As an important safety measure

Philippines Travel advisory

The Philippines has some of the most stunning sunsets in Southeast Asia.The Philippines has some of the most stunning sunsets in Southeast Asia. (Photo: Images )

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Many travelers overlook the Philippines on visits to Southeast Asia, often because they're scared off by government advisories warning travelers to exercise a "high degree of caution" when visiting the Philippines. This archipelago home of the kindhearted Filipino people offers attractions that range from scuba diving to sky-high shopping malls. As long as you travel smart, the Philippines is well worth the visit.

Regional Differences

Depending on where you visit in the Philippines, your experience will vary. Poverty can make you feel wary as a traveler, but awareness serves you better than fear. In Manila, daily risks include pickpocketing and cell phone snatching, according to iGuide Interactive Travel Guide. The U.S. Department of State cites terrorism and kidnappings as more serious risks. The southern island of Cebu, touted as one of the safest cities in the Philippines by TripAdvisor, offers a tropical escape for tens of thousands of foreigners each year. However, iGuide does warn travelers that robberies are common in Carbon Market, near Cebu city. The State Department urges travelers to exercise extreme caution if visiting the area of Mindanao, as political instability has resulted in increasing violence and serious safety concerns.

Traffic and Transport

To get around in the Philippines, most locals use jeepneys - originally made from military jeeps left in the country after World War II. Lonely Planet advises tourists to be aware of their belongings, however, as pickpocketing is a common occurrence inside crowded jeepneys. Taxis are quite cheap in the Philippines, but some drivers try to rip off tourists. You can avoid this by pointing to the meter as soon as you open the door, so the driver understands that you won't ride without the meter on. You should also keep the doors locked when inside a taxi, as beggars may reach in and grab your belongings at a red light. Boats and ferries travel between islands, but ferries are often overcrowded, so Lonely Planet advises asking around for reliable companies to ensure your safety. Travel forums and websites offer updated information on companies with reliable reputations.

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Source: traveltips.usatoday.com
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