There aren‘t too many travel destinations that don‘t carry the risk of some sort of petty crime. Let‘s face it – where there are tourists, there are criminals. The Philippines is, sadly, no exception.
The Philippines has a moderately high rate of violent crime, particularly in the city of Manila. Incidents of violent robbery and assault occur frequently, and tourists are often targets. The biggest culprits of these acts are local criminal gangs, although it‘s not unheard of for individual hoodlums to strike on their own.
Adding fuel to the fire is the substantial amount of Filipinos who own guns. This widespread gun ownership is very poorly regulated making it a recipe for disaster.
Firearms are frequently used in the commission of crimes in the Philippines, and lend to the violent and highly dangerous nature. Avoid rural, unpopulated areas at night and try to travel in groups.
We're talking about scary things such as grenade attacks, which have occurred in recent years, and although they don‘t necessarily target foreigners, because they tend to be aimed at large groups of people and places frequented by tourists, visitors can easily become victims simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The danger of kidnapping exists, particularly in south Philippines. This type of crime is believed to be due to the extensive poverty of the Filipino people, and foreigners are usually the ones targeted.
The consumption of alcohol is often the trigger of street fights and violent crime. The national liquor, a coconut concoction called Tuba, is typically mixed with Coca-Cola and consumed in large quantities. It is an extremely potent drink so if you plan to partake, avoid doing so in public taverns and only drink with people you know. Barroom brawls often involve not just fists, but guns and machetes as well so it‘s not something you want to get involved with - especially if you‘re inebriated.
Drink spiking is an issue – the locals refer to it as the “Atvian Scam“ after the drug used in the crime. Victims are often robbed or assaulted while they are unconscious. If someone you don‘t know offers you a drink that you didn‘t watch being made, no matter how friendly they seem, don‘t take it. It‘s better to be safe than sorry.
While petty crime is typically non-violent, when it occurs at night or in rougher areas it could quickly turn dangerous. It‘s no unheard of for a simple pickpocketing incident to escalate into assault or worse.