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Personal safety in the Philippines

Discussion in 'Migrating to the Philippines' started by Sunnyjim, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. JohnAsh
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    JohnAsh No longer a member

    The gated/ guarded communities, to me, says something. They are there for a reason.
  2. oss
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    oss Not Here Staff Member

    My current place is gated and guarded but the guard gets paid a pittance and is usually asleep :) our association dues are only 150 peso a month so the protection is only lip service really.

    The condo I used to rent had armed security guards all the condo's do and they are much better controlled but of course thousands of people live in that kind of building so security are bound to make mistakes sometimes,
  3. JohnAsh
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    JohnAsh No longer a member

    And....

    Belgian loses P1-M to Ativan Gang

    MANILA, Philippines - "Authorities have asked tourists to be careful in the wake of what seems to be operations by the Ativan Gang.

    The Ativan gang is known for different modus operandi targeting tourists and locals in order to steal their valuables.

    In Manila, three tourists have reportedly become the victims of the gang in a period of two weeks.

    One Belgian national recently lost 15,000 Euro or almost P1 million.

    It was Dr. Lilianne Van Haeren’s first time in the Philippines. The 52-year-old veterinarian Van Haeren was no stranger to traveling alone. On a trip to the Malate Church, she was befriended by two women who invited her on a trip to Tagaytay the next day.

    “They asked me if I was alone, if I was a tourist, how long I want to stay in the Philippines. They won my trust because they were very friendly. I said yes to their dinner invitation, and went to Tagaytay together for one day,” Van Haeren said.

    The two women then said that if she wanted to tour the Northern Philippines, they would be happy to accompany her.

    They would be her tour guides, and would need P10,000 from her to pay for transportation, food and accommodations.

    “They asked me when we come back to Manila, if I want to go with them for travel for 10 days in north Philippines. It costs P1,000 for one day, P10,000 for 10 days. I said yes. Monday, February 6, we go,” Van Haeren said.

    However, the two women brought two more women and one man with them on their trip to the north, bringing their group to seven people. They went to Dagupan, Baguio and Banawe, and after three days, to Cabanatuan City."



    http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/metro-manila/03/06/12/belgian-loses-p1-m-ativan-gang
  4. JohnAsh
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    JohnAsh No longer a member

  5. oss
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    oss Not Here Staff Member

    Yeah but those kind of stories really do beggar belief, I mean just how thick can some supposedly bright experienced westerners be :erm:
  6. JohnAsh
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    JohnAsh No longer a member

    This was the one I recall reading about a while back....

    "Today was supposed to be the day I was going to find out the good side of Manila, but it all turned out very bad :(

    To start at the beginning: after breakfast at the Robinsons mall I walked to Intramuros (the old walled part of Manila) and visited the San Augustin museum/church (which is worthwhile) and Fort Santiago (which could do with a bit more maintenance in my opinion). I walked around the streets and dodged some streetkids begging for money here and there and had a very colonial lunch at a place called "Barbara's".

    They served a lunch buffet wich different kinds of Philippino dishes and I got to taste Kare Kare, charcoaled fish and several other things. Meanwhile a trio was playing music and there were more servants than guests around. I felt a bit uncomfortable in my backpacker outfit in such a fancy place, but what the heck! ;)

    For my next stop I wanted to visit the museum of the Philippino people just outside Intramuros, but as I got there it turned out to be closed (again: some construction work). Standing there I got to talk to two Philippino's from Baguio who were going to Quiapo church and the plaza Miranda. I joined them and took my first Jeepney ride (albeit under the guidance of my two new "friends". After the Quiapo church they suggested to go to yet another place, but we had to pick somebody up from someplace. That place turned out to be someone's home where there were some other people (aunts, cousins, etc.). Before I knew it they were serving beer and food, while having fun with karaoke and all seemed fine...

    WRONG...

    I blacked out and the first thing I remember is walking back into my hotel the next morning not knowing how I got back or what had happened. They must have drugged me. The strange thing is that nothing was stolen from me so I have no clue what they did or what their intentions were. I cannot believe how stupid I was to fall into this kind of trap!

    I checked out of the Malate Pensione and went to the cheaper Friendly's guesthouse where I stayed inside the rest of the day confused and trying to figure out what had happened. In the evening I met an American guy and a Polish guy and the guesthouse organized a barbeque for which everyone could bring meat. Since I was still feeling very sleepy I went to bed early after the barbecue."


    http://www.travbuddy.com/travel-blogs/87530/Drugged-2
  7. oss
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    oss Not Here Staff Member

    That one does not make sense, if they had been serving Red Horse then maybe the guy probably had more than he could hold, no robbery no net bad result?

    Odd?
  8. Methersgate
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    Methersgate Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

    More than one reason:

    1. The gates stop squatters from occupying undeveloped lots, thus protecting the interest of the developer and of buyers, who want to see the value of their homes secure. This is the most important consideration.

    2. If you live in a gated community, you are by definition middle class.

    3, Security.
  9. JohnAsh
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    JohnAsh No longer a member

    You mean a status symbol?
  10. Markham
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    Markham . Lifetime Member

    I think we're straying somewhat from SunnyJim's main area of concern which is his and his daughters' safety on the islands of Cebu and Mindanao with some emphasis on the kidnap risk.

    That, I'm afraid, exists throughout the country although the metro areas of Cebu and Cagayan de Oro are low risk (and metro Davao is even lower); metro Manila poses a much higher risk. The NPA (Communist New Peoples Army) who are active throughout the country, mainly in rural areas, do not target foreigners as a rule, their fight is with corrupt officials. Abu Sayaf, on the other hand, is an extreme Islamist group with ties to Al Qaida but unless you visit one of the smaller islands off the Zamboanga peninsular, you'll likely not encounter them.

    Those most at risk of kidnap are wealthy Filipinos where ransom is the motive. A recent celebrated case was where the wife of a property developer was kidnapped as she returned to her car after transacting business at a bank in Makati. The kidnap gang demanded 10 million Pesos for her release but she persuaded them that the only place where she or her husband could access such a high amount was a certain bank in Davao City. She and the kidnap gang then drove in a convoy of four Toyota SUVs down the eastern maritime highway and reached Davao two days later. During the journey, she managed to tip-off friends in Davao and the PNP arrested the gang as they dismounted their vehicles outside the bank. Not all kidnappings end so well.

    Do be aware, though, that Cebu is one of the two principally-favoured destinations for the sex tourist, the other being Angeles City on Luzon. These less than desirable folk come from all over the world - including from within the Philippines - to sample the "delights" on offer. There are local pimps who, if the price is right, will kidnap to order, often this involves children. Both cities have specialist units that work with investigators seconded from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement but they're only interested in catching foreigners (regardless of nationality). Quite a number of those involved in human-trafficking are older women who are perceived to be trusted figures.

    A bleak picture, I'm afraid, but provided you keep your wits about you and a close eye on your children, you should have a safe stay.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014
  11. blue_acid
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    blue_acid Member Trusted Member

    During the 90's the target for kidnappings were Filipino-Chinese and the ransom ask or paid for would be in the range of millions but a lot of them would have negotiated it at a lower amount. I personally know a few people who's family member was kidnapped. At that time, we were all vigilant and didn't really venture out on our own much. Parents would make sure that drivers and nannies would be extra careful when picking up children from school. A lot of families hired bodyguards or flew out of the country.

    These kidnappings were rampant in the cities - Manila, Cebu, etc.

    It's a lot better now although it still does happen but it's not like there are a number of kidnappings in a week.

    Westerners especially tourists are also kidnapped or scammed. It's more for the quick buck as the criminals would go for what you have now rather what you have in your international account.

    Another thing to be worried about would be scams. When my husband first settled here and prior to meeting me, he purchased a condominium unit in Boracay and turns out the developer that he purchased it from didn't have the authority to sell the unit hence an ongoing legal battle in now well underway.

    We recently got a kidnap threat via text. It was a cause of alarm for my family but we felt it was just a threat and nothing more, something to rattle us. We let everyone know about it and who our suspect was. We became more cautious, changing our driving route, etc. So far so good.
  12. blue_acid
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    blue_acid Member Trusted Member

    Agree with all those but not all middle class people live in gated communities :) it's not a status symbol either. In a country where crime is served for breakfast, everyone wants to be safe and ensure that their safe have is kept safe.

    There will also be accountability if anything goes wrong since the visitors or non residents check in with the guards upon entry.

    Plus if anything happens within the confines of the gated community then you would have a first response team already
  13. blue_acid
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    blue_acid Member Trusted Member

    I agree but people have to be smart with those people's intentions. I'm not saying everyone who lives in the squatter's area is a criminal but the possibility of meeting one in that area is higher. Sometimes I wonder why Westerners always end up with the lower income class women whereas there are also a lot of middle class women :)

    The KTV disco bar scenario you are describing is very familiar even in the posh and exclusive clubs in the metro. When there is a lot of cash, booze, bodily fluids being exchanged in a noisy, dimly lit area, for sure the criminals will be on the prowl for an easy cellphone, purse or wallet. During my clubbing days, we would always be in a group and would have a designated driver who is sober or sober enough. That person also looks after our belongings.

    Re cabs, in commercialized areas, there would usually be a queue for a cab and that would be a safe bet. SOme establishments would also give out a piece of paper with the cab name, plate number and emergency numbers to call just in case. There is also now an app where you can hail a taxi safely called Grab Taxi (similar with the UK's Hail-O).
  14. JohnAsh
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    JohnAsh No longer a member

    Ouch. I can see your point. But not all of the poorer sector are of criminal intent. In fact can be and are often quite the opposite.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014
  15. JohnAsh
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    JohnAsh No longer a member

    Again, all the advice about being on ones gaurd and vigilant 24/7 is good advice. But can be very draining over a period of time. And it can be at a moment when one is tired and off gaurd that sods law steps in. If one is with children, especially younger children, it can be easy to be caught off gaurd.

    In my avatar picture to the left there, I was able to switch off and enjoy a tour of the roman baths in Bath. Being constantly vigilant and being on red alert status can spoil things a tad.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014
  16. JohnAsh
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    JohnAsh No longer a member

    One thing I did when I was in the Philippines was hire a driver and minibus. This took care of a lot of potential issues. The driver dealt with almost everything while we were in the minibus and we were able to chill out. No faffing about with taxis, good bad or otherwise. Only problem we had was to pickup the drivers fine when he drove the wrong way down a one way street when trying to find a route out of a flooded area. :D

    The minibus had tinted glass so as a tourist was less likely to get pre selected by the wrong people.

    My mother in laws employer is a target. He drives a low profile old car if he isnt being driven about.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014
  17. JohnAsh
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    JohnAsh No longer a member

    If you live in a gated community you may well not be middle class. :D
  18. blue_acid
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    blue_acid Member Trusted Member

    You actually forgot to quote my previous sentence where I said that not everyone who lives there are criminals.

    And add to that, those who scammed my husband of millions of pesos are actually an American couple (a Fil-Am woman and an Indian American man) so criminals can come in all shapes and sizes.

    But if you keep up with the news here, you know a lot of kidnappings and holdups are by the low income people. Just to share, my car was parked outside our house and a drunk squatter was passing by and felt like ruining my car so he picked up a big rock and threw it to my car's direction which resulted to the rear glass to smash into pieces.

    I don't know if it is because I know my way around the city or my husband is well adjusted here but we're not on our toes all the time. You just have to be smart.
  19. JohnAsh
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    JohnAsh No longer a member

    Yes, one becomes accustomed to being vigilant. It becomes second nature. But for the new people it isnt so.

    My wife and her family are indiginous to the Philippines and always have been, :D but they are constantly on their toes. A jeepney ride, for example, necessitates that. As each individual steps on one wonders who that person is and what their intent is. if you are carrying less in the way of "shiny things" then you know you will be less at risk (maybe).


    "A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?” Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz. She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn't change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.” Remember to put the glass down."




    Some people prefer a stress free life.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014
  20. JohnAsh
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    JohnAsh No longer a member

    So there you have it Sunnyjim. As clear as mud now? As ever, opinion can be divided on this kind of subject. Its for you to mull through the responses and consider your own needs and your childrens etc etc and do whats best for you. We all come from different backgrounds, have differing exeriences and live our lives differently so unsurprisingly our collective advice will vary.

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