How Safe Is Philippines for Travel?

Philippines
Safety Index:
47

The Philippines is an archipelago located in South-East Asia consisting of 7,641 islands with a total land area of 301,780 square kilometers situated between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea at the eastern edge of Asia.

The Philippines has one of the world’s longest coastlines and, at the same time, some of the world’s most gorgeous beaches.

The Philippine archipelago is divided into three island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

This country is very well known for being multi-cultural, ever since Spanish colonial times, celebrating a bunch of different holidays and throwing many festivals year-round.

Christian, Muslim and Chinese holidays are mixed throughout the year which makes this country a unique mix of over a hundred ethnic groups, cultures, and influences.

The fusion of cultures and arts is what makes the uniqueness of the Philippino identity.

This country is also home to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the spectacular Banaue Rice terraces in Batad, the only successful laid out plan of a European colonial town in Asia and the many Baroque churches.

Apart from that, Metro Manilla offers plenty of museums worth every penny.

Warnings & Dangers in Philippines

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : HIGH

The criminal activity in the Philippines has increased greatly during the past couple of years, and though it's still a popular tourist destination, it has many dangers and is ridden with crime. You should be aware that tourist hotspots are places where most thefts and pickpocketing occur, and that violent crime exists, too.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : HIGH

Transport is not the safest and most reliable in the Philippines. Count on taxi drivers trying to rip you off, extremely annoying traffic jams the Philippines are notorious for, intolerant and reckless drivers, roads being inaccessible due to flooding and taxi drivers working without meters.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW

Though the risk of petty theft exists due to the popularity of this destination, and there are many pickpockets operating around the beaches and popular tourist hotspots, the level of petty crime is low compared to many European capitals.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : HIGH

The Philippines are susceptible to typhoons, floods, landlines, tsunamis, while volcanic eruptions are also becoming a serious issue in the country.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : HIGH

While petty crime is lacking, the real concern for tourists here is the violent crime. Assaults, robberies, and kidnappings are extremely common all over the islands.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : HIGH

There have been numerous terrorist attacks in the Philippines recent history. Explosions occurred in the Quiapo area of Manila on 28 April and 6 May 2017, with many fatalities. The motive for these attacks is still unclear. It is best to remain vigilant at all times.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : HIGH

Always carry small bills with you. Venders will try and make you buy more things by saying they have no change for large bills. Apart from that, Be wary of people lurking around ATMs or anyone trying to distract you. Taxi drivers might try to trick you into paying more, giving you wrongful information about the price of the ride.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM

During a recent couple of years sexual assaults against women have increased in number, so it is advised that women avoid walking alone after dark. Apply all precaution measures at all times and avoid dark and empty streets and locations.

So... How Safe Is Philippines Really?

Although the Philippino people are known as friendly and welcoming, you should keep in mind that this is a poverty-ridden country, and this can be noticed especially in major cities.

What comes with this situation is, unfortunately, crime.

As an experienced traveler, you know that you should keep your belongings in a safe place, not to flash your valuables, especially parts of expensive technology, in public places, and not to carry all your money with you.

Even though Manila is crawling with pickpockets, it is not known for robberies and violent crimes.

If you do find yourself in a dangerous situation, unfortunately, you cannot rely on the police.

In many cases, you should be wary of them as they can be easily bribed and might even try to scam you.

Christian and Muslim areas of Mindanao are notorious for being home to organized crime groups and gangs involved in the drug and weapons trade, gambling or armed robberies.

However, they shouldn’t pose a threat to tourists.

Bear in mind that kidnappings also happen, especially in the Muslim area of Mindanao.

Drive-by shootings are posing another threat in the Muslim part of Mindanao as well, and as of the 2010s the criminals started performing more drive-by shootings than kidnappings, so be very careful when in public, whether by day or night.

How Does Philippines Compare?

CountrySafety Index
Philippines47
Morocco54
Austria92
Croatia83
Italy77
Malaysia69
Finland86

Useful Information

  • Visas - U.S. residents do not need a visa for any stays shorter than 90 days. All other nationals will need to acquire a visa in order to enter the Philippines. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need a visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
  • Currency - The Philippine peso is the official currency of the Philippines. Tourists are advised to exchange their money at the official establishments such as the Bank of the Philippine Islands or Banco De Oro.
  • Weather - The climate in the Philippines is tropical, with the hottest season lasting from March to May. The rainy season lasts from June to October and during this season you can expect strong typhoons. The coolest months are from November to February,
  • Airports - The Ninoy Aquino International Airport, formerly known and still referred to as Manila International Airport is the main and the busiest airport serving Manila. It is located along the border between Pasay and Parañaque, about 7 km south of Manila.
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we advise getting travel insurance when traveling to the Philippines, because it would cover not only medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Philippines Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 27° C
Feb 28° C
Mar 29° C
Apr 30° C
May 30° C
Jun 29° C
Jul 29° C
Aug 29° C
Sep 28° C
Oct 28° C
Nov 28° C
Dec 27° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
303132343332313131313130
Low
°C
242425262726262625252524
High
°F
868890939190888888888886
Low
°F
757577798179797977777775

Where to Next?

20 Reviews on Philippines

  1. d
    dorotnick says:

    Incorrect

    I just came back from the Philippines and I am pretty shocked to read all that.

    I spend there nearly a month and as a single female traveler, I felt safer there than in many European cities (including London where I live)! Of course Cebu or Manila (or probably any other big city) is different but then you can either rely on Grab (their version of Uber) which will also help you avoid any taxi scams.

    Internet is widely available (4G), police and any private security guards are also quite ‘protective’ of western tourists (I have been checked on by them on numerous occasions), female travelers (especially solo) attract curiosity but not aggression.

    Yes, some people will try to scam you but let’s be honest: under-informed and distracted tourists are an easy target. Locals often live in extreme poverty and they see us “white people” carrying expensive stuff and splashing money left and right on “silly things” that they can’t afford.

    It is true that they often claim that they have no change to large bills (especially in the morning) but no one ever forced me to buy anything and more than that – them accepting less money, if you don’t have enough cash in small bills, is equally common!

  2. Misinformed

    Probably you haven’t been to Philippines yet..your assessment were incorrect. Try visiting and staying in the country for sometime. Maybe then you can give a proper advice or a better insight.

  3. M
    MontrealMax says:

    Strongly disagree

    Going to completely disagree. I was there for a couple of weeks. Visited Manila, Boracay, Bohol, and Cebu. Never had a problem with anyone the people were super friendly I was a solo traveler and made lots of local friends. I had even dropped my visa at a point and a guy came running after me to give it back. Beautiful place, beautiful people, nothing to worry about will definitley go back.

  4. Completely Incorrect

    Maybe it’s because I’m Filipino, but this country is amazing and so safe. I go to visit family every year and I always see lots of tourists, and it’s 100% safe.

  5. This country review is extremely incorrect.

    1) Overall the Philippines is safer or just as safe as any of the other Southeast Asian countries. If you avoid high risk areas in Mindanao, you’ll be fine.

    2) There has been an increase in assassinations by hitmen on motorcycles but I can’t recall a single foreigner or tourist that has been attacked. Most victims are local politicians, police or business owners.

    3) The biggest risk to tourists are the scammers but that’s a risk that present in just about any country in the world.

    4) Solo female travelers can travel safely around the country. In some remote areas you’ll get stared at if they’ve experienced very few foreigners passing through but that’s the worst of it; in general Filipino men are very courteous toward foreign women.

  6. I would say it is mostly safe, but some tourist hotspots do have a lot of low level crime. I have been pickpocketed a couple of times. Had people try to scam me. Manila I have had people try to grab my backpack off me. Also I have seen one drive by shooting. But this was a local gang, about drugs I think. Get away to the quieter areas and it is much more safe. Like La Union for example. Mindanao was actually my favourite place even though its on the do not travel list. People were friendly and it was safe at night as there were the”death squad” patrols looking around for any criminals. Armed police at the night market etc. Also they had a tank outside the Cathedral in Davao! I wouldn’t want to go to the Muslim controlled areas though as I have been told my locals that ISIS kidnap locals.

  7. U
    Un Known says:

    Agreed

    I have cousins from my 2 uncles that are Filipino, and I haven’t been there, but I have 5 plus 1 (Uncle isn’t blood-related) Filipino cousins and 2 love the Philippines, and others don’t, and from what they said:

    It is not clean, high crime, bugs, and more
    Plus, from what 1 explained the Philippines, it sounds better in Thailand

    And so I’ve never been there, and different for everyone but…….. yeah.

    1. A bit hot, but a nice place!

      I found Bangkok to be pretty much like Manila, except the signage in Bangkok isn’t in English. Other than that, the experience you’ll have in both countries is about the same, at least in the big cities.

  8. Very Safe

    The Philippines Is Very Safe

  9. M
    Mister Anon says:

    Safe for the short term , yes .

    Dont follow the advice of tourists in the comments section . Their experience is limited to temporary touristy safey spots. Yes your safe for vacays , but living here is another story. Lived in Phils over 10 years and just like anywhere in Asia do not be lulled by smiles . Sure there are mostly good people here . The bad ones come in disguise as friendlies too tho . There is a lot of sh!t that can take you out here in Phils . The longer you stay the more you’ll notice . Rampant STD’s , jungle nasties like giant crocs , poisonous snakes and insects , bad water , food poisoning , spiked drinks , poorly maintained infrastructure , weather disasters , crazy taxi drivers , corrupt cops ,Duterte lol , Gangs , Jihads , Commie guerilla fighters mostly in the southern islands . Oh and crazy ex’s . I know first hand about those. Still safer then Thailand tho . Check out my other review on that crime zone .

    1. L
      LOLOLOL says:

      FUNNY MAN

      He/She lived for 10 years in poverty

  10. NOT THIS BAD FOR TRAVEL

    I DONT KNOW. ITS SAFE,NOT VERY SAFE JUST SAFE. THEY ARE POOR AND A LOT OF PEPOLE LIVE THERE BUT THEY ARE VERY BEAUTIFUL AND SO FAR NOT VERY BAD.

  11. Love it

    Best country I ever visited for friendliness. Been twice.
    Can’t wait to go back.
    Just apply common sense.
    Mabuhay 🙂

  12. A
    Anonymous says:

    whoever you are to say, that Philippines is not safe,,, I guess your travel experience are 0.00 to none. I been to the Philippine multiple times, and never have to worry about. people are friendly, happy, and kind. as for pick pocketer, never experiences, for muggers never, scammers, none,, we have more scammers her in the US than anywhere in the world. I got pick pocket in France, Barcelona. Philippines is 120% safer than the European countries whom always have bombs either on-trains and gun violent in the US from movie theater to schools

  13. It's not that bad, really.

    Been living there for about 5 years and I never got robbed, stolen, or anything. Sure, tourist spots are ridden with scams, but what do you expect, the country is ridden with poverty.

    Taxi drivers are definitely a problem but you can use Grab, and discuss with the driver as he’ll be happy to give you his mobile phone and become your private driver for a few days. You can also hire van drivers for cheap. Habal-habal can also be hired for a few days if you bargain with them.

    Have some small bills is definitely good advice. Most ATMs will spit PHP1,000 bills but no small shop can give you the change on that.

    Cops, well… just avoid them. The national police (PNP) is OK though, but local police are pretty much useless.

    Traffic is absolutely awful in Cebu and Manila, and there is no rule on the road, just don’t die. If you get involved in an accident, take pictures of everything and everybody. They will try to get money out of anything you do.

    Other than that, people are really nice, always welcoming and smiling. Just avoid the places where you have a horde of old American dudes trying to get laid, that’s where all the problems converge (prostitution, alcohol, drugs, crimes, etc), and you will be fine.

  14. A
    Anonymous says:

    No Source

    im an american and i have been living here since 2010. it is a safe place to live. alot of americans, europeans, koreans and chinese live in the philippines so dont say it isnt safe lol. who wrote this crap!

  15. 95% Philippines are safety for tourist,people are polite and friendly.

  16. It is safe

    It’s reviews like this that give the country such a bad rap. The Philippines is generally safe. The entire world had a hard time battling covid, and it was just recently that the country once again opened to vaccinated tourists. In the big cities such as Metro Manila it is right that getting a Grab ride is better or go to the taxi stands by the mall where there’s a guard and the taxis have to behave. I’ve travelled from far North to far South of the country and the only downside is they ask the tourists to pay more than the locals in the area. Otherwise, everyobe is friendly and helpful. Try visiting Bonifacio Global City for an organized and clean area at Metro Manila.

  17. V
    Valeria says:

    Safe as long as you don't wander around bad neighborhoods

    Our first Philippines stay was in an overwater bungalow. The whole week we did nothing but soak up all the sun, swim, snorkel and go through books like I had an exam. We didn’t explore the area, we stayed put.

    The second time around we decided to stay at a different resort, a resort that will allow us to see more of the place. I don’t live in my own bubble, I know people all around the world deal with a lot of problems on a daily basis, poverty being one. But believe me when I tell you, I was shocked to discover the sheer discrepancy between the luxury you get to experience in one of their resorts.

    I’ve read all these reviews and I wholeheartedly agree with the majority here. The Philippines is a poor country which forced some of the locals to resort to scams/petty theft to make some spare change. It doesn’t justify, by no means, but you somewhat understand why people do such things.

    Obviously, you should avoid buying or taking drugs, they’re very strict about this.

    Touristy destinations will always be a magnet for scams of all sorts so be aware of your surroundings while also saying no to any “great deals” that might come your way. I do this regardless where I‘m traveling, there’s really no way to avoid these characters.

    Be nice, mind your own business and no one will jump at you. I would avoid the outskirts, there’s really nothing to see and experiment there, you will only get into trouble.

    I recommend starting with one of the following: Luzon, Palawan, Panay, depending on your budget and what type of activity you have in mind. However, if you want peace and quiet, smaller, less known islands are your best bet. Batanes aka the New Zealand of the Philippines was a huge surprise for us, so chill and pleasant.

  18. It’s Not That Dangerous. It’s Literally Very Safe.

Rated 3.5 / 5 based on 20 user reviews.

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