There are conflicting theories on the web about whether it is safe or not to travel in the Philippines and before I visited it for the first time my wife and her friends gave me all kinds of warnings.
Personally I have travelled far and wide in Luzon and I’ve also taken buses, tricycles and jeepneys alone, I have walked the streets of my wife’s barangay alone and I’v even experienced jogging in the countryside alone and I’ve never felt, not even once, that my safety was somehow threatened. I travelled alone all the way to the Ilocano provinces from Bulacan by taking few buses. I’ve spent 10 days away from my wife and her family visiting some Filipino friends of mine alone and been to several beaches alone walking around or going there by bus, tricycle or jeepney while my Filipino friends were at home.
I’ve even been to Quiapo by night and….nothing.
Maybe the reason is that I speak Tagalog and I know how to build rapport with Filipinos, I don’t know. Perhaps if someone else does what I did he will be attacked so I disclaim responsibility for what I am writing. Maybe you shouldn’t try Quiapo by night but, by and large, I think that travelling in the Philippines isn’t a problem for most foreigners. I’ve actually met Western couples who had rented cars and who were doing road trips.
To be honest the only two occasions in which I have almost been held up occurred in Paris, France, and in Brussels, Belgium not in the Philippines!
I’ve never been held up in the Philippines but my Filipino mother in law was held up in Rome and burglars broke into the apartment of a Filipino family whom I known.
I have heard stories of Filipinos being robbed or even killed in my country while no one of the Europeans whom I know (and I know many) who have been to the Philippines has ever been injured by criminals in the Philippines.
This is, of course, simply my own experience and limited perspective.
Maybe you shouldn’t try Divisoria, Quiapo or Tondo by night or, maybe, parts of Mindanao but, by and large, as far as I am concerned, travelling in the Philippines has proved to be much safer than the warnings full of doom and gloom that I had heard before I made my first trip to the country.
So, take your precautions and enjoy the Philippines.