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Mindanao: We dare not travel there!


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Mandingo

There are dangerous places every where in the world. There are more areas in America that I would not go to than in the Mindanao. I would not go to certain areas of Detroit, Oakland, Memphis or LA at any time, even during the day with cops in sight.

 

Any where you live you need to be cautious and prepared for the worst and assess the risk versus the rewards That said, living in areas that you know there is a great risk or even the possibility of risk to you or your family is foolish but you are the one who decides what risk you are willing to take.

Edited by Spacefalcon
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I am referring to a post I just made in the Australian National Kidnapped thread.   After traveling there EXTENSIVELY and fairly OFTEN over the years, I still don't get this mess about how "unsafe"

Perhaps a tee-shirt needs to be made for Expats living or visiting in South Mindanao, and in huge letters and several local dialects write.   ******"Kidnappers BEWARE"****** Too poor to be worth ki

I do not want to change this into another thread about safety in Davao, but i would like to just say that Davao in the past was a somewhat lawless and dangerous place to be, and that corrective measu

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ArieBombarie

I went to butuan and it is different to cebu as the security on the street seems a bit more serious.

 

I think the lesson here is to know you wife/gf family and your local police. I am sure there are hundreds of expats living in the no go area and are living in peace..

 

but guys, the incomme differences are so high that it is just a question of oportunity, you are a very soft target especialy in the province where the few rich are well protected, there are a lot of desperate people out there, you might get away with it if you have a very modest lifestyle but building dream houses in the middle of nowhere never seemed a smart plan to me and PI is the last place I would show of wealth

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dennis1105

Comparing the southwest portion of an island as large as Mindanao to a couple blocks of a major city in the US is apples to oranges. Sure, I wouldn't want to go to Baghdad, Kabul or Tehran either but I don't live in those countries. I live in the Philippines and I am quite sure that me an my family will never go near the southwest portion of Mindanao until the Government gets balls enough to take care of the Muslim extremists, separatists and terrorists. We would , however, go to Davao or CDO but with a bit of trepidation.

Dennis

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What some of us may not take into account is that when we are in any area where there is few of us, we will stand out even more than we do in cities where they are used to seeing foreigners. So when we go to an ATM machine, shopping, pay our bills, rent, etc. we should not use the same ATM machine all the time if at all possible, and should not go to pay our bills the same day or time each month, since most people pay bills in cash, whereas my wife and I pay them in Philippine checks. When using an ATM I feel we should go to machines in malls if at all possible and then spend time in the mall eating or shopping, so we may be more aware of someone possibly following us. In many areas there is no malls, so when we shop among the locals, we stand out. Paranoia maybe, but how many average province locals that you know go in and pay a p3000 to who knows what electric bill or even have or want cable TV, internet or a phone, and how many of them stand out when they go to the ATM's. What better place to watch for money than around a bank, so while they are watching for people making large withdrawals, someone regularly on a schedule using the bank ATM may also end up on their radar.

 

Mindanao is no different than many other places in the Philippines, it is just some parts of Mindanao we may be the only foreigner, or one of a few walking around. The stares people give to us, is just an example of how we can sometimes be watched. While in CDO earlier this year and walking around, two Filipino males zeroed in on my wife because she was with me and Minnesota Johnny and his lady friend, so when I saw it, I cut right in before they got the chance to grab her purse and then run. Being alert will usually keep us safe and while I have found that Muslims are mostly good people, it seems the majority of kidnappings and bombings are being carried out by rouge Muslim groups, and guess what, it appears to me that the majority of the Muslim population of the Philippines seems to live in a lot of areas of Mindanao, including many of the major cities.

 

So while I tend to agree with Paul that most of Mindanao is safe, we may be tempting fate when going into some areas of Mindanao where few of us seem to venture or by flashing a lot of cash while paying bills or collecting from an ATM. That is the choice each of us must make because we are each the ruler of our own destinies.

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My wife comes from Iligan city on Mindanao, and I have personally been there 6 times in the past couple years. I never felt unsafe at all while being there, except for a time when getting back to Iligan on a ferry from Cebu. a guy got in the same Jeepney as we did and then the next day in a different part of the city we were on a jeep and my wife stopped the driver several blocks from where we were going and after we got out of the jeep and into a store I asked her why and she said that same guy and two of his friends (all muslim) got on that jeep as well, carrying what appeared to be empty backpacks. She tells me that those packs are what they carry weapons in when they plan to rob you.

 

I just know that when I am there, I trust my wife's instincts, as if anyone would know it would be her, since she's lived there all her life. But I am ready to go back and introduce my son to his lolo and lola.

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I looked up The Abu Sayyaf in Wikapedia. According to that source their heaquarters and principal area of operation is Jolo in the island province of Sulu. I don't know how close that is to Davao (which I've read is a clean and peaceful city) but I'm sure I don't want to go there. I'm also sure I don't want to go to Oakland but that doesn't mean I want to leave California. Oakland is about 300 miles from where I live.

Edited by tomaw
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BossHog

Paul makes a good point:

 

The paranoia among ex-pats surrounding Mindanao is undeserved.

 

It is caused by

 

a. people who don't know how to read embassy guidelines for travel.

 

b. protective asawas who brainwash their men into thinking even the neighborhood sari-sari is dangerous at night.

 

I heard that the militants sank a Superferry in Manila. (better not go there).

 

That a Norwegian and his fiance got unjustly detained in Cebu (better not go there).

 

And yeah, I live in Mindanao, have visited Zamboanga multiple times, and have travelled for months around Sabah, Brunei, Sarawak, and Kalimantan.

 

Sorry the humor was missed in post # 2.

Edited by BossHog
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BossHog

I happened to be in an area around Basilan at the time the Burnhams' semi-successful rescue went down.

 

They and their co-captives were obviously targeted as guests of a five-star resort.

 

The motivation was purely financial and not ideological..

 

Travelling by lowly bus or mini-van around the "off-limits" areas will set you up for the random vehicle robbery. Give em a few thousand pesos and be on yer way.

 

Stay in a "secure" exclusive resort in some outta the way place and yer asking for it.

 

To tell the truth I feel that there are more sketchy characters hanging around the pier in Cebu than there are in Jolo or Basilan.

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batman2525
They probably don't care about tourists, they're more after foreigners residing there.

 

I wouldnt want to be there to find out.

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Majorsco

I have no problem with traveling to some parts of Mindanao. In fact I have a house there in the Dipolog City area and it's quite safe. Now, I wouldn't go other places such as Ipil or Zamboanga City without an armed escort and possibly not even then.

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rainymike

Guys, just play it smart. It's probably not a good idea to go to places where there is ongoing or recent military action. It's probably not a good idea to go to places where kidnappings and bombings have recently occurred either.

 

The people of Mindanao for the most part are good people, whether they are Muslim or Catholic. But there are times and situations when you just have to be extra careful. The last month or so has seen a lot of nasty events in some areas. If you want to travel and see Mindanao, my suggestion is to wait a bit till cooler heads and calmer situations prevail - especially if you are a newbie to the area or the country. Aside from that, I generally agree with the original post.

 

If you just want to visit areas like Davao that have so far not been caught up in that kind of fighting, the odds are probably in your favor for a good trip. Just remember though that Murphy's Law is always at work.

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JamesMusslewhite

Perhaps a tee-shirt needs to be made for Expats living or visiting in South Mindanao, and in huge letters and several local dialects write.

 

******"Kidnappers BEWARE"******

Too poor to be worth kidnapping

NO MONEY - NO MONEY - NO MONEY

 

-You will only be practicing-

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My wife comes from Iligan city on Mindanao, and I have personally been there 6 times in the past couple years. I never felt unsafe at all while being there, except for a time when getting back to Iligan on a ferry from Cebu. a guy got in the same Jeepney as we did and then the next day in a different part of the city we were on a jeep and my wife stopped the driver several blocks from where we were going and after we got out of the jeep and into a store I asked her why and she said that same guy and two of his friends (all muslim) got on that jeep as well, carrying what appeared to be empty backpacks. She tells me that those packs are what they carry weapons in when they plan to rob you.

 

I just know that when I am there, I trust my wife's instincts, as if anyone would know it would be her, since she's lived there all her life. But I am ready to go back and introduce my son to his lolo and lola.

Yet another thing to watch out for.
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Davaoeno
Davao that have so far not been caught up in that kind of fighting

 

 

I do not want to change this into another thread about safety in Davao, but i would like to just say that Davao in the past was a somewhat lawless and dangerous place to be, and that corrective measures were taken to change it into a safe place .

 

And since the person mainly responsible for that change is still around I dont see Davao becoming a dangerous place to visit or to live anytime soon .

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