe place. I have been here for nine years and personally have not had any problem. I have never been robbed or accosted. No one has ever pulled a knife or gun on me. Nobody has ever thrown a punch at me. The worst thing that ever happened was that I had my cell phone pick pocketed. Most Expats will tell you that the Philippines is safe. In general Filipinos are not a violent people.
Now, that being said, it’s a reality that no place is 100% safe. Of course you will hear the occasional horror story. Of course you have to behave in a prudent way. Don’t go alone to isolated spots by yourself, especially at night. Don’t flash large amounts of money or wear expensive jewelry. Don’t be antagonistic and cause arguments and tensions.
Speaking about flashing money, there is one story I have heard repeated many times. It concerns withdrawing large amounts of cash at a bank. Supposedly there are sometimes “spies” at the banks watching to see if anybody withdraws a large amount of money. If they see anybody doing so they message their partners who then follow the foreigner hoping for an opportunity to rob them. In general you should never carry a large amount of cash with you.
When you choose a place to live, don’t choose an isolated house or apartment in the middle of nowhere with no neighbors around you. Such places are targets for thieves. Choose a place within a community with neighbors who get to know you and will watch over you.
Of course bad things occasionally happen everywhere. You hear plenty of horror stories about bad things that happen in the USA. The point is this:
It’s not that the Philippines is completely safe, it’s that in my opinion the Philippines is no more dangerous than the USA, perhaps less so. For me, physical danger is not an issue when considering a trip to the Philippines.
By the way, did you know the murder rate in the USA is higher than in the Philippines?