Manila Warnings and Dangers
Manila has some truly incredible sights. It also has extreme poverty and other problems. This can cause some potentially dangerous situations if you are not careful. By using these tips, you should be able to avoid most of the common problems.
Manila is a great city to visit, but it still has crime. Petty theft is the most common form of crime that tourists face, but you can generally avoid it. If you’re out at night, avoid unlit areas and always walk in groups. Avoid walking more than a block or two by hailing a marked cab. Don’t wear expensive jewelry or clothing, as this will mark you as an easy target. And if you wear a purse, wear it across your other shoulder so it’s not easily snatched from a passing motor bike.
Don’t drink the tap water if you are visiting for a short period of time. While the tap water is safe to locals, there is some bacteria in it that your system is likely not used to. Drinking the tap water may result in a nasty stomach bug that will last a day or two (you’ll be stuck near the bathroom the entire time). There are some people who know they are going to be in the city for months, and simply drink the tap water in order to acclimate their body (similar to receiving a flu shot). If you’re only in town for a few weeks or less, stick to bottled water that you purchase. You may also want to avoid ice from street vendors as well.
Don’t just use any money changer. If you have to, it is best to use a location close to a bank or inside the airport. Other locations on the side of the road are more likely to rip you off. Ideally, don’t bring in a ton of outside money. Instead, use a debit card, as the exchange rates are usually better. When using an ATM, use one connected to a hotel or bank. This reduces the chances of the ATM being rigged with a scammer system that reads your card information.
When grabbing a taxi, never take one that just quotes you a price. Stick to metered cabs. Quoted prices will often be at least twice the price of what you might pay otherwise. This is generally how it is throughout most of Southeast Asia, so keep this in mind if you will be traveling to nearby countries.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about warnings and dangers in Manila.