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CDO - Safety Issues for US Visitors?

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Santa Barbara...
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CDO - Safety Issues for US Visitors?

The US government is currently warning all US citizens not to travel to Mindinao for various safety reasons. I am from the US and considering a trip to CDO and I would like some information and advice from people living there about safety concerns, crime concerns, and any other insider tips that you can provide would be appreciated. Thanks!

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boracay
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1. Re: CDO - Safety Issues for US Visitors?

All foreigners are equal here. It doesn't matter if you are from US, UK, germany or whatever. You get no better or worse treatment being American. Look up details on the exact region you are traveling to, or ask it here.

Santa Barbara...
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2. Re: CDO - Safety Issues for US Visitors?

Thanks. I did look up information about CDO here at TA and the US State Department and I am concerned. That's why I want information from locals and expats.

Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: CDO - Safety Issues for US Visitors?

It is only a minority of Mindanao that is unsafe for foreigners.

Cagayan de Oro City, Davao City, General Santos City and I gather both Iligan City and Zamboanga City are safe for visitors of any nationality. I have been to all except Iligan and Zamboanga and not had any dramas. Nor did I have any problems when I did a taxi day trip to the beautiful beaches around Glan, Mindanao.

Maguindanao, Basilan, Jolo and Tawi-Tawi are off limits to any sensible foreigner, as are some other provinces.

The Commonwealth (Australian) Government's www.smarttraveller.com.au makes some of this clear.

Edited: 17 November 2012, 14:45
Saint Louis...
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4. Re: CDO - Safety Issues for US Visitors?

The Australian traveler website and US Department website offer safe practical advice. However, familiarity with a country, good instincts, and traveling experience can probably keep you out of most jams. How familiar are you with the area? Are you traveling alone? Do you have anyone available that can show you around?

I live I the St Louis metro area, and year after year it is named one of the US most dangerous cities. 12 years here and ave never been in a situation that's been dangerous crime wise. I know the city and the areas to avoid, and the type of activity to avoid that draws crime. By my estimate it's safe. If I traveled to the north end of the city, where all the crime is, then that's a different story.

Santa Barbara...
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5. Re: CDO - Safety Issues for US Visitors?

Thanks Spork - I live and work in Los Angeles so I'm well aware of crime, I have experience, and good instincts. I was in Thailand and Laos last year and never felt unsafe, even though I am over a foot taller than most of them, and I have snow white hair. Needless to say, I stand out in Asia. That being said, I'm trying to find out if the threat of kidnapping is something to truly be afraid of in CDO. From what I read, Manila is reasonably safe. I have friends in CDO and I want to visit them there, but I don't want to take any unreasonable or unnecessary risks.

Saint Louis...
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6. Re: CDO - Safety Issues for US Visitors?

US travel warnings and I'm sure the Australian government, base their warnings on not only whats in the news, but also based on what their law enforcement and military connections gather intelligence wise, as well as what their diplomatic missions see and experience on the ground (embassies and consulates). So the writings are not baseless.

I think it's most practical to contact your friends there and get a feel for them. My general feel from talking to my relatives over there is that unless you are in the real rural areas or in those areas that are practically under martial law, sticking close to a knowledgable traveler or local will help you stay safe and from making mistakes.

Santa Barbara...
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7. Re: CDO - Safety Issues for US Visitors?

Spork: Thanks for your time and advice. I agree with what you are saying.

Brewster, New York
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8. Re: CDO - Safety Issues for US Visitors?

I have recently returned from a 3 week visit to Iligan City and Cagayan De Oro. I only spend a couple of days in CDO, usually the night of my arrival and the night before my departure from Lumbia Airport. On prior visits I spent more time in CDO and did not experience any problems although most of the time I am with Filipino friends.

Cagayan De Oro is a City and the same common sense that would apply to any other City will apply here such as don't overdress, Don't flash a lot of expensive jewelry, avoid flashing lots of cash etc. The fact that you even got there makes some people think you are automatically wealthy compared to the local living standards. Keep track of your personal belongings at all times.

If you will be staying in a hotel, remember this is Not New York, London, Paris or Las Vegas so do not expect the Ritz Carlton or the Marriot Marque type of places that cost you a few hundred a night. Do not expect absolute perfection although the lack of it is reflected in the cost. I have used 3 different hotels in my visits to Cagayan De Oro. Mallberry Suites, Dynasty Court and The VIP. I have used Mallberry Suites on my last 3 visits. You can read reviews on these and other hotels on this website. I suggest you make reservations ahead of time as there are times when hotels are fully booked with conventions. If you make a reservation online, I would suggest you verify it by telephone, just to make sure.

Taxi's are plentiful in CDO and I would suggest you use those instead of Jeepneys unless you have local friends with you.

Should you have any difficulty concerning lodging, restaurants, tourist attractions etc. may I suggest you contact the Region 10 Board of Tourism which is located in Cagayan De Oro and headded up by a Mr. Chan. I have had first hand experience with the Region 10 board of tourism and can vouch for the fact that they are very responsive and helpful when called upon. You should be able to find info on that on the internet.

My primary reason for visiting Mindanao is going to Iligan City but to get there I have to go through Lumbia Airport in CDO. I have never experienced any of the potential difficulties as described on the USA ( and other ) Govt state department websites. I usually stick to mainstream areas and don't wander off the beaten path.

The only " problem " I have in going to these areas is that my vacations come to an end all too soon. I hope you enjoy your visit as much as I have enjoyed mine.

Santa Barbara...
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9. Re: CDO - Safety Issues for US Visitors?

Thanks Bob for the excellent information!

Oslo, Norway
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10. Re: CDO - Safety Issues for US Visitors?

If LA as you know it, especially East LA was in the Philippines or another country, the state department would warn Americans not go to into LA for safety reasons

CDO is okay, but do not go the outskirt areas or stay in areas outside of the area that you do not know at night. If you do take precautions.

Davao is great and also a nice place.

I advere to onen rule, anyone or everyone can say a place is safe until it is not, using Bali as an example.So, watch where you go and take same precautions as you do in LA.

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