Is it safe to travel and move around the Davao City area?
I am an American, are the people in Davao friendly to Americans?
In general, it is safe to move around Davao City. And if you are a foreigner, you will not find any other place on earth that is friendly to other races as the Philippines.
But when it comes to safety and security, you have to be on-guard all the time… even in your own house. It greatly helps if you are little bit paranoid. After all, only the paranoids survive!
The following are some safety tips that could be helpful to anyone (Filipinos and foreigners alike) planning to visit Davao or if you are already here for whatever reason.
1. Keep a low profile
This is particularly advisable to Westerners (Americans, Europeans, Australians). Since you come from Western countries, you are generally perceived as rich when you come to the Philippines. Keep a low profile, else you become a favorite target of thieves, robbers or snatchers.
2. Learn a few Cebuano words
What else is more safe than to be a friend to the local people of Davao?
Learn Cebuano and you will surprise them by your extra-ordinary talent. This is also one of the most effective ways of making them smile. And when you do it with lots of local around, you’re an instant celebrity!
On top of that, the Cebuano dialect is widely spoken in the Philippines, especially in the areas of Visayas and the Mindanao.
Note to Foreigners:Filipinos in general and Dabawenyos (people of Davao) in particular understand the English Language. They may not be very conversant, but you should expect that one since it is not the language they use on a daily basis.
3. Don’t bring a lot of cash
Use your credit card, ATM, checks or anything else in place of cash.
If you need cash, ATM outlets are almost available in the malls and banks around Davao City. Prepare coins and smaller bills especially when buying from a store or taking a cab or jeepney.
4. Get a travel buddy
If you have a Filipino friend, have him as your guide or buddy until you are comfortable moving around the city all by yourself.
(See also: Old Street Names in Davao City.)
5. Hide your valuable items
People steal what they can see.
Put your laptops, cellphones, iPads, or any electronic gadgets in your bag and keep them close all the time.
Don’t wear expensive jewelries especially in crowded places.
6. Stay Alert and Avoid Crowded Places
Be aware or conscious of what is happening to your surroundings. Use your senses, pay attention to the sights and sounds of the area you are currently situated.
Above all, use your common sense.
Don’t go where the crowd is, avoid the slam areas and unlighted streets.
7. Dial 911
For emergencies, always remember to dial Davao 911.
Also, always have in handy the phone number of the hotel where you are currently booked. It helps if you get lost in the city or if you need an assistance going back to your room. 🙂
Interested in getting more information? Try the following websites:
- US Consultate in Davao. Americans visiting Davao should first visit this website.
- The Philippines from US Department of State. A brief profile of the Philippines from the US State Department.