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 Study Abroad Students should avoid as they are unsafe.
Studying abroad in Asia creates an enormous opportunity to explore on breaks, however, there are certain areas to avoid for risk of an unsafety incident in the Philippines.
- 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 and therefore not a safe place for study abroad student travel. 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. If you are a study abroad student, don’t be tempted by cheap airfares to vacation here. Its dangerous.
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. As a study abroad student, its best to avoid military bases or areas where there is a high concentration of military activity.
The risk of kidnap is especially hazardous for study abroad students because terrorist 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. As a study abroad student it is best to 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 and easy to access.
If you are a study abroad student and planning to take a jaunt to the Philippines, we highly recommend using the FREE WanderSafe smartphone app to gather location-based safety tips, real-time safety updates, and where you can share your travel tips with others! It’s free to download on Itunes and Google Play stores combined with our WanderSafe Beacon for optimum safety while aboad.