Is Cebu in the Philippines safe

Despite reports to the contrary in the media, the security situation in the Philippines has improved noticeably in recent years. Traveling in the Philippines is no more dangerous than in most countries in Africa, Central and South America, or the Caribbean. As in all democratic countries in the world, political differences are also carried out with mass demonstrations on the streets, especially in the capital Manila. Occasional violent clashes between protesters and security forces can also occur. It is therefore advisable to avoid demonstrations and rallies of any kind.

Mindanao and Sulu Archipelago

Since the US army, together with the Philippine armed forces, took resolute action against the Abu Sayaf rebels on Basilan Island, this area has also become somewhat safer. Nevertheless, increased vigilance still applies to certain areas in Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago and is not recommended for tourists at the moment. When traveling to these areas, inquiries about the current security situation must be obtained from the nearest police station.

Peace agreement signed

In the Philippines, the country's largest Muslim rebel group will definitely get an autonomous region. As the state television reported on October 15, 2012, the government and the representatives of the Moro Liberation Front signed an announced peace agreement. The rebel group is giving up its demand for a state of its own. In return, an autonomous area called BANGSMORO is to be created on the island of Mindanao by 2016. This is to end a 40-year conflict with more than 100,000 deaths. The majority of the population in the Philippines is Catholic.


The attack and the violent kidnapping of three tourists and a few Filipinos by the Abu Sayaf rebels in May 2001 at the Dos Palmas Resort on Arreciffi Island, on the west coast of Palawan, was so unfairly hyped by the foreign media for months that the Tourism in this area almost came to a standstill. As a result, some large hotels had to temporarily close their operations and Philippine Airlines had no choice but to temporarily suspend the direct flight from Cebu City to Puerto Princesa due to missing passengers. Before and after this incident, there were never any major problems when traveling in Palawan. Palawan is still an exciting adventure for every traveler.

Luzon island

Traveling to remote areas of northern Luzon (Cordillera), especially the provinces of Apayao, Cagayan and Isabela, is not strictly recommended. Special precautions should be taken for the following regions: Abra, Ifugao, Kalingas, the Mountain Province, the southern parts of Quezon Province, and the Bicol Peninsula. Be on your guard and watch your surroundings carefully!

General information

In most of the economically and touristically important areas, violent crime is rather rare. Last year, mostly in Manila, some western businessmen and a few wealthy Filipinos were kidnapped and released for a ransom.


Offenses against the Narcotics Act are punished with extreme severity, including the death penalty. Methadone is considered a drug. Importation for personal use can, however, be approved by the Phlippine authorities upon prior request. If necessary, inquire at the Philippine embassy in your country before departure! There is also a death penalty in the presence of other offenses, e.g. B. murder, rape, or pedophilia. Legal proceedings can drag on for several years and the conditions of detention in the Philippines are known to be anything but heavenly. Again: hands off drugs!

Petty crime and how to guard against it!

The following precautions are recommended against pickpockets and scams:

Only carry small amounts of cash with you and no valuables such as expensive watches and jewelry! Cash belongs in the front pocket. There it cannot slip out easily or be pulled out by pickpockets. Most of the money (cash), traveler checks, passports, flight tickets and credit cards should be carried in a money belt under clothes.

Use credit cards with caution, as abuse is also widespread in the Philippines.

Avoid driving overland at night and walking in dark alleys. Especially when the beer and rum have tasted good again!

Never put the shoulder bag and photo bag anywhere "contactless". In a restaurant, for example, it's best to step through the loop with one leg.

Do not pay for a taxi ride until all your luggage has been unloaded.

Immediately deposit all valuables in the hotel safe upon arrival. Always lock the hotel room or bungalow, and also the windows, when leaving, even if the absence is so short! Sneak thieves have unlimited time and patience and only wait for the moment when the tourist makes a reckless mistake!

Do not give the name of your hotel and certainly not your room number to every questioner for no reason. If necessary, spontaneously and credibly give a wrong address.

When you leave your hotel room, take another look around before you move out. Forgotten things can no longer be stolen, but then they are usually gone too!

In general, caution is advised when you are being chatted to by strangers, be they Filipinos or foreigners, e.g. with regard to spontaneous offers, to come home or to stay overnight. As in many other countries in the world, you should not consume drinks or food that are offered by strangers. There is a risk that there are substances in it that numb the victim in order to rob them afterwards.

No one else knows the Filipino mentality and way of life better than Jens Peters from Berlin. For more than 35 years he has toured hundreds of islands and all cities from north to south and from west to east. In the summer of 2012, the twentieth and, unfortunately, the last, newly revised edition appeared in German and English.

The original Philippines Travel Guide by Jens Peters (English: The original Philippines Travel Guide) with many valuable tips and tricks belongs in the backpack of every Philippines traveler or in the travel bag of every tourist.

Beware of the Jens Peters trap

Here are a few interesting examples of nasty tricks and machinations by small and large crooks from the Philippines travel guide by Jens Peters:
In recent years, parallel to the increasing number of tourists in the tourist centers, crime rates have unfortunately also increased. Various rascals and girls have specialized in grabbing travelers into the cash register. This applies to Manila, Cebu, Olongapo and especially to Angeles and Baguio.
Filipinos are consistently friendly and nice people. But some are a bit too friendly, offer some dubious services and still only want one thing - our money! The following examples are not the order of the day, but they have happened. It is my intention to make the machinations of a few Filipinos public - of course without discriminating against the broad masses at the same time.
Don't let these black sheep spoil your trip and sharpen your senses, then nothing will happen. Those who are prepared will very quickly be able to distinguish between good and bad. Often it is only exaggerated good faith and blind recklessness that provoke such cases.

Where there are tourists there are also trick thieves (pickpockets-transvestites in Ermita, amateur and professional pullers in the buses to Batangas / Puerto Galera and Schlitzer in full jeepneys).

If someone excitedly points out to you that you've just lost your money, stay calm and don't go straight to where the bills normally sit. The lurking pickpocket is just waiting for this "betrayal"!

Airborne newsagents usually have a large pile of newspapers under their arms. Pickpockets, on the other hand, usually only appear to offer a single newspaper for sale, with the target being held unusually close to the face of the targeted victim while the other, using the screen under the newspaper, quickly reaches into his pockets. Sometimes these mostly juvenile thieves also practice the newspaper trick in restaurants to clear away useful items, from cigarettes and lighters to wallets that are carelessly lying on the table.

Should you ever be attacked, e.g. from a motorcycle or in a dark alley, then do not defend yourself. Filipinos shoot fast - especially at heroes!

If a stranger speaks to you in Manila, especially in Nayong Pilipino and in the Ermita district (Mabini Street, Rizal Park, etc.) ("... hello my friend, do you remember me from the airport ... Immigration ... San Fernando ... I was your bus driver ... "), wants to show you the city or invite you to dinner, does not react and leaves him with his bad intentions alone. Also the claim that the sister will fly to Germany, Australia or the United States in the next week to work - what a coincidence - as a nurse in the same city from which the interlocutor comes, and she will before departure would like to know a little more about this country and this place to calm them down is just a pretext to lure the potential victim into a house and then rob it there. A preferred trick practiced in Manila and Baguio.

If you "by chance" are invited by a happy clique to a (fake) birthday party in Rizal Park, for example, go on knowing full well. After a short time, the celebration is moved from the park to some house, where the expensive guest is usually given a massage or a "usual ritual washing" and then removed in peace (sleep powder, so-called knockout drops, double doors in the Wardrobe). I have also received reports of numbing cases in Baguio and Banaue. The tourist is approached by one or two nice Filipino (s) (25 to 30 years, very well-groomed impression, good English) and invited to a coffee that tastes a bit strange. As if struck by lightning, the tourist lies flat five to ten minutes later and wakes up after around twelve hours, all valuables removed somewhere in a park or in a field.

Again: Basically be careful of over-hasty invitations, even if you occasionally do Filipinos injustice. Do not accept drinks or food from strangers, not even on bus trips (sweets can also be prepared!).

Never get involved in card games with Filipinos! Even if the "cousin" of your host allegedly works in the casino and reveals all sorts of tricks to finally exclude the "rich" Chinese, who is not long in coming. Even if, according to the other players, absolutely no risk is taken and the chances of winning seem to be so good! There will always be only one loser in the end! The same applies to all other games of chance, such as the game on the street with the three matchboxes and the wandering pellet.

One should also have a healthy distrust of some weird birds from abroad. They cannot or do not want to go back to their country, are bubbling over with "promising" ideas, have the "best" relationships and are always looking for a generous donor. Small amounts are of course also accepted!

If a foreigner tries to find out the name and location of your house bank, as well as the account number, under some pretext, it becomes suspicious. If afterwards (or even beforehand) you are asked to be able to deposit something with your valuables in the hotel, there is danger. Because now he can access the joint deposit, find out your personal details and possibly also the bank details and request money with the details and data directly or via an account set up in your name at short notice by fax or e-mail. Everything has happened before, and the game can be varied!