Philippines forum

Mindanao safe or not

  • boxee

    Joined Travelfish
    26th March, 2008
    Location Singapore
    Posts: 127

    after more research on Mindanao is it safe to go there or not, here is the infomation i got from british foreign &commonwealth webb site

    We advise against all travel to south west Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of ongoing terrorist and insurgent activity. We advise against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao. There have been terrorist attacks against civilian targets in Mindanao: in the past two years these have included roads, buses and shopping malls. Since 10 August 2008 there have been clashes between insurgent groups and the Philippine Armed Forces in North Cotabato, Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte provinces of Mindanao. There have been reports of civilian fatalities and thousands of people remain displaced. See the Terrorism and Local Travel sections of this advice for more details.
    my main plan is to vist davao city ,mt aplo and samal island

    danny

    #1 Posted: 5/9/2009 - 03:28

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  • millionario

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd June, 2004
    Posts: 25
    Total reviews: 15

    Hi Danny,

    As far as I know, Davao area is generally safe, no reports of abduction here, and many expats living in the city. Note that most of non-Mindanao filipinos are very afraid of Mindanao and will discourage you to go there at any cost. Of course you should avoid the SW autonomist region but other places like Cagayan de Oro are considered to be safe also.

    #2 Posted: 5/9/2009 - 09:31

  • BDV

    Joined Travelfish
    27th September, 2008
    Posts: 20

    boxee,

    spent quite a few months living in Davao and General Santos and never had any problems at all. Just use common sense and don't go walking around at night:)

    #3 Posted: 6/9/2009 - 11:17

  • mic2

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd October, 2009
    Posts: 9

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Davao City maybe part of Mindanao but it doesn't mean that the disturbances in some parts of Mindanao is also what's going on in Davao. The place is safe unless you're involved in drug trafficking. Locals strongly believed that the safest place for drug traffickers are jail otherwise they'll either be found floating in the river or romancing with bullets on the streets. Cruel but it's true, so if you just want to enjoy the city then I suggest no drugs and no picking up of young girls. You can visit the City Tourism Office and ask their help on what to do in Davao, they are very much willing to help you and even act as your tour guide for free, if necessary. How do I know? Because I live and work in one of the newspapers...check our website www.mindanaotimes.com.ph

    #4 Posted: 22/10/2009 - 10:52

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6293
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    "Just use common sense and don't go walking around at night:)"

    In other words, it ain't real safe. Mindanao has a collective attitude problem. There are better places to go.

    #5 Posted: 25/10/2009 - 22:20

  • mic2

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd October, 2009
    Posts: 9

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Not safe for drug traffikers or phidophile, MadMac

    #6 Posted: 29/10/2009 - 15:34

  • legalnomads

    Joined Travelfish
    30th October, 2009
    Posts: 31

    I spent several weeks on Mindanao and it was fine. I stayed away from huge swaths of the south (Sulu, Basilan, etc) but there are many places that are well worth visiting and are completely safe. Davao was fine. I also spent a good amount of time in Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin and Surigao. All were absolutely beautiful (Camiguin especially - it has more volcanos per sq metre than any other island on earth!) and well worth it. I'd check it out if you have the time.

    #7 Posted: 30/10/2009 - 07:55

  • Caripito

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location United States
    Posts: 31

    legalnomads: How did you get to that part of the Philippines? How was transportation in the areas you visited?

    #8 Posted: 30/10/2009 - 21:32

  • legalnomads

    Joined Travelfish
    30th October, 2009
    Posts: 31

    Hi Caripito. Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific fly to most places in Mindanao and Cebu specifically was a great airline to use. (Their site is currently down bc of Typhoon Mirinae that's currently battering Metro Manila). However, I had quite a bit of time, so I went from Manila to Tagbilaran in Bohol and trolled around the Visaya Islands for awhile, and then I took a ferry from Jagna in Bohol to Camiguin. The ferry only goes 1x per day (and that route wasn't in the Lonely Planet when I was there last year, though it might be in their new edition). It leaves in early afternoon, so you can easily get a public bus to the ferry from anywhere on Bohol to make it in time.

    After awhile on Camiguin, I took another ferry down to Cagayan de Oro and then bused along the coast to Surigao. I flew from Cagayan de Oro to Davao, but you can also fly to Manila from there.

    One thing: I was hoping to take a ferry from Zamboanga to Borneo but was told that tourists were no longer permitted to do so. This was in April of 2008.

    Jodi

    #9 Posted: 30/10/2009 - 21:42

  • sassysinner-
    saint

    Joined Travelfish
    30th August, 2009
    Posts: 2

    @ MADMAC

    Mindanao has a collective attitude problem.

    i detest this statement of yours. with the number of people in strife and suffering in that part of our country, you can be more sensitive and can refrain from making sweeping and untrue statements like this.


    its so fantastic to know that your country has no collective attitude problem whatsoever. really, good for you.

    ON TOPIC:
    Please do yourselves a favour and go to the island of BOHOL! it has the most amazing beaches and outofthisworld dive sites. one of the best in the philippines, and that is saying A LOT!

    :)

    #10 Posted: 2/11/2009 - 19:25

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  • sassysinner-
    saint

    Joined Travelfish
    30th August, 2009
    Posts: 2

    @ LEGALNOMADS

    I read your blog and loved your account on your travel to the 'pinas! hope you can come back soon!

    #11 Posted: 2/11/2009 - 19:29

  • legalnomads

    Joined Travelfish
    30th October, 2009
    Posts: 31

    @sassysinnersaint - thanks! I loved it, not that you could't tell from the blog :) Bohol was gorgeous, I agree - though I am partial to the beaches of Palawan. I truly loved El Nido.

    On topic though: Yes, there are parts of Mindanao that have problems, but the northwest and Davao are not those 'bad' parts. And they're well worth visiting.

    Jodi

    #12 Posted: 3/11/2009 - 00:03

  • johnjones

    Joined Travelfish
    24th November, 2009
    Posts: 4

    I can tell by reading some of these post that there is a mixture of feelings, but as long as most people agree that common sense will keep you out of trouble than it can't be that bad of an area.

    #13 Posted: 24/11/2009 - 01:10

  • boxee

    Joined Travelfish
    26th March, 2008
    Location Singapore
    Posts: 127

    just read his on the bbc news webb site

    Philippines political violence leaves 21 dead

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8373770.stm

    #14 Posted: 24/11/2009 - 03:29

  • legalnomads

    Joined Travelfish
    30th October, 2009
    Posts: 31

    @Boxee: despite what currently happened down in Maguindanao, my initial advice stands. This province, as well as Sulu and Basilan, is off limits per most government travel advisories. However, northest of Cagayan de Oro remains safe (Surigao, etc). I would agree that any forays down into the contentious parts of southern Mindanao would be a mistake, but it would also be a mistake to scratch off the entire province from your list because of a specifically tumultuous area. Just my 2 cents!

    -Jodi
    @legalnomads

    #15 Posted: 24/11/2009 - 05:08

  • legalnomads

    Joined Travelfish
    30th October, 2009
    Posts: 31

    (Just to clarify, I meant the province of Maguindanao, on Mindanao island).

    #16 Posted: 24/11/2009 - 05:09

  • JlyGrnMigt

    Joined Travelfish
    15th July, 2007
    Posts: 5

    In 2007 (so yeah, this is out of date) I was in South Cotabato for a month. Most of that was spent in Barangay Ned, which was reached by driving from Koronadal through Surallah and then into the mountains from there. My hosts kept me in the city as little as possible and made me sit in the back with the tinted windows up while driving through some areas in the mountains. We did stop for a meal in Surallah though, which surprised me.

    Once I was deep into Ned, I had no worries. The only people that make it back there are locals, missionaries, and entomologists.

    #17 Posted: 6/12/2009 - 00:16

  • krisited

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd November, 2009
    Posts: 25

    The President of the Philippines just announced Martial Law in Maguindanao, but other parts of Mindanao are not affected..but just like what MADMAC said "Just use common sense". there are a lot of other great destinations in the Philippines or in other parts of Mindanao, these places are not really for tourists I guess..

    #18 Posted: 10/12/2009 - 10:18

  • seahorse88

    Joined Travelfish
    14th December, 2009
    Posts: 9

    I was in Manila sometime in 2007 and heard about heinous crimes committed even in broad daylight almost on a daily basis such as robbery and kidnapping and killings. Manila is miles away from Mindanao, which means everywhere else in the Philippines is not safe at all. But generally this country is peaceful -- warm and hospitable people. The best thing you could do if you travel there is to be always cautious from the airport to where you want to stay. The Philippines is so vast and that there are a lot of beautiful places there to go perhaps in the north where I plan to visit next year. I can't speak about Davao but based on what the others' here are saying, I think I agree with them that it's safe to go there in that city.

    #19 Posted: 16/12/2009 - 12:29

  • Babalugats

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Philippines
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    Hi. I don't know if you've already been to Davao, but just in case...

    You can check out my blog (http://franz-goingplaces.blogspot.com); this may gives an idea of the sights in Mindanao.

    I've been there many times. I can say that the northern (e.g. Camiguin) and eastern (e.g. Davao, Surigao) regions are safe for tourists. Even foreign travelers. Many of them aren't developed yet (like Bohol), so you may want to get in touch with the Provincial/City Tourism for assistance. The folks there will be more than glad to guide you. After all, some Filipinos are hospitable to a fault.

    You may know that Davao region is the best place to go. Weather is good all year round. Sea food is cheap. There are many places to visit - white beaches in Samal and some towns in Davao del Sur, and highland attractions in Compostella Valley.

    As for the safety issue, you may be referring to the provinces largely populated by Muslims. I haven't visited any of these places and I wanted to (can't restrain an adventurous spirit), but some local tourism officers I befriended told me that it's advisable that you know someone in that province in able to visit it.

    Mindanao is quite foreign to me. Most of its terrain is mountainous. The weather is different from the rest of the Philippines. Even some of its flora and fauna are only found there. Many of its people are poor, but they're nice and accommodating. I think most of the Philippines' best tourist destinations are found there - Surigao has the best white beaches while Lanao has the most gorgeous waterfalls.

    It's far from perfect, but it's not bad as the foreign media pictures it.

    #20 Posted: 21/3/2010 - 03:22

  • Babalugats

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Philippines
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    Provincial/City Tourism Office*

    #21 Posted: 21/3/2010 - 03:23

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6293
    Total reviews: 10

    "Mindanao has a collective attitude problem.

    i detest this statement of yours. with the number of people in strife and suffering in that part of our country, you can be more sensitive and can refrain from making sweeping and untrue statements like this."

    Sassy
    The place DOES have a collective attitude problem. It has been involved in internecine violence directed against the central government for a long time. This isn't new. There is no point in putting your head in the sand and pretending everything there is cool. It's not. For the same reason I would advise a potential tourist not to travel to southern Somalia, because it ain't a good idea. There are tons of places to travel in SEA where the potential for violence isn't nearly as acute. Why go there?

    "Not safe for drug traffikers or phidophile, MadMac"

    Mic, if you can't go walking around a place at night, it's probably not a great tourist destination. I mean, WTF? Most people on vacation like to go out at night. I'm not talking pedophelia or drugs, just a normal night out.

    My criticism on Mindanao is, I think, completely reasonable. If you haven't read "Under the Crescent Moon: Rebellion in Mindanao by Marits Vitug, I suggest you do so. This outlines the nature of the conflict quite well I think. It would not be on my list of places to go for vacation. It gives the notion of adventure tourism a bit too much adventure for most people.

    #22 Posted: 9/4/2010 - 09:48

  • Babalugats

    Joined Travelfish
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    Violence happened in Mindanao's southern and western regions. These are the places populated by Muslims. But that is not the case in the northern and eastern regions. I've been there many times for the past ten years, and believe me, it's sleepy like any town in Luzon and Visayas. Except if there's a fiesta.

    One of the reasons (why there's conflict) is that the people there feel that the government (based in Manila) don't care about them at all. Except for their natural resources. This is the reason why their governance is quite different. I wouldn't call it democratic. That's what I observed from the governors and local officials I met and have been with during my trips. It's a long story. If I have to explain it in detail, I have to include Philippine history during colonial times.

    The reason why it's not advisable to go walking around Mindanao at night is because there's hardly any sight of public transportation vehicles during that time. Whenever I visit a natural tourist destination, I have to wake up between 5 AM and 6 AM; all public vehicles start passing by the National Highway at past 4 AM. They dwindle by the afternoon.

    No nightlife in these towns. Most of the folks sleep early. Except if you want to visit a bar or check out your e-mails in a small Internet rental shop.

    However, that's no longer the case with Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City, the two largest capitals in Mindanao. Both are not far from Metro Manila and Cebu City in terms of urban look and feel.

    One more thing: majority of the Mindanao people are Christians. In northern and eastern provinces, Christians and Muslims co-exist peacefully. Go to Iligan, Lanao del Norte where the ratio between the two (in terms of population) is almost the same. I've been there twice, and I can say that nothing contentious happened there.

    I can go on and on. I understand the safety issue. Or the trepidation. But I don't like it if it's exaggerated or inaccurate.

    #23 Posted: 9/4/2010 - 13:22

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6293
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    This is the arguement I get with people concerning southern Thailand. But the fact is, there is a fair amount of political violence in southern Thailand. Some 3,000 deaths since 2004. I see no reason to put yourself in a position where you are at risk.

    Now I've heard mixed reviews about Davao and Mindanao. Mostly have been pretty positive. But in general Mindinao does have security issues and like Pattani, there are alternatives. So from a vacation standpoint, I just don't see the reason to go there. Why incur the added risk?

    #24 Posted: 9/4/2010 - 14:46

  • Babalugats

    Joined Travelfish
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    Madmac, is it hard for you to keep an open mind? This is what I learned from ten years of traveling around the Philippines. Unless you've set foot in Mindanao (or in any part of the Philippines), why make a generalization? It's neither fair nor right.

    #25 Posted: 9/4/2010 - 21:04

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6293
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    Nope, never been to the PI, but I've never been to the DROC either, and I know I'm not planning on going there for vacation. I'm not saying the two are comparable, but if you are going to go to Mindanao, you had better do your homework first. When I was working in Djibouti we had two backpackers straggle in to our compound. They were roaming around Somaliland (which is, relative to southern Somalia, pretty safe) and were, of course, robbed of everything they owned. We were just shaking out heads saying "what were they thinking?" They were lucky to get out with their lives. Now you've given some good, detailed info here. And I have no reason to doubt it's veracity. But I look at Mindanao see potential land mines. Backpackers often (not always) tend towards the idea that people are generally OK everywhere, and if you just respect their culture, everything will be fine. This is exactly wrong. There are some places where bad people are doing a lot of bad things. I've never visited Mindanao, but I have done a lot of reading about it and the problems there. I can easily see some tourist wandering into an area where he gets his head chopped off. Also, it seems to me that Mindanao is short on nightlife, which outside the pages of travelfish most people on vacation want to enjoy and relax while getting away from the stress of normal life, and petty crime seems to also be an issue in excess of what you see in Laos and Thailand. Now again, your posts are good and informative, so I am not denigrating them. Don't get me wrong. But if I were picking a place to spend my vacation time, and had to compare Mindanao with some of the other areas I could go to in SEA, Mindanao would not be high on the list (although I did find the idea of a place with lots of waterfalls with clean water appealing, I have to admit).

    #26 Posted: 10/4/2010 - 10:38

  • LGR_2010

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd April, 2010
    Posts: 23

    I'm from Manila. Never been to mindinao. But have a lot of coworkers from that area - and they'd agree Davao and Gen San are safe.

    Just an extra...
    Check out Davao's version of Palawan's Amunpulo - the exclusive/private island: http://www.buenavistaislandresort.com/

    #27 Posted: 13/4/2010 - 14:16

  • SamalBahayK-
    ubo

    Joined Travelfish
    5th September, 2011
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 8

    I'm a UK expat who has chosen to settle in Mindanao after 30 years of traveling and living around the world. Davao is safer than most large cities I can think of. Yes there are hazards, but I'd say that life in almost any UK town or city is more hazardous. Davao doesn't have drunken yobs kicking in shop windows for the fun of it, or vomiting in the street at weekends. Since it's not on the tourist trail, customer service needs some working on, but that's just a question of time and experience. The provinces along the coast of the Gulf of Davao have much to offer the intrepid traveler. Direct flights are available from Singapore. Try it!

    #28 Posted: 5/9/2011 - 06:50

  • mindanao

    Joined Travelfish
    12th September, 2011
    Posts: 19

    @madmac -i think its you that have ur head in the sand -uve never been to the place but u give advice against going there? ive been there 6 times ,many places around the island -even in south cotobato and some other muslim areas this march ,i know many expats who have lived in different parts and still do ,my advice would be to stop hiding behind the computer and go there to experience it before you write nonsense .

    #29 Posted: 12/9/2011 - 01:24

  • KatMachine

    Joined Travelfish
    8th February, 2011
    Posts: 26

    Hi, me and my husband visited Davao for three days and two nights, it is quite safe. We stayed at My Hotel at Downtown Davao City since it is easier and accessible for us to get rides to places of interest.
    If you need help where to go in Davao City, try to go to my blog. Edit: snip - please no blog drops like this

    #30 Posted: 15/1/2012 - 00:43

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6293
    Total reviews: 10

    Mindanao,
    I've never been to the Eastern Congo either, but I would not advise it as a tourist destination. I can read. I'm sure much of the area is safe - but Manny Pacquio lives in General Santos city, and he employs 30 armed guards! I wonder why? And they are armed with assault rifles. Again, what's the point? Is Mindanao offering something that Luzon is not? The PI ranks 10th in the world in gun violence and Mindanao ranks highest within the PI. In the intel business, we call that an indicator.

    #31 Posted: 15/1/2012 - 01:10

  • SamalBahayK-
    ubo

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Global Village
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    @Madmac: trolls like you are part (if not most) of the problem. You've never been to Mindanao (by your own admission) but you advise against anyone else visiting the 2nd largest island of the Philippines (7000 islands). You quote a statistic for the whole island without giving your source (is it verified, or an internet rumour?) and another internet rumour about Manni Pacquiao's armed entourage. Regarding the latter, he's one of the richest and most famous celebrities and politicians in SE Asia; armed guards are therefore not a surprise. Does he have 30? I doubt it. I worked in Algeria 8 or 9 years ago (for 1 week) and I was assigned a jeep-full of armed guards. It's a precaution. Avoiding SE Mindanao is a bit like avoiding NW Spain or Northern Ireland; it doesn't mean you have to avoid the whole country or island.

    #32 Posted: 15/1/2012 - 05:47

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6293
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    Let me see, I've got 3,500 plus posts here on travelfish, on a whole range of subjects, and you've got 3, but I'm the troll. Right.

    I'm not saying Mindanao must be avoided, but I pointed out:

    1. It statistically has a high rate of violence (UN stats).
    2. It has a long burning, ongoing insurgency.
    3. There are other places in the PI with a lower rate of violence (statistically).

    So of the places you could go both within the PI and within the region as a whole, unless you have burning reason to go there, I would think there are safer destinations offering the same kinds of basic environment.

    As for the numbers of security personnel hired by Manny, Freddy Roach is the person who stated that when questioned about whether Manny should remain in General Santos City.

    As I said before, there are people out there who believe that environments are benign as long as you respect the local culture and are a nice, benevolent person. This is a very naive viewpoint that can (and has before with many a backpacker) get you killed.

    #33 Posted: 15/1/2012 - 08:26

  • mindanao

    Joined Travelfish
    12th September, 2011
    Posts: 19

    madmac -what areas of luzon are safer than some parts of mindanao ?did u read about the foreign student missing and killed in manila ,just because u dont hear /read about these things doesnt mean they dont happen the same as they do in mindanao -if u dont want go there -nobody is making you but when u know nothing about it -then what advice can you give -people already know the areas that are unsafe to go and if they choose to go there -then its their risk .btw -do u happen to live in one of the places that ranks higher than PI in gun violence? i dont see any advisory against going to usa or london where many get killed too.As others have pointed out -if a person is wealthy or famous -most likely they will have security ,if pacquaio didnt want to live in gen santos -then he could easily move to any country he wants -having 30 or more doesnt matter -he dont have to pay them thousands like in usa or uk ,btw i have been to general santos and didnt have any security but i guess im not rich enough to be kidnapped for ransom . http://hands.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/projectcdo-volunteer-information_14jan12.pdf

    #34 Posted: 15/1/2012 - 09:32

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6293
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    Mindanao
    You did not address a single thing I wrote.

    AGAIN, according to UN statistics Mindanao has a higher homicide rate than the rest of the country.

    There IS an ongoing low level insurgency. Due to this insurgency, there are over 69,000 internally displaced persons in Mindanao.

    The United States and other nations have issued travel advisories warning their citizens that travel to Mindanao is dangerous, and perhaps should be avoided altogether. Personally I think this is hyperbole, but trying to paint a word of caution as ignorant is equally foolish.

    Most analysts agree that the ARMM should be avoided entirely.

    Again, if you have a reason to go there, or something specific you want to see, I got it. But if not, why not go to some other parts of the PI where the security risk is a bit lower? It's not as if Angkor Wat is in Mindanao.

    #35 Posted: 15/1/2012 - 12:36

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Oh, and according to the PI National Police, some 80% of all illegal weapons in country are in Mindanao.

    #36 Posted: 15/1/2012 - 12:53

  • mindanao

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 19

    im not really interested in the things u write as most can see u cant offer any advice since u havent been there ,i know many foreigner /tourist that visit there for the many attractions the island has to offer and nothing happened them,-its unfortunate that you cant get there and experience it instead of just writing based on what u read in advisories etc ,everyone knows not to go to the armm ,no matter where u will go in the world whether by plane /ship or any other way -there is a risk something will happen -the risk of getting killed in ur home country is probably higher than getting killed in mindanao -so i for one will be going back in a few months and if i find any terrorists --ill be sure to let them know you wont be one of their victims .

    #37 Posted: 15/1/2012 - 13:30

  • SamalBahayK-
    ubo

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Global Village
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    MADMAC, If you've got 3 1/2 thousand posts on here, by definition, you are a troll. You are treating this as your own domain and rubbishing any other contributions, even those of inhabitants of an area you have never visited = troll. I suggest you get out from behind your computer and travel.

    I live in Davao, it's regularly rated as the safest city in the Philippines. But you are correct, Angkar Wat isn't in Mindanao.

    #38 Posted: 15/1/2012 - 15:09

  • gwapo

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 49

    SamalBahayKubo,
    It would appear that you have a very hands-on mayor in Davao who does not stand for any nonsense from anybody especially court officials. Certainly I would feel safe strolling the streets of Davao in the knowledge that the mayor looks after her constituents. She really packs a wicked left hook!
    In fact if Floyd Mayweather does not want a crack at Manny Pacquiao perhaps the good citizens of Davao could start a petition to nominate their good mayor for the task.Just think what that could do do for crime prevention!
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2010838/Mayor-Sara-Duterte-Carpio-punches-Sheriff-head-refuses-help-poor.html

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hL3cEEmATE

    #39 Posted: 15/1/2012 - 20:30

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6293
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    That was a series of overhand rights, not a left hook, gwapo. A hook is a more difficult punch to throw well.

    In most places the Sheriff or Chief of Police works for the Mayor. Davao must have a different power arrangement.

    Samal. I live in Thailand. Have for coming up on five years. Before that I lived in Germany, East Africa, Bosnia, Haiti, Saudi Arabia - I get around. I don't think I need to travel more.

    And I don't "rubbish" any other contributions. A lot of guys here have a lot to offer. I would even venture to say you do, as you live in Mindanao and we don't have a lot of people who can provide hands on observation of the place here. But sometimes you are too close to a place to see things clearly. Numbers don't lie. Perhaps in your up close experience you observe Davao as being a safe city - and I don't doubt your veracity. I haven't read any stats on that city in particular. BUT, when someone asks a basic question - is Mindanao safe for travel - well, RELATIVE to the region on the whole and based on systemic, numerical analysis, it's certainly on the lower end of the spectrum. As I said, if you have something you want to see specifically, I got it. But let's not pretend Mindanao is Hakaido - it ain't.

    Thailand has a very high rate of gun violence - double the US which is a place most Europeans see as a place where gun violence rates are high. Most people wouldn't expect that. But we have shootings in my little provincial town all the time. Just last week four guys were shot to death in front of the high school. Most of these killings are crimes of passion - done in the heat of conflict over nonsense, so they don't affect tourists usually. But Thais are very face oriented. Is Thailand safe to travel? Absolutely, with this caveat: Do not aggressively confront a Thai when they have done something you don't like or you've gotten bad service or whatever. When Thais lose it, which doesn't happen often, they really lose it.

    #40 Posted: 15/1/2012 - 22:14

  • SamalBahayK-
    ubo

    Joined Travelfish
    5th September, 2011
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 8

    That's a far more reasoned response than your others. But now should I say that Thailand is a very dangerous place and no one should visit there, based on your first hand testimony? Apart from the airport transit lounge I've never visited Thailand, so I wouldn't presume to comment. You have never visited Mindanao, but you have made 9 comments on this thread about whether Mindanao is a safe place to visit. That strikes me as curious.

    #41 Posted: 16/1/2012 - 04:54

  • millionario

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd June, 2004
    Posts: 25
    Total reviews: 15

    Well it would be more accurate if someone said that most of Mindanao is safe to travel, except particular zones like the Zamboanga Peninsula (I wouldn't go to Pagadian for one) and the ARMM. I hope this closes the debate here.

    #42 Posted: 16/1/2012 - 22:58

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6293
    Total reviews: 10

    "You have never visited Mindanao, but you have made 9 comments on this thread about whether Mindanao is a safe place to visit. That strikes me as curious."

    Well I made one post, and then in each case was responding to someone from that point onward.

    #43 Posted: 18/1/2012 - 04:28

  • SamalBahayK-
    ubo

    Joined Travelfish
    5th September, 2011
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 8

    That's right, you kicked off with this:

    "In other words, it ain't real safe. Mindanao has a collective attitude problem. There are better places to go."

    From a guy that's never been here!? That's a curious statement - how do you judge a population's collective attitude problem without coming here? Collective means the whole population.
    I occasionally meet with a small, but growing bunch of Germans, Swiss and American expats; they love this place. It's been obvious over the last year that the number of expats is growing month on month. European companies are looking to invest several million $$s in the area. If you haven't been here, your rhetoric is by definition, sweeping, generalised, ignorant bigotry.

    #44 Posted: 18/1/2012 - 04:55

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6293
    Total reviews: 10

    Collective means, in this case, in the aggregate. In general there has been a lot of political violence over the decades in Mindanao, it is one of the poorest regions of a poor country, has a lot of gun violence... There is nothing biggoted about stating the obvious. I am glad the area is improving, I hope it solves it's political and economic problems, and I am sure there are plenty of areas that are OK. BUT, Mindanao is to the PI what Aceh is to Indonesia. Let me put it this way, it is not a place I would recommend people travel to without doing their homework first.

    BTW I have a number of Filipino friends from the dance scene, and they have all told me not to travel to Mindanao. So I guess they're bigotted too.

    #45 Posted: 18/1/2012 - 05:02

  • SamalBahayK-
    ubo

    Joined Travelfish
    5th September, 2011
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 8

    MADMAC, here's a mirror. In your own words:
    In other words, it ain't real safe. There are better places to go.
    For the same reason I would advise a potential tourist not to travel to southern Somalia, because it ain't a good idea. There are tons of places to travel in SEA where the potential for violence isn't nearly as acute. Why go there?
    It would not be on my list of places to go for vacation.
    So from a vacation standpoint, I just don't see the reason to go there.
    Nope, never been to the PI, but I've never been to the DROC either, and I know I'm not planning on going there for vacation.
    I've never visited Mindanao, but I have done a lot of reading about it and the problems there. I can easily see some tourist wandering into an area where he gets his head chopped off. Also, it seems to me that Mindanao is short on nightlife, which outside the pages of travelfish most people on vacation want to enjoy and relax while getting away from the stress of normal life, and petty crime seems to also be an issue in excess of what you see in Laos and Thailand.
    Again, if you have a reason to go there, or something specific you want to see, I got it. But if not, why not go to some other parts of the PI where the security risk is a bit lower?
    Perhaps in your up close experience you observe Davao as being a safe city - and I don't doubt your veracity. I haven't read any stats on that city in particular. [It's the 2nd or 3rd largest city in the Philippines and the fastest growing!]
    Let me put it this way, it is not a place I would recommend people travel to without doing their homework first.

    And the classic:
    "I'm not saying Mindanao must be avoided..."

    Er, yes you are, repeatedly. From a standpoint of total first hand ignorance and bigotry. Why are you hammering your point of view when you've never been to either Mindanao or even the Philippines and have no intention of coming here? What is your agenda?

    #46 Posted: 18/1/2012 - 05:34

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6293
    Total reviews: 10

    I'm not saying don't go there. I'm saying don't go there just becuse it's there.

    I don't have an agenda. This is called a discussion board where people discuss things. One of the areas I am VERY and INTIMATELY familiar with is conflict states. This was my profession for a very long time, so I am quite familiar with the nature of the conflict in Mindanao (and a lot of other places).

    I respect your position in that you have a first hand experience. That's good and adds that perspective. BUT, perhaps precisely because you are living there, your position is a bit skewered.

    Again, the level of poverty is lower there than the country in general (which is already pretty low) and the level of crime there is higher than the country in general - even excepting the more extreme areas. Perhaps Davao is the exception that proves the rule. But I can read published numbers and I know the history of the area quite well.

    Now, the question is, what is your agenda? Is there a reason you are such a vociferous advocate? You running a tourist business there or something?

    #47 Posted: 18/1/2012 - 06:09

  • goonistik

    Joined Travelfish
    7th January, 2010
    Location Philippines
    Posts: 538
    Places visited:
    At least 9

    Madmac,

    We can turn the tables back on you and say that your opinion of Mindanao is skewed by your experience in "conflict states."

    I don't live in Mindanao and I also know that many Filipinos have exaggerated notions of the risks of Mindanao. Large parts of it are safe for travel and there are certain areas better avoided such as Basilan and ARMM.

    #48 Posted: 18/1/2012 - 07:17

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6293
    Total reviews: 10

    Sure. Everyone is entitled to his / her opinion. Do your homework before you go somewhere. Make up your own mind. If I had a reason to go there (let's say that Davao had a great salsa scene with some world reknown instructors) I would go - having weighed risk vs gain based on my own research. But if I didn't have a reason, and come to think of it I don't, then I'd be much more inclined to go somewhere that both has a better rep (as well as better stats) and entertains things that I'd be interested in. If I were looking for a place to go, just to go, well, frankly, it wouldn't be on my list. But if someone else finds it alluring, hey, have at it. I've given my opinion and why, others have given theirs and why. I respect Samal's opinion and recognize that he has direct experience and I don't. But I also have read a lot about this region (and others) and I don't believe the numbers lie. Again, why go to Mindanao with it's statistically higher risk factors when you could just as easily go to Palawan unless there's a pressing reason to do so?

    #49 Posted: 18/1/2012 - 09:02

  • goonistik

    Joined Travelfish
    7th January, 2010
    Location Philippines
    Posts: 538
    Places visited:
    At least 9

    Dear Madmac

    While I respect the time and effort you have spent to read up on Mindanao, I find myself reminded of the lines of a Mr. Alexander Pope.

    A little learning is a dangerous thing;
    drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
    there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain
    and drinking largely sobers us again.

    While books, stats, and reports can be useful; so are boots on the ground. And the boots on the ground are giving you the low-down on the current situation in Mindanao.

    #50 Posted: 18/1/2012 - 11:08

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6293
    Total reviews: 10

    gooni
    So if the OP wants to go with the "boots on the ground" that's fine. I know one other guy who lives in Davao. His objections with it are not based on safety (he has other objections though). Like I said, unless there were a reason to go, I can't see going there over some of other parts of the country. But up to the OP.

    #51 Posted: 18/1/2012 - 13:25

  • sidkimu

    Joined Travelfish
    17th February, 2014
    Posts: 1

    I just went to a website that says Davao City is the 4th safest city in the "World"! Go figure
    http://www.sunstar.com.ph/davao/local-news/2013/08/11/davao-ranked-4th-safest-349-cities-297317

    #52 Posted: 17/2/2014 - 11:20

  • SamalBahayK-
    ubo

    Joined Travelfish
    5th September, 2011
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 8

    I wonder if MadMac remains quite so convinced that Thailand is safer than Mindanao? Davao continues to boom, commercially; the government is investing PhPs-Bns to upgrade roads, ports and airports; BPOs are setting up; Shopping Malls are opening up...MadMac??

    #53 Posted: 18/2/2014 - 01:10

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