Metro Manila · Quick Guide to Safety

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As most other Megacities in the world, Metro Manila is unfortunately home to a high crime rate compared to the rest of the country. Most of the crimes committed in Manila are robbery and theft. Poverty and unequal distribution of wealth are the prime reasons behind most of the crimes.

There are so many different kinds of tricks and scams which are used by criminals that a complete list would be too long to write it down here. Instead, it might be worthwhile for you to have a look at a list of precautions you can take to move through the Metro as safe as possible. They come in addition to the basic rules such as 'never walk down a dark alley alone' or 'keep an eye on your valuables'.

General

  1. If you catch someone who tries to steal from you – even in broad daylight and a crowded street – just walk away. Do not try to argue or get in a fight with that person, they work in groups and you don't know who else around you is 'in on it'.
  2. Don't take out any valuables such as expensive laptops and phones while walking around or taking any mode of public transportation. If you have to, stay somewhat focused on your surroundings.
  3. If hold up, never try to fight back. Criminals in Manila not only have knifes but occasionally also firearms.
  4. If you get texts or calls regarding raffles or similar things, just ignore them. Scam via mobiles is big in Manila.

Money

  1. Bring as few plastic money as possible. It is such a hassle to get back all your cards (health insurance, credit card, driver's license). When going out, only bring what you really need and rely on cash. Even though most thieves won't have any use for your credit card, it is just too much trouble to get a new one.
  2. Always carry some cash outside your wallet. That allows you to pay for goods and fares without having to take out your wallet all the time. Also; it allows you to pay for the cab ride home if something should have happened to you.
  3. When using an automated teller machine (ATM), cover the pad while typing your PIN. Try to use ATMs inside malls. Check if the card swipe is thoroughly fixed (if not, it might have been substituted with a scamming device).

Transportation

  1. Never ever take public transportation after nightfall. Especially buses and Jeepneys in Manila are a high risk area for crimes.
  2. If you take a cab or private car, make sure that your doors and windows are locked at all times. Do not open doors or windows if you don't have to (e.g. police stopping you). If people are knocking on your window or wanting to ask something, just ignore them.
  3. If taking a cab, use your smart phone to track where your driver is going (if you don't know the area). If he does not take the straight route, talk to him or ask to be dropped off somewhere near your current location and change taxis.

What to do if your phone and wallet are stolen? Check out our advisory. For other cases, such as Earthquakes or Floods, visit our "Safety & Security" section.

If you have additional advice, let us know!