Places You Should Avoid While Traveling to the Philippines

Although Beachgoers and sun-lovers revel in the beauty of more than 7,000 tropical islands, and nature lovers can explore the countless natural wonders, there are areas in The Philippines that are unsafe and should be avoided.

Here's a list of places to avoid, to make your visit to The Philippines safe and fun!

  • The Sulu Archipelago, including the southern Sulu Sea, due to crime, terrorism, and civil unrest.
  • Marawi City in Mindanao due to terrorism and civil unrest.
  • Military Areas in the Philippines
  • Kidnapping Areas

The Sulu Archipelago and the Sulu Sea

Terrorist and armed groups kidnap U.S. citizens on land and at sea for ransom.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the Sulu Archipelago and the Sulu Sea as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel to those areas.

Marawi City in Mindanao

The Philippine government has declared martial law throughout the Mindanao region. Civilians are at risk of death or injury due to conflict between remnants of terrorist groups and Philippine security forces in Marawi.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Mindanao as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel there.

Military Areas

The military is an ever-present force in the Philippines, especially in Marawi, mainly due to the high risk of terrorism. Even when a ceasefire has been called, violence could flare up without warning. So, regardless of the current state of affairs during your stay, it‘s best to avoid these areas altogether.

See also: A Solo Traveler's Guide To Personal Safety For The Summer

Kidnapping Areas

The risk of kidnap is especially hazardous for visitors because terror groups target travelers from overseas for the high profile publicity, and the high ransom they can obtain from relatively wealthy families. Thankfully, these crimes are not widespread. The following locations carry a higher risk of kidnapping and should be avoided:

  • Sarangani Province
  • North Cotabato Province
  • South Cotabato Province
  • General Santos City
  • Sultan Kudarat Province
  • Lanao del Sur Province
  • Lanao del Norte Province
  • Iligan City
  • Pangutaran Island

Additionally, several foreigners have been captured in Zamboanga City, Pagadian City, Patikul and Jolo in recent years.

Kidnappings are difficult to predict and therefore can be challenging to avoid. Travel in groups and stay away from areas that have seen an increase in recent kidnapping incidents. There are plenty of beautiful locations throughout the Philippines that are trouble-free.

We highly recommend using our app to gather location-based safety tips, real-time safety updates, and where you can share your travel tips with others! Its free to download on Itunes.