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Old 02-01-2012, 17:47   #1
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Eastern Philippines Still Suspect ?

Not on a yacht but was based coastal Mindanao

Quote:
Mr Rodwell was abducted by six gunmen on December 5 in southern Zamboanga Sibugay province by several armed men who are believed to have fled in speedboats.

Bloodstains were found at the coastal home from which he was taken. A search of nearby islands failed to find any trace of him.

Mr Rodwell's wife, with whom he runs a store in the seaside town of Ipil on Mindanao island, said she had no way of raising the ransom, police said.


Read more: Ransom demanded for Australian: police
I was under the impression that it was safe up through the western side of Sabah (Malaysia) and through Palawan (Philippines) and onwards towards Manilla but the eastern side has been a bit dodgy for a long time now and is advisable to be very cautious or even avoided.

Comments from those with knowledge of the area?
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Old 03-01-2012, 19:22   #2
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Re: Eastern Philippines still suspect?

Nothing?
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Old 04-01-2012, 00:04   #3
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Re: Eastern Philippines still suspect?

CMD

Although it was a little while back, there was the case of people being kidnapped off a beach in Sabah and taken to SW Mindanao. Any of the Muslim parts of Mindanao are a problem (rebels taking hostages). Below is the current travel advice from DFAT - if you are going, take the east side! Even then, a wide berth would be prudent.

Edited - looked at a map, and you might well be fine going west of Palawan. That's actually a long way from Mindanao.

Philippines overall


Eastern Mindanao


Central and western Mindanao, including the Zamboanga Peninsula and the Sulu Archipelago

  • Exercise normal safety precautions
  • Exercise a high degree of caution
  • Reconsider your need to travel
  • Do not travel
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Old 04-01-2012, 00:31   #4
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Re: Eastern Philippines still suspect?

I am interested in this as well. I am planning on visiting there one of these days, but may change my plans now.
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Old 04-01-2012, 00:53   #5
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Re: Eastern Philippines still suspect?

Having visited the Philippines more than a few times now the latest only a few months ago I'd have to say that the DFAT travel advice is pretty well spot on.

In general it would be wise to keep one's head down in most parts of the Philippines, however living as an unprotected westerner anywhere near Zamboanga would have to be top of my list of things never to do.

Number two would be strolling through unknown parts of Manila at night, but that's another story.
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:51   #6
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Re: Eastern Philippines still suspect?

Spoke at length to Assistant Attache, Force Protection Detachment, USEmbassy, Manila last month. He was in negotiations with bad guys over a hostage incident at the time. No mention of it in the press.
He underlined the need to avoid Zamboanga area of Mindinao. I was in eastern Mindinao (Surigao Straits area) 6 months ago and no sign of problems. Suppose I'll find out soon enough. Leaving for Palawan and points south soon.
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:40   #7
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Re: Eastern Philippines still suspect?

rigormortis, I'm looking forward to see how your trip to Palawan goes.

Over the years I've made a lot of friends on Mindinao in the General Santos area that keep telling me to make sure I visit them if or rather when I make it to the Philippines. I would be single handling the boat and after reading this thread I would be very nervious about being there alone. I have always heard that the southern part of the islands wasn't safe for Americans, but the Northern part was somewhat safe. I've also heard there is a large American retirement community near Manila and another one at/or near Subic Bay. I'm not one to wonder around alone at night and I can see where going out to a local watering hole could mean major problems.

I hope this thread continues to grow.
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:53   #8
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Re: Eastern Philippines still suspect?

I have a place and a wife on Mindanao. Working at the present to get her up here by April. I have been spending 6 months a year there for the past couple years however, we found it unwise for me to go there this year. Things have gotten a bit scary with kidnappings by the Muslim extremists. Not only of foreigners but anyone they think they can get money out of.We are 75kms south of Dipolog and someone nearby was kidnapped because the family was well off. This is becoming too common there. I won't go back until there is a crack down on these types. I no longer feel safe there.
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:48   #9
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Re: Eastern Philippines still suspect?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lancerbye View Post
I have a place and a wife on Mindanao. Working at the present to get her up here by April. I have been spending 6 months a year there for the past couple years however, we found it unwise for me to go there this year. Things have gotten a bit scary with kidnappings by the Muslim extremists. Not only of foreigners but anyone they think they can get money out of.We are 75kms south of Dipolog and someone nearby was kidnapped because the family was well off. This is becoming too common there. I won't go back until there is a crack down on these types. I no longer feel safe there.
Yeah! It seems you were sorta boasting last year that it was safe. A change in heart now.
Situations seem to change in PI pretty quick. I keep telling my wife I want to get a place just S. of Cebu and she insists it's not safe. Unfortunately, I know more about PI then her, even though she's Filpina (small town girl).

I have in-laws on Palawan and they've never heard of any kidnappings on their Island, except that one time back in 2001 when kidnappings first started. But boaters have been completely safe, so far.

I think it's if you wandering around alone in unpopulated areas that is tempting. Especially, if you've been seen more then once. It's best to hang with a group. My wife's family always wants someone to go with me everywhere, even in Manila. If I go alone in some areas I just cover up in really loose clothing so only my face and hands show. Motorcycle clothing works great. And dress poor, without jewelry, even watches.
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Old 04-01-2012, 11:55   #10
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Re: Eastern Philippines still suspect?

The last line in Delmarreys above post is a GOOD Idea anytime your in any POOR place, showing off IE Jewlery,fancy sunglasses, big shiney watches ect ect, are a big attraction to poor folks. I find my Sea Going shorts and a wornout tee shirt are good cover, and when you sorta look like a homeless person, folks are less likely to give you any problems! Works for us Bob and Connie
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Old 04-01-2012, 12:28   #11
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Re: Eastern Philippines still suspect?

bobconnie, I agree Delmarreys has good advice to include not wondering around alone in unpopulated areas.
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Old 04-01-2012, 12:58   #12
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Re: Eastern Philippines still suspect?

A lot of the times that I'm alone I meet people that were either in the US military or have family that are/were. Street kids especially like to say hi. So I'm always friendly and smile. Sometimes I'll carry candy and hand it out (if it's only 2-3 kids).

Lots of times I'll hear "Hey Joe" off in the distance, so I just wave and keep moving. I always tip taxi's a little but not too much, they'll start expecting it. Although, lately the fuel prices have been up so high I do give extra for fuel if it's a long trip.

Filipino's are very friendly for the most part but do have tempers that soar. It's best just to keep quiet or walk away. It's like being in the Hood, w/o the drugs. And you just have to cater to the local religion/superstitions! That's their sanctuary from poverty.

These are my personal observations.
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Old 04-01-2012, 14:39   #13
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Re: Eastern Philippines still suspect?

Well get used to it. This will become more commonplace while governmenmts dither over ransom demands from anyone, including pirates.

The news broadcast this morning in Australia said that the government would "remain strong" and not give in to terrorists. This has happened in Somalia and then the relatives and friends pass the hat around and collect the money anyway. In a case like this when a government says it's going to "remain strong", it is demonstrating it's weakness because it is not making the hard decision to tackle the real issue.

The thugs of the world have seen the Somali pirates get away with it. They don't need a boat. They just need the westerner as a hostage. Because governments have dithered over pirates and the Australina / Phillipine governments are dithering in this case, pirates, gangsters the world over will be encouraged to keep doing it.

I wonder, how would the Israeli government handle this?
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Old 04-01-2012, 14:50   #14
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Re: Eastern Philippines still suspect?

Another new story with a video clip of him on the internet today.

Kidnapped Australian begs for his life in ransom video sent to family

According to the article with it the Filippina Government has 2000 troops searching for him in the area where they believe he is being held.

I'm praying they find him and send a loud message to the rebels that kidnapping is not worth it.
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Old 07-01-2012, 11:38   #15
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We Hope they Find Him? + Tales of the PI

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Originally Posted by Daddy's Dream View Post
Another new story with a video clip of him on the internet today.

Kidnapped Australian begs for his life in ransom video sent to family

According to the article with it the Filippina Government has 2000 troops searching for him in the area where they believe he is being held.

I'm praying they find him and send a loud message to the rebels that kidnapping is not worth it.
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.

G2L
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