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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I joined several months ago with a goal of seeking understanding and guidance from the assembled expat Veterans, and to supplement my getting to know about the Phil's. I was not wrong, this is a great group. The one thing that I find hard to put my arms around is how much of the travel warning for Davao and surrounding area is justified and earnest, or broad based and it really deserves a "it depends". I am not basing a decision solely on what I read here. but I do take it into considerations. SO now it is getting time to book a two week vacation to the Phi's and welcome any real time input on matters like safety for foreigners from a "targeted" perspective -- I am not so concerned about petty theft or pick pocket or scam's.

So my plans are to fly to the Phils, designation Davao, stay the first few nights in a higher end hotel, then a couple nights in my GF's house in the southern area of Davao city (my GF lives with me in the USA, 10 years in this country), then a week in a resort like the Pearl Farm. I am thinking this is a relatively benign tour and normal travel precautions apply. zWould you agree??
thank you in advance for your input. The mouse of my apple is hovering over the ticket selection tab :eek::)
 

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I joined several months ago with a goal of seeking understanding and guidance from the assembled expat Veterans, and to supplement my getting to know about the Phil's. I was not wrong, this is a great group. The one thing that I find hard to put my arms around is how much of the travel warning for Davao and surrounding area is justified and earnest, or broad based and it really deserves a "it depends". I am not basing a decision solely on what I read here. but I do take it into considerations. SO now it is getting time to book a two week vacation to the Phi's and welcome any real time input on matters like safety for foreigners from a "targeted" perspective -- I am not so concerned about petty theft or pick pocket or scam's.

So my plans are to fly to the Phils, designation Davao, stay the first few nights in a higher end hotel, then a couple nights in my GF's house in the southern area of Davao city (my GF lives with me in the USA, 10 years in this country), then a week in a resort like the Pearl Farm. I am thinking this is a relatively benign tour and normal travel precautions apply. zWould you agree??
thank you in advance for your input. The mouse of my apple is hovering over the ticket selection tab :eek::)
Honestly, Davao City is great and I love it. My wife is from Compostela Valley NE of Davao and we stay in Davao City ALOT when we are there. The safety aspect especially in Davao is great, as a White American I have never NOT felt safe in Davao, actually I feel safer there than I do in Manila. The mayor is hard core in Davao and does not tolerate criminals at all. Listen to your GF though and if she says not to go to an area then don't.
The big high end hotel in Davao is the Marco Polo and that's where you want to go if you want to feel really safe, but it is high scale and expensive. I usually stay at a decent hotel that's around $45 a night if that and it's clean with hot water, and safe. You don't need to stay in a fancy hotel if you don't want to. I am actually leaving in two weeks to go back to Davao City for a couple weeks and then on to Boracay.

Don't worry ok. Just listen to her and her family, and don't be a jacka$$. Then the only problem you will have is fighting off the Filipinas, and I am being serious on that. I am 31 and they want to get with me.

31yrs old, USMC Combat Veteran Iraq and Afghanistan.
 

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Honestly, Davao City is great and I love it. My wife is from Compostela Valley NE of Davao and we stay in Davao City ALOT when we are there. The safety aspect especially in Davao is great, as a White American I have never NOT felt safe in Davao, actually I feel safer there than I do in Manila. The mayor is hard core in Davao and does not tolerate criminals at all. Listen to your GF though and if she says not to go to an area then don't.
The big high end hotel in Davao is the Marco Polo and that's where you want to go if you want to feel really safe, but it is high scale and expensive. I usually stay at a decent hotel that's around $45 a night if that and it's clean with hot water, and safe. You don't need to stay in a fancy hotel if you don't want to. I am actually leaving in two weeks to go back to Davao City for a couple weeks and then on to Boracay.

Don't worry ok. Just listen to her and her family, and don't be a jacka$$. Then the only problem you will have is fighting off the Filipinas, and I am being serious on that. I am 31 and they want to get with me.

31yrs old, USMC Combat Veteran Iraq and Afghanistan.
Just got an email this morning from State Dept Step Program warning about travel in south part of Phil. They did mention the there have been no problems around Davao but still do not advise Americans going about anyplace south of there. Never know what to make of those warnings as there should probably be one for lots of places in the good old USA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
thank you cyberfx, appreciate the response. Ah I think I am just over thinking this whole thing. I think your observations are dead on. I should just set aside concerns and just have a blast, with the usual cautions. We are scheduling our trip to coincide with a festival, going Island hopping around Samal, staying at a lovely resort, and intend to enjoy ourselves immensely. And as for flirtatious Pinay's, I have already been warned. However,my GF is far more attractive than I am handsome, so she has nothing to worry about.

@lkarlovsky -- the bad guys don't have borders. This too is coming to the USA.
 

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thank you cyberfx, appreciate the response. Ah I think I am just over thinking this whole thing. I think your observations are dead on. I should just set aside concerns and just have a blast, with the usual cautions. We are scheduling our trip to coincide with a festival, going Island hopping around Samal, staying at a lovely resort, and intend to enjoy ourselves immensely. And as for flirtatious Pinay's, I have already been warned. However,my GF is far more attractive than I am handsome, so she has nothing to worry about.

@lkarlovsky -- the bad guys don't have borders. This too is coming to the USA.
100% right. Remember OKC and Boston. Just have fun, listen to your GF, stay out of any crowd that seems to be demonstrating about anything, and if something does not feel right run like crazy the other direction.
 

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thank you cyberfx, appreciate the response. Ah I think I am just over thinking this whole thing. I think your observations are dead on. I should just set aside concerns and just have a blast, with the usual cautions. We are scheduling our trip to coincide with a festival, going Island hopping around Samal, staying at a lovely resort, and intend to enjoy ourselves immensely. And as for flirtatious Pinay's, I have already been warned. However,my GF is far more attractive than I am handsome, so she has nothing to worry about.
@lkarlovsky -- the bad guys don't have borders. This too is coming to the USA.
Yeah, I scheduled our trip to coincide with a Festival next month as well. We want to get our daughter baptized while I am there because I am only able to stay 2 weeks and my wife is staying longer.

My observations are spot on because I have traveled through out Northern/Eastern/and SE Mindanao at numerous and different times when I went there. I have used public transport to travel (Aircon bus) and I have rode with my brother in law through out Eastern Mindanao. Yes, there are bad spots and bad places not to go, just like in the USA, but I have never not had a good time when I went.

The people there are just great overall, and love it if you try to speak Bisaya. I know some of it and I try to speak it, but usually how I say some stuff is wrong, but they don't care at all and just laugh how I say it. On average the people down south know more English than Filipinos from the provinces of Luzon from what I can find, that's because they often times feel resentment towards Tagalog and want to learn English to get ahead or go abroad. The only time you will hear Tagalog is from the tv or from people not from that region.

I had to give you advice about the women because it is true. My wife and then gf is very attractive as well. But that didn't stop women from her town (who knew her and her family) to come out and ask me to drop her and go with them when I went to get some bread, and it was my first time meeting that girl. The reason for that is because they are not used to seeing YOUNG white guys and also because they just trying to get out of being poor. I don't know how old you are, but I am guessing around my age.

Also Pearl Farm on Samal is AWESOME and you will love it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
[thx again cyberfx. we are going to coincide with kadayawan festival (spelling) and we are choosing hotel approximate to the procession. And i hear you on the flirt thing. even happens stateside. Thanks for the flattery but i am 62 see pics of us in my profile. I am in good shape and no gray hair so i get by :boxing: my gf speaks basayan, tagalog, english very fluent and a little spanish so we are good.
 

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I'm with Cyberfx on this one, the Pearl Farm is a nice spot indeed. I've spent an enjoyable weekend there with the better half, loved lazing about on the little island they own off the resort proper.

Samal Island isn't bad for cycling around either if you are into that sort of thing; has some hills though!

Have fun.
 

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I'm with Cyberfx on this one, the Pearl Farm is a nice spot indeed. I've spent an enjoyable weekend there with the better half, loved lazing about on the little island they own off the resort proper.
Samal Island isn't bad for cycling around either if you are into that sort of thing; has some hills though!
Have fun.
Yeah Samal Island is pretty good. The wife and I (then GF) went to Blue Jazz to stay the weekend and found out they only had non-aircon rooms available for that weekend(I decided that we would just show up with no reservations). So I immediately got on the phone and computer to get a hold of Pearl Farm, I ended up getting us a nice package deal in one of the over water cottages they have. So we ask the bar tender if he knew anyone to get us there, so he calls up some people to take us there. We ended up having to motorbike across Samal Island to get to Pearl Farm, my wife was laughing because it looked by I being kidnapped by being on the back of a masked man's motorbike.

Anyway we ended up at the back gate of Pearl Farm and the guard looked completely taken back and surprised that we should up at that location. It all got sorted out and we had an awesome time.
 

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I just got back from the Davao Region this week and I had a really good time as always. This time I only traveled by land up to Agusan Del Sur and Compostela Valley. We did fly up to Boracay and had a really good time up there.

My key point is that you will be fine and don't stress out or worry. Just don't be stupid and you will be fine.
 

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My wife is from Kidapawan, a three hour drive from the Davao Airport. I have been there twice. I rented a car and drove many places. Everything went great and I had no sense of extreme danger. I did not see any other white faces in Kidapawan, but I was treated very kindly. I did get long stares, unlike Bohol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I am on my way. Have current passport, plane ticket (2), itinerary and sunscreen. Plenty of film for the camera, er I mean memory cards, and am ready to look around and enjoy. :plane:
 

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I am on my way. Have current passport, plane ticket (2), itinerary and sunscreen. Plenty of film for the camera, er I mean memory cards, and am ready to look around and enjoy. :plane:
Good for you. Where are you flying out from? Keep in mind that the Davao Region is vastly different then Metro Manila.
 

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My wife is from Kidapawan, a three hour drive from the Davao Airport. I have been there twice. I rented a car and drove many places. Everything went great and I had no sense of extreme danger. I did not see any other white faces in Kidapawan, but I was treated very kindly. I did get long stares, unlike Bohol.
That's also how it is up in New Bataan. I am usually the only white person in town and nobody bothers me at all. I wanted to drive a car this time around, but my wife was having none of that. She convinced her brother to lend us his driver and one of his cars to use when I was there.

Yeah you get long stares because people are thinking "Why is he in our town", usually not in a bad way just very curious.
 

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That's also how it is up in New Bataan. I am usually the only white person in town and nobody bothers me at all. I wanted to drive a car this time around, but my wife was having none of that. She convinced her brother to lend us his driver and one of his cars to use when I was there.
I agree with your wife. Let a local drive. Simply relax and enjoy.
 

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I joined several months ago with a goal of seeking understanding and guidance from the assembled expat Veterans, and to supplement my getting to know about the Phil's. I was not wrong, this is a great group. The one thing that I find hard to put my arms around is how much of the travel warning for Davao and surrounding area is justified and earnest, or broad based and it really deserves a "it depends". I am not basing a decision solely on what I read here. but I do take it into considerations. SO now it is getting time to book a two week vacation to the Phi's and welcome any real time input on matters like safety for foreigners from a "targeted" perspective -- I am not so concerned about petty theft or pick pocket or scam's.

So my plans are to fly to the Phils, designation Davao, stay the first few nights in a higher end hotel, then a couple nights in my GF's house in the southern area of Davao city (my GF lives with me in the USA, 10 years in this country), then a week in a resort like the Pearl Farm. I am thinking this is a relatively benign tour and normal travel precautions apply. zWould you agree??
thank you in advance for your input. The mouse of my apple is hovering over the ticket selection tab :eek::)
i lived in agusan del sur,agusan del norte,loved it. Didnt like ex so i left.
 

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That's also how it is up in New Bataan. I am usually the only white person in town and nobody bothers me at all. I wanted to drive a car this time around, but my wife was having none of that. She convinced her brother to lend us his driver and one of his cars to use when I was there.

Yeah you get long stares because people are thinking "Why is he in our town", usually not in a bad way just very curious.
I remember the old days when I was the celebrity in town when I visited lol Now so many white faces they don't notice much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
thanks for the responses everyone/ sorry for the late response. I am departing Los Angeles, CA, USA and arriving in Manila for a 4 hr layover then on to Davao. Spend the first few days at the Marco Polo while my GF takes care of some financial business, Then on to Samal for a week of recreation. Cant wait
 
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