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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat
    Scottish Gary's Avatar
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    Swagman and the LA Cafe Manilla

    I will be staying one night at the Swagman Hotel in Manila next month and I want to visit the LA Café and the surrounding bars which are nearby I believe.
    Reading some forums the area im staying in seems to be like a cross between downtown Baghdad and South Central LA. Is it so dangerous that I will have to get a cab everywhere or even stay in my hotel or are the forums exaggerating?

    Ps im only using Swagman as they run a bus to Angeles the next day

  2. #2
    Philippine Expat
    Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    All bullshit. Treat it like you would any city. I used to live a few blocks from there.

  3. #3
    Valve Master Latindancer's Avatar
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    It's a different situation from that in Thailand. More extreme poverty and desperate people. But as they say : Don't be afraid; just be aware.

    Or to quote another saying : trust in God but keep your powder dry.

    Don't be naive and you should be ok. And don't walk home drunk, by yourself.

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat
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    Take no notice of Davis Knowlton, he's a trained killer and arrived in the Flips with a reputation.

    Those horrible fukkers will shoot you for a hundred bucks.

  5. #5
    Philippine Expat
    Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    I should add...It is a bit of a seedy area. The old red light district. There will be folks on the street hustling. Keep sidewalk interactions to a minimum as you transit between places.

  6. #6
    Valve Master Latindancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dillinger View Post
    Take no notice of Davis Knowlton, he's a trained insulter and assassin of the feelings of of immigration agents and arrived in the Flips with a reputation.

    I just realized where these places are....near Malate and Ermita.


    I was there in 1988 and it was a cool, still hippyish area with vegetarian restaurants and whatnot.

    Went back there in 2009 and was horrified at the change, though I did arrive there at night. Not alternative anymore, and the sidewalk sellers looked really poor and desperate. More desperate than ones I saw in Bombay, and that's saying something !

  • #7
    Philippine Expat
    Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    I lived in Malate 90-92. That was the last two years of the legendary Ermita strip.

    Once the strip was shut down, the area drifted into urban decay - a state in which it remains.

  • #8
    Oooops up side ya head
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    As Davis says - no problems in Manila as long as you are not a twat.

  • #9
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    Manila - Big City With A Big Crime Problem

    The Philippines has a moderately high rate of violent crime, particularly in the city of Manila. Incidents of violent robbery and assault occur frequently, and tourists are often targets. The biggest culprits of these acts are local criminal gangs, although it‘s not unheard of for individual hoodlums to strike on their own.

    1. Gun crime

    Adding fuel to the fire is the substantial amount of Filipinos who own guns. This widespread gun ownership is very poorly regulated making it a recipe for disaster.

    Firearms are frequently used in the commission of crimes in the Philippines, and lend to the violent and highly dangerous nature. Avoid rural, unpopulated areas at night and try to travel in groups.

    2. Random acts of violence

    We're talking about scary things such as grenade attacks, which have occurred in recent years, and although they don‘t necessarily target foreigners, because they tend to be aimed at large groups of people and places frequented by tourists, visitors can easily become victims simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    3. Kidnapping

    The danger of kidnapping exists, particularly in south Philippines. This type of crime is believed to be due to the extensive poverty of the Filipino people, and foreigners are usually the ones targeted.

    4. Alcohol-Related crime

    The consumption of alcohol is often the trigger of street fights and violent crime. The national liquor, a coconut concoction called Tuba, is typically mixed with Coca-Cola and consumed in large quantities. It is an extremely potent drink so if you plan to partake, avoid doing so in public taverns and only drink with people you know. Barroom brawls often involve not just fists, but guns and machetes as well so it‘s not something you want to get involved with - especially if you‘re inebriated.

    5. Drink spiking

    Drink spiking is an issue – the locals refer to it as the “Atvian Scam“ after the drug used in the crime. Victims are often robbed or assaulted while they are unconscious. If someone you don‘t know offers you a drink that you didn‘t watch being made, no matter how friendly they seem, don‘t take it. It‘s better to be safe than sorry.

    While petty crime is typically non-violent, when it occurs at night or in rougher areas it could quickly turn dangerous. It‘s no unheard of for a simple pickpocketing incident to escalate into assault or worse.

    Scams and Other Bad Stuff to Avoid

    Scams are prevalent in the Philippines with local con artists hoping to get one over on visiting tourists. Here are the most common ones you'll encounter:

    Scam 1. A familiar face

    One of the more popular cons involves someone approaching a tourist and claiming to recognize them, often under the guise that they work at the hotel they‘re staying at. Coincidentally when they “bump into“ them, it‘ll just happen to be their day off. They‘ll offer to show the foreigner around and give them a free tour. Don‘t fall for it - unless, of course, you‘d like to be robbed. These scams can happen anywhere tourists frequent, but Manila is a hot-spot so be on the look-out.

    Scam 2. Taxi drivers

    Some taxi drivers are dishonest, so be sure to insist that the meter be used to avoid being gouged on the fare. It‘s illegal for taxi drivers to solicit at airports, so if you are approached by one there it‘s not a legal one. You should also avoid hailing taxis that already have passengers as it increases the potential for crime.

    Scam 3. Horse trading

    You may see a lot of horse drawn buggies in the Manila area. They may seem charming, but do so with caution. If you decide to take a ride make sure you first negotiate an agreed on price and be firm. Some visitors have reported the driver stopping halfway into the trip and getting out, turning the job over to their “boss“. At the end of the ride, the new driver then demands up to 10 times the original fare amount.

  • #10
    Philippine Expat
    Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    ^As I said, treat it like any poor, big city. The above is exaggerated, but the don't accept drinks from strangers is worth heeding.

  • #11
    Thailand Expat
    Scottish Gary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davis Knowlton View Post
    ^As I said, treat it like any poor, big city. The above is exaggerated, but the don't accept drinks from strangers is worth heeding.
    Davis, I'm Scottish I will accept a drink from anyone.😜 but seriously I always do a bit of research on a place before I visit but all I've read online about my ports of call Manilla, Angeles and Subic has been negative. ive visited a few edgy places in my time usually because of work but this will be the first time I've ever visited a country for a holiday with a sense of trepidation.
    I guess the usual rules will apply that you can put in place to stop you becoming a victim no matter where you go in the world.

  • #12
    Philippine Expat
    Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    ^I've lived here for 19 years without a problem. I spent time in Angeles, Subic, lived in Manila for seven years, and a bit further south for another 12. I've lived outside the US for 40 years, much of it in real shitholes; most of the negative crap you read is from people who have never traveled outside of the us or UK before.

    That said, the traffic (in Manila) sucks and the local chow does too.

  • #13
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    Comparison to Bangkok, Davis?...

  • #14
    Maker of tiny warriors
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    I spent a month in Manilla with my lad when he was 14 months old, we walked all over the place and never had a single problem with the locals, in fact they couldnt have been nicer to us, all those horror stories people like to tell is so much bs

  • #15
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    Scottish Gary's Avatar
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    i don't know why I let negative posts about the Philiphines put me off. I've lived in Pattaya on and off for years without any bother apart from the usual relationship troubles. If however you read about Pattaya on line you would never go near the place. I think on the internet people just enjoy posting and reading scare stories
    There was one post on Philiphine Addicts where someone was advising newbies to Angeles to learn some self defence moves before they arrive as they would be fighting every night ��
    Last edited by Scottish Gary; 02-09-2015 at 11:20 PM.

  • #16
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    Here you go bud, book yourself a crash course pronto


    http://teakdoor.com/the-teakdoor-lou...echniques.html

  • #17
    Valve Master Latindancer's Avatar
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    The truth is somewhere in between. Filipinos are mostly warm, relaxed, welcoming humans, but those horror stories actually happened....perhaps exaggerated slightly.....perhaps not.

    It's locals in tourist areas who are jaded from dealing from lowlife tourists who will rip you off. Areas like the one you are going to.


    Oh....and if Filipino plainclothes "police" (complete with fake ID) drive by and want to check your belongings....they are NOT police.

  • #18
    Philippine Expat
    Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaitongBoy View Post
    Comparison to Bangkok, Davis?...
    Manila is a big, crowded, dirty city - like Bangkok.

    Angeles - think Pattaya...without a beach

    Subic - pretty laid back. Some nice small resorts.

  • #19
    Thailand Expat
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    Sounds more like the Bronx than Bangkok ......

    “Welcome to Jollibee” says the gun toting doorman. Guns are everywhere in Manila. The parking attendant with his shotgun, hotel security playing with his six shooter, even the Starbucks have armed security. This is just one of the obvious social differences when arriving from Bangkok. To me Manila was slightly unnerving. It lacked the Asian charm of Bangkok and Southeast Asia and to me felt closer to a hispanic South American country. Locals dress more american. Shaved heads, b’ball caps, bandannas, basketball, baggy pants

  • #20
    Philippine Expat
    Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dillinger View Post
    Sounds more like the Bronx than Bangkok ......

    “Welcome to Jollibee” says the gun toting doorman. Guns are everywhere in Manila. The parking attendant with his shotgun, hotel security playing with his six shooter, even the Starbucks have armed security. This is just one of the obvious social differences when arriving from Bangkok. To me Manila was slightly unnerving. It lacked the Asian charm of Bangkok and Southeast Asia and to me felt closer to a hispanic South American country. Locals dress more american. Shaved heads, b’ball caps, bandannas, basketball, baggy pants
    It ain't Bangkok. In some ways it isn't really very Asian. I've read hundreds of articles over the years about armed guards at fast food places and everywhere else. So what? They're not going to shoot you. I doubt if one out of 1,000 has ever fired his weapon. It's simply minimum wage employment for a lot of poor folks. I'd much rather have them than American soccer moms with their concealed carry handhuns.

  • #21
    Valve Master Latindancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davis Knowlton View Post
    American soccer moms with their concealed carry handhuns.
    Indeed.

    Brainlessly lunging out from side streets in their huge SUVs, and reeking of post-lunch martinis and sense of entitlement.

  • #22
    Philippine Expat
    Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dillinger View Post
    Locals dress more american. Shaved heads, b’ball caps, bandannas, basketball, baggy pants
    19 years here, and I've never seen this. Other than baseball caps, usually from whatever US ship was last in port.

  • #23
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    Try Barrio Barretto near Subic. More easy going.

  • #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davis Knowlton View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dillinger View Post
    Locals dress more american. Shaved heads, b’ball caps, bandannas, basketball, baggy pants
    19 years here, and I've never seen this. Other than baseball caps, usually from whatever US ship was last in port.
    They call them Amboys. Lots in the south.

  • #25
    Philippine Expat
    Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikem View Post
    Try Barrio Barretto near Subic. More easy going.
    Yep. Good friend used to own a bar/resort there called Mangoes. Nice place. I always liked BB.

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