Is The Philippines Safe? The Places Travelers Should Avoid

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Find out which provinces in the Philippines you should avoid before you book your trip. From military areas to kidnapping hotspots, here is everything travelers need to know.


A soldier in camouflage in the Philippines Photo © iStock/suc
The Philippines is a spectacular and engaging country but also has a higher crime rate than most Asian destinations. This is why it’s important to understand which areas of the country pose the most risk to tourists.

Exercise caution throughout the Philippines

The majestic seas, dense rainforest, delicious food and warm people of the Philippines make it an alluring travel destination. But it must be noted that it is one of the least safe countries in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a recent report by German research company Statista.

On that company’s order and security index, the Philippines ranked above only Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh. It found that the Philippines had higher rates of murder, theft, robbery and assault than most countries in the region. This doesn’t mean the Philippines should be avoided, only that tourists need to be cautious.

Security situations here are fluid, so before you visit be sure to check the travel advice offered by your home Government. Typically, these authorities advise it is relatively safe to travel in the northern part of the Philippines, but that far greater danger abounds in its south.

Manila is both safe and dangerous

Most international tourists land in the Philippines in Manila, the colossal national capital, home to more than 15 million people. Like so many of the world’s big cities, Manila has areas that range from very safe to genuinely dangerous. But few metropolises have such a stark disparity between wealthy and poor areas, which sometimes exist almost side by side.

For example, the Ayala Triangle area of Manila is so modern, clean and safe you could easily think you’re in downtown Sydney or Toronto. Yet just a mile west are rundown neighborhoods where houses are protected by barbed wire and windows covered in metal bars.

The most crime-riddled areas of Manila are its slums, which include parts of Tondo and San Andres. The former is just north of the city’s best attraction, the ancient Spanish citadel of Intramuros. The latter, meanwhile, is only amile or two east of touristy Manila Baywalk, where many upmarket hotels are located. Both Tondo and San Andres should be avoided by tourists.

These giant slums provide residents with inadequate housing, health, education and employment services. As a result, crime flourishes. Some of Manila’s slums are controlled by gangs, and these criminals typically are armed, because the Philippines is awash with hundreds of thousands of unregistered guns, according to research by the University of Sydney.

Tourists in Manila should avoid public displays of their wealth. Keep your cash, jewelry and mobile phones hidden from view whenever possible. Manila is a fascinating city with wonderful people. But it’s also a dangerous place for naïve travelers or tourists who wander into the wrong neighborhood.

A street basketball match in Manila
A street basketball match in Manila. Photo credit: Flickr/Marcin Gabruk

Mindanao is a complicated destination

Tourists who seek Philippines travel advice online will encounter endless websites advising against all travel to Mindanao. Not that I would contradict them, rather I would note that its security situation is complex. The US State Department’s advice on Mindanao is level three, which means “reconsider travel”. But both it and the UK Government advise against all travel to the western part of this island.

They explain that terrorist and militia groups in this area carry out bombings, kidnappings and other violent attacks, sometimes specifically targeting foreigners. Rather chillingly, the State Department warns that “the U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Mindanao, as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel there”.

The second-largest island in the Philippines, Mindanao has for decades been a haven for Islamic extremists. In recent years, hundreds of people were killed as Marawi City was under siege by terrorists for five months. That city is in western Mindanao, which traditionally has had greater security problems than the island’s east.

The complexity I foreshadowed relates to Mindanao’s capital, Davao, and its renowned tourist attraction Siargao. Davao, in the island’s southeast, is widely considered one of the safest cities in the Philippines. Tourists are less likely to face trouble here than in many other metropolises in the Philippines. Davao’s low crime rate is because the city is crawling with police and soldiers. That extreme security presence is necessary because of the dangers elsewhere on the island.

Meanwhile, tourists are also quite safe on Siargao, the magnificent tropical island in the northeast of Mindanao. Surrounded by a flawless coastline, Siargao is revered for its diving and surfing opportunities. It is isolated from the civil unrest in western Mindanao, which is 300km away.

Barbed wire at Mendiola Street, a thoroughfare in the district of San Miguel, Manila
Barbed wire at Mendiola Street, a thoroughfare in the district of San Miguel, Manila. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Ramon FVelasquez

The Sulu Sea is magnificent but riddled with pirates

A UNESCO World Heritage site, Tubbataha Reef is a massive marine park with some of the best diving spots in Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, this popular tourist attraction is also in the dead center of the Sulu Sea, one of the world’s piracy hotspots.

Although this sea, west of Mindanao, is patrolled by the Philippines navy, it’s so large that pirates still run amok. Each year, dozens of tourist boats, cargo ships and fishing trawlers are targeted by pirates, many of whom are linked to violent Islamic extremists, the Abu Sayyaf Group.

These seafaring criminals also occasionally kidnap passengers they perceive to be of high value, particularly foreigners. Tourists should carefully consider any boat excursion in the Sulu Sea. Fortunately, there are many other marine wonderlands across the Philippines which are safer, including Coron, Anilao, Verde Island, and Malapascua Island.

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  • mike said

    I will be traveling to general santos. Is it safe?


  • Stacey said

    Hi, is it safe to walk around in Manila town with a toddler? Im sorry,this might be a silly question. Thanks!


  • Ben said


    In 2010, Joel D Adriano wrote in the Asia Times, A spate of violent crimes against foreigners threatens to undermine the Philippine government's drive to lure more foreign investors, tourists and retirees. Previously, only rebel-infested areas on the southern island of Mindanao were considered high-risk, but recent assaults on foreigners have been launched in the capital Manila and other places popular with international tourists. In July 2010, US expatriate Frederick Boucher and his family were attacked by five armed men shortly after they arrived at the capital's Ninoy Aquino International Airport. They were held at gunpoint and their vehicle was forcibly stolen after the suspects repeatedly bumped into the rear of their vehicle. Police investigators believe they were likely marked by "spotters" situated at the airport working on behalf of criminal gangs. [Source: Joel D Adriano, Asia Times, August 17, 2010 |::|]

    “Other high-profile carjacking cases in July included assaults against a popular local actor, a former Philippine ambassador and a Japanese business executive from Toshiba Philippines. Still, Philippine officials bristle at the frequent depiction of the Philippines as a dangerous place for tourists and investors. In part, that's because foreigners are being singled out by Filipino gangs and syndicates. For instance, on July 22, retired US Air Force Sergeant Albert Mitchell, his wife and their three housemaids were killed in a robbery in their home in Angeles City, outside of the national capital. The suspect, Mark Dizon, was arrested on July 27. He has since been accused in the murder and robbery of two other foreigners: 60-year-old South African national Geoffrey Allan Bennun and 51-year-old Briton James Bolton Porter and their respective live-in partners. |::|

    “Officials are grappling to explain the attacks. Some sociologists attribute the crime to widely held Filipino perceptions that most foreigners, especially Caucasians, are rich. This notion is perpetuated by the media in movies and TV shows. They often view Filipinos with relatives in the US or abroad as comparatively better off. For instance, on July 19 four gunmen tailed and rammed the vehicle of a wealthy local family returning from a vacation in the US. When they stopped to inspect the damage, assailants held the family at gunpoint and shot businessman Jorge Bernas, a distant relative of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, before stealing their van. |::|

    “To be sure, some foreigners have been at the wrong place at the wrong time. Briton Charles McKerchar, 69, was recently injured during a failed assassination attempt on Sulu Governor Sakur Tan at the Zamboanga City's airport on August 5. McKerchar, who is married to a Filipino, was at the airport to retrieve an acquaintance. He is now in a serious but stable condition. Police officials suggest that most of the violence against foreigners is motivated by a get-rich-quick mentality shared by many criminal gangs and syndicates.”

    Foreigners Who Say the Crime Problem in the Philippines is Overstated

    Joel D Adriano wrote in the Asia Times, “Not are all foreigners resident in the Philippines cowering in fear. James Musslewhite, an American expat from Houston who now lives in Mindanao and writes a blog about the Philippines, thinks that despite the recent negative news many foreigners living in the Philippines still believe its safer in Manila than in most US urban areas. "I feel safer walking in many streets in the Philippines than in the US," he said. [Source: Joel D Adriano, Asia Times, August 17, 2010]

    Bob wrote in his blog “My wife and I feel safe living in the Philippines. Now we live in a house we built in a rural area, on a dead end road with no close neighbors. When we first moved to Iloilo City we lived in an unusually secure private compound in Iloilo City. We didn’t even have to consider security. We could leave our doors open if we want to. We have ridden jeepneys everywhere. I have literally walked more than a thousand of miles on the streets of Iloilo City and lonely rural paths in the country. I have never had the slightest problem. No one has robbed me or threatened me or tried to pick my pocket or done anything but treat me with respect and kindness. The worst crime we have been a victim of is being overcharged for shrimp in the public market. Many expats have similar experiences. [Source:]

    Foreign Kidnapping Victims

    Japanese, Taiwanese and Chinese nationals have been the targets of kidnappings. The capture and release or two kidnappers who kidnapped a Japanese businessman in November 1986, almost set off an international incident between Japan and the Philippines.

    The ransoms paid for foreigners tend to be much more than those paid for locals. In June 2001, a Singaporean woman paid $165,745 to Filipino kidnappers to free her husband. “I was cornered into a situation where I had to make a decision for the safety of my husband,” she told a Singaporean newspaper.

    In 1996, the son of the military attaché of Taiwan's unofficial embassy was released unharmed after a ransom of $38,500 was paid. Explaining why he drive home with a flat tire, one Taiwanese businessman in Manila told AFP, “Buying a new car is much cheaper than paying ransom.”

    The foreigners don’t have to be wealthy. In 2001, the notorious “Pentagon” kidnapping gang abducted four Chinese nationals working on road project. Two were killed in a rescue attempt. One escaped. The other was freed with the assistance of the Libyan government.

    In 2010, Joel D Adriano wrote in the Asia Times, “Foreign kidnappings are also on the rise. On April 4, Swiss businessman Carl Reith was kidnapped from his beach home in Zamboanga on Mindanao island. He was rescued by the police two months later in a raid that killed one of the suspects. On April 11, Salvacion Gorenio, an American national, was kidnapped near her house in Cavite, a province just outside Metro Manila. After nearly a month in captivity she was rescued by the police in an operation that killed all three suspects. In July, Japanese national Amir Katayama Mamaito, a treasure hunter who operated a local pharmacy, was kidnapped in southern Sulu province. He is still being held at an unknown location. [Source: Joel D Adriano, Asia Times, August 17, 2010]

    According to Pete Troillo, director of business intelligence at Pacific Strategies and Assessments Inc, a risk consulting firm, at least 33 foreigners were kidnapped in the Philippines last year, mostly Indian nationals. Indians are considered prime targets because many of them are engaged in small-time informal lending and hence often carry large amounts of cash. Chinese, Korean and American nationals, all of whom are believed capable of paying high ransoms, have also been frequently targeted, Troillo said. Including local victims, 139 people were kidnapped in the Philippines last year, up slightly from the 135 snatched in 2008. [Ibid]

    Bob wrote in his blog “If you are a Caucasian foreigner and stay out of dangerous areas in Mindanao, you probably don’t need to worry about being kidnapped. Except for Mindanao, kidnappers generally target rich Chinese-Filipinos (Chinoys). Generally, they pay ransom without going to the police. The police have been reported to be involved in such kidnappings. Some foreign businessmen and aid workers have been kidnapped, usually Japanese. Remember, the vast majority of retirees are pensioners who live on modest retirement pensions — not good kidnap ransom targets. Kidnapping a rich Chinoy businessman really boils down to negotiations over the size of the ransom. Kidnapping a foreigner invites complications. [Source:]

    High Murder Rate of Foreigners in the Philippines

    Bob wrote in his blog “I’ve been following news of murders of foreigners in the Philippines for several years. There are quite a few, considering how few foreigners there are in the Philippines. Here are a few observations which might be of help to anticipate problems. Most violence against foreigners is not perpetrated out of desperation by the poor Filipino whose family needs food or medicine. Perhaps we are projecting on to Filipinos our own perceptions of what we would do in such circumstances. Most provincial Filipinos would never commit such acts. They accept what comes their way as part of God’s plan. [Source:]

    I believe that murders are generally not by the desperate acting out of real need, but rather by those as a way to “get rich quick”, often by maids, casual workers and boyfriends who have some knowledge, association and access to the foreigner victims. The operative influences are greed, sex, booze and shabu (methamphetamine) — not helping a sick or hungry family member.

    Almost all the murders of foreigners I have read of have occurred in the foreigner’s hotel or apartment or home, not in bars, not on the streets, not by the Muslim extremists. Most of these murders been been committed by people the victim knew or people associated with these people, not by a strangers breaking into their house.

    By far, the most common perpetrators are: 1) the boyfriend of the foreigner’s wife or young girlfriend; 2) the maid’s boyfriend; 3) some relative of the girlfriend, wife or the maid. 4) Ex-employees are another possibility. These murderers usually don’t break in. They are let in, either knowingly by the foreigner or by one of the other parties mentioned, or they take advantage of security vulnerabilities they have observed or learned of. The foreigner is killed because he resists or because the robber is known to him and he does not want to be caught. Sometimes the accomplice maid or girlfriend is “tied-up” and reports the crime to neighbors or police when she gets free. I have read of many of foreigners murdered in this way.

    How to Avoid Being Murdered if You Are a Foreigners in the Philippines

    Bob wrote in his blog “A stable, monogamous married life is prudent. A taste for young boys has gotten many foreigners into trouble. Chasing young women can also expose you to all sorts of dangers; from her jealous or conniving boyfriend or from her family. If you live in a city, living in a gated, guarded subdivision probably is safer. It’s not perfect, but low-life characters may find it a bit harder, bit more intimidating, more frightening to get in at night, and a bit harder to flee. This only applies to subdivisions with real security including roving patrols at night. It’s no accident that Filipinos move to such subdivisions if they can afford it. Many subdivisions put up a show of security with a fancy guardhouse, but often anyone is allowed in. [Source:]

    Secure subdivisions don’t exist outside the bigger cities and may be less necessary, but don’t fool yourself. Many foreigners have been killed in their bucolic rural homes. Foreigners like my wife and I can happily report that they have lived in such and such a place for two or three or five years and have never had a problem. We don’t feel such anecdotal tidbits really prove anything.

    Observe how affluent Filipinos provide for their security. As mentioned earlier. foreigners sometimes belittle walls, and gated subdivisions and other security precautions that seem over-done or distasteful from an American or European perspective, as though they know better than Filipinos what the dangers are and how to provide security.

    Here a few specific security suggestions: 1) Keep gates locked at all times and doors at night. Night means after dark. 2) Don’t leave your home unattended for any extended period of time and certainly not overnight. If you are away, have a family member or trusted maid stay in the home. 3) Maintain good control over who comes into your compound or house, especially at night. Unless you really trust your maid, make sure she can’t let people in. Once again, if you are murdered, it’s probably because you or someone else let the killer in. Recently a foreign retiree was watching TV with his wife. The dog started to bark. The man opened the door to see what the problem was. He was immediately stabbed in the stomach by an intruder waiting there. He died on the way to a hospital. 4) Have one or more noisy dogs. Have the police emergency number programmed into your cellphone and keep your cellphone in your bedroom. Consider a secure bedroom door and don’t challenge any burglar. If someone breaks in, stay in your bedroom and let them steal what they like. Have a very loud panic alarm and lights when can be switched on from your locked bedroom.

    In one comment Jerry says, “It is definitely unwise to join a ‘inuman’ or ‘drinking’ party by yourself. Especially if you don’t know the people really well.” We concur with this advice 110 percent. When you are with inebriated men and women and you are also inebriated, a wrong move or comment can easily escalate into something violent. A comment or flirtation which would be acceptable in your home may provoke anger in another culture.

    If you do have a lot of money, keep it in a foreign bank. Information about your bank balances in your Philippine bank are not necessarily secure. Don’t brag about or discuss your finances with any one, including other foreigners. Make sure everyone is aware that you are living off of a pension, that when you die the money stops. Don’t have a safe in the house. Everyone will assume it is full of money, even if it’s not. Don’t withdraw large amounts of cash from your bank account. There have been cases where bank employees sent text messages about large withdrawals to accomplices outside the bank. The foreigner was robbed at gunpoint. Pay for major purchases (vehicle, house) with a manager’s check from your Philippine bank.

    Murders of Foreigners in the Philippines

    In August 2004, a 41-year-old Japanese man was shot to death by four robbers trying to steal his luggage soon after he arrived in Manila from Japan. The man, who came to the Philippines often to visit his daughter, was handcuffed in a van and shot at least seven times in front his 10-year-old and 13-year-old sons. In April 2003, a Japanese man was stabbed to death in an apartment building in the Makati suburb of Manila. The man was a 42-year-old engineer with a 27-year-old Filipina wife.

    In the early 2000s, a South Korean diplomat was found in the streets of Manila hours after Filipino befriended him and invited him for drinks. A Filipino named Norbero Manero was imprisoned for killing and eating a Italian priest.

    In September 2012, “Robbers at a convenience store in Manila shot dead an American executive of an English language training center. Associated Press reported: “Police said Robert Edward Armstrong was inside the Manila store on Sunday when four robbers ordered the employees and at least three customers into the storage room while they emptied the cash register. Police officer Alonzo Layugan said 45-year-old Armstrong was shot when he tried to dash out of the store. Layugan said that the wounded American managed to get into his car but one of the robbers shot him again. Armstrong was declared dead at a hospital. Police said the other customers and employees were unharmed. The robbers are still at large. [Source: Associated Press, September 3, 2012]

    According to Brain Twister; “The murder of foreigners rose after President Gloria Arroyo signed legislation abolishing the death penalty in July 2006. In the Philippines, they will murder anyone for the smallest reason and many murders go unsolved. The Philippines has the third worst murder solving record of killed journalists in the world behind Mexico and Iraq. [Source: Brain Twister, Topix, August 18, 2013]

    Foreigners Murdered in the Philippines

    The following is a list of foreigner murders or acts of terrorism committed between 2003 and 2013. Many more are committed and not reported in the regional or national news: AITKIN, Phillip Andrew b: abt 1963 in Australia (British passport - dual) d: 20 Oct 2008 in Guadalupe Village, Lanang, Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines; AKSNES, Nils Frode Steen b: abt 1958 in Norway d: 20 Jul 2009 in Grantville Subdivision, Consolacion, Cebu, Philippines; ANG, Luis b: abt 1953 in Chinese National d: 18 Oct 2011 in Tondo District, Metro Manila, Philippines; ATKINS, Paul Raymond b: abt 1949 in Stoke On Trent, England d: 18 Oct 2011 in Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; BALMER, David b: abt 1955 in Northern Ireland d: Sep 2009 in Barangay Malabanias, Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; BASHAM, James K b: 14 May 1947 in Jefferson County, Kentucky d: 19 Sep 2010 in Barangay Pampang, Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; BAYLEY, Graham b: abt 1952 in of Staffordshire, England d: 31 Dec 2010 in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, Luzon, Philippines; BENNUN OR BANNAN, Geoffrey Allan b: abt 1950 in Canadian passport d: 12 Jul 2010 in Clarkview, Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; BROWN, Ivan Royal b: abt 1943 in /of Bentleigh Court, Australia d: 24 Sep 2008 in Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; BUCHNER, Donald b: in United States d: 26 Sep 1989 in near Camp O'Donnell, Capas, Tarlac, Philippines; BUENAFLOR, Raymond Cesar b: 18 Oct 1938 in of the U.S. d: 10 Feb 2010 in Barangay Pulung Maragul, Angeles City, Pampanga; BUHLER, Ronald Barsh b: abt 1952 in Germany d: 26 May 2010 in Village 3. Talakag, Bukidnon, Mindanao, Philippines; BUJNOWSKI, George Harold b: 22 May 1947 in prob Massachusetts d: 26 Aug 2009 in Barangay Gun-ob, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, Philippines; BURNEY, Jim b: abt 1944 in Australia d: 25 May 2009 in Tangalan, Aklan, Philippines; BURNHAM, "Hostage" Martin "Missionary" b: abt 1960 in of Rose Hill, Butler County, Kansas d: 7 Jun 2002 in Mindanao, Philippines. [Source: Brain Twister, Topix, August 18, 2013]

    CABURNAY, Orlando Barrozo b: 19 Aug 1952 in /of Greatmills, St. Mary's County, Maryland d: 27 Jun 2011 in Brgy. Sampaguita, San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines; CAMPBELL, Julia "Peace Corps" b: 25 Jan 1967 in of Fairfax, Fairfax County, Virginia d: 8 Apr 2007 in Brgy. Batad, Banaue, Ifugao, Philippines; CARZEDDA, Fr Salvatore b: in Italy d: 1992 in Zamboanga, Mindanao, Philippines; CASTEEN, Leamon Wesley Jr b: 23 Jan 1935 in South Carolina d: 30 Mar 2011 in Sanciangko Street, Cebu City, Cebu, Phillipines; CHANDER, Subash "Lucky" b: abt 1977 in India d: bef 26 Sep 2010 in Ilagan, Isabela, Philippines; CHANG, Suk-hi (plus two unamed) b: abt 1954 in South Korea d: 27 Jul 2008 in Kabalan village, Olongapo City, Philippines; CHO, Rev. Te-Hwan "Missionary" b: in South Korea d: 22 Aug 2010 in Manila, Philippines; CHOI, In-Soo b: in South Korea d: 2 Dec 2011 in Hospital, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines; CO, Shahani "Raymond" b: in Chinese National d: 28 Nov 2010 in Fontana Leisure Parks/Casino, CEZ, Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; CONEJAR, Rodgen b: abt 1954 in Australia d: 11 Nov 2011 in Bunawan Brook, Agusan del Sur, Mindanao, Philippines; COWPERTHWAITE, John James b: abt 1944 in England d: 2 May 2004 in villa La Dolce Vita, Mt. Luho, Balabag, Boracay Island, Aklan, Philippines; DAVIS, Sgt Randy b: abt 1957 in United States d: 28 Oct 1987 in Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; DAVIS, Steven "Steve" b: in England d: 2002 in Manila, Philippines; DEBONO, Joseph Mary b: abt 1938 in Australia d: 7 Aug 2011 in Ano, Brgy. Banilad, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, Philippines; DIEFENBACKED, Benn b: in Europe d: bet Jan and Sep 2011 in Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; DOLAN, Owen b: in New Zealand d: 15 Aug 2001 in Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; DVORAK, Richard Kevin b: 12 Apr 1961 in Missouri d: 27 Aug 2003 in Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; Ex-pat aka "Santa Claus” b: in United States d: 2000 in Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines.

    FAHEY, Kenneth b: abt 1953 in /of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia d: 24 Feb 2009 in near Ayungon, Negros Oriental, Philippines; FAUST, A1C Steven M b: 11 Sep 1965 in Deer Park, Harris County, Texas d: 28 Oct 1987 in Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; FAVALI, Fr. Tullio b: in Italy d: 1985 in Tulunan, North Cotabato, Mindanao, Philippines; FORSTENHAUSLER, Anton b: abt 1941 in Germany d: 2 May 2004 in villa La Dolce Vita, Boracay Island, Aklan, Philippines; FRONDA, Julius b: abt 1960 in /a U.S. Citizen d: 14 Mar 2011 in #284 Unson St., San Pablo City, Laguna, Philippines; FRONDA, Zenaida b: abt 1937 in /a U.S. Citizen d: 14 Mar 2011 in #284 Unson St., San Pablo City, Laguna, Philippines; FU, Cheuk-Yan b: in of Hong Kong d: 23 Aug 2010 in Quirino Grandstand, Manila, Philippines; FUNG, Kwok Che b: abt 1949 in of Hong Kong d: abt 8 Apr 2011 in Sitio Cantimog, Brgy. Libhu, Maasin City, Leyte, Philippines; GRAHAM, James Kermit b: in United States d: in Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; HA, Yang-Kang b: in South Korea d: 30 Jan 2010 in Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; HAESSLER, Kartsen b: abt 1963 in of Wolfsburg, Germany d: Nov 2006 in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, Mindanao, Philippines; HAMMER, John d: abt 2000 in Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; HOLTZ, Hans b: abt 1954 in Germany d: 14 Apr 2006 in Clark Ave, Villasol Subd, Brgy Arunas, Angeles City, Philippines; HOLZ, Werner b: abt 1947 in of Melbourne, Australia d: 6 Jan 2009 in Ajuy, Iloilo, Philippines; HONDA, Hiromi b: abt 1951 in Japan d: abt 30 Jan 2010 in Manila, Philippines; HUANG, Shao-Huai b: abt 1964 in Chinese National d: 9 Jul 2011 in St. Luke’s Medical Center, Quezon City, Luzon, Philippines; HYDE, William P "Missionary" b: 3 Feb 1944 in of Iowa d: 4 Mar 2003 in Davao City, Mindano, Philippines; HYUNG, Hur b: abt 1952 in South Korea d: 28 Sep 2011 in San Juan City, Manila, Philippines.

    More Foreigners Murdered in the Philippines

    IMOTO, Kazuya b: abt 1961 in Yoshimizu-Cho, Kyoto, Japan d: 8 Jun 2010 in Subic Techno Park, Subic Bay, Philippines; ISHERWOORD, Jane b: abt 1947 in England d: 30 Oct 2010 in Dau Street, Pilar Village, Las Piñas City, NCR, Philippines; JARMAN, Leonard b: abt 1940 in Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales, United Kingdom d: 31 Aug 2007 in Las Pinas City, Metro Manila, Philippines; JOHNSON, SFC Mark Wayne "Green Beret" b: 7 Jun 1962 in Saginaw, Saginaw County, Michigan d: 2 Oct 2002 in Malagutay, Zamboanga, Mindanao, Philippines; JONES, Bruce Anthony b: abt 1960 in England d: 21 Sep 2010 in Brgy. Pulung Maragul, Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; KAKARA, James Thomas b: 25 Feb 1950 in Los Angeles County, California d: 24 Dec 2011 in Viva Road, Barangay Kaybagal South, Tagaytay City, Cavite, Philippines; KANG, Ha-Young b: in South Korea d: 30 Jan 2010 in Clark economic zone, Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; KESSLER, Martin b: abt 1963 in Germany d: May 2009 in Quezon City, Philippines; KIM, Jae-Chun Lee b: in South Korea d: 16 Dec 2011 in Sta Barbara, Piat, Cagayan, Luzon, Philippines; KIM, Min-Jung b: abt 1988 in South Korea d: 24 May 2011 in in Eurotel, Pedro Gil Street, Malate, Metro Manila, Philippines; KIM, Young-Dal b: abt 1954 in South Korea d: 26 Jul 2011 in Ternate, Cavite, Philippines; KINDY, Steven "Steve" aka Candy b: 12 Mar 1969 in of Midland, Midland County, Michigan d: 20 Sep 2010 in Mahayahay, Iligan, Lanao del Norte, Philippines; KO, Jaem-Young b: abt 1962 in South Korea d: abt 20 Jul 2010 in Villasol Subd., Brgy. Anunas, Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; KRUSE, Herman b: abt 1941 in Germany d: 3 Jul 2009 in Daan Bantayan, Cebu, Philippines; KUMAR, Anil b: abt 1975 in India d: 20 May 2007 in Lucban town, Quezon, Luzon, Philippines. [Source: Brain Twister, Topix, August 18, 2013]

    LAVERI, William "Bill" b: 20 Aug 1939 in prob Connecticut d: 28 Jul 2011 in Sta. Maria 1, Balibago, Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; LEE, Hyen-Koung b: in South Korea d: 26 Dec 2007 in Brgy. Manibaug, Paralaya, Pampanga, Philippines; LEUNG, Doris Chung-See b: abt 1989 in of Hong Kong (Canadian Passport) d: 23 Aug 2010 in Quirino Grandstand, Manila, Philippines; LEUNG, Jessie Song-yi b: abt 1996 in of Hong Kong (Canadian Passport) d: 23 Aug 2010 in Quirino Grandstand, Manila, Philippines; LEUNG, Ken Kam-wing b: in of Hong Kong (Canadian Passport) d: 23 Aug 2010 in Quirino Grandstand, Manila, Philippines; LIM, Kyong Il b: abt 1979 in South Korea d: 30 Jan 2011 in Ayala Alabang Village, Metro Manila, Philippines; LINGLEY, Barry Ernest b: 7 May 1950 in /of San Jose, Santa Clara County, California d: 27 Jun 2011 in Brgy. Cristo Rey, Capas, Tarlac, Philippines; LOBKI, Antonio Henricos b: abt 1919 in Netherlands d: 6 Jan 2009 in Barangay Liboron, Carcar City, Cebu, Phillipines; MAGELLAN, Ferdinand b: c 1480 in Sabrosa, Portugal d: 27 Apr 1521 in Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines; MANGANTI, Ret. Sgt. Herculano b: abt 1927 in Philippines with U.S. Citizenship d: 28 Oct 1987 in Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; MASA, Tse b: in of Hong Kong d: 23 Aug 2010 in Quirino Grandstand, Manila, Philippines; MAXWELL, Charles "Charlie" b: abt 1948 in of Longbridge Deverill, Warminster, Wiltshire, England d: 12 Apr 2009 in Ubay, Bohol, Philippines; MAZZA, Sergio Sandro b: abt 1972 in of Berlin, Germany d: 10 Jun 2010 in Legaspi Village, Makati, Manila, Philippines; MCDONALD, John Lorne b: abt 1983 in of Aberdeen, Lancashire, England d: 5 Sep 2010 in Angona, Rizal, Philippines; MELTON, Jerry b: abt 1957 in United States d: 5 Mar 2009 in Barangay Malabanias, Angeles City, Philippines; MICHALSKI, Dr Frank Joseph M.D. b: 28 Sep 1938 in of Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida d: 10 Aug 2009 in Tagaytay City, Cavite, Philippines; MIDDLETON, Carl Roy b: abt 1968 in of England d: 19 Jun 2010 in Tayaw Lodge, Baguio City, Philippines; MILLER, William Henry "Billy" b: abt 1966 in United States d: 16 Dec 2010 in Barangay Capaya, Angeles City, Philippines; MITCHELL, Albert Raye Sr b: 28 Nov 1937 in Highpoint, Guilford County, North Carolina d: 22 Jul 2010 in Barangay Malabanias, Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; MURDOCH, Gordan David b: abt 1939 in of Batemans Bay, Australia d: 16 Feb 1981 in Mindanao, Philippines.

    NICHOLAS, Anthony b: abt 1946 in of London, England d: 6 Sep 2010 in Sitio Matlag, Barangay 4, Sipalay, Negros Occidental, Philippines; NOE, Victor Eugene b: 31 Jan 1946 in of Indiana d: 24 Jul 2006 in R. Duterte Street, Banawa, Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines; OH, Young-Kwan b: abt 1969 in South Korea d: 26 Dec 2007 in Brgy. Manibaug, Paralaya, Pampanga, Philippines; PERIDER, Pierre b: in Belguim d: 22 Apr 2009 in Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) Tollway in Batangas, Luzon, Philippines; PORTER, James Bolton b: abt 1960 in of Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England d: 16 Jul 2010 in Barangay Balibago, Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; R, Richard b: abt 1940 in of Canton, Switzerland d: 12 May 2010 in /near Manila, Philippines; RASAY, Mikael Troy Johansen b: abt 1993 in of Oslo, Norway d: 31 Jul 2011 in Timog Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines; REICH, Alexander b: abt 1987 in /of Brüttisellen, in canton Zurich, Switzerland d: 22 Sep 2011 in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines; REUTENBERG, Darcy Hanz "Missionary" b: abt 1958 in Canada d: 26 Jun 2011 in Barangay Adlawon, Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines; ROBERTS, Paul Anthony b: abt 1949 in England d: 28 Jun 2009 in Barangay Canigao, Kalibo, Aklan, Philippines; ROWE, COL James Nicholas b: 8 Feb 1938 in McAllen, Hidalgo County, Texas d: 21 Apr 1989 in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines; SABERO, Guillermo b: abt 1961 in of Corona, Riverside County, California d: abt 12 Jun 2001 in Basilan Island, Mindanao, Philippines; SCHOENI, Manfred b: abt 1944 in Switzerland d: 2 May 2004 in villa La Dolce Vita, Mt. Luho, Balabag, Boracay Island, Aklan, Philippines; SELVARAJ, Palaniappen b: abt 1955 in Malaysia d: 18 Jun 2009 in Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; SHINDA, Surinder b: in Jalandhar, Punjab, India d: Jul 2006 in Manila, Philippines; SIEPKAMP, Hans van de b: 10 Feb 1952 in Voorburg, Leidschendam, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands d: 15 Dec 2011 in Sta. Maria 1, Balibago, Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; SINGH, Charmjewd b: in India d: 25 Nov 2010 in President Quirino, Sultan Kudarat, Mindanao, Philippines; SINGH, Gurmail b: abt 1969 in Kot-Bhaktu, Bathinda, Punjabi, India d: 22 Jan 2011 in Manila, Philippines; SINGH, Manjeat b: abt 1984 in India d: 15 Nov 2011 in Agusan del Sur, Mindanao, Philippines; SINGH, Mohinder b: in India d: 25 Feb 2011 in Manila, Philippines; SINGH, Pardeep b: abt 1985 in India d: 5 Mar 2011 in Angono, Rizal, Philippines; SINGH, Raja b: abt 1974 in India d: 10 Aug 2011 in Brgy. Lower Mohon, Talisay City, Cebu, Philippines; SINGH, Satinder b: abt 1984 in India d: 10 Jun 2010 in Panabo, Davao del Norte, Mindanao, Philippines; SINGH, Sokhdib b: in India d: 5 Oct 2010 in Brgy. Lag-asan, Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, Philippines; SINGH, Sukhinder b: abt 1985 in India d: 15 Nov 2011 in Agusan del Sur, Mindanao, Philippines; SMITH, Brian Thomas b: 20 Feb 1960 in Grinnell, Poweshiek County, Iowa d: 30 Jan 2002 in Mt. Pinatubo, Porac, Pampanga, Philippines; SO, Richard b: abt 1955 in Chinese d: 24 Sep 2010 in Haven Hotel, Brgy. Pulung Maragul, Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines; STEIN, Nils Aksnes Frodei b: abt 1958 in Norway d: 20 Jul 2009 in Subd. Jugan, Consolacion town, Cebu, Philippines; SUBHASH, Chandre Bhati b: abt 1974 in India d: 7 Dec 2011 in Purok 2, Brgy. Naggasican, Santiago City, Isabela, Philippines; SUNG, Jung-Hak b: abt 1982 in South Korea d: 7 Aug 2010 in Brgy. Dau, Mabalacat, Pampanga, Philippines.

    TENTORIO, Fr. Fausto b: abt 1952 in Italy d: 17 Oct 2011 in Arakan, North Cotabato, Mindanao, Philippines; THOMPSON, William b: in United States d: 26 Sep 1989 in near Camp O'Donnell, Capas, Tarlac, Philippines; THORPE, Thomas Michael b: 26 Dec 1979 in Canandaigua, Ontario County, New York d: 13 Aug 2009 in Fields Ave., Balibago, Angeles City, Pampamga, Philippines; ; U.S. STATE DEPT FILE, Two Unnamed American(s) b: in U.S. Citizen d: 25 Mar 2010 in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines; ; US NAVY, Two "Sebees" b: in of United States d: 29 Sep 2009 in near Indanan, Sulu, Jolo Island, Philippines; VIKSTEN, Alfonso Melker b: abt 1947 in Sweden d: 7 Jun 2008 in Sitio Catap, Brgy. Banlot, Sibonga, Cebu, Philippines; WANG, Guilin b: abt 1964 in Chinese National d: 18 Dec 2001 in Nueva Ecija province, North Luzon, Philippines; WILLIAMS, Martin b: abt 1966 in of Liverpool, England d: 24 Mar 2009 in Boloc-boloc Spring, Brgy. Mansasa, Pangalo, Bohol, Philippines; WONG, Tze-Iam b: in of Hong Kong d: 23 Aug 2010 in Quirino Grandstand, Manila, Philippines; YEUNG, Yee-kam b: in of Hong Kong d: 23 Aug 2010 in Quirino Grandstand, Manila, Philippines; YEUNG, Yee-Wa b: in of Hong Kong d: 23 Aug 2010 in Quirino Grandstand, Manila, Philippines;

    Peace Corps Volunteer Beaten to Death in the Rural Philippines

    In April 2007, an American Peace Corps volunteer, Julia Campbell, 40, of Fairfax, Va., disappeared during a solo hike to Ifugao province's famed mountainside rice terraces. Initially it was thought that she might have fallen and been carried away a rushing stream but later her killers confessed on television to what he did. Associated Press reported: “The man suspected of killing a Peace Corps volunteer who was beaten to death and buried in a shallow grave gave himself up and confessed on television, saying he would accept "whatever punishment you will impose on me." Juan Duntugan claimed he was fuming about a running feud with a neighbor when Julia Campbell bumped into him from behind, causing him to drop a bundle of clothes he was carrying. "My mind went blank," Duntugan told ABS-CBN television. "I did not know who she was or what she was. I got a rock and I hit her on the head. If I can change my body for hers, I will do it. But that's not possible. Whatever punishment you will impose on me, I will accept it." [Source: Associated Press, April 27, 2007 ><]

    “Apparently referring to speculation that Campbell may have been killed during an attempted rape or robbery, Duntugan said: "I admit it, yes. I killed her, but I did not do whatever other people are thinking I did." National police chief Oscar Calderon said police were "documenting his statement in the presence of a lawyer." Senior Superintendent Pedro Ganir, police chief of northern Ifugao province, where Campbell's body was found April 18, told The Associated Press that Duntugan's mother persuaded him to turn himself in and his uncle delivered him to the police station in the provincial capital of Lagawe. "We provided him security so that he will not be harmed," Ganir said. ><

    “Duntugan's wife had sold Campbell a soft drink before her hike, and a boy has told police that he saw him near the grave that day. Duntugan, a woodcarver who lives in the area, went into hiding the next day. A police autopsy showed that Campbell, who worked as a freelance journalist for The New York Times and other media organizations, was killed by multiple blows to the head, and that her arms were injured, indicating she tried to ward off an attack. ><

    “Campbell worked in Bicol as an English teacher. The Bicol region, southeast of Manila, includes Albay's provincial capital Legazpi and Donsol township in nearby Sorsogon province, which is famous for whale sharks and is where Campbell helped launch an ecology awareness campaign.

    Philippines a Death Trap for Koreans?

    The Philippines is a popular destination for South Korean students, businessmen and retirees. In 2013, twelve Koreans were shot or stabbed to death. Four had been killed by April 2014. In all the cases no suspects had been taken into custody. Kim Se-jeong wrote in the Korean Times, “The foreign ministry dismissed a claim that Koreans were being targeted. "The Philippine's criminal system is weak, and, without exception, the number of crimes and killings of visitors is rising for Chinese, Japanese and Americans alike. Each visitor should stay vigilant." Experts opine that the Koreans are often victims of contract killings organized by their compatriots. [Source: Kim Se-jeong, Korean Times, April 10, 2014 <>]

    “In early April 2014, a 21-year-old student, was found dead outside Manila. She had been kidnapped more than a month ago. Her body was found in the hideout of her kidnappers, who reportedly called her brother for a ransom. No information is available about the identity of the kidnappers and their motivation. In February, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a Korean man was found dead on a highway near Benguet, north of Manila. The police found gunshot wounds on his body. <>

    On April 6, a 45-year-old South Korean businessman was fatally shot while eating dinner with his family at an outdoor restaurant in Angeles City by an unknown gunman who escaped on a motorcycle. Last February, a 65-year-old Korean tourist was also fatally shot in Angeles City by unidentified assailants. Since 2009, there have been 40 Koreans killed in the Philippines. Between 2009 and 2013, 44 percent of some 160 murder cases of Korean nationals abroad occurred in the Philippines, according to the foreign ministry. [Source: Manila Bulletin, April 13, 2014]

    In February 2014, a South Korean tourist died after he was shot by one of two men on a motorcycle in Barangay Anunas in this city. Jun Malig of the Inquirer Central Luzon wrote: “Investigators said the victim, Her Tae Suk, 65, was walking toward the Prism Hotel on Clarkview Avenue with three other Koreans at 7:45 p.m. when the assailants approached them. One of the men then drew a 9-mm pistol and shot Her several times. Police have yet to determine what prompted the attack. Her’s companions -– Lee Jae Woo, 37; Jung Jon Gik, 37; and Park Jeung Keun, 37 — were unhurt and were able to run away when the shooting started. The Korean Community Association of Central Luzon, which has offices at “Korean Town,” a district on the Fil-Am Friendship Highway where most Koreans in the city live, has been airing its concern about criminals victimizing South Koreans living in this city and other parts of the region. A month earlier two men on a motorcycle shot and wounded a Korean. The killers took $20,000 the Korean had withdrew from a bank in Angeles City. [Source:Jun Malig, Inquirer Central Luzon, February 19, 2014]

    Some experts pointed their finger at Korean criminals there, saying that more protection is needed for travelers. "It is highly possible that there are Koreans behind these crimes," said Professor Kim Dong-yeob at Busan University of Foreign Studies. “According to him, the majority of cases involving Korean victims are contract killings. "Many Koreans flying to the Philippines have a reason to flee Korea. Many are gang members escaping law enforcement. What they end up doing is paying people to swindle money from Koreans. businessmen, students and tourists." Cho Yang-eun, a leader of Korean organized gang named "Yangeunyi" is one example. He was detained in November last year in the northern Philippines. According to the National Police Agency, 170 criminals on its wanted list are currently in the Philippines. <>

    A Korean running a private youth hostel in the Philippines echoed the professor. "The cause of crimes involving Korean nationals happening in the Philippines is either a contract killing or a random one targeting wealthy Koreans," she said, declining to be named. Prof. Park noted understanding the country could explain rampant killings higher than neighboring countries. "You can own a gun in the Philippines. Also, it is a Catholic country, meaning people probably feel freer than those visiting Malaysia or Indonesia which are Muslim countries. And take Thailand, for example. They have better protection for foreign tourists," Park said. <.

    South Korea Sends Investigators After Student Found Dead

    “In early April 2014, a 21-year-old student, was found dead outside Manila. She had been kidnapped more than a month ago. Her body was found in the hideout of her kidnappers, who reportedly called her brother for a ransom. The Manila Bulletin reported: “The 21-year-old female South Korean college student was found dead after being abducted in Pasay City on March 3 while on her way to meet a friend. Her decomposing body was reportedly found in the hideout of her abductors. The exact details of the Korean student's death have not been released other than that she was identified by her clothing. The victim's younger brother, who was also in the Philippines, attempted to identify his sister, but was unable to do so because her body was so badly decomposed. [Source: Manila Bulletin, April 13, 2014]

    “The abduction, which took place over a month ago, was not reported as authorities were supposedly working out the safe release of the victim. Local police said there appeared to have been at least three kidnappers, including the taxi driver. No additional information is available about the identity of the kidnappers and their motivation.

    “Her body was found in the hiding place of the abductors Tuesday night despite our utmost efforts to win her safe release,” an official quoted by Yonhap said. The hiding place was located about an hour car ride north of the capital. The abduction became known when one of the abductors called the friend she was to meet and demanded a hefty ransom, according to the official. [Yonhap]

    South Korean dispatched a team of investigators led by a high-level official to the Philippines to look into the recent death of the South Korean. At the same time, South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson and Deputy Minister for Public Relations Cho Tai-young said his government is calling on relevant Philippine authorities to "conduct an investigation in a thorough manner to find accomplices other than those already arrested." "The ROK government will keep working closely with the Philippine side in this regard," said Cho in a press briefing held in Seoul last Thursday. A transcript of his remarks was posted in the official South Korean foreign ministry website.

    Frat ‘Hitman’ Assassination and Other Murders Involving Japanese

    Alleged fraternity hitman Aristotle “Ares” Aves was charged yesterday for the murder of Japanese national Taroh Suda. Chito O. Aragon reported: Senior Supt. Jose Jorge Corpuz of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Central Vsiayas (CIDG-7) said Mandaue City police filed the charges after it was determined that the bullet that killed Suda on July 18, 2007 matched the gun found on Aves when he was arrested Dec. 3, 2007. Corpuz said Aves, a member of the Alpha Kappa Rho (Akrho) fraternity, had served as a gun-for-hire for a mastermind who wanted Suda dead. He declined to name the mastermind, but said Suda's death was “business-related.” Seven others, all Akrho, were named co-accused. [Source: Chito O. Aragon, January 25, 2008]

    In 2005, a Japanese man was found hacked to death in his home in the northern Philippines. Kyodo reported: “The blood-soaked body of the victim, identified as Shinya Takemoto, 59, was found dead by his Filipino wife, Maryjane Juan, at 3:55 a.m. Saturday at their home in Solsona municipality of Ilocos Norte province. [Source: Kyodo, May, 9, 2005]

    In May 2014, five men were charged with robbing and killing a Japanese engineer who was on his way to visit his Filipina girlfriend in Nueva Ecija. Dino Balabo wrote in the Philippine Star, Superintendent Fitz Macariola, police chief of San Miguel, Bulacan, identified three of the suspects as Bartolome Alvaro, his brother-in-law Armand Lubong, and Junior Casano. The two others are now being hunted down. Citing investigation reports, Macariola said Alvaro picked up 60-year-old Katsushige Fujinaga at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and were to drive him to Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija to meet with his girlfriend. However, upon reaching the Daang Maharlika Highway in Barangay Sacdalan, San Miguel town, the Japanese engineer and Alvaro were robbed by four men riding a tricycle at around 7:30 p.m. [Source: Dino Balabo, Philippine Star, May 1, 2014]

    “Fujinaga refused to give his bag containing cash and other valuables and was stabbed dead. According to Macariola, investigators became suspicious of Alvaro’s account of the circumstances leading to Fujinaga’s death. Upon further questioning, Alvaro eventually admitted his involvement in the crime and identified his cohorts. Follow-up police operations led to the arrest of Lubong and Casano in Barangay Tigpalas, San Miguel town. The tricycle used by the suspects, a Kawasaki Bajaj 100 CT100, with license plate 3802-DO was recovered. The vehicle had bloodstains on it. The two suspects yielded 26 10,000 yen bills, two 5,000 yen bills, and three 1,000 yen bills, amounting to 273,000 yen, as well as P18,000 cash and $56. Macariola said Alvaro and Lubong hatched the plan to rob Fujinaga, but not to kill him. The suspects though said everything went awry when the Japanese refused to give his bag. Police have filed robbery and homicide charges against Alvaro, Lubong and Casano while still tracking down their two accomplices.” [Ibid]

    Kyodo reported: “Fujinaga, an engineer from Ibaraki Prefecture, had just arrived from Japan to visit his Filipino girlfriend. Fujinaga was stabbed multiple times with a double-edged kitchen knife, a butterfly knife and an ice pick, he said. Police said the main suspect is the regular driver of the victim’s 32-year-old Filipino girlfriend, who had requested that he fetch him from the airport.

    In May 2010, Kyodo reported: “ A Japanese national was killed before, apparently stabbed to death by two suspected robbers in the southern Philippine city Zamboanga, police said. The victim was identified as Tokio Miyake, 71, a pensioner from Okayama Prefecture who has been a resident of Zamboanga in western Mindanao for around 15 years, police investigator Mario Lafuente told Kyodo News. Lafuente said Miyake sustained a fatal wound on the left part of his chest caused by an ice pick. He died on the spot. [Source: Kyodo News, May 14, 2010]

    Japanese Murdered in Plots Involving Their Spouses

    In January 2013, a Filipina and her son were arrested along with three other suspects for the gun-for-hire murder of the woman’s Japanese husband. AFP reported: “Hideo Niikura was shot dead by a motorcycle-riding gunman in Dasmariñas, a town about 35 kilometers south of Manila on December 29, a police statement said. His wife Merlinda Soria, 46, confessed she and an adult son by another man had plotted the killing, the statement said. The son and one of his friends paid a third man P100,000 (just under $2,500) to commit the murder, according to the statement, which added that the son’s friend also corroborated the woman’s deposition after their arrest.[Source: Agence France-Presse, January 5, 2013]

    “Police said the four were detained in separate police raids in Dasmariñas, along with another male suspect also implicated in the conspiracy. Police seized two semi-automatic pistols from the alleged gunman and the woman’s son, it said. The statement said mother and son plotted to have her husband killed “over money matters and alleged physical abuses”, but did not elaborate. Local police sources said the couple met in Manila around 1990, got married seven years ago and have a five-year-old child. The husband decided to permanently relocate to Dasmariñas in September 2012.” [Ibid]

    In March 2012, a 32-year-old Japanese woman was killed by her Filipino husband after she berated him for coming home drunk in the late at night. Jhunnex Napallacan wrote in the Inquirer Visayas, “Kotoka Kajii Denila, a Tokyo native and mother of a 9-month old girl, was pronounced dead on arrival at the Lapu-Lapu City District Hospital. Police arrested Dexter Louie Denila, 27, a native of Tagum, Davao del Norte, a few hours after the suspect fled the scene. [Source: Jhunnex Napallacan. Inquirer Visayas. March 26th, 2012 ^^]

    “Winston Ybañez, Lapu-Lapu City police homicide investigator, said that before the killing, Dexter was in a drinking session with his friends at a basketball court a few blocks from their house in Dominique Subdivision, Sitio Sudtongan, Barangay Basak, Lapu-Lapu City. Ybañez said a drunken Dexter went home at around 2:45 a.m. and knocked on the door of their house several times before Kotoka went down to let him in. “The victim allegedly scolded the suspect for coming home late,” Ybañez said. After scolding her husband, Kotoka went upstairs to go back to sleep in their bedroom on the second floor. But Dexter went to the kitchen, got a knife, and followed his wife upstairs, Ybañez said. The suspect then stabbed Kotoka before she could enter their bedroom, he added. ^^

    “House help Jupel Baldoseno, who was sleeping on the ground floor, told police he was awakened by Kotoka’s shouting. When he rushed upstairs, he saw Dexter repeatedly stabbing the victim. Baldoseno said he rushed out of the house to ask help from neighbors. But by the time the neighbors and the police arrived, Dexter had already fled, bringing with him the murder weapon, according to Ybañez. ^^

    “Dexter was arrested at past 7 a.m. by policemen from Lapu-Lapu City police station 4. Yabañez said the suspect was seen just roaming outside the subdivision, the murder weapon no longer in his possession. The police official theorized Dexter was not only drunk but could also have been high on drugs because he could not respond properly to their questions. The suspect claimed innocence, saying just saw his wife on the floor with several stab wounds and that he merely took the knife from her body. The couple’s infant was taken into custody by the Lapu-Lapu City women’s desk and would be turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Ybañez said that based on initial information, the couple got married last April 2011. Dexter was jobless while Kotoka was reportedly engaged in an unspecified business here, he added.” ^^

    Three Filipinos Held for Dumping Japanese Man at Sea

    In August 2014, three Filipino men were detained after confessing to dumping the bodies of a missing Japanese man and his Filipina girlfriend at sea. Asia News Network reported: “The men disposed of the bodies of Japanese businessman Yuji Okada and his girlfriend in early July on the orders of a Filipino suspect who remains at large, the department's National Bureau of Investigation said. The men initially buried the bodies on a sandy riverbank east of Manila, but later dug them up after a stray dog disturbed the site, said senior investigator Joel Tovera. "They loaded the bodies on a boat and sailed to Polillo island, where the by then bloated bodies were strapped to sandbags and dropped into the water," he told a news conference. [Source: Asia News Network, August 14, 2014]

    “Okada and his girlfriend are still registered as missing as no bodies have been found, Tovera added. Tovera said the authorities are looking for a total of four Filipino suspects, in addition to those already arrested over the couple's disappearance. The couple were apparently killed by a Filipino man and his Filipina girlfriend at Okada's suburban Manila home on June 28 after an unspecified argument with Okada's girlfriend, Tovera said. The male suspect's father later loaded the bodies into the trunk of his car, while another man drove the bodies to the riverbank, about 70 kilometres (43.5 miles) east of Manila for disposal two days later. Tovera said the three men who confessed to dumping the bodies at sea were pricked by conscience.” [Ibid]

    Canadian Kills Two and Shoots Self in Cebu Courthouse

    Foreign also explode in murderous rages in the Philippines. In January 2013, Jhunnex Napallacan wrote in the Inquirer Visayas, “A physician and a lawyer were killed while a female prosecutor was wounded when a Canadian national went on a shooting rampage inside the Palace of Justice about 8:30 a.m., the authorities said. Police said the suspect, identified as John Pope, shot himself when he reached the ground floor of the building located inside the Capitol compound in Cebu City. He expired about two-and-a-half hours later at the Cebu Doctor’s Hospital. [Source: Jhunnex Napallacan, Inquirer Visayas, January 22, 2013 ==]

    “Regional prosecutor Fernando Gubalane said Pope, who police said was armed with a .38-caliber pistol, shot lawyer Juvian Achas and Dr. Rene Rafols inside Branch 6 of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities located on the fourth floor. On his way down he met Cebu City Assistant Prosecutor Maria Theresa Casiño on the stairs near the court’s Branch 1 and shot her in the head, Gubalane said. Achas and Rafols died on the spot, Gubalane said, adding that Casiño was fighting for her life at Chong Chua Hospital in Cebu City. ==

    “Gubalane said Pope was facing several cases at the Palace of Justice filed by his neighbors in Barangay (village) Guadalupe, Cebu City. Gubalane said investigators had yet to determine why Pope shot Casiño and the two others. He described Casiño as a “good prosecutor” and friendly. ==

    Image Sources:

    Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Philippines Department of Tourism, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.

    © 2008 Jeffrey Hays

    Last updated June 2015


  • Graham said

    I stayed in Dipolog for a month,June to
    July,l saw NO trouble,talked to foriengers
    who lived there,they felt it was safe.
    There was a kiddnapping of a pizza shop
    owner in Dipolog buy a gang last
    October.l still think it is safe to go
    there,l will go back in three months for
    a month,my girlfried lives there.


  • justme said

    sure, and if you're a fan of being shot at, then the US would be the place to be . (duh)


  • esse said

    I'm planning to travel to meet my girlfriend in ormoc city, is it a safe place? and whats the best and safe way to go to from manila?


  • Danny said

    Since the recent bombing in Davao and Cebu, supposedly two of the safest cities in the Philippines, every city is on a heightened alert. General Santos City is considered to be the next target after Davao and road blocks are set up all around the city.
    We have a mission in General Santos City and we have 2 Philippine National Police on our staff as well as a retired Master Sergeant. I am normally allowed to roam around freely, but on occasion our PNP will request that I stay within the walls of our compound.
    As far as safety, I would much rather be here than, lets say Chicago, New York or LA where the toughest gun laws exist.


  • blue said

    to Tash, Iloilo is a very safe, clean and beautiful place. Don't be afraid to go there. You should explore and enjoy the place, go north to south and try different kinds of food and delicacies. Ilonggos are very hospitable and humble people. Any places in the world could not be safe to anyone but just be aware and conscious of you surroundings and treat people with respect and you'll be fine. Am sure, you'll love the place.

    To everyone whose judging the Philippines, not only that country is dangerous. Everywhere right now in all parts of the world has its own safety problems especially terrorism. Anywhere at anytime you could not be safe, so let's just enjoy the ride and live a happy life.


  • Gretch said

    Hi, Phil. Thank you for your insights and research. However, I hope that we exercise caution about generalizing "The whole of the far south: The areas of Mindanao" to be "all considered extremely dangerous" and in advising travelers against going to the entire region. In my opinion, it's unwise to make hasty generalizations of any place at all, unless one has spent a significant time there. That being said, as someone who was born and raised in the Philippines and have visited north to south, while I agree with you that there are several provinces in Mindanao that have long been ridden with terrorist attacks, there are also destinations in Mindanao that have been clear and safe for the longest time (Camiguin and Dinagat Islands, for example). Siargao is also a tourist favorite, as is South Cotabato. Terrorism, as a whole, is a threat to any nation. It is more publicized in the Philippines, but just because it happens to certain areas doesn't mean the problem persists in the entire region.


  • John bradley said

    My wife and I are going to palawan in November. We plan on spending 3 nights at Arena island. Any problems there?


  • steven said

    I was born in MArawi city in the 60's then left when i was 2 years old. I plan to travel by car hopefully after the Covid19 pandemic to visit my birthplace and then head up to Dapitan city to meet a family. Any suggestions regarding hotels/airB&B along the way and places to avoid? Thanks a lot!


  • Benjamin said

    Rick & Lu Mahalo... Avoid Zamboanga at all cost.. I am a Filipino, I know that this place is not safe..


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  • Sid Garcia said

    You can go anywhere in the Philippines, or to any part of the world, as long as you don't stick out like a sore thumb.
    Don't show them that you're carrying lots of money (This is the root of all evil).
    Be humble and try to get along with everyone... Smile and say hello, If they didn't respond to you, then go on with your business and keep your distance.


  • Robert Ness said

    At all cost avoid Bangued Abra in northern Luzon. Politics here is dirty and already this year six people have been shot dead and as this year is leading up to next years election, more deaths may follow. People here are not used to foreigners and are not over friendly. Also they will try and rip you off in shops and restaurants, unless of course you have a friendly local with you, then you will be fine. Hygiene standards here are poor and it is quite likely you could end with food poisoning. If anyone wants to visit northern Luzon, then head for places like Vigan or Laog.


  • Yarro said

    Hi...I really do want to visit the Philippines someday,to go see my long time friend who is a pediatrician there.she resides in Jolo,Sulu.But I am still skeptical about the safety of that region.I don't know if it'll be safe for me to go there,as I am black-an African from Nigeria.i know it's gonna be a tough ride,no doubt but not as the thought of something I don't know could happen,in a worse case scenario.


  • blur said

    Woah, I accidentally stumbled here lol. I enjoyed the shares of experience tho, anw i saw some who commented a long research of foreign involved crimes which is a rlly bad move because i'm sure that happens everywhere and are like 3x worse than here. Btw my mom is single, very out of context ikr lmao


  • Carl Gutierrez said

    Siargao Island is naturally a gem. Went there before pandemic and I really wanna go back.


  • Peter said

    DAVAO city is one of the safest cities in the world. I was there last in 2016. Its Mindanao so not all of Mindanao is dangerous. Be smart wherever you go but davao city is a great place to go with samal and talikud islands very close by for beautiful beaches


  • Jazzy Born said

    This is far more different from what is real. I am from Mindanao and travelled 90% of the places here, and I'm pretty sure that it is safe here and I think here are lot of crimes in Manila rather than the whole Mindanao itself. As of this date, Cagayan de Oro is one to avoid traveling and wander during the night because the thieves are lurking in dark corners foreigner or not, they will steal from you and might kill you as well but the place is the city is wonderful. Zamboanga city is historical place that is filled with spanish mixed with muslim cultures as well, if you plan to visit, just don't wander during the night to avoid trouble and be extra careful if you're a foreigner. Pagadian City is the place where I live in, the place is surely the safest for foreigners whether night or day and no heavy traffic at all since the mode of transportation is tricycle that is semi taxi type, although there's not much to explore here but seafoods are very cheap here. Iligan city is a city where many muslim resides, it is heavily cultured and a good place to travel at day. Lanao provinces, Maguindanao, and cotabato provinces are Muslim areas, if you're a Filipino traveler then it is nice to do a quick visit to these places during 9am to 4pm and have to be very careful if you're a foreigner since these are the areas that terrorist hide. General Santos City is a very great place since seafood is also their main produce it is a must to visit, and it is okay to wander during the night. Other than that, the places in other parts of Mindanao that have not been mentioned are safe to travel during night and day, foreigner or Filipino traveler. A must to visit and the biggest city in the Philippines is Davao City, it is safe to travel and wander there since they implement rules very strictly, there are also police patrol in most of the corners of the city.


  • Mike S. said

    ...I think when people hear the word kidnapping some take it as oh it's not that many kidnapping here, only a few. That's just not something anyone would be concerned about anywhere in the states...a kidnapping, no. Robbery sure, you might even get shot but kidnapped is horrifying. We have white supremacists groups who are terrorists light, they're not gonna kidnap anybody or start a war with the government. They mostly march in protest but occasionally someone might get shot. Stay away from protest or leave if you see it turning violent. I plan to visit the Philippines but I don't plan on visiting some of the more infamous areas in the south. There's some neighborhoods I wouldn't visit in the states either and I'm a black American so there's not many but there are some, it's mostly racially divided areas like rural Kentucky or certain Mexican neighborhoods in L.A. or gang neighborhoods. I say exercise caution and common sense anywhere in the world you go.


  • Kev said

    I am considering visiting Butuan City to meet up with a girl who I've been chatting to for around 7 months. I will be staying in the city and hiring a vehicle as I have an IDL. She lives around 15/20 minutes south of Bayugan city so it's likely that I'll be travelling/visiting these areas to.

    I also want to see some other areas in the North of the country around the coastline of Nasipit.

    Is it safe for a guy from the UK to make this trip as I've read there have been incidents of kidnappings for ransom and there are extremist groups operating in Mindanao.

    Thanks in advance for any advice that may be available.


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