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BonVoyage

Security situation on Mindanao

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BonVoyage

Can we please have a thread on the security situation for foreigner on Mindanao. Only about facts what is allowed/advisable to do, and leave speculations on war and politics to other threads. I like Mindanao and would like to return and make a trip there, but I get conflicting information about what is allowed/advisable.

I am not in Phils now and I have just read some posts on the Internet. People on Camiguin say they can no longer go to Cagayan to shop. Some say only Davao and Cagayan are open to foreigner but you must fly in, even the bus between the two cities is unavailable to foreigner. But some say that foreigner living on Mindanao still stay in their places. But I don't know if they are allowed to move around. One Cebuano originating from Mindanao told me: "It will be fine in a couple of years when the railway is finished." !!??

Cant you reach places like Surigao and Butuan any more? 

My old wish to do the 7 waterfalls zip-line at Lake Sebu still seems unattainable, I am afraid.

I know there are members here that live on Mindanao. It would be interesting to hear what we know so far.
 

Edited by BonVoyage (see edit history)
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Raven
19 minutes ago, BonVoyage said:

Can we please have a thread on the security situation for foreigner on Mindanao. Only about facts what you can and can not do and leve speculations on war and politics to other threads. I like Mindanao and would like to return and make a trip there but I get conflicting information about what is advisable/allowed.

I am not in Phils now and I have just read some posts on the Internet. People on Camiguin say they can no longer go to Cagayan to shop. Some say only Davao and Cagayan are open to foreigner but you must fly in, even the bus between the two cities is unavailable to foreigner. But some say that foreigner living on Mindanao still stay in their places. But I don't know if they are allowed to move around. One Cebuano originating from Mindanao told me: "It will be fine in a couple of years when the railway is finished." !!??

Cant you reach places like Surigao and Butuan any more? 

My old wish to do the 7 waterfalls zip-line at Lake Sebu still seems unattainable, I am afraid.

I know there are members here that live on Mindanao. It would be interesting to hear what we know so far.
 

Well, that sounds bad! Where do you read all that stuff?

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BonVoyage
22 minutes ago, Raven said:

Well, that sounds bad! Where do you read all that stuff?

I just read it on different Internet forums, like I stated. I am not sure what is true. I have visited Mindanao some time ago, but I have no idea of the present situation. You live there. Can't you please tell what the situation is like now. I like Mindanao and I want to go back. I am sure many would like to know what is safe to do and what is not.

Edited by BonVoyage (see edit history)

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Headshot

"Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated."      Mark Twain

When Nobody really knows what is going on, the worst rumors tend to come to the front. Such is the case with Mindanao. While there are certainly plenty of places on Mindanao where it would be foolhardy for foreigners to travel, there are also places there where the threat is no greater than it ever has been. At least, there are places on Mindanao where the threat is no greater than on the other islands of the Philippines.

Prior to the last election, I predicted that within the next presidential term (regardless of who won) there would be at least a 50% chance of civil war in the Philippines. I still believe that, but it hasn't quite gotten to that point yet. However, the stage is certainly set, if the parties in this mess continue on as they have, to drag the country into a full-blown civil war.

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Raven

I just had a Guest here for a couple of weeks... an American, he was advised not to go to Mindanao and if he must go the go in via Butuan Airport 'cos bigger risk at Laguindingan for something bad to happen. He came in via Butuan, went to Surigao and Dinagat Island before traveling to CdO. He told there was not much security in that airport and only a very low fence around the runway. He checked out Laguindingan an said it looked a lot more secure. A lot more check points around CdO, but no special interest in him 'cos he was a foreigner.
He hired a guy and his scooter, to bring him to some of the tourist spots here, waterfalls, mangrove etc. Think he had a great time here and they only saw few military on the roads. No problems moving around CdO.
He left by bus to Butuan for his flight out of here, but for sure he will use Laguindingan next time.

Switch off your wifi, pack your bags and visit here and check it out yourself. There are many nice places in Misamis Oriental incl Camiguin and Northern Bukidnon

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BonVoyage
7 minutes ago, Raven said:

I just had a Guest here for a couple of weeks... an American, he was advised not to go to Mindanao and if he must go the go in via Butuan Airport 'cos bigger risk at Laguindingan for something bad to happen. He came in via Butuan, went to Surigao and Dinagat Island before traveling to CdO. He told there was not much security in that airport and only a very low fence around the runway. He checked out Laguindingan an said it looked a lot more secure. A lot more check points around CdO, but no special interest in him 'cos he was a foreigner.
He hired a guy and his scooter, to bring him to some of the tourist spots here, waterfalls, mangrove etc. Think he had a great time here and they only saw few military on the roads. No problems moving around CdO.
He left by bus to Butuan for his flight out of here, but for sure he will use Laguindingan next time.

Switch off your wifi, pack your bags and visit here and check it out yourself. There are many nice places in Misamis Oriental incl Camiguin and Northern Bukidnon

Thanks. I appreciate. This kind of first hand experience is really valuable. Do you (or anyone else) know if foreigners are allowed on the bus from CdO to Davao?

Edited by BonVoyage (see edit history)

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BossHog

The last few days we've been getting (a lot!) of text messages from the AFP prompting us to text our 'security concerns' to 7444-1678. (I checked, it's a legit #).

But the frequency with which they send these messages seems to be having an unsettling effect on some folks.

Good to have the army on speed dial though, I suppose.

Anyone else getting these texts?

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Raven
Just now, BossHog said:

The last few days we've been getting (a lot!) of text messages from the AFP prompting us to text our 'security concerns' to 7444-1678. (I checked, it's a legit #).

But the frequency with which they send these messages seems to be having an unsettling effect on some folks.

Good to have the army on speed dial though, I suppose.

Anyone else getting these texts?

Yes I got a couple of them lately... was not sure if fake, but seems 1678 is AFP starting around July 11, with txt

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Raven
4 minutes ago, BonVoyage said:

Thanks. I appreciate. This kind of first hand experience is really valuable. Do you know if foreigners are allowed on the bus from CdO to Davao?

Sorry, I dont know about the bus... there is a flight CdO-Davao if its only the transport and not the view!

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Flakes

I did nice bus rides from dipolog to ozamis then to CDO and to Davao.It all went smoothly but its was ten years ago i would not do this again nowadays.Especially Ozamis u really stick out there as a foreigner.

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Tullioz
1 hour ago, BonVoyage said:

Thanks. I appreciate. This kind of first hand experience is really valuable. Do you (or anyone else) know if foreigners are allowed on the bus from CdO to Davao?

I traveled by bus to Marbel and to Catobato City within the past ten days. There are no restrictions on travel by bus for foreigners anywhere in Mindanao that I am aware of. 

Edited by Tullioz (see edit history)

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Headshot
1 minute ago, Tullioz said:

I traveled by bus to Marbel and to Catobato City within the past ten days. There are mo restrictions 

Are you recommending this route to others?

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Tullioz
21 minutes ago, Headshot said:

Are you recommending this route to others?

Not with the current security situation. I was just sharing to let the OP know that there are currently no restrictions on foreigners traveling in Mindanao by bus. A trip by bus from CDO to Davao or vise versa would be less of a risk than points south and west, but still not risk free.

My opinion on travel in Mindanao has not changed from this post I made in May. 

 

Quote

Based on the current security situation, I would advise westerners against traveling anywhere south and west of a line from CDO to Davao City for the time being. I added a red line to the map below to show this. 

Philippines-Islamic-State.jpg.7ac8caa78420825632296216c1b368b1.jpg

Westerners already living or staying in that area should seriously consider relocating until the terrorist threat has been neutralized. I know there are people who have traveled and lived in these areas for many years who will probably disagree with my advice, but they shouldn't be too complacent. These groups are out to prove a point and to gain further recognition from the IS, and killing westerners would go a long way in satisfying that goal. 

While CDO and Davao are relatively safe compared to the provinces to the south and west, these groups already have members in these cities and people living there should be more cautious than they have been in the past. Once again do not to be too complacent. Things may seem normal and as if nothing has changed, but all is not well in paradise. While the government is doing a good job in protecting westerners and others visiting the Philippines, it's just a matter of time before one of these groups tries to abduct or target westerners again.

As for here in Mindanao, if I had to choose between CDO and Davao as to which would be most at risk for some sort of attack or attempted abduction of westerners in the near future, it would have to be Davao since this is the home of the President. I wouldn't suggest anyone cancel plans to visit Davao or CDO, but you are going to want to avoid getting of the beaten path if you're going to be traveling around the area, especially if it's your first time visiting. If you are planning to travel south or west of these areas, even to places that were once considered to be safe like Iligan, Dapitan, Digos or Gen San, you need to take extra precautions and travel with someone you trust and who knows the area well. 

http://www.livingincebuforums.com/ipb/topic/103700-duterte-declares-martial-law-on-mindanao-in-face-of-isis-linked-onslaught/?do=findComment&comment=1385331

 

 

Edited by Tullioz (see edit history)
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BonVoyage

Some years ago I investigated the possibilities of doing the zip-line at Lake Sebu. I was in Davao but finally decided not to go, even at that time.

I have traveled extensively in f.ex S. America and Africa, but I am still not sure is advisable to go to Cotabato. My guess is it is safer than what media and American Embassy state. But I have no idea if that is sufficient.

Thanks to all who add information here.

Edited by BonVoyage (see edit history)

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Tullioz
26 minutes ago, BonVoyage said:

Some years ago I investigated the possibilities of doing the zip-line at Lake Sebu. I was in Davao but finally decided not to go, even at that time.

I have traveled extensively in f.ex S. America and Africa, but I am still not sure is advisable to go to Cotabato. My guess is it is safer than what media and American Embassy state. But I have no idea if that is sufficient.

Thanks to all who add information here.

You probably should have taken the opportunity to go to Lake Sebu when you had the chance. Foreigners are still going there, but the risks are much higher than before. As for the embassy warnings from various countries, for once they seem to have it right about the current situation in Mindanao. In most cases they are a bit overblown regardless of the country or region they are issued for, but this time they have it right. 

Edited by Tullioz (see edit history)

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