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Hi. My friends and I are all young Western females. We were hoping to visit North North Phillipines to Banaue rice fields and volcano field. We were also hoping to visit Puerto Princesa in Palawan. We would have to stay in Manilla airport for long periods of time waiting for connections. Do you think it is safe? I am especially worried about risk of kidnapping and general security (threat of being shot, I have also heard of corruption in the airport where weapons have been planted in foreigner's bag and they have been forced to pay $1000)??

Asked by Sue via Site_iconWorldNomads.com

9 Answers

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    Sue, the places you are going in the north are very popular and generally safe destinations. All the bad stuff - kidnappings etc - happen in the far south on the Sulu archipelago. Have a look at this handy map on Australia's smarttraveller site: http://smartraveller.gov.au/Countries/asia/south-east/pages/philippines.aspx

    Here's our alerts page too: https://www.worldnomads.com/travel-safety/southeast-asia/philippines/latest-philippines-travel-warnings-alerts

    I've never heard of the things you've mentioned about Manila airport. It's not a great airport, but if you're airside there shouldn't be any unusual trouble. If you're concerned about things being placed in your luggage check out our tips on bag security here: https://www.worldnomads.com/travel-safety/9-tips-for-keeping-your-luggage-safe#always-take-zip-ties-for-your-luggage

    If you're going to be in the airport for a long time, why not take a trip into the city, go visit an air conditioned mall, or a traditional market. manila has a nasty reputation, and petty crime is high, but with a few precautions it'll be better than sitting in an airport.
    Check out our safety tips: https://www.worldnomads.com/travel-safety/southeast-asia/philippines 11 months ago

    Answered by Ask Phil via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
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    I traveled to the Philippines in 2012 and I felt safe. (I know things can change in four years but I'm making an assumption things are still generally the same in this regard). At the time I was 19 and I am a woman from the u.s. In the Manila airport all was fine; it was crowded and while waiting for my connection to Puerto Princesa I just stayed in public spaces near families with mother and kids. Palawan is absolutely beautiful and the local people are warm and friendly. As a general travel rule, just be smart and listen to your intuition at all times :) Enjoy your travels! 10 months ago

    Answered by Liza via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
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    Sue, I've been to the Philippines several times and always traveling by myself. I usually travel to Cebu rather than Manila, because it's easier for me to reach my end destination in Siargao. I've never had any problems. In fact, I've found Filipino people to be some of the kindest, most friendly people in the world. 10 months ago

    Answered by via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
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    Hi Sue! I'm a white Canadian English-speaking 26 year old female. I just spent 3 weeks in the Philippines in October going from Manila to Palawan to Bohol to Banaue. I also spent some time in the Manila and Quezon City slums. If you're visibly a foreigner you're very safe. The Manila airport has wifi and a bunch of places to eat. People are kind and many speak English (it's the second official language), plus the places you're going are all well-established tourist routes. I wouldn't worry about it. 10 months ago

    Answered by via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
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    Hi Sue, I'm a Filipina and my hometown is in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. Actually, what you've said is a very isolated cases here in Philippines. Just beware on Mindanao places. But since you are going to North and to my hometown I guarantee you that you are safe. However, you have to be street smart and be aware of your surroundings because petty crimes is high in our country. But don't be too afraid because the people in my country are friendly and hospitable. If you will be heading in my hometown visit El Nido and Coron you'll surely experience the paradise. 10 months ago

    Answered by Anna via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
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    Hi Sue, I am an American male so I do realize things are a little different being that I am a male but I spent the summer traveling the Philippines and did not feel worried for my safety at all. The kidnappings you mention are only in one area of the country on a few different islands that you will not be near so you do not have to worry about that. With the new president being as strict as he is crime is down a lot. I would say be sure not to do any drugs as that could put you in some serious trouble.

    I traveled through the Manila airport multiple times while I was there and never had any issues. I read about the "bullet scam" your referring to but that got so much media hype I do not see anything like that ever happening again. The airport is quick to get through and once your through there are numerous restaurants and shops to browse. As another commentor had mentioned if you have the time go and check out the city of Manila. It is very crowded but a wonderful place to explore. It gets a bad reputation but is completely safe if you stay in the safe cities within Manila. I would recommend visiting Makati as that is a very safe city. There is a ridiculous amount of traffic though so be sure to allow for plenty of time.

    The Banaue Rice Terraces are amazing. There is an overnight bus option that you catch in Manila and they leave around 10pm, you then arrive in Banaue around 6am the following day. I assume the bus ride may be a bit longer than usual as there was extensive road construction when I was there. In Banaue you are completely safe. You have to understand in these very remote locations where almost all of the towns income is based on tourism there is nothing to worry about. You will see numerous tourists wandering around the town and they actually have a "tourist center" where you can pick what you want to do in town. The pricing is also regulated so you do not have to worry about negotiations for the trips which is nice.

    Puerto Princesa is another location where you will see tourists everywhere. It is a purely tourism based city so again they try to keep it 100% safe. If you have any other questions feel free to email me at Rplllc@gmail.com 9 months ago

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    Hi Sue, I travelled to the Philippines (around Coron, Palawan) in January 2016 alone (21 yr old Female) and I had no troubles what so ever. Like you, I was worried about the airport and bullet planting scams as the media made it seem very bad however I went to 3 different terminals in Manila and it was fine. Just like anywhere I kept an eye on my hand luggage at all times like when it went through scanners etc. I felt completely safe in all the airports I went though in the Philippines and they were easy to navigate and if you weren't sure about something staff were willing to help. The people are beautiful and friendly, and there is not a threat of kidnapping where you will be travelling. Just like anywhere new, be respectful, keep your wits about you and don't be reckless with your belongings as petty crime can happen anywhere. Enjoy your trip, the Philippines is beautiful! 9 months ago

    Answered by Zoe via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
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    I was there March 2016. I went all over the place and felt very safe.
    I had a couple of long stays at the airport which were totally fine. I actually had a good sleep in one.
    Go, you won't regret it :) 9 months ago

    Answered by JP via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
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    I am a 24 year old female from Canada and I traveled to the Philippines last year. I was by myself in Manila, Boracay, and Cebu, and met up with friends for other locations. The only place that I felt uncomfortable was Manila. I got a lot of unwanted attention for my blonde hair and blue eyes... but once I put on my sunglasses and put my hair up, I found the attention subsided. Other than that, I was in all of the locations listed and felt safe :) 9 months ago

    Answered by Lauren1234 via Site_iconWorldNomads.com

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