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Security situation on Mindanao

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rep1
7 hours ago, Headshot said:

Both the Islamists and the NPA are threats for civil war. I said civil war, not a coup. When the military revolts, it is called a coup.

Ok I misunderstood.

But why now? The situation is unchanged.

Edited by rep1

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RedRanger
On ‎7‎/‎15‎/‎2017 at 6:09 PM, State Trooper said:

I live about 1 hour south of Butuan in Agusan Sur. Checkpoints going south out of Butuan are manned with both military and police. They stop every vehicle and ask passengers for ID. Ive seen them take passengers with no ID off buses and V-hires and photograph them, take info but then they send them on their way. However those passengers now have to get a new ride since the bus/v-hire didnt wait on them.

In Bayugan there is usually at least 1 checkpoint with military and police. I see police cadets at just about every corner, More military trucks around and the police doing more patrols.

I feel safer but Ive heard from neighbors part of the Maute group was found near Esperanza about 10km from me. I dont go out at night and defer all but essential travel out of the province.

I have been going to Davao City for over 10 years, Digos City is about 40 minute bus ride from there south.  There has been checkpoints where all the men had to get off the bus and military would check it for bombs. I have never been asked for an ID. Checkpoints have always been there.

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Bill H

I have family in Dipolog and I lived there for several years.  We left in 2015.  Dipolog is just South of Dapitan and our house was right on the Dipolog/Dapitan boarder.  The family is telling me it is not safe there for foreigners now and many foreigners have left.  The ones who are still there are keeping a very low profile.  Abu Sayyaf kidnapped an Italian guy a couple of years ago.  He survived because his Country pays ransoms.  Even then his condition was very bad on his release.

I guess you have to weigh the value of your life against what tourist attraction you intend to see.  If you are taken, you have an extremely low probability of being released if you are an American, and in the absence of paying a ransom, you won't get out alive no matter what your nationality.  To me, it's just not worth the risk, but maybe it is to you.

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richard_ost

How's the situation in CdO and Davao at the moment? Planning a trip there this year.

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Davaoeno

Davao is totally safe ! 

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I <3 Cebu

I'll be down there in a couple of weeks, wish me luck :-)

It's so hard to get a cold san mig grande at a sari2 down there. 

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JamesMusslewhite
Posted (edited)

   I have lived on Mindanao since Aug. 2008 and love it here. I lived in Surigao City for over 5-1/2 years and enjoy the small city. We own a small 5-1/2 hector farm on Dinagat Island farm. I am presently in partnership with a local businessmen building a prototype of a micro lobster hatchery on his private island in the township of Day-asan. I find the locals to be genuinely warm and friendly and I feel safe among them even though I have always had NPA living among my neighbors. Surigao City has good medical, dental, and an ever growing infer-structure. There Is Dinagat Island only an hour pumpboat ride away, Siargao Island 3 hours away. There is an airport in Surigao City as well as a small airport on Siargao Island. Surigao City has a bus terminal and 2 ferry terminals. It is also has a child-friendly rating, business-friendly rating and is an expat friendly business city.

   The Vice-Mayor Atty. Alfonso Casurra is a previous 2-term Mayor, voted most popular mayor in the Philippines 2007, and will most likely be the next elected mayor twice again. This is significant as he has always been pro-expat where as far too many city mayors and officials are not. There is an excellent school system here and also has a Regional Science High School here, in fact my own son attended the Caraga Regional Science High here and it is rated as one of the top 12 public High Schools on the Philippines. He could have attended any University in the Philippines upon graduation. There are over 14,000 Universities worldwide and the Philippines has 3 Universities in the top 800 so the big fallacy about how a child can not receive a world-class college education in the Philippines is mere utterances of foolish old farts. There is a good life to be had here in North Mindanao (Caraga Region). Here in Surigao City we are close to world-class surfing and world-class fishing, and these little islands and Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur have plenty of adventuring to explore to keep one plenty busy. 

   I can catch an evening ferry to Cebu, arrive early morning in Cebu, and catch a late-afternoon ferry to return back to Surigao City. I can fly to Cebu, Manila, Davao. Catch an air-con bus to Butuan, CDO, Davao; hell I can actually catch a bus here in Surigao City that travels all the way up to Manila by using the backbone of the inner-island highway system and ferry connections between islands. In fact my wife and I have been discussing traveling down to Davao and then riding an air-con bus all the way up to Pagngasinan. That is South Mindanao to North Luzon merely for the bragging rights and the adventure. If we were younger we would do it on the back of motorcycle.           

Edited by JamesMusslewhite
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liquido
17 hours ago, JamesMusslewhite said:

   I have lived on Mindanao since Aug. 2008 and love it here. I lived in Surigao City for over 5-1/2 years and enjoy the small city. We own a small 5-1/2 hector farm on Dinagat Island farm. I am presently in partnership with a local businessmen building a prototype of a micro lobster hatchery on his private island in the township of Day-asan. I find the locals to be genuinely warm and friendly and I feel safe among them even though I have always had NPA living among my neighbors. Surigao City has good medical, dental, and an ever growing infer-structure. There Is Dinagat Island only an hour pumpboat ride away, Siargao Island 3 hours away. There is an airport in Surigao City as well as a small airport on Siargao Island. Surigao City has a bus terminal and 2 ferry terminals. It is also has a child-friendly rating, business-friendly rating and is an expat friendly business city.

   The Vice-Mayor Atty. Alfonso Casurra is a previous 2-term Mayor, voted most popular mayor in the Philippines 2007, and will most likely be the next elected mayor twice again. This is significant as he has always been pro-expat where as far too many city mayors and officials are not. There is an excellent school system here and also has a Regional Science High School here, in fact my own son attended the Caraga Regional Science High here and it is rated as one of the top 12 public High Schools on the Philippines. He could have attended any University in the Philippines upon graduation. There are over 14,000 Universities worldwide and the Philippines has 3 Universities in the top 800 so the big fallacy about how a child can not receive a world-class college education in the Philippines is mere utterances of foolish old farts. There is a good life to be had here in North Mindanao (Caraga Region). Here in Surigao City we are close to world-class surfing and world-class fishing, and these little islands and Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur have plenty of adventuring to explore to keep one plenty busy. 

   I can catch an evening ferry to Cebu, arrive early morning in Cebu, and catch a late-afternoon ferry to return back to Surigao City. I can fly to Cebu, Manila, Davao. Catch an air-con bus to Butuan, CDO, Davao; hell I can actually catch a bus here in Surigao City that travels all the way up to Manila by using the backbone of the inner-island highway system and ferry connections between islands. In fact my wife and I have been discussing traveling down to Davao and then riding an air-con bus all the way up to Pagngasinan. That is South Mindanao to North Luzon merely for the bragging rights and the adventure. If we were younger we would do it on the back of motorcycle.           

I remember meeting you there in Surigao City over 3 years ago and you were kind enough to show me around..It was a nice little quaint city when I was there..I think I visited a Gaisano Mall there but not remember if there were others?..I stayed at the Tavern Hotel there...At the time they did not have any motorbike rentals,do they have any now and are they strict like Davao about helmets and attire?Big city life here in Davao is starting to get old.............

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JamesMusslewhite
Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, liquido said:

I remember meeting you there in Surigao City over 3 years ago and you were kind enough to show me around..It was a nice little quaint city when I was there..I think I visited a Gaisano Mall there but not remember if there were others?..I stayed at the Tavern Hotel there...At the time they did not have any motorbike rentals,do they have any now and are they strict like Davao about helmets and attire?Big city life here in Davao is starting to get old.............

I like the small-town feel even though you are among 150,000 neighbors, and the fact a rush-hour traffic jam is rarely over five blocks long. I like the cities relationship to the sea. I was born and raised in Houston which was often a madhouse. I am presently living on a small private island located 14 km outside of Surigao City. 

They will soon be building another mall next to Gaisano Mall but I am not sure when they will actually be breaking ground on that project. As for motorcycle rentals I do not know of one, but to tell the truth I have never actually ever checked before. As for as a helmet rule yes they do seem to be trying to enforce that one now, but not like they are in Davao. The coastal road and the stretches between Butuan and CDO are safe to travel and are in relatively in good condition right now, before between road expansions and earthquake damage it was a little hairy in spots; and the natives are playing nice for the most part. So it might be best to have a proper helmet and a license (either Filipino or foreign) on your person. For the most part if you have proper documentation on the bike, proper headgear and at least a foreign drivers license in your pocket you will have little issue going through a checkpoint, but I would still keep a few thousand Pesos in assorted small bills just in case you encounter a hard-ass wanting to get paid for an infraction on the spot. It allows you to go about your way quickly while avoiding all the impounding the bike nonsense. It has never personally happen to me but I have heard stories of it happening to others. I find a pleasant smile and cheery disposition goes a long way at a checkpoint.  

Edited by JamesMusslewhite

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Davaoeno
6 hours ago, JamesMusslewhite said:

I find a pleasant smile and cheery disposition goes a long way at a checkpoint.  

So your wife does all the talking to the guards ?

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JamesMusslewhite
51 minutes ago, Davaoeno said:

So your wife does all the talking to the guards ?

yes, if i employ more than just a little sense; problem is my wife has to constantly remind me just how little sense i have to employ... i think she is implying that I should let her do all the thinking as well as most of the talking... I once told her that I was just her trophy husband here in the Philippines, she retorted, ''what twisted contest in Hell did she unfortunately win?''

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HongKongPhooey

I just got back last night from a week visit to rural Davao area. We go back a couple times a year and each time there’s a lot of improvements in infrastructure and modern conveniences. Outside of Davao the hotels still suck.

We have a small farm outside Tagum where I can be tinkering around, fishing etc. and really enjoy my time there. Not sure what someone without family connections and farming hobbies would do except what might get them into trouble. Outsiders without a local connection might have problems, but probably true of any rural community, anywhere, where everyone knows each other. 

For biking, I don’t know how you guys do it. I guess it’s the near-death experience you are after, or if breathing petrol, piss and crap laced dust is your thing. I did notice in particular that almost all the drivers are wearing helmets now (wife and toddler passengers obviously exempt).  The National Hwy is all torn up between Carmen and Tagum.

As far as safety goes, I’ve lived and been in a lot of  sketchy places. I feel pretty safe there but my bravado needs to be put in check sometimes. Half the side of her family is local Muslim and tell us not to stay overnight on the farm; so we sleep in the “city”. We don’t let anyone know we are coming until we board the plane to get there, and we don’t talk to anyone about where we are staying or what we are doing. Seems pretty paranoid (or OPSEC flashback) but probably half as paranoid as her family is when we are there; it can be pretty annoying at times to be honest.  I’m not dissing the place because I do truly love my time there, but perfectly safe..ehh

 

 

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Oz Jon
17 hours ago, JamesMusslewhite said:

... i think she is implying that I should let her do all the thinking as well as most of the talking... I once told her that I was just her trophy husband here in the Philippines, she retorted, ''what twisted contest in Hell did she unfortunately win?''

Lol! ... Seems like you got a good one there James - a good sense of humour and a smart lady!

Cheers

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