Manila Health & Safety

Because of the widespread poverty in the city, squatter settlements abound in the less-cosmopolitan areas. This has made crimes such as break-ins, extortion, pickpocketing, purse snatching, and con games commonplace. Pickpockets are usual in places where people congregate, such as busy streets, markets, shopping malls, and transportation terminals.

That is why first-time visitors are advised not to venture around Metro Manila on their own, especially at night. Taxi drivers are notorious for extorting exorbitant fees, even in short distances.

This is not to say that there are no honest cabbies. Ask a security guard or any of your colleagues to recommend a reliable taxi company, or ask them to make the taxi call for you traveling alone is inevitable. Among the most reputable are R&E and Avis.

Hotel thefts hardly occur, but it's still ironic that the door that welcomes guests is the same door that lets in felons. So it is worth taking safety measures such as keeping your valuables in the in-room safe and making sure the door is securely locked when you leave the room. In case of theft, report to the security personnel immediately.

Safety for Women

Women are not advised, under any circumstances, to go around the city alone at night. The heart of the Makati business district, where a number of hotels, shopping malls, and restaurants congregate, is a relatively safe place, but outside this area, safety can be precarious.

Sometimes, taxi drivers are picky about the destinations of their passengers due to the ubiquitous traffic, and those unfamiliar with the city may be literally taken for a ride. The driver may either take a circuitous road to increase the fare or refuse to use his meter and charge a horrendous fee. Worse, the driver may be in connivance with hold-uppers and take you to a dark, desolate alley.

In this case, never go out in the evening alone. If that is inevitable, have a friend, colleague or hotel personnel note the plate number of the cab you are taking. Once in the cab, you should also jot down the plate number and put it in your pocket. Lock the doors immediately, and keep your eyes peeled for anything suspicious.
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