The following precautions will not guarantee safety, No one can guarantee
our safety in a free society. What we can do by using some precautions is
minimize criminal opportunity
None of these attitudes are useful for
living an empowered life. What is useful is to accurately assess the risks
involved, take whatever precautions make sense, and live as fully as
The best $-Peso
exchange rate can found at money changes ATM’s (only good for large
world banks). Low fees for ATM fees (a few dollars for $200) and great
exchange rates. Large US$ bills are second best because you can get more
for the $1. Peoples love the greenback. The traveler's checks are the
worst because they can be hard to cash.
Don’t use banks to money exchange as there fees are even higher.
Other sources or money that cost 20% include Visa cash advances and
Western Union money transfers.
The rate always
changes and as of October 2003 was 55.00 pesos to US$1. See
Drink only bottled or boiled
water. Food is usually safe from local or international restaurants.
Always practice safe sex!
Never even consider buying
illegal drugs if you value your money, your health and your life!
well-established clubs are your best bet. Costs are about P500-1000 for
deluxe tours. Street guides on standby can be risky. See
such as passport, ticket and money should be in a safe place, e.g. safety
deposit box. Never display your wealth in public; leave gold jewelry at
home. Carry money for the day in your front pocket or a fanny pack. Use
extreme caution when strangers approach you anywhere! When drinking,
always be alert to what's happening around you and beware of drunken
strangers at all times.
driving a car, filling the bathtub, walking through a parking lot at
night, entail some risk. We all have different attitudes toward risk. At
one end of the scale: Is refusing to engage in an activity by engaging the
risk involved. At the other end is engaging in very risky activities while
refusing to take any precautions.
Be Street Wise
Never hitchhike, It's not worth
Be careful using ATMs at night
or in unfamiliar surroundings.
When walking, walk in the
middle of the sidewalk and walk facing oncoming traffic.
Try not to overload yourself
with packages or other items. Keep hands as free as possible.
Do not wear music headphones
while walking or jogging.
Do not read while walking or
standing on a sidewalk.
If you wear a purse with a
shoulder strap, be prepared to let go if snatched. Other wise you
could be knocked down and hurt.
A good suggestion for men is to
carry a second wallet containing a few dollar bills and old expired
credit cards. If confronted at knife or gun point, give the suspect
the second wallet and concentrate on a good physical description to
help the police in making the arrest
Avoid being on the street alone
if you are upset or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If you carry a purse, carry it
close to your body, preferably in front, Carry no more money or credit
cards then you absolutely need.
There are a number of ways to
see the country: Escorted and hosted tours (our favorite),
chauffeur-driven cars (the second-best way), frequent buses (basic but
cheap) and rail service (generally inadequate). We don’t recommend
renting a car and driving yourself—local “rules” of the road
seem surreal to most Western visitors (taxis routinely run red
lights). If you have an accident, heaven help you—their laws are
Avoid traveling at night, and
stay on national highways as much as possible; roads are often washed
out or damaged during the rainy season. In the major cities, buses are
neither safe nor comfortable, and there are no regular loading or
unloading points. It’s far better to take a taxi.
Don’t let drivers double the
fare for air conditioning—pay only the metered amount (hotel bellmen
copy down license numbers for complaints). There’s a fixed taxi rate
from the airport to the hotels around.
Be cautious if you take a
“jeepney” (bus-like descendants of World War II jeeps). They’re
a reasonable alternative to taxis, but they’re also commonly ridden
by petty thieves looking for gullible tourists.
in a Car:
When you approach your parked
vehicle, visually check the area around the vehicle for any suspicious
persons or activity. If you observe anything suspicious walk to where
there are other people and call the police.
Always park in visible,
When driving a car, attempt to
avoid parking next to a larger pickup truck or van. The truck can be
easy for any suspect to hide behind or in.
Have your keys ready when
approaching your vehicle to reduce the time needed to enter.
When operating your vehicle,
keep the doors locked and windows rolled up.
Any valuables in your car
should be placed in the trunk or otherwise kept out of sight.
When stopped at traffic lights
or in traffic, allow space between you and the vehicle in front of you
so you can drive away if necessary.
If someone approaches your
vehicle and attempts to enter, blow your horn to attract attention and
Consider a cellular phone, it
is a good investment for safety.
Do not pick up hitchhikers.
Do not open your window if
someone approaches your vehicle to ask for directions, the time , etc,
Keep the doors locked.
Never leave house keys attached
to car keys at service stations or parking facilities.
Do not stop for stranded
motorist. Instead, go to the nearest telephone booth and call the
police for assistance.
Never let your gas indicator
fall below 1/4 full.
Criminals sometimes stage a
motor vehicle accident known as a " bump and Rob" The
motorist is robbed when they exit their vehicle. If you are involved
in a minor accident under suspicious circumstances, stay in your
vehicle with the doors locked and the windows up and await the police.
If you believe you are in possible danger, write down the license
plate of the other vehicle involved in the accident and drive to a
safe location to report the accident to the police.
Carry in you car: a flashlight,
fix-a-flat, maps, comfortable warm clothing, a portable fire
extinguisher, first aid kit, empty gas can, white cloth to tie to door
handle or antenna to signal distress and a cellular phone.
If you are driving somewhere
you are not familiar with, plan your route and check a map before you
Do be security-conscious.
Throughout the islands, there’s an unusually high incidence of petty
thievery, which can ruin your vacation. Also, while most Filipinos are
extremely friendly, there are some who aren’t, so do not accept
drinks or food from a stranger (particularly in tourist areas).
Do bargain at markets, but
never at department stores or supermarkets.}
Do be polite. Public displays
of anger generally won’t get you what you want (even if you are in
Don’t be enticed to exchange
money on the street unless you enjoy watching con artists at work.
Frequent only licensed money changers.
Don’t be surprised at the
slowness of the postal service.
Do find out whether prices are
being quoted to you in U.S. dollars or Filipino pesos (especially with
local tour operators).
Don’t be shocked by the
number of people who carry guns, especially in cities. You’ll even
see signs asking people to leave firearms outside before entering
various premises. Because guns are so common, you may find that you
and your possessions are subject to searches from time to time.
Don’t be surprised by
black-outs. Power shortages in Manila or Cebu
are not uncommon.
Don’t expect to travel faster
than 45 mph/70 kph on the roads. Carts, water buffalo and people share
the roads as well.
Add a small tip
for good restaurant service, even though a service charge has already been
tacked on the bill; reward excellent service with a 5% tip. Taxi fares
should be rounded up, and bellboys tipped 2 to 5 pesos.
important initial step in efforts of gaining insights about the local
resident is to understand him in his own setting. The following are just
some general statements intended to help you in your behavior in the local
" Avoid wearing sandals
when attending special occasions in the local community - wearing
shoes is a sign that the event is important to you.
" Do invite people at
least three times. Local residents are taught that it is proper to
refuse the first time or two. To them, insistence is a clear sign that
the offer or invitations is genuine.
" Do give the local
residents a way out of the situation so he can save face, thus
avoiding embarrassment. Embarrassing him will cause "hiya"
or loss of face.
" Don't use the common
sign of OK In the local community, it means money. You may use the new
sign OK. This is the thumbs- up sign which has been commonly seen on
" Don't use your
forefinger upward to call a local resident-it is considered somewhat
degrading. One way of calling is to beckon with the hand in gentle
downward motion. Pssst is another popular way to get someone's
attention. As a rule however, it is preferred to call the person by
name. It is even better to use nicknames, because these are reserved
for close friends.
" Smiling is a form of
friendship and a form of greeting.
" Do show respect for age
- use the proper appellations for elders and relations. Find out right
away what appellations are used in the family.