As the Philippine government works toward increasing tourist numbers, local law enforcement officials continually crack down on crime, especially in popular tourism sections of the city of Manila. Unfortunately, criminals find that openly or covertly robbing tourists nets a hefty profit with very little effort. Thankfully, you can actively keep yourself safe by minimizing your chance of catching the eye of these criminal groups. Here are four safety tips to follow as you travel through this otherwise gorgeous and inviting vacation spot.
Carry Pepper Spray
Muggers, purse-snatchers and other criminals hone in on individuals likely to give up the goods without putting up much of a fight. You can minimize the risk of falling prey to these crimes by carrying a container of pepper spray wherever you go. You may either bring along your own container or purchase one locally. Most major airlines allow you to carry one three-ounce container of pepper spray in your checked luggage. The spray absolutely cannot be in your purse, pocket or carry-on luggage at any point during your airline travels.
Skip Helping Panhandlers
Although it might feel callous, you must avoid handing out your change to panhandlers to stay safe during your travels. Many opportunistic criminals set up near common tourist attractions to find their next victims. These individuals attempt to prey on the kindness of others to turn a hefty profit. The panhandlers do not just ask for change, many note purse or bag contents while you hand out change to alert their buddies to ideal mugging targets. Unfortunately, you cannot sort out the truly needy from the others, so it is best to steer clear.
Secure Your Wallet and Belongings
Carrying any sort of separate purse or handbag may be a big mistake while spending a lot of time walking down the streets of Manila. Purse and wallet snatching crimes happen often, especially in tourist heavy regions. With everyone so tightly packed together, the criminals can quickly and easily bump into you and snag your belongings before darting away through the crowd. Instead, you may want to wear a fanny pack or place your wallet in a front pocket to minimize your chance of falling victim to this frustrating crime.
Put Away Valuables
Although you may want to look fancy while you go out on the town, you should resist the urge and leave your most precious stones at home for another time. Tourists who wear an immense amount of jewelry often end up targets of muggings or other crimes. Criminals look for the highest value targets to minimize the need to repeat the heist more than a few times a day. If you absolutely need the adornments, you can still achieve a truly stunning appearance by wearing costume jewelry instead.
By following the above tips, you can safely travel through Manila without worry about falling victim to common crimes against tourists. As you develop a feel for the land, you will blend into the sea of locals and become even less of a target.