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Life Philippines

Personal Safety Guidelines, Re-Visited

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The personal safety guidelines are a valuable resource they were gleaned from suggestions, in newsletters and memorandum, of the Philippines National Police (PNP) and from talking with front line officers.

They cover an array of situations sensibly and thoroughly.

Unfortunately they are not available in one place until now, and we should be reading and absorbing them into our daily behavior.

Personal Safety Guidelines


  • If you are alone stick to to main thoroughfares and major shopping areas.
  • Never go anywhere that doesn’t feel safe.
  • If you feel unsafe head into a hotel restaurant or shopping centre.
  • Listen to the locals, if they don’t go there you shouldn’t.
  • Never go anywhere alone at night, always go with a companion you know and trust.


  • Do not buy medications from street vendors.
  • Never buy CD’s or DVD’s from a street vendor.
  • Do not go anywhere with someone you meet for the first time either on the street, or in a bar.


  • If you need a taxi ask your hotel to ring one.
  • Ask your hotel for a recommended taxi company or drivers number for when you are out and about.
  • If you have no recommended number pick up a taxi from outside of shopping malls or from taxi stands.
  • Never get into a taxi that:
    1. Doesn’t have signage.
    2. Doesn’t have a meter.
    3. Won’t use the meter.
  • While in the Taxi:
    1. Collect two or three vital bits of info when getting into a taxi:
      • Plate number.
      • The Taxi number found on the outside back fender.
      • The taxi company’s name.
      • The Drivers name from the identity tag on the front windshield area.
    2. Convey that information by text, do not call while in the vehicle, to either:
      • Family.
      • A friend who would notice if you weren’t around.
      • Reception at the Hotel where you are staying
  • Do not get into or stay in a taxi:
    1. If the id picture and the driver are not the same.
    2. There is no id picture.
    3. It is not clean or smells.
    4. There are no window winders or door handles.
    5. It is already occupied.
    6. The taxi driver wants to take a shortcut you don’t know.
  • On your journey:
    1. Be pleasant, but not too informative.
    2. Keep your money out of sight, just have enough to pay for the journey.
    3. Keep your doors locked.
    4. Do not sleep.
    5. Get dropped off under street lighting or in the driveway of the house or hotel.
    6. If you are tired or drunk ring your hotel for a courtesy bus or one of their trusted taxis.
    7. Ask the hotel to instruct the driver to ask for you by name or identify your hotel.

Jeepney Users

  • Keep all your valuables out of sight, including cash, lockets, bracelets, cigarettes, lighters.
  • Keep your documents such as ACR cards, drivers licenses, and passports out of sight. The innocent response of showing a fellow passenger your passport, because they haven’t seen one from the wherever may be the last time you see it.
  • Keep a firm hold of your bag, your fanny-pack or backpack. Try to hold in two places at once. The strap and flap of bag for instance.
  • Keep your billfold in a front pocket of your pants.
  • Don’t try and change 500php for a 20 php ride:
    1. It strips the conductor of change for the rest of his journey.
    2. It tells unscrupulous people you have at least 500 pesos they could decide to relieve you of.

Car Drivers

  • Keep your doors locked.
  • Keep your windows up
    1. It only takes seconds for someone to open your car door and get in.
    2. Theft of wallets and devices left on passenger and rear seats is easy.
  • Keep valuables out of sight. Those seen while you are driving will often be targeted when your car is parked.
  • Park in populated areas and car parks.
  • Only stop for uniformed police or military, especially at night.
  • Only be redirected to major diversions by uniformed police or military, especially at night.
  • Offering assistance to a supposed accident victims, or distressed person or walkers on lonely roads at nights is unwise
    1. Take a note of the location of such sightings and inform the first police officers you can locate.
    2. Locals always pick up locals so a genuine walker will be fine without your assistance.

Using Illegal Drugs

  • Whatever the laws are in your country, regarding recreational drug use, it is illegal here.
  • Don’t consort with suppliers or dealers you may get caught in a buy bust operation, as entrapment is not illegal in the Philippines
  • Due process is not a given if you are arrested.

Making Jokes About Bombs or Terrorism

  • Apart from trivialising a serious problem around the world, you may find the barriers with language get you a response with an added dose of fear
  • If you or someone you are with, indulges in this stupid behaviour, expect it to be taken seriously, you:
    1. Will likely be arrested.
    2. Will possibly be detained.
    3. Could be charged and remanded in custody.
    4. Could be sentenced to a prison term.
    5. May deported.
    6. May be blacklisted from returning for a period of time or forever.
    7. If the “joke” took place in a seaport or airport you could be subjected to travel bans.
  • While there will be sanctions, their severity will depend on each individual’s attitude, so:
    1. Unless you had disassociated yourself with the behaviour, publicly, before it was exhibited. Then don’t start blaming those you were with.
    2. Do as you are asked or ordered without protest.
    3. Ask if you can make a call, only when the authorities are convinced you are stupid rather than dangerous.
    4. Trying to justify your actions never works in these situations
    5. When questioned answer with the attitude that you already know you were stupid.
    6. Ask if there is any way you can make amends.
    7. Formally apologise for your behavior.
    8. Talk only for yourself, someone you try to defend may be making an ass of themselves.
    9. Now is not the time to threaten, diplomatic or legal action, you can do that if you think the final outcome is too harsh.

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