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Dipolog/Dapitan to Davao by land through Zamboanga & Cotabato Province--do or don't?


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Soupeod

The US travel warning only says to be cautious when traveling in the area in question. Not much different than when a person crosses the street. If they are cautious and look both ways first, chances are they will make it to the other side safely. If they cross without being cautious they have a higher chance of being injured or killed. So when traveling along the route that the OP is considering, one only needs to be cautious by being informed of the current situation in the region, staying alert, and always be aware of their surroundings.

 

Absolutely incorrect and quit giving bullshit advice to people before you get someone hurt.

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let me expand on the fellows comment you posted a question mark over.  your posts are bordering on reckless.  we have lived here and been involved in doing business all over this country for over a de

Even if you are correct 99% of the time a person should still consider if they are willing to risk being there the other  1% of the time.   You are commenting on a question that apparently is being

What many do not understand is that in some places in the Philippines having NPA can actually be a good thing. A few years back my son went to a High School competition down South of Butuan. The town

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Soupeod

He's an American. Just curious here. How much do you believe, that the US Embassy in Manila would tell you - about almost any topic? I trust them about as much as I do an ex-wife.

 

In that case you have to trust your country to give you the facts. They do.  Maybe not to the individual provinces.. as you know more than they.

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JamesMusslewhite

Way to go Benny !  Dont let any of those undesirables tell you what you can do or not do !! I bet those guys won't dare to mess with you again !

 

I admit to having similar feelings and attitudes myself at times  - but only if I have just seen either Rambo or The Godfather .

 

What many do not understand is that in some places in the Philippines having NPA can actually be a good thing. A few years back my son went to a High School competition down South of Butuan. The town is riddled with crime due to it being a major hub for the Shabu trade. There were at least one reported murder each day in that little town during the time those High school students where there for the 3 day regional competition. The morning of the first day one of the classrooms where students were staying was actually broken into by thieves. The undermanned poorly manned police force was simply overwhelmed with there regular duties and could not really provide sufficient full-time security for the safety of these hundreds of students visiting their town.

 

The region's NPA though worked with the local PNP and came into the town in force. They placed armed guards around the school to provide around the clock security and they stationed armed members along the foot routes where the students walked to the center of town to get meals, snacks, gifts and souvenirs. From the time the NPA put boots on the ground to the time the last bus load of visiting students left the town there were no break-ins, property theft or pick-pocketing incident for that remaining 2-1/2 days of that competition. Now the local criminals, thieves and shabu-heads may not have feared or respected the local PNP, but they damn sure respected that the NPA would certainly bust heads. So if I come across a NPA checkpoint I will remember that they once came forward and worked with the PNP to help protect not only my son but many other sons and daughters from all over the Caraga Region for those 3 days; and I will drop a 1,000pnp note in their cup with a smile and then go safely on my way, as it is a payback that they well earned in my book.  

 

The NPA around the Surigao area do not target expats for the most part, rather they primary target corrupt police, officials, politicians and businessmen viewed as exploiting the locals. Now about a year back we had an American expat who I believe the NPA was planning on killing and set up a poorly timed roadblock. I have been told by someone I fully trust when I was recently told that the only reason they did not kill him was because they saw that his wife and young child were in the vehicle with him, so they merely tried to shootout his tires. They targeted him because it was reported that he was firing off and displaying his firearm and yelling how he was an ex-Marine and not scared of anyone. And since he never served in any military service I have to admit I find such behavior totally inappropriate. The expat was perceived as trying to throw his weight around and trying to intimidate and dominate over the locals in his area. I hear he quickly packed his things and moved totally off the island of Mindanao, and may now be back in the States. His house which was up for sale at the time of the incident, presently still sits empty and yet unsold as far as I know. I heard his original asking price was 60 million pesos but if he sells it now it will probably be for a fraction of that amount.

 

So the American make-believe RAMBO now serves as a prime example of how not to act when your dealing with you neighbors and locals. Act a damn fool and you can quickly find yourself abandoning everything you have built and running away from your expensive homestead with you tail tucked tightly between your fat ass.

Edited by JamesMusslewhite
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Soupeod

What many do not understand is that in some places in the Philippines having NPA can actually be a good thing. A few years back my son went to a High School competition down South of Butuan. The town is riddled with crime due to it being a major hub for the Shabu trade. There were at least one reported murder each day in that little town during the time those High school students where there for the 3 day regional competition. The morning of the first day one of the classrooms where students were staying was actually broken into by thieves. The undermanned poorly manned police force was simply overwhelmed with there regular duties and could not really provide sufficient full-time security for the safety of these hundreds of students visiting their town.

 

The region's NPA though worked with the local PNP and came into the town in force. They placed armed guards around the school to provide around the clock security and they stationed armed members along the foot routes where the students walked to the center of town to get meals, snacks, gifts and souvenirs. From the time the NPA put boots on the ground to the time the last bus load of visiting students left the town there were no break-ins, property theft or pick-pocketing incident for that remaining 2-1/2 days of that competition. Now the local criminals, thieves and shabu-heads may not have feared or respected the local PNP, but they damn sure respected that the NPA would certainly bust heads. So if I come across a NPA checkpoint I will remember that they once came forward and worked with the PNP to help protect not only my son but many other sons and daughters from all over the Caraga Region for those 3 days; and I will drop a 1,000pnp note in their cup with a smile and then go safely on my way, as it is a payback that they well earned in my book.  

 

The NPA around the Surigao area do not target expats for the most part, rather they primary target corrupt police, officials, politicians and businessmen viewed as exploiting the locals. Now about a year back we had an American expat who I believe the NPA was planning on killing and set up a poorly timed roadblock. I have been told by someone I fully trust when I was recently told that the only reason they did not kill him was because they saw that his wife and young child were in the vehicle with him, so they merely tried to shootout his tires. They targeted him because it was reported that he was firing off and displaying his firearm and yelling how he was an ex-Marine and not scared of anyone. And since he never served in any military service I have to admit I find such behavior totally inappropriate. The expat was perceived as trying to throw his weight around and trying to intimidate and dominate over the locals in his area. I hear he quickly packed his things and moved totally off the island of Mindanao, may now be back in the States. His house which was up for sale at the time of the incident, presently still sits empty and yet unsold as far as I know. I heard his original asking price was 60 million pesos but if he sells it now it will probably be for a fraction of that amount.

 

So the American make-believe RAMBO now serves as a prime example of how not to act when your dealing with you neighbors and locals. Act a damn fool and you can quickly find yourself abandoning everything you have built and running away from your expensive homestead with you tail tucked tightly between your fat ass.

 

Thanks James, a good example of what I know as well.

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Tullioz

Absolutely incorrect and quit giving bullshit advice to people before you get someone hurt.

 

                                                                      ?

 

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jtmwatchbiz

                                                                      ?

 

 

 

let me expand on the fellows comment you posted a question mark over.  your posts are bordering on reckless.  we have lived here and been involved in doing business all over this country for over a decade, and not only me but EVERYONE in all our work crews are strictly forbidden by my inlaws to go anywhere near the areas you claim are safe.  let me also mention most members of our work crews are not exactly the type that scare easily, nor do my inlaws.  my wife and a couple of crew members were recently foolish enough to go to gen san a few months ago to do a couple quick deals despite her family's rule against it and subsequently came back with their tails between their legs, swearing never to go back.  her parents are still fuming over that stunt.  the fact is, YOU may be able to stumble around some areas and not raise much interest but anyone with something on the ball should steer clear.

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If someone asked me if it is safe to cross the street in downtown Davao I would say yes based on the fact that I have done it countless times without incident. Is their risk involved in crossing the street? Of course there is, and everyone knows the risks involved already. But should people stop crossing the street in downtown Davao because it might be dangerous? Of course not. The same would apply to traveling from Dipolog to Davao via the route in question. Can it be dangerous? of course. And once again, just like crossing the street, most people do it safely every day. In the same manor, people, including foreigners, take the route that was asked about daily without incident. it is just up to the individual to make the decision if it is worth the risk or not.

 

I would rather take a chance crossing a road than dodging a kidnap gang or a bullet.!!!

I can see anticipate a vehicle coming but can't the gang or the bullet.

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Tullioz

let me expand on the fellows comment you posted a question mark over.  your posts are bordering on reckless.  we have lived here and been involved in doing business all over this country for over a decade, and not only me but EVERYONE in all our work crews are strictly forbidden by my inlaws to go anywhere near the areas you claim are safe.  let me also mention most members of our work crews are not exactly the type that scare easily, nor do my inlaws.  my wife and a couple of crew members were recently foolish enough to go to gen san a few months ago to do a couple quick deals despite her family's rule against it and subsequently came back with their tails between their legs, swearing never to go back.  her parents are still fuming over that stunt.  the fact is, YOU may be able to stumble around some areas and not raise much interest but anyone with something on the ball should steer clear.

 
The advice I gave was to be cautious by being informed of the current situation in the region, stay alert, and always be aware of the surroundings. How exactly is that being reckless? When was the last time you heard of a westerner being killed, kidnapped, or anything else bad for that matter while traveling along the route the OP is considering? If these places are so dangerous, how do westerners live in and visit the areas in question without getting killed or kidnapped on a regular basis? Of course bad things happen occasionally and even in places that are considered safe (Samal Island comes to mind), the reality is that there is no where on the planet that is totally safe.
 
I am not really sure what put such fear into your wife and crew members when they recently visited Gen San, but there is really not much to worry about there as a foreigner, much less Filipinos. In fact there is a fairly good sized expat community to be found and many have lived there for several years and own businesses. There is even one guy that I know of from the UK that has lived there for about 25 years now who currently has a dive shop and had a hotel in the city up until just a few months ago. If it were such a dangerous place for westerners it seems that living such a high profile life as he does, he would have ran in to some sort of trouble by now don't you think? 
 
Anyway, I guess some of you guys up north should probably just avoid Mindanao all together. And if by chance you have to send the same crew that visited Gen San to somewhere like Cotabato City, Pagadian, or Zamboanga; based on their reaction following their trip to Gen San, my advice to them in addition to being cautious; wear brown pants. 
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Davaoeno

Although U.S. government officials in the Philippines travel to Mindanao for official business without incident, the Embassy has imposed a strict restriction on all but the most essential travel to the area, and Embassy employees must receive special authorization from Embassy security officials to travel to any location in Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago.

 

 

given that I find it even harder to believe that the US State Dept refers to Koranadal and Lake Sebu as " very safe".  In fact, I doubt that they refer to anywhere in Mindanao as " very safe"

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