Tuesday 02 September 2014 02:34:25 PHT

A Word about Safety

IJsselstein, Sunday, 24 March 2002 (updated: Monday, 13 March 2006)

The Philippines sometimes receives negative press regarding the safety of foreigners. We believe this is not always deserved, and certainly does not apply to Bohol. In this article we will give some advice about the safety situation in the Philippines, and some tips to stay out of trouble.

Theft and Robberies

Just as much as in your hometown, thefts and robberies can happen in the Philippines, especially in the larger cities (of which Bohol has none: Tagbilaran, the largest city has slightly less than eighty thousand inhabitants). Unlike in your hometown, you are probably a stranger, unknown with local conditions and customs, and because of that more easily attract the attention of criminals. However, if you take some simple precautions, most of the Philippines is perfectly safe for travel.

Follow the following do's and dont's.

  • Do put only a small amount of money in your wallet. A couple of hundred pesos is enough to pay for all the snacks and small souvenirs you can buy on a day.
  • Don't carry large amounts of cash with you. If you have to carry larger amounts, keep it very close on your body, in a place where it cannot be reached without removing your clothes. A money belt under your pants is often a good suggestion.
  • In most places ATM's are reliable and they are often guarded, however, don't use them at late hours, and don't allow others to look over your shoulder or see where you put your money.
  • Don't wear jewelry -- chain snatchers sometimes operate on local buses and jeepneys.
  • Don't show out with your wealth. Keep cameras, etc. in unsuspicous looking bags, not in flashy camera bags. Only bring them out if you want to photograph something.
  • Travel light. Don't bring more than a single small bag that you can keep in sight. In the tropical climate you need only a few sets of light clothes, and you can have them washed at almost every hotel.
  • Be cautious when approached by overly helpful people at crowded places in cities, such as airports, bus-stations and piers. However, don't avoid getting in contact with the Filipinos, for you will miss a lot of friends...
  • Do carry a number of photocopies of important documents such as your passport and airplane tickets, so that you have the details handy in case the real ones get missing. Of course, keep them separate from your real documents.
  • Don't Accept drinks from strangers. Some people have been drugged that way, and then robbed of their possessions.
  • Last but not least, do use your common sense!

Crooks can be very creative in thinking out con-schemes. Be very critical of every odd story and money making scheme. A very common trick is too tell you that somebody has just snatched your wallet, hoping that in your response you will give away the place you hide it.

However, don't let these precautions spoil your frame of mind, just be alert when needed, and enjoy your stay.

Terrorism and Kidnappings

Several years ago, the Philippines had a lot of negative press regarding the safety of foreigners. Reports of tourists being kidnapped by terrorists from Malaysia, and Palawan aren't a comfortable read. However, we don't believe there is any reason for concern, and assure you Bohol is safe.

Most of the trouble with so-called Muslim separatists and the infamous Abu Sayyaf group takes place in Southern Mindanao and on the Southern islands of Basilan and Jolo. Bohol is roughly 700 kilometers away from those areas, and when using boats, potential kidnappers will have to travel at least double that distance. The small map below will clarify the situation. As you can see, the distance from Palawan to Basilan is roughly the same as to Palawan, however, unlike Palawan, where kidnappers can go across open sea, to get to Bohol they have to get into water surrounded by islands on all sides, which is much more difficult to enter or leave unnoticed. Besides that since the events, the Philippine Navy and Police are on high alert for attacks like this. The conclusion is that it is extremely unlikely you will be confronted with kidnapping attempts on Bohol.

Further Reading

The following links can provide some more information:

Jeroen Hellingman

What readers think...

Colin Mcnally wrote:
Sunday, 7 April 2013 22:14:53 PHT
I can honestly say that Ive visited philippines many times over a period of a decade and find it pretty safe wherever Ive been. Did have scary moment in Manila taxi. A couple of druggies climbed in beside me to demand money. I bluffed them and they decide to leave. Another time was in Zamboanga region when the local muslims were giving me very hard looks. Apart from that I never had anything but warmth from Phils people. Bohol is lovely place. Panglao is particularly nice and peaceful. My advice is to avoid Manila as its over populated and polluted. You cant get around easily there due to heavy...rediculously heavy trafic!! The provinces are I find the best places and you can find shear joy wherever you go. Philippines is very exciting as there is something going on all the time. Hard to come to terms with the lack of healthcare for those who cant pay!! You have to pay for everything in phils!! Take care of your health!!
Tony Wyan wrote:
Friday, 14 September 2012 11:11:57 PHT
Hi-I wonder if you can suggest a USA real estate agent I can contact regarding condos thank you
Andrew wrote:
Thursday, 14 June 2012 00:13:53 PHT
I recently visited Bohol and immediately fell in love with the island and its culture.The people of Bohol are friendly and hospitable,I would recommend to anyone to explore this beautiful place and travel on the local buses and jeepneys to truly experience how the average Bohol citizen lives.Fantastic culture and I wish that I didn't have to leave.Bohol is what you would imagine paradise to be! I miss Bohol!
Sg wrote:
Sunday, 10 June 2012 21:49:27 PHT
Hi, well im thinking to move to the philippines and open a business. i like bohol and like to know if rent for business is not to expensive. thanks
Loren wrote:
Tuesday, 26 April 2011 22:13:32 PHT
Discover Bohol's wonders of nature and paradise. Explore and indulge yourselves with the different activities that Bohol has to offer. Experience exhilarating extreme adventures of Danao, have fun swimming at the beautiful white sandy beaches in Panglao Island, be fascinated with the underwater sea creatures through scuba diving and snorkeling, enjoy island hopping and dolphin watching, meet new friendly faces among Boholano people, and a lot more. "Avail of our Bohol Travel and Tour Packages and car/van for hire at very affordable and reasonable rates. For more information, feel free to send me a message at lady_lorencubz@yahoo.com and facebook account or call/text me at this number 09228124939. I'll make it sure that your stay in Bohol will be a perfect get away from home and will become a memorable one that will last a lifetime.

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