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motion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Mid-life crisis, could be anywhere
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Any Philippines expertise here?

Mrs Motion and I are flying to Manila in about a month. I've never been to this part of the world, so am completely helpless. I ordered the Lonely Planet guide and its on the way. I would like to spend 3 days in Manila, then fly to Boracay, which supposedly is the famous beach in the country. It would be nice if there were awesome beaches closer to Manila, but I have no idea. Just starting my research. We're crossing our fingers that we'll miss the typhoons.

Any advice or expertise from anyone?
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Old 07-24-2014, 04:42 PM
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Um...don't?

Seriously - there are parts of the PI that are completely unsafe for westerners. As in kidnapped and or killed. This is per my Filipino friends who live here.

I'd bypass the PI and head straight to Thailand and/or Vietnam. Better odds there, and beaches just as nice or better.

Last edited by nostatic; 07-24-2014 at 06:46 PM..
Old 07-24-2014, 05:33 PM
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One of the women that works for me is a Filipina. She worked with me as my Operations person before she retired from the government and then came to work with us in the private sector.

Best person I know. She is from the Manila area, goes home at least once a year.
PM me and I'll make an email intro so she can give you the local take. She lives in Vegas.

Todd is correct, btw. Be careful.
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Old 07-24-2014, 05:57 PM
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For reals? I haven't heard much about this area being dangerous. Will dig further...
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Old 07-24-2014, 06:03 PM
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My go to:

Philippines Travel Warning
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Old 07-24-2014, 06:16 PM
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How much time in total? It sounds like you already know what you're doing. You'll be totally fine in Makati and Boracay.

Those unsafe places noted above are the Muslim areas in the south. Nobody goes there.

In Manila start off in Makati. Safe, nice, comfortable. Use that as your home base. Manila is a big city so there's a lot to do.
People might tell you Boracay is too touristy but don't listen to them. It's easy to get a flight in/out. Short runway and an exciting flight.
In Boracay splurge for a night or two and stay at the Shangri-La at the top end of the island. One of the best places I've ever stayed. For normal nights the Regency will do. Rent a scooter to get around the whole island. Visit the butterfly farm to play with the bats, kite surf (or take lessons) on the east side, visit Manny Pac's arena to watch the cock fights (part of the culture over there), tons of beach stuff to do on the cheap. After sunset walk up the main beach through the beach fronts of the nicer hotels for an awesome dinner on the sand. Oh yeah there's also this place called the Hobbit House...the Philippines is a different place. Have fun over there.
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Last edited by shinrai; 07-24-2014 at 06:36 PM..
Old 07-24-2014, 06:30 PM
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What sort of thing do you want to do?

The same advice for all travelers to a new place applies. Do not accept drinks from strangers. Don't ride in their car.

Best get a friend who's local.

In Manila, Makati Central Business District is the safest bet. Don't let the word Business throw you off. It is centered around the Ayala Shopping Center. Don't let the word shopping fool you either. It is full of restaurants and bars.

Venture a bit to Durban st. (Your cab driver can take you, it's about 2 miles from the Makati CBD but traffic can be bad during rush hour). Insist on turning on the meter. But you can probably walk there from the Makati CBD.

You will find a wilder nightlife. Beware of transvestites. Even wilder, ask the cabbie to take you to Malate. Google Maps seems to be pretty updated.

The closest decent beach without flying or taking a boat is Batangas but that doesn't
compare to Boracay. Stick to Boracay.
Old 07-24-2014, 06:34 PM
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Palawan

Its been to long.
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Old 07-24-2014, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seahawk View Post
Best person I know. She is from the Manila area, goes home at least once a year.
PM me and I'll make an email intro so she can give you the local take.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildthing View Post
Best get a friend who's local.
This is the only way I'd go there at this point. My understanding is that it isn't just Mindanao but there are places in/near Manila where it gets sketchy quickly. And we're not talking about just getting overcharged for cheap souvenirs but rather really bad stuff. My chiro is Filipina and she went back to visit with her anglo husband. When they got to her village the local "police" came around and essentially her husband had to hide until the guy was paid to look the other way. Different set of rules...

Vietnam otoh is beautiful and pretty safe for tourists.
Old 07-24-2014, 06:56 PM
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It is not as bad as people think, just stay in the city.
Old 07-24-2014, 07:28 PM
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gos

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Old 07-24-2014, 07:34 PM
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I have been going Manila for business for the past 10 years. Great place and the people are the nicest and most hospital you will ever meet. Metro Manila has great hotels and restaurants. Boracay is a terrific resort area and great diving. Never felt unsafe there.
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Old 07-24-2014, 07:37 PM
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You guys are awesome! Phase 1 complete: 2 nights at the Mandarin Oriental in Makati. Next to figure out is 2 nights in Boracay, then last night back in Makati.
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Old 07-24-2014, 07:38 PM
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Great choice for the hotel and there is a lot to do in that area. On a side note, gold jewelry is normally a good deal. I always try to bring some home for the wife.
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Old 07-24-2014, 07:50 PM
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The Philippines dangerous? That's what my mom says so we havent gone back since leaving in 1974.
Old 07-24-2014, 08:00 PM
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The Philippines dangerous? That's what my mom says so we havent gone back since leaving in 1974.
Yes, well in 1974, the Philippines was under Martial Law. Should be better now. Of course there are still areas people are advised to stay away, especially light skinned I foreigners.
Old 07-24-2014, 09:28 PM
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Light skinned foreigners and expats are kidnap targets. A friend of mine who can still speak Tagalog and Ilocano goes back "home" every year says it's safe. Yet he never goes anywhere in Manila or his province in Northern Luzon alone because he says he smells like an American.
Old 07-24-2014, 10:42 PM
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Been there several times. Wifey is Visayan. Manila is a **** hole. Boracay is pretty nice, but Palawan is the shidizzle. And not too far fram Boracay. Fly into Manila, leave IMMEDIATELY and go to Boracay for a couple days, then hit Palawan for the rest of the vacation.

And whiteys are targets. Hey Joe! Want a watch? Sun glasses? Pretty girl?
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:57 AM
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Manila is a **** hole.
This.

Either go North to the mountains or go South to Palawan.
Old 07-25-2014, 06:21 AM
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The Phillippines aren't anywhere near as bad as people make it out to be, unless you're a clueless traveller. If you're a smart, savvy traveller, you should have no issues. Yes, there's crime there. Now, tell me where there isn't crime.
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:24 AM
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