Crime against foreigners in the Philippines

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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.


A break-in at a foreigner’s residence (a reader of

Nonetheless, when I read posts by expats saying that there’s no more crime in the Philippines than there is in the USA, I’m concerned.  Americans from LA or Baltimore or Miami might not see much difference. (See this article in the New York Times about the psychology of “lock” and “no lock” advocates.) For small-town Americans, the Philippines can be quite different.   Enthusiasm for their new life in the Philippines, thinking that the situation Philippines is the same as life in the US can prevent foreigners from taking common sense precautions to provide for their own safety in the Philippine context.

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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

Ordinary break-ins are also a problem.   We have friends whose house was broken into the very first night they stayed there.  Luckily they slept through the experience. Break-ins are very common in their open subdivision in Iloilo.  See for how we built security into our new Philippine house.

Here,  just about everyone goes into some level of lock-down at night.  If you’re prosperous you’ll have a concrete wall and iron grates on your windows  If you’re poor you’ll have a bamboo fence and gate, bamboo grates on your windows.  All have a four-legged alarm system — if poor, a mutt, if richer a Doberman.  If you leave something out at night, it might well be gone in the morning.  Well-to-do Filipinos move to gated subdivisions.

The wall of Lo Wai, a wall village in Lung Yeuk Tau, Fanling, Hong Kong

The wall of Lo Wai, a walled village in Lung Yeuk Tau, Fanling, Hong Kong

Some foreigners feel it’s distasteful and/or unnecessary to live in a walled compound.  In our view that’s naïve. Every Filipino who can afford it lives behind walls and gates.  Do they do this because they are paranoid about crime?  We assume it’s because they are know what it takes to be safe in their own country.  Walled cities, walled compounds, are everywhere in developing countries and historically a response to insecurity. Think of the lovely walled cities of Europe; Italy, Portugal, Spain and China. They were not built to make better scenery for tourists!

Don’t expect your neighbors, security guards or police to come to your aid if you get into problems at night.  It’s dangerous for them to get involved, just as it may be dangerous for you to intervene to help someone in the middle of the night.  A well-liked, long-time American resident of Iloilo City was recently stabbed to death in his apartment.  Neighbors suspected something was wrong.  After all, the American was a big guy, a martial arts enthusiast, being murdered by four young men.  The neighbors were very close, in a close-packed neighborhood.  It’s hard to imagine there was not a lot of noise.  The neighbors peeked in the windows in the morning and the guy was dead.  Any neighbor coming to his aid might well have been killed too.  Some news accounts tried to portray this murder as the possible work of a New People’s Army “sparrow” assassination unit.  This is far-fetched. The NPA does not generally stab and rob ordinary American retirees in their home at night in the city.

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.

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:

  • Keep gates locked at all times and doors at night.  Night means after dark.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 the comments below, 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%.  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.

We love living in the Philippines.  Many expats may feel these comments to be excessively alarmist.  Most Filipinos would not.  (See Josh’s comments below.)  These comments are intended to help you stay safe, not to frighten. These precautions will become second nature to you.

See more discussion of safety for foreigners in the Philippines at

Also see the excellent  security recommendations of the U.S. Embassy.

Finally, a video on this topic

Comments (156) Write a comment

  1. I am looking for an American somewhere around Iloilo City, Philippines. He moved there and got married. No one has heard from him since 2015. Can anyone help me or point me in a direction that would be able to help?


  2. This article contains very incorrect information.
    1. MOST foreigners are killed IN THE STREET. Whether it is random or selected targets , it is definitely aimed at foreigners.
    2. Greed and robbery are NOT the motive. FEAR is the motive to discourage other foreigners.
    3. Many Philippine people believe that the Philippines would be a rich country if it were not for foreigners. ( this belief is widespread and the fact is it is hogwash any way)
    4. Shootings usually occur by passengers on the back of motor cycles, because both the driver and passenger have head gear which hides their identity and this is why there are many checkpoints to stop an CHECK identity of of bike riders.
    5. Many police turn a blind eye and are corrupt – to sah the least – and don’t bother contacting Barangay for justice, that does not work.
    6. Having said all that, MOST ORDINARY ( and this is important, because , depending on areas, foreigners are either considered a good thing, a bad thig or some where in the middle) SO most ordinary Philippine people are NICE people, I would NOT recommend where this guy lives.


  3. The murder rate in the US is 4.8 per 100,000 The murder rate in Philippines is 9.8 per 100,000

    However, though the murder rate is twice in Philippines than the US we would have to know the murder rate of US visitors per 100,000. I’m certain the vast majority of murder victims are Philippine citizens and not foreigners but what the exact percentage is I don’t know, I can’t find a source of information anywhere for those stats.

    Basically, there would have to be more than 4.8 murders per every 100, 000 Americans for it to be statistically less safe for you as an American (for getting murdered that is, I don’t know about robbery or other crimes). It does seem that when I read about murders in the Philippines there are a 1/2 dozen or so of the same stories circulating around that make it sound bad. You could describe murders in the US and make it sound like your life is in peril every time you step onto the street, which could actually be true if you go to certain areas, but generally you will know where it’s safe to go if you live in the US, it’s the same overseas.

    I’d be curious to know what the murder rate for Americans is over there. Does anybody know a source for that info?


    • As I have said before, most of these foreigner murders are inside jobs. The young wife has a boyfriend. They could be so happy together if only they could live together in the foreigner’s house — which actually is the young wife’s house. It’s a pretty good plan. Or, the maid has a boyfriend. They could be so happy if they had your money, house, car. These things are not well thought out. Of course philandering with another man’s wife or girlfriend can be deadly. Any situation involving drunk Filipinos can turn bad.


  4. Just want to remind you that the local officials, Brgy police, PNP, and your neighbors and the all the poor gangsters out there could be related by blood. Local people seems to be (distant) relatives, friends, classmates or … and they have lived here for generations. It’s nice to see that they always try to help each others but unfortunately at our expense.


    • If an expat is foolish enough to live in the sticks…..small barrios with little infrastructure and no gov’t institutions nearby. Yeah, may as well put a giant $ on your back. Pick a decent sized city (NOT MANILA) to live, get to know your neighbors, be generous on birthdays and Christmas, hire ONLY your wife/GFs ID-verified relatives to live-in, and most importantly, walk away from any confrontation over any unimportant reason. The ‘kano always loses.


  5. I am building a house south of Manila, the house is almost complete but we have not moved in. 2 days ago someone fired 9 shots into our house at night, no one was hurt. We found the bullets and shells next day and reported to the Barangay Captain but nothing was done, no investigation period and the evidence were handled in a way there will be no more forensic value . I suspect the only disgruntle people we have interacted, were local contractors (by local referrals) who we asked for quotations but did not award them the project due to ridiculous pricing, often I was asked to pay for their quotations but I refused. I feel the situation is life threatening but at a lost and don’t know what to do. I will put in outdoors CCTV in the next few days first.


    • Ping, thanks for sharing your story. We had something similar but much milder happen. We decided against a contractor and we received an anonymous blog post which was threatening and scary. I don’t know what the answer is. I would not expect much help from anyone including the police. My only thought is to handle your refusals in the most diplomatic possible way. Bend over backwards to show respect. Never invest in anything that you can’t survive walking away from. Rent, don’t buy. We have been in the Philippines for ten years without the slightest problem. Our neighbors are wonderful, but I am aware that things can go bad. We just returned from a three week stay in Vietnam. The law and order situation seems much better, at least in Saigon. Anyway, you have our best wishes in a difficult situation. Hopefully the shooting was a one-time event. If it happened again, I’d leave. Here is the message we received: “Living in the farm seems like a nice idea being away from the city, pollution and all. However, have you considered the fact that you are advertising your residence location, your picture, etc. You even put down builders and contractors who may be angry with you for loosing business. You advertise an architect who has not passed the board exam and say you have no business interests with him? Give us a break, you may fool old foreigners like your self but obviously profit is your motive too.

      Who would be the no. 1 target of kidnap for ransom gangs in Tigbauan, Iloilo or Panay Island? Isn’t it normally the white guy, the foreigner with US$ or Euros? They are internet savvy and use satelite phones and GPS too and probably have you on their list.

      I suggest you buy a lot of assault rifles, grenade launchers, ammunition and bullet proof vests. Also tell all your readers who to buy guns from and where to have your private army trained.

      My best advice to you is to watch your back and go home to the US where it’s safe. There you can write about living in Oklahoma or Montana and write against every home builder and contractor who makes profit.

      Wisdom goes with old age, don’t you agree, from your own experience?


      • Nothing but sunshine and lollipops in booming Clark/Angeles City. There are safety in numbers (of expats). All the benefits of a large city minus the crime and traffic.


    • Thanks for your reply, I think the shooter’s motive is wanting us to leave or feel unsafe to live there so we would abandon the house, they would also spread rumors so no one else will buy it. It’s a shame and my mistake that I built may be the nicest house in the whole town and everyone visited (most uninvited) admired it. Now after paying some local workers several times their normal pay to get it build a local gang wants our house for nothing.


      • Ping, I am so sorry to hear of your experiences and hope that the shooting was a one-time event. Did you report the shooting to the PNP?


        • We filed blotters with Brgy and National police (PNP), we also brought the bullets found in the house and shells from hand gun and shotgun found outside of our house ‘s fence to them. If the police did get back to us I will send an update here. I am a US citizen and I checked the US embassy’s web site, it stated that the consulate will not get involved with investigation.


      • There is safety in numbers. Move out of the boonies and stop being the only ‘kano on the street.


        • We respectfully disagree. We live in a rural farming area and have done so for six years. Our neighbors are great. We have not had a single problem.


  6. I am an Australian thinking about moving to the Philippines to meet a beautiful young woman. All with good long-term intention on my part.

    However, I think all the above is best summarized by “Why take the chance?”

    I have a friend whose son married into a rich Filipino-Chinese family. They all live in a very secure compound in Manila. I do mean ‘rich’. The son met his wife in Canada at a ski resort while travelling the world, not on an Internet dating site. That tells you all you need to know.

    Alas, my skiing days are over and if a beautiful young woman looks at me I know for certain that a handsome young man is standing behind me. So, it was Internet Dating sites for me ….. and an interesting time it was.

    This weekend I contacted my friend and updated him of my plans. I have MS and was hoping to find a quiet place to live in Baguio, hire a maid and retire more comfortably than here in Aus. My friend said he had asked his son and his son’s wife & family what they thought. The reply was startling and chilling.

    “They will first take all his money, then kill him”

    Maybe, maybe not ……”Why take the chance?”


  7. I like hopw the original comment always includes the word “most”.
    I had only lived here and gotten bribed, robbed and gang beaten ( along with a visiting family member) twice. Although this was in a high frequented ‘foreigner ‘ area. We were only going to our room at around 8:30 P.M.
    The local “security guards” only stood there and watched. The local barangay police said that they could do nothing. Meanwhile the oyher policeman said that the offenders could also make charges on us for trying to defend ourselves (2 vs. 20-25). So, it would be better to just “drop it”.

    Second , the traffic enforcers on SBMA base in Subic have forced My wife and I to pay bribes 3 times. Shabu is horrible. I’ve lived all over the world. By far this being the most oblusively corrupt MOST of the time and obvious MOST of the time corrupt country I have lived and visited.

    The people here consider MOST foreigners to be easily accessible and targets that hit Their street. BEWARE AND BE CAUTIOUS. Otherwise PI is Beautiful and tranquil. Stay in Your lane here. Or go to Iraq.


  8. I’ve been considering traveling to the Philippines, and being an expat there for a few years. However, I don’t want to go where I would be hated by local men (yes, I a 50 year-old single American man, but a mellow, laid-back one).

    I feel concerned after reading that romantic involvement (with a Filipina in the Philippines) could make me a target for perpetrators. Does that mean that I’d have to sacrifice all romantic opportunities in order to stay safe in the Philippines?

    No, I’m not the kind of guy that would chase an under-aged girl for a sleazy one-night stand, and I’d never seduce a woman who’s monogamously involved with another man.

    However, I’d be lying if I said that I had no interest in Romance. Here in the USA, I’ve never really been successful in the Romance department. That’s most likely due to Asperger’s syndrome, and some other developmental disorders/delays, that I’ve had. It has become quite apparent to me (both, from my observations and from what I’ve read/heard) that hardly any American women would have any romantic interest in an inexperienced man who’s over 45.

    I’m going to be honest here: Romantic potential is part of why I’ve become interested in the Philippines, as I’ve read so many stories about how Filipinas compare to typical American women, including how much easier it is to get a girlfriend in the Philippines.

    I’d like your opinion — would I be asking for trouble if I pursue romance in the Philippines? Even if I pursue it gently, slowly and carefully? I want to stay out of trouble, but I don’t want to give up my hope for Romance and settle for a life of romantic deprivation. I’d greatly appreciate any feedback you may have. Thanks


    • Danny,

      I am not sure what kind of romance you are looking for. You can find any kind of romance in the Philippines, just be very straightforward with your partners. If they expect marriage and you will not marry, tell them so. They may not be deterred, being sure they can change your mind. There are ladies who will give you romance in exchange for shopping, travel, nights of fine dining and so forth. There are ladies who will give you romance if you pay them do so. The borderlines can be fuzzy, overlapping.
      There are many ladies who would be happy to have a 50 year old American. My advice:1. Be honest with the ladies about your intentions.
      1. Do not get involved with a Filipina who is married, even if she and her husband are long separated. There is no divorce in the Philippines and an annulment is possible, but lengthy, uncertain and expensive. It is illegal for you to cohabit with a married woman. I knew someone who did this and ended up on TV — from his jail cell. I give this advice with sadness as there are many wonderful separated ladies who could be fine partners in life.
      2. I don’t think Filipino men generally object to foreigners having relationships with Filipinas, unless he is a husband or boyfriend of the lady. I asked this question to a Filipino guy seated next to me on an airplane. He was coming back to the U.S. after visiting his girlfriend in the Philippines. He said help yourself. There are many ladies in the Philippines. Definitely do not flirt or stare at ladies accompanied by men. Sometimes the Filipina will have a relationship with a foreigner with the support of the boyfriend. It’s a way to get money. Sometimes the boyfriend will be introduced as a brother or cousin. If you are physical with the Filipina in the presence of the boyfriend, the boyfriend might get violent.
      3. If for marriage, try to choose a lady who is within ten or fifteen years of your own age. You are 50 now, but in twenty years you will be 70. If you marry a woman in her 20s, she will still be young when you are old. Such age differences can work, but it’s fairer to you and the lady to be closer in age.
      4. Children. Almost all Filipinas will want to have children with you if you marry. If you don’t want kids, be honest with the lady. Marry a woman who already has had kids out of wedlock — but beware of the father of the kids.
      5. How to meet. You will meet lots of ladies as you live your life in the Philippines. Don’t go to bars to meet ladies. I would favor a lady who has a job, as it shows some initiative. Most of the ladies working at retail stores and malls are 25 or under. Have some calling cards printed. You can tell ladies that you meet that you are looking for a girlfriend or wife. It will be passed around. If you are a churchgoer, go to church.
      6. After you are married, most Filipinas will expect you to provide some support for her family. You should be willing to do this, but set limits as to what you can afford and are willing to spend. The most upright ladies will never ask you for money.
      7. There are many would-be princesses in the Philippines. They may not want to work, they don’t want household chores, and expect you to support them, buy them expensive accessories and so forth. That’s fine for a transitory affair but not so good for a marriage
      8. Filipinas are so beautiful and charming; it can be hard to know what is in their hearts – just as they may not know what is in a foreigner’s heart. If they want money, that’s a hint. If they don’t, perhaps you have found an angel.


      • Very accurate and straight forward advice. I am now married to a loving and beautiful woman from the island of Cebu (not Cebu City).
        Be anyone going for romance should be very cautious. The advice that I would add is that any prospective romantic partners should, not only themselves be employed but their family should be employed and self sufficient. That way any monetary requests are more likely to be reasonable.
        In our family my wife and I help her elderly mother each month but my brother in law also helps out. He is well employed as are all of the family.


  9. I guess it’s different for me. I’m a married Aussie woman who has retired in the Philippines. We live in a rural area and have 3 large German Shepherds as well as good security. I don’t let anyone in the property unless I know them! The dogs won’t let anyone in after dark. They don’t attack unless I give the order but will circle the intruder until I tell them to sit. My gardener found this out when he used his gate key recently. Dogs are not the complete deterrent. We don’t go to bars and lead a quiet life. We never discuss financial matters in front of friends or workers. I’m a pretty tough lady but I am careful. I was once accosted in a womens toilet in Angeles by four young women who tried to steal my bag. I pushed two over and knocked the third girl out. The fourth ran off. I guess I was just lucky! The Philippines is not an easy country for foreign women. However, having lived in PNG for some years where I was held up at gunpoint, I think it’s comparatively safe here.


    • Jules, it sounds like you are doing everything just right. Not sure I would have fought with the four girls but perhaps I am more timid than you. I have never set foot in Angeles City and don’t plan on doing so. Best wishes. Bob and Carol


      • Having lived in Papua New Guinea for some time then you had to be tough to survive! I once had a Rascal threaten to cut my throat if I didn’t give him my money. I gave it to him! A friend of ours was having dinner in a POM (Port Morseby) restaurant when a gang of Rascals killed the guards and ordered all the patrons to hand over their money etc. One of the Rascals pointed to a lump in our friend’s pocket and demanded he give them everything. He did just that! Pulled out his pistol and shot the him dead! The others ran off. Of course he had to leave the country the next day but it was justice well served.


    • We all roll the dice and live our lives. One thing I know for sure after watching the news on TV or on-line… that, with the exception of abu sayyaf areas, ANY PLACE in the Philippines is preferable to the predator-filled concrete jungles of large America cities.


  10. I agree with this article whole heartedly and it was really well written. I have lived in the Philippines for 3 years and have had almost no crime or scams done against me. The few that I have I detailed here: and they were so small in nature that they weren’t a big deal at all.

    I dress like I don’t have any money, I don’t even bring a smart phone out with me most times. What is most amazing to me is how little crime there is when you consider how poor most are and that is hit on well in this article. I had to walk past 100 very poor people every day, and they were always kind, friendly, and never plotting anything.


  11. If you plan on living permanently in paradise:

    Get to know and visit your neighbors (especially Filipino).
    Your entire property perimeter should be walled with razor wire on top.
    Have AT LEAST two dogs, with one inside the house if possible.
    Hire ONLY your wife’s’GF’s relatives whom you have verified via IDs.
    Post the nearest Police phone number next to your bed.
    Get to know those cops and don’t be shy about buying them dinner or beer.
    Have a bull horn/loud speaker/whistle so you can sound an alarm if needed.
    Do NOT confront the locals over ANYTHING, like bad drivers, beggars, vendors.
    Do not show off, get loud, flash cash, mouth off, get fall-down drunk IN PUBLIC.
    Always be respectful to every local you come in contact with, PLEASE /THANK YOU.
    Don’t be a cheap skate. Remember birthdays, Christmas, baptisms, etc.
    And my personal thing: don’t be a slob. I really get irritated by pot-bellied
    foreigners wearing tight T-shirts, shorts showing hairy legs, and flip flops.

    These rules have worked for me and my family for the last 40 years.


    • P.S. You guys who live in the sticks / boonies are nuts. May as well put a bullseye on your backs. There is safety in numbers.
      For you mongers…..don’t bring your girl to your home. Spend the P300 and go to a short time hotel.


      • Mike, you can argue the safety of provincial v. city crime. I am VERY well known in my small town because I and my wife and I walk everywhere and know most people we meet. Some of this walking is at night on unlit dirt roads. We leave out lots of this which could be stolen at night. Nothing, not the smallest thing has ever been stolen, not even our Weber grill or porch furniture. We do have dogs and lights. Soon we will have CCTV cameras. That said, our six years living in the sticks has been completely uneventful.


        • Happy for you but like the gangster in the movie Casino said, “Why take a chance?” There are many stories of home invasions and killing of the only white guy on the block over the years. I am always amazed at how a group of Filipino men sitting around drinking Red Horse can decide to commit the most heinous crimes. One reason is that they rarely get caught or prosecuted.


          • Have to agree, I’ve lived in parts of SE Asia spanning 30 odd years and I believe the Philippines to be the most dangerous of them all for a white person.

            Think about it, Phillippinos can rob and murder with impunity yet Kanos aren’t even allowed the right of self defense; but are expected to hand over their money and /or goods ! Interesting that a Phillippino can own a gun but not a Kano.

            BTW I’m in a serious relationship with a lovely 33 year old Pinay but no way would I ever live there, even she distrusts most of her own people !


            • I can’t really question your comment about life in the Philippines being more dangerous than elsewhere in SE Asia. We have been to several other SE Asian countries and they all seemed safer, except maybe Cambodia. On the other hand, safety is to a large extent contingent on where and how you live in the Philippines or elsewhere. If one is out drinking and womanizing, life may not be so safe. If you are home after dark locked up in your house, you are probably fairly safe anywhere.


              • The Angeles City / Clark Freeport area is booming and has never been safer and
                I have most of the last 49 years as a GI and Retiree to compare it to.

                If you want to be a fearful white person, walk down the street in any large U.S. city.


  12. Scams in the Phillipines are the same as other places sometimes there is crime sometimes there isn;t I know when I was there i was scammed several times it is sad when the authorities ignore the crimes against honest people. and I just learned of the danger from the perps and robbing and nmurder iiiiiss a important part of this diabolical plotting against foreigners I guess there is criminals all around the world and if in the wrong place you chance being a victom it sucks


  13. Its dangerous anywhere in the world especially the cities.. I’m married for 23 yrs with a German husband we live in the Philippines for almost 10 yrs now so far never been rob or any problems coz I always have big dogs on my home the locals are really afraid of dogs.. My problem here is the other foreigner that has been living here long time.. I have someone threatening to burn my house and my business just because my husband told him to stop talking bullshit about him and his business.. There are so many expat here that their bored of their lives that they got nothing to do but get drunk and causing problem here but there are few who are actually learn to adopt to our culture too..and behave properly.


    • Laura, I am sorry for the problems you and your husband have. When I moved to the Philippines I vowed that I would not be involved in any business activity. There are too many risks and uncertainties.


  14. I come to the Philippines for more than 30 years. My wife is from there. We have a house in the province and a car in the garage. Our plan is to retire there and spend 6 month in the Philippines and travel 6 month. I work as expat overseas, mainly Africa. In “dangerous” places such as Nigeria and congo. I have never ever experienced any problem anywhere. The opposite is the case. My german co workers had , over the last 20 years, their houses and flats emptied in Germany while they were on assignment in Africa. One got stabbed in berlin, another one pick pocketed in London. No one has broke in to our house yet, we have not been stabbed, pick pocketed , nor have we been hold up or subjected to any corrupt business. I have friend living in the Philippines since 20 years and they are alright. I know expats working there for decades without a problem. So, we must be lucky then.


    • Are you an American Eberhard?
      Either way,yes,i would say that you have been very lucky
      Hopefully your luck holds


  15. All the above statements that say that you are on your on here..That is very correct. Do not expect any kind of help from so called local law enforcement. You are all perceived as a typical Yo Joe..And yes i am a veteran of the U.S. Army special Op’s DIvision. in no way should you perceive this country as the charming post card layout you will see. From corrupt medical facilities to law personal the list goes on and on.All the whorehouses and internet prostitute workers.All are illegal but things are simply handled by turning the other cheek or holding out your hand if your an elected official and letting a little bribe get you by.90% of all Europe is far safer and much more healthier cleaner and far less corrupt.If you like this sort of lifestyle,by all means go give it a try in The Philippines..Good Luck


    • What is the USArmy Special Ops division pray tell. I am certainly curious. In terms of safety I jave never been robbed, mugged, or bothered here in the Philippines. In Europe I had someone try to steal my bags IN MY HOTEL. Twice. Plus getting robber….$7.50 for a Diet Coke in Vienna. Yeah…I eill stick with the Philippines Mr. “U.S. Army Special Op’s division” man. Whatever that is. Excuse me while I roll my eyes. Stealing honor is a terrible thing. Good luck.


        • Totally agree. The con men and crooked cops in Angeles, Pampanga, are either gone or keeping a low profile thanks to fear of President Duterte. Our city is growing and modernizing at a phenomenal rate. The sleaze of the bars is under control but still a lot of fun….and nowhere else on earth are old guys treated better. I use common sense because there are poor and desperate people but the middle class is skyrocketing here. The malls are full, new cars everywhere but without the Manila traffic hell. Respect for elders, new TRICARE approved hospitals, and a rising peso rate make this place paradise.


          • Joe, thanks for your glowing report. Not to disagree, but the provide balance, we attach the sad story of another expat: “I was married in davao in 1999, 11 months later she came to live with me in redwood city, California. We started buying small lots in Libungan, north cotabato and slowly expanded to build a home there in 2004. I sold my home in redwood city in 2006 and moved there. We were a family, 2 wonderful kids and I was totally in love with my wife. I was busy working during the days on 15 hectares of farm; mango, rubber, coconut, durian and other fruit trees.

            I had no idea my wife had many boyfriends, was doing shabu and I even comforted her in the hospital for what I found out later was an abortion of another man’s baby. From 2007 until 2011 I tried everything to save the marriage, we lived a year in Canada with my sister, tried to move back to the USA, nothing worked.

            In 2011, we moved to San Jose, California, poor and desperate. I tried again to make the marriage work yet she had boyfriends already there so we got cheap divorce. Me and the kids moved back to Libungan in 2012, and with that divorce I was able to meet and remarry ( good sweet simple Christian lady) in moslem sharia court after legal conversion. The 4 of us return to California March 2013, we squeaked in with her on tourist visa.

            We 4 rented 6′ by 6′ dog shed behind a Filipinos house in San Jose and we were lucky to get that. 18 months we lived in a tiny shed while we worked, she got green card and is working. I am on disability having been hit and run on my motorcycle coming home from work.

            We are building small simple house in Mindsayap and next June will move there and my wife will go to school full time for a few years. I am still married to Xwife over there so a annulment is filed and waiting.

            Your website….i don’t want to say any more…….I live over there like you, polite and respectful of everyone. There are a million alligator pits over there. It is risky, impossible to really know what is happening around you because you are always an outsider surrounded by her family and lying is part of the culture.” and “Sure, I think one of the big reasons for my story is westerners, American Canadian European, we think we are dealing with people who are like us. We know who the bad people are, we think after many years we are expert and have everything under control. The entire time I was delusional believing if I was good to her and her family they would be good and loyal to me.

            The reality is the Philippines is hard core asian, there is a thin veneer of a USA feel, people smile and seem so nice. Yet scratch the surface and everything is going by a different set of rules and if you are Joe Whitedude you are clueless. Everyone over there has a public face and they all (not all) are dirty behind closed doors, yet in public everyone smiling and treat each other as flawless angels. They all (not all) lie, especially to outsiders and foreigners, and take great joy in seeing people who are high, ( to them wealthy, their own ranking of status) get crushed and crash and burn. Lying is to be expected in public and is a key foundation piece of the culture. The entire town of libungan and most of midsayap knew what was happening and were delighted when everything blew up and I finally found out and my life destroyed. And it took years to get real information on what was happening, you are surrounded by their family ( who you have done wonderful things for) and nobody will break the code and tell you what is going on.

            She did things I still can’t imagine anyone doing, I would have phone conversations and she was in the new car I bought and her boyfriend would be in passenger seat my son on his lap. She would take the kids to davao with a babysitter with the boyfriend and his buddy and get a hotel room with bedrooms and go out dancing, shopping and come home late and spend the night with both of them. There is a hotel/disco she would go out dancing and if the proffered boyfriends were not there she would get someone else and spend the night upstairs. I could fill pages and I know less than half whatever she did.

            I went through a hellish 18 years first marriage and was beat up and I rushed into the second and made a string of horrible decisions. The entire time I thought I was the luckiest man alive, how smart was I for building such a great life. I ignored warning signs and I made decisions based on what I wanted to be true and everything is ultimately my fault. If you are a fool and behave like one the Philippines and Filipinos will welcome you with open arms.

            You are always an outsider and the last to know what is really happening. If you are good and charitable they will latch onto you and suck you dry and roast and eat the corpse.

            I read one blog recently where the guy said if you are moving there do NOT live within 3 hours of the family or you will suffer. I know exactly what he is saying.

            My advice to anyone going there is to be like them, smile yet keep your head down. Never publicly embarrassing a pinoy, always act like you are crap poor, give a little yet never feel responsibility for their family or situation. Pinoys always make stupid decisions and it becomes your responsibility to bail them out. Weekly, daily, it never changes never ends.”


            • Totally agree with Mike regarding Angeles City.

              One thing with all these sob stories about their pinay wives/girlfriends. These stories can happen…even in the US. My last wife got most of everything and she wasn’t pinay. I have been with my current wife for 10 years, and 7 of those being married. We have built a nice life here. She has family and we do help her family. She is the one that decides if we help or not. She doesn’t have boyfriends or others. My ex-wife was cheating on me for two years and took me to the cleaners. My pinay wife has been aces.

              All in all, all these stories dont really mean much. That can happen anywhere, just like getting robbed or scammed. The people who are victims here fit the victim profile and will be victims anywhere. A friend of a friend was murdered here recently, but honestly, he was involved in some bad stuff and was likely murdered by another foreigner…but dont let that stop people yapping about how unsafe it is here. Safe is what you make it. Safe is how you live your life.


            • Dear Sir:

              Your problem was really a big one, you must be a very good person and thinking that everyone would be just as you are. unfortunately life is like that and there are many dirty people all around and not only in the Philippines believe me. I have a Spanish daughter and her mother gave me some problems not as big as yours but on the same way, however Spanish ladies are decent most of them and i want to believe that the same happens to Philippines ladies too. It´s not the same when we contact with bar ladies or scamming ladies or when we contact with honest people, and that happens the same way in the west. I am married to a nice and honest Philippine lady and she didn´t marry me to destroy my money because she was working and fighting for her life already in another country working decently in Singapore where i went to marry her and where her bosses were very sorry to let her come with me because their children were so sad that she was leaving. Her madam told me that i should treat her right because she is a very good person. All members of her family are decent people and i had the pleasure to meet some of her friends working in Singapore and all very respectful. You have been involved with crap people and we have that in LOndon, Paris, Madrid, Lisbon, New York or Las Vegas. To get involved with a bitch we don´t need to go far from our own street. I wish you luck and i hope you build a good future because it´s always a good time to start again. I Will buy or build my house with my wife in the Philippines and i am sure ia wll have no problem at all.


  16. I’m from Camden, New Jersey. Been to the Philippines many times, no, it is not dangerous, Mindanao is not full of Islamic terrorists who kidnap foreigners for money, you’re not more likely to get robbed and killed for being a foreigner. But yes, you will be overcharged!


    • I’m sure those Norwegian guys sitting in the jungle with the Abu Sayaff right now thought the same thing.


      • Mindanao is still a lot less safe, not to mention less urbanized, than Pampanga/Angeles.
        Like the mobster in the movie Casino said when deciding whether or not to kill a long time friend who may be called to testify against them………….”Why take a chance?”


  17. We were robbed, or more like my wife was pick pocketed from her purse, on a jeepney in Olongapo City. They used the dropped coins scam, and got my wife to move over out of the way, away from me and the guy next to her got in her purse, which was securely on her shoulder, and managed to obtain her wallet. They were good, I will give them that much. They got her ATM and ended up getting a large amount of money..we also had a solar light stolen right off our front area at night. It was actually there for a few weeks, then one day, it was gone. We live in Balanga City, Bataan. For the most part, it is a nice area, and we walk around both day and night with no problems. We go to the Bayan, and when we drive around the city, we are shown the same mutual respect, in regards to someone giving me way, to turn or something. I always give way to others and especially pedestrians, which they really seemed surprised at, but I think many remember seeing me driving around, and know, I don’t act like a stuck up, wanna be king of the road or anything. There are a few foreigners, most are older guys walking with very young girls, and based on their actions, meeting for the first time type of thing, but there is only like 2 or 3 of us that drive around here, and are seen in public on a regular basis. A friend of my wife came to see us from Olongapo. When she got on the tricycle at the bus station,she told the driver our barangay, and told him my wife’s name, and said she was married to Kano..because she wasn’t exactly sure of our address. The driver said, oh, you going to the Kano’s house? He brought her straight here. Mind you, we don’t know any drivers personally, or anything, so looking back at it, we laughed at first, but, it is a little unnerving, people who don’t even live in our neighborhood, happen to know where the Kano lives. In all, I feel safe, except in Manilla, but we have decided not to stay here long term, as planned. I know financially it is better, and all that, but, I do miss the US, and will stick to the vacationing place here in PI. At first in the market, we were always double charged, but after they see us here for a couple months, they stop all that, and w get the same price as the locals. In regards to the crime, mostly petty crime, it is, in my opinion, opportunistic crime. Everyone has bars, and locks and everything, because the opportunity is there, theft will occur, for example. It’s like the old saying….those locks and bars on the windows, keeps the honest man honest. A true thief/criminal will get what they want, even with the precautions in place. One advantage I have, is I live right next to the former Barangay Captain. He is obviously well known, and everyone knows where he lives. All my neighbors are consequently related to one another as well. My wife’s brother is married into that big family, which makes us part of the family as well, so we have a good neighborhood, all of whom look out for each other. I can say, maybe in public, I would be, but around my house, I don’t think I would be standing alone if something was happening. I hope I never have to find out. Living here would not be bad, I just have some other doubts on things. Such as doctors. I have no trust in the doctors, should we need one. Well not so much the doctors, as I know they are well trained, but it’s more getting to see a doctor. The hospital staff is just clueless, and have no sense of urgency. In case they were ever needed, the police and ambulance would take forever to get there.


  18. hi all just fand ur post and i love to say a think or too about it ok as i a men married to a filipina girl and have been now for 14 years or so and have been go on an off to manlia in that time and love it there and never been hurt or robed there as i never ever go out on my own at night or to bars looking for girls and it is the same here when u go in to a citty u do not know never go and get drunk and go out too places u dont know and it is the same there ok it is not ur home ok so take good care where and what u do with ur self…..


  19. Well the 22nd of October 2013 at 10 PM we finished having a friendly get together in Angeles City. My friend is from the UK he went down stairs
    from my apartment and about 3 minutes later heard yelling. I went down stairs and saw 2 young local men yelling at my friends wife. My friend and his wife and my Girl and her female friend were saying goodbye. The story went this way the Two young men told my UK friend to go to his own Country and Date his own women not in nice words. He explained she was his wife. My Girl friend heard one of the 2 young men say ((Hey we can KILL him he is a Foreigner ) I did not find this out until the next morning. Any way my friend went to the end of the street to get a Trike Home i had not gone in the house yet waiting for my Girl to return when 2 young men who i did not Recognize as the 2 that threatened my friend sprint past me. I heard yelling and started to walk to my friend the 2 young men ran back past me and 1 said (SORRY DUDE ) IN PERFECT English * They had Hit him in the HEAD with A Cement Rock -Had to have Stitches to his Temple- CLOSE CALL YES LOCAL MEN DO HATE FOREIGNERS HERE-i Talked to trike drivers next morning they Blamed my friend because he was a Foreigner The Security Guard with a Pistol Grip Shot Gun watched the attack ??? You are on your OWN here be ware Ivan in Angeles City Philippines


    • Ivan,

      Thanks for sharing this unhappy story. While many of us have never had such a problem, this is a good reminder that such things do happen and you really are own your own. I have heard numerous stories of security guards standing by and not intervening. Don’t expect neighbors to come out of their own locked-down homes to help. Guards and neighbors want to avoid trouble and don’t want to get hurt by getting involved in something which is not their business, especially at night. Such people will help you out with a smile in other circumstances, but in this kind of thing you are on your own.

      I am sure that it is hard to recover your previous sense of security and enjoyment once something like this happens. In that way everyone is a victim.


      Bob and Carol


      • That is amazing that in Philippines a “Guard” minds his own business..what the hell is he paid for then? What is the gun for? Oh yea to shoot his foreigner boss 6 times for firing him for coming to work drunk again. True story by the way…google Brit shot 6 times by security guard.


        • Exactly.What the h*ll good is a security guard even paid for?.And Bob and Carol’s reply of ” i’m sure it is hard to recover your previous sense of security and enjoyment?..For God’s sake people.Things like this happen all the time there.I have a wife from Makati City who had Family in Caloocan City..Needless to say i was very glad to get away form there and she is very happy and enjoys her life much more here in S. Alabama..And yes most all do hate foreigners,especially ‘white faced’ Americans


    • Angeles City sounds to me all about prostitution and if we go to any prostitution zone in any city of the west we have to open well our eyes or we will end up having problems. As we can see in videos from Angeles city it´s a kind of place i would never go and i can´t be that bad for the big amount of stupid people looking for paid sex. That has and will always be a quiet dangerous situation especially when a white skin man can be detected from afar and we all know what they are there for. I don´t think you have any problem if you behave as a normal person, a normal tourist, and a normal tourist is much more interested in visiting nice spots than in dating prostitutes: plus prostitutes we have a lot in the west and from many different countries or races to choose , no need to go that far and face those problems.


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