Originally Posted by Daddy's Dream
Yeah, like they found the Burnhams, (US missionaries kidnapped in SE Palawan, held for 377 days) on Basilan in 2002. As some of us will remember, the PI Army went storming in, killing Mr. Burnham by mistake and barely missing the wife as well. Let's hope they've learned better after talking to the CIA and US military advisers down there over the last decade.
Since I've lived in PI full time for a decade, I couldn't help but chime in, with a bit of well deserved cynicism, but I would also like to make some positive comments. Much of the advice above is definitely worth heeding, but I don't think people should fear visiting this place.
We live in the rural north near a college town, but I travel all over the place on my moutain bike, often in seedy barrios and remote
rice fields and trails. I've never once encountered a problem, and usually I am greeted, in equal measure, with mild disbelief and cordial hospitality. People wonder, "what the heck is this guy doing in our tiny barrio", and they seem pleased and flattered that I would even want "to visit".
Once, after figuring that nobody would want to steal my funky old moutain bike, I left it unlocked for a few months straight. Well, it eventually disappeared, so I went hunting around the barrios looking for it, putting out the word that some kid had probably taken it, and I simply wanted it back.
A week later the baranguy captain
(local officials like neighborhood mayors) came by to notify me that he had found my bike. Some local folks had reported to the captain
that they'd seen the stolen bike, and he went over to get it from the eleven year old who had sequestered it. He made the kid spend the day scrubbing the baranguy hall floors, and that certainly seemed to me a punishment befitting the crime.
That is not to say that there is no real danger
here, especially in the south. We live in a modest apartment in the basement of a respected local doctor, and I drive a very old 4x4 when not on the bike - each of which seems to have paid safety dividends. However, as some of you will probably remember, from past threads, I have been looking at boats for the last year or so. If I finally buy one, keeping such a low profile may not be so easy in the future; thus, I have read with great interest and appreciation, all the posts above.
My advice to anyone interested is to keep as low a profile as possible and to respect the local customs
, though some of them (like PI driving habits) will no doubt, rattle your nerves at times. Avoid the obvious danger
zones which folks have outlined above, and enjoy your stay (or life) in the Philippines.
Regards to all, and thanks to many of you for your valuable advice on past threads.