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My guests + 20 tourists robbed in San Fernando, Philippines!

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My guests + 20 tourists robbed in San Fernando, Philippines!

Postby Winston » Sat Apr 23, 2011 7:04 am

Hi all,
I've been hosting a Hungarian couple from Couchsurfing.com. Yesterday we went to San Fernando to watch the crucifixion of Jesus enactment where they put real nails into the palms of the volunteers staked on a cross, in front of spectators and tourists, during Holy Week here. I never had any interest in seeing this, but because my guests came for it, I decided to accompany them. Plus it would be a good chance to get away from the pollution of Angeles City. Man, I could not believe how many hot European girls were there. I never thought that hot white girls would ever come to the Philippines.

Anyhow, my guest ended up getting pick pocketed. He put his wallet and cell phone in the zipper side pockets of his shorts, and when he was surrounded by a ton of people, both his side pockets were opened and his wallet, 3000p, bank card, documents, and expensive cell phone were stolen. Damn. I should have told him not to put his valuables in those side pockets.

Shocked, we immediately went to the booth where policemen were sitting at. When he reported it to them, a police woman filled out a report and got our numbers in case anything was found. But that was it. My guest was furious that they were not going around trying to investigate, but just sitting there waiting for someone to turn their wallet in. The policemen said that they could do nothing and could not harass random people by interrogating them.

At the same time, a ton of other Western/European tourists also lined up at the police booth, to report being pickpocketed as well. During the next 2 hours, about 20 or more tourists lined up to report being robbed. Apparently, many other Westerners here also made the stupid mistake of putting valuables in side zipper pockets, which is an easy area to pickpocket. Why are so many people so stupid? Any calculating person knows that you should not put valuables in side zipper pockets. They should go in your front pockets or in tightly sealed bags placed in front of your body. (That's a lesson I learned in Russia)

I was surprised. How could so many tourists be robbed at the same time, with none of them seeing who robbed them, and no eyewitnesses to the pick pocketers? If so many were robbed, then obviously there must be a crime ring, perhaps of kids (since they are the only ones who are short enough to pick people's side pockets).

My guests started going around questioning children and offering them a reward for info. leading to the capture of the kids who stole their valuables. But all the kids in the area denied knowing anything. My guest believed that the robbers were local, not tourists, and must be known by other locals. But I explained to him that in the Philippines, a majority of people do not think that stealing or lying is wrong (despite this being a "Christian country"), and therefore any random ordinary kid is a suspect, not just professional robbers.

The police lady who took down the report insulted our intelligence by saying that this is the first time this ever happened. But my friend said, "That's bullshit. Many other tourists were robbed today. This probably happens every year, and will happen next year too. The police here just let it happen. If they wanted to, they could catch the thieves by simply having officers in civilian clothes watch behind the foreigners getting pickpocketed so they can catch the thieves in the act. That would be an easy way to catch the thieves, but of course, the police don't care."

Then I also remarked, "How come 15 policemen are standing there underneath that canopy, while many foreigners are getting robbed? What's the point of the police then, if they do nothing and let many people get robbed? This is a typical Filipino attitude - to not give a shit. Why are they working and getting paid, when they are essentially useless?"

Later, a reporter from ABS-CBN news came and interviewed my guests on camera about being robbed here. When I later told the reporter about how useless the police were in standing there and doing nothing while 20+ tourists were being robbed, the reporter thought my comment was interesting and asked if I could say that on camera, so he could report on the opinions of foreigners in the Philippines. I thought about it and decided not to, even though I was tempted to, cause me publicly criticizing the Philippines on TV might get me in trouble. So I resisted the temptation and decided to just tell this story on my website forum or blog. Before we parted though, I gave him a copy of my website pamphlet (http://www.happierabroad.com/Pamphlet.pdf) and freethinking asian quotes about me (http://www.happierabroad.com/FreethinkingAsian.htm). He said he may follow up with me and do a story on me.

My guests concluded after two days that out of the 40 countries they've traveled to, the Philippines left them with the worst impression and they do not plan to come here again. They cannot think of anything redeeming in the Philippines, and dislike having to be on alert for robbers 24/7 here. They said that Thailand was way better - the people were more polite, better mannered, more civilized, beggars never touched them like they do here, the food was much better, hotels were cheaper, and the streets were cleaner.

Also, in their experience, the people in Thailand spoke English just as well as in the Philippines, so they didn't experience any language barrier there. Wow. They also said that Malaysia was much nicer and more developed than the Philippines too, and that the food was way better and cheaper. The food you buy on the street in Thailand and Malaysia is also fresh and good quality, whereas the food you buy on the street in the Philippines is anything but.

I hope they have better experiences in the other parts of the Philippines they go to.

PS - Interestingly, enough my guest said that a 1500p barfine in Angeles is not cheap and that in Hungary, you can get whores for the equivalent of around 500p. Wow I didn't know that. Therefore, he said, he does not consider "cheap sex" to be a benefit of the Philippines.

PS 2 - He also said that he would not be surprised if the whole crucifixion event in San Fernando was in fact a charade set up by the local authorities for the sole purpose of mass robbing tourists. I guess that's a possibility. If that is true though, that would stink to high heaven.

PS 3 - Oh by the way, get this. My guests told me that before they stayed with me, they stayed with another CouchSurfing host in Manila, this nice intelligent Filipino guy. The thing is, he had relatives from the countryside visiting him and staying at his place too. One time, when they came back to their room, they found that their bags had been opened, and a little cash was gone from their luggage. The only explanation was that the visiting relatives tried to steal from them while they were out of the room. But they didn't bring that up to their host because they didn't want to make him feel ashamed or lose face regarding his relatives. They are still not sure if they should email their host and tell them about what his relatives did. Can you imagine that? I've never heard of a CouchSurfing host's relatives trying to rob their guests. That is unheard of on CouchSurfing!
Last edited by Winston on Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:45 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Postby The_Adventurer » Sat Apr 23, 2011 7:18 am

Wow. Truly a shame. Every time I start to think I might miss the Philippines or some aspect of it, I read something like this. Granted, nothing ever happened to me personally, but too many negative experiences pile up to paint a picture of place I may never want to return to. I am surprised you're still there Winston.

I mean, really, is cheap girls all the place has left to offer? And now we hear they are cheaper elsewhere?

(I am aware of some supposedly great beaches, and good diving, and other adventurous stuff, but that stuff also exists, often in better quality, in other tropical vacation destinations.)
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Postby Rock » Sat Apr 23, 2011 7:56 am

Here's another quick story to add to that one. A few days ago at American Hotel, I met a British guy who said he had been out to some of the bars on Fields Ave. the previous night. In one bar, he watched a customer sitting up at the go go bar get fondled by a couple of girls. One of them got excited and pulled his shorts down. He got off his bar stool and pulled them back up. A few minutes later, after the guy had paid the bill and left, the same girl was showing off a wad of 1,000s and 500s in plain view of other patrons. Apparently, she had nicked them from his pockets when the shorts were pulled down. I'm surprised he didn't discover the loss when he paid his bill.
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Re: My guests and 20 tourists robbed in the Philippines!

Postby Rock » Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:16 am

Winston wrote:
PS - Interestingly, enough my guest said that a 1500p barfine in Angeles is not cheap and that in Hungary, you can get whores for the equivalent of around 500p. Wow I didn't know that. Therefore, he said, he does not consider "cheap sex" to be a benefit of the Philippines.

PS 2 - He also said that he would not be surprised if the whole crucifixion event in San Fernando was in fact a charade set up by the local authorities for the sole purpose of mass robbing tourists. I guess that's a possibility. If that is true though, that would stink to high heaven.

PS 3 - Oh by the way, get this. My guests told me that before they stayed with me, they stayed with another CouchSurfing host in Manila, this nice intelligent Filipino guy. The thing is, he had relatives from the countryside visiting him and staying at his place too. One time, when they came back to their room, they found that their bags had been opened, and a little cash was gone from their luggage. The only explanation was that the visiting relatives tried to steal from them while they were out of the room. But they didn't bring that up to their host because they didn't want to make him feel ashamed or lose face regarding his relatives. They are still not sure if they should email their host and tell them about what his relatives did. Can you imagine that? I've never heard of a CouchSurfing host's relatives trying to rob their guests. That is unheard of on CouchSurfing!


1. I sure would like to know where such cheap girls are available in Hungary. I'm guessing at such low prices, they are: very mercenary and only go ST, are generally very unattractive, and have issues. If I am wrong, then Hungary could be some sort of P4P paradise.

2. Thailand can be just as bad if not worse. When I had my things stolen, the police could not even be bothered from their sleep to take down a report until the following day. And everyone told me that to get them to do anything, I would have to pay them under table and offer an attractive reward. Patts and Phuket have an ongoing jet ski scam where foreigners regularly get extorted for 10s of thousands of Baht and never get any help from police other than a slight reduction of the amount to be paid.

3. In Rio, I've seen tourists get mugged in broad daylight. The petty thieve gangs sometimes share their take with police officers who pretend not to see anything.

4. In Mombasa, cops work with girls to set-up foreign guys, put them in jail for taking a prostitute or allegedly under age girl, and then milk them for all they can get.

Robbery, scams and mafia policemen are a given in most poorer countries. I don't think PI really stands out from the others in this regard.

But, when it comes to food, tourist infrastructure, and prices, Thailand comes out way ahead of PI.
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Re: My guests and 20 tourists robbed in the Philippines!

Postby The_Hero_of_Men » Sat Apr 23, 2011 3:21 pm

I know where I would put my wallet: I would put my wallet where NOBODY would want to even TRY to steal it from me---


I would practice what I have called the art of "shove-fu": shove my wallet down my underwear... :)
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Re: My guests and 20 tourists robbed in the Philippines!

Postby Jackal » Sat Apr 23, 2011 4:04 pm

Winston wrote:PS - Interestingly, enough my guest said that a 1500p barfine in Angeles is not cheap and that in Hungary, you can get whores for the equivalent of around 500p. Wow I didn't know that. Therefore, he said, he does not consider "cheap sex" to be a benefit of the Philippines.

Does "500p" mean 500 Filipino Pesos? If so, currently 1p = 4.2 HUF. Therefore, 500p = 2100 HUF. No, that can't be right. I'm not an expert, but I doubt that you could get sex in Hungary for 2100 HUF (this is the price of two meals at McDonald's here). Although perhaps you could get a bj somewhere for that if you know where to go (roadside gypsies??).

As far as I'm aware, the lowest price for an hour of P4P in Hungary is about 10000 HUF (2381p). However, you may need to speak Hungarian to get a price that low. The average, bumbling foreigner will probably pay around 15000 HUF (3571p). And in some of the crooked clubs they'll certainly bleed more out of you (that's why I never go to such clubs).

So either your Hungarian friend did some math incorrectly in his head or he knows about some secret place for ultra-cheap sex that I've never heard of--and I can't imagine that a girl who'd f**k you for little more than 10 USD would look very good...
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Re: My guests and 20 tourists robbed in the Philippines!

Postby Rock » Sat Apr 23, 2011 4:24 pm

Jackal wrote:
Winston wrote:PS - Interestingly, enough my guest said that a 1500p barfine in Angeles is not cheap and that in Hungary, you can get whores for the equivalent of around 500p. Wow I didn't know that. Therefore, he said, he does not consider "cheap sex" to be a benefit of the Philippines.

Does "500p" mean 500 Filipino Pesos? If so, currently 1p = 4.2 HUF. Therefore, 500p = 2100 HUF. No, that can't be right. I'm not an expert, but I doubt that you could get sex in Hungary for 2100 HUF (this is the price of two meals at McDonald's here). Although perhaps you could get a bj somewhere for that if you know where to go (roadside gypsies??).

As far as I'm aware, the lowest price for an hour of P4P in Hungary is about 10000 HUF (2381p). However, you may need to speak Hungarian to get a price that low. The average, bumbling foreigner will probably pay around 15000 HUF (3571p). And in some of the crooked clubs they'll certainly bleed more out of you (that's why I never go to such clubs).

So either your Hungarian friend did some math incorrectly in his head or he knows about some secret place for ultra-cheap sex that I've never heard of--and I can't imagine that a girl who'd f**k you for little more than 10 USD would look very good...


I never bought it either even though I expressed a bit of hope in my last post. I believe white chicks are generally the most expensive in the world on a like-for-like basis. Even in the poorest white countries in the world where, in theory, they should be cheap due to low average wage and lack of exotic appeal, they are still priced much higher than counterparts in SE Asia, Africa, or even LatAm. Remember, that 1,500 p barfine in the PI will often get you a full night of service. At cheaper venues, you can get pretty much the same deal for under 1,000 p.
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Postby Winston » Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:48 pm

I think he was referring to street whores, but I'll ask him again and show him this thread.

Before they left, they told me that the tourists ought to put electric shock gadgets in their side zipper pockets so that the thieves can get electrocuted when they try to pickpocket others. Sounds like a great idea.
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Postby Repatriate » Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:53 am

Asking the police to help in any third world country when you get pickpocketed is pretty laughable. You just have to go along with the assumption that the police in countries like the Phillipines and Thailand aren't there to help you. I've never heard or seen of the police in Thailand actually doing anything to help anyone. Usually even in high profile cases some higher authorities get involved to get the ball moving on investigations. They police are shamelessly corrupt here. I can only imagine what it's like in the Phillipines.
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Postby E_Irizarry » Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:10 am

Repatriate wrote:Asking the police to help in any third world country when you get pickpocketed is pretty laughable. You just have to go along with the assumption that the police in countries like the Phillipines and Thailand aren't there to help you. I've never heard or seen of the police in Thailand actually doing anything to help anyone. Usually even in high profile cases some higher authorities get involved to get the ball moving on investigations. They police are shamelessly corrupt here. I can only imagine what it's like in the Phillipines.


ARound 3/4am on one "morning" back in 2007, I got robbed in Bangkok while getting fellatio from two Thai female street walkers, and I could have sworn I was vigilant the whole time. But they ran off with only 600 THB, no biggie. That Singh beer is no joke, yo. lmaooooooooooo That beer left my ass impaired for real for real. Looking for police was the furthest thing from my mind.

Long live foreign beer...even Molson's made in Canada tastes soooooooooooo much better than the American version of Canadian Molson's.

Here in America, I don't drink beer whatsoever. Wine tasting and tha's it.
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pickpockets

Postby targetguy » Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:26 am

8) I can remember when i was near the austrailian casino in manilla. I asked someone where i coulld find a money exchange. The next thing i know i am being led to a
quiet area where there are no witnesses and another person shows up trying to sell viagra then out of nowhere a 3rd member runs from behind and grabs the wallet. Or tried to i quickly turned and had to fight my way out of there. Moral of that story be wary of friendly people that will lead you to a quiuet place and try to rob you.
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Postby keius » Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:34 am

I never follow anyone i don't know in a foreign country. And while traveling, i always make sure i use clothing that has a secure zippered pocket or lining INSIDE my clothing. I also split my money into 2 places, the smaller stash where it's fairly secure but visible when i take it out to use. The bigger stash somewhere nonvisible, using this stash to restock my smaller stash when i use up money, when in a private setting. This also helps insure that you never end up flashing too much money...which makes you a target.

I can't understand how seasoned travelers can make such stupid mistakes. Before traveling to any country, i will at least read the USgov's travel warnings on that country. There's always a section on common crimes. Getting pickpocketed is soooooo common in these kind of countries. This same kind of shit is fairly common in China as well, with the exception of maybe Shanghai and Beijing. The big city authorities are big on making sure the crime doesn't mess up China's image, since those cities have such an international presence.

Also, losing major documents is MUCH worse than losing even a chunk of cash. So much trouble and hassle when this happens in a foreign country.
I never carry major documents like my passport with me, unless i expect to need it. I typically carry copies of documents. This is technically illegal in China and in certain countries but really, it's never been an issue and i've never been harassed about it. US law actually dictates that "permanent residents" in the US must ALWAYS carry their "green" cards with them. I know of no one who does that.

Losing a cellphone is a minor inconvenience since i always purchase a cheap but reliable, unlocked gsm cell while traveling. If you are seen with something like the newest Iphone, you become a target.

Still, there's nothing quite like this happening to a person once before they learn their lesson :) Luckily, it didn't happen to them in a remote area, with no cell, no cash, no documents, and no english speaking people.
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Postby The_Adventurer » Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:31 am

These are just more of the reasons I prefer to be in a nicer environment. I had the newest iPhone, and a laptop. I would never take them with me anywhere though. They never left the hotel or my apartment. In Shanghai, though, I see iPhones, iPads and laptops everywhere. No need to worry about being a target. Everyone already has the coolest gadgets. The fact that I have to think about it makes an environment undesirable.

Of course, I wouldn't take these things to certain places in L.A. either, so it's not just third world countries that are suspect.
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Postby TRADER1972 » Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:15 pm

I myself was pick pocketed in the Philippines in 1999. I then became wiser and became very cautious about my money,etc. Let me tell you, those guys over there are professionals. You never feel it happen.

As for 3rd world cops being useless, I wonder if they are better than the power hungry ones here in America. To be honest, the rare times I needed a cops help in the US, they did not do shit.

In one instance I had visual proof(an eyewitness) that a neighbor across the street stole a pair of brand new $70 jeans and the cops said they could not do anything.

Cops in America are too busy harassing innocent people. Maybe its better to have useless cops like the Philippines.


Lastly, can anyone here confirm whether English is widely and well spoken in Thailand?
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Postby Mr S » Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:53 pm

TRADER1972 wrote:Lastly, can anyone here confirm whether English is widely and well spoken in Thailand?


Ha, ha, ha, ha-you must be joking! Only in the touristy areas is it marginal at best. Basically they suck at speaking English for the most part.
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