I  am planning a trip to meet my future wife. She lives on Mindanao in Ozamis City.I have heard that this(Mindanao) is not a safe place for foreigners. I want to meet her family so I would be grateful for your help and advice on this..


No Worries Donald, My friend from Redondo Beach went down to Mindanao traveled around and even went to the 100% conservative Islamic town of  and the locals were just as friendly as Filipinos anywhere else. Sure we got handed some islamic missionary type handouts but didn't get any weird negative vibes. People everywhere are react to each other like strange dogs; if one shows fear then the dog barks like he's mean but if you look the dog in the eyes without fear prepared for any move then the dog wants to be your friend and wags his tail.
just the common sense tips to follow:
AsiaBill's Ten Travel Tips for the Philippines!!

1.) Always carry small change in Pesos, Coins & 20, 50 &100 notes. That saves you the annoyance from the very common reply, "sorry
no change".

2.) Ask someone, a local Filipino or foreigner about taxi or jeepney, tricycle fares before you get in. Pay & walk away. NEVER ask "How much?" because the price goes up the more you talk. A moving taxi is too busy working so it tends to be a better, more honest
taxi versus parked taxis waiting for victims. Tip the taxi driver P10 to P20 reward him for not hassling you. Good Karma ALWAYS REWARDS you.

3. ) Never change money on the street nor inside a restaurant. You will ALWAYS lose and usually almost half your money. These money
change scam artists are very good and show that the hand is always quicker than the eye.
4. ) Never gamble with local Filipinos not pool, playing cards, chess or any game for money & not even for drinks. It's safer not to gamble. It's one example in life where when you win you lose & when you lose you lose. This also applies to Filipinos outside their own province, barrio without access to the support of their barkada(sp?).

5. ) Never raise your voice at a Filipino away from your own neighborhood. Never call a Filipino "STUPID". They are very sensitive
about it. If you do get angry & make the mistake. Please leave the place as soon as possible .Go Away Fast because you are in more DANGER than you realize. Filipinos are among the most peaceful easy going, "happy go lucky" people in the world so do not like to fight BUT "fair fights" are not the custom, "fight to kill" is.

6. ) Forget about the 2 words "WHY" & "SHOULD" or you get constant headache trying to understand why things happen like they do in places outside your own country, especially the Philippines. Acceptance is the preferable attitude. There are too many things for you to
question, so it's better for you not to start. So just relax & enjoy the positive aspects of living in the Philippines with a sense of humor.

7. ) Expect everything to be late and slow. Life stops at LUNCH. Schedules change & the weather is unpredictable. Telephones, electricity, cable TV, internet access and water - sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. Such is life so use these "down times" to broaden your awareness of life around you without the modern conveniences s most of us take for granted.

8.) Never accept drinks, candy, or fruit from strangers, especially, younger women, most often appearing very straight, educated and sophisticated like Filipinas working in offices in Manila. In the past few years a few of our guests have been drugged, maybe one or two guests per year, using the above methods after being met in Rizal Park, shopping malls, the open markets & even on the bus. We have never heard about this happening in other parts of the Philippines.

9.) Always wear a cloth type money belt which is worn around your waist under your clothes instead of those leather or vinyl pouch waist bags with several zippered pockets because psychologically they appear as you are advertising your valuables. It may seem a bit awkward to reach under your pants to get your money or travelers checks at a bank but it's MUCH SAFER. Even when you drink too much your money is much safer closer to your - - - -.


I LOVE the PHILIPPINES and the FILIPINO PEOPLE! but people are people like anywhere else each of us struggling to survive, support our families and prosper.
Life is Short! Traveling and the people you meet and experiences you have "on the road" will enhance your life forever so GO FOR IT! Feel FREE to ask me Questions about living and traveling in Asia & the Philippines.

If you need a place to stay near the Manila airports try our guest house style Townhouse hotel; with 8 room rates from P300 to P950. Or if you like to celebrate in a romantic location try Boracay Island;  


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Bill and Lorna Collings


Feel FREE to ask us about traveling, living, relocating, retiring and investing in the Philippines. Guests from 93 countries, the latest being a female PHD from Uganda, make our place in Manila an incredible meeting place for world travelers who exchange travel stories. We understand both the joys and the hardships of living and traveling in the Philippines.


I arrived in the Philippines in January 1980 to travel for 2 months; I stayed 4 months before reluctantly leaving. I met my Filipina wife, Lorna. an incredible stellar, "one in a million" individual in 1983 in Seoul and we moved to the Philippines in 1986 and opened our 3BR house to world travelers on a budget. After welcoming thousands of guests from 93 nations our place has grown to 38 bedrooms in 5 townhouse units, 4 of which are attached but will never lose its "Home away from Home" atmosphere. Almost everyday at The Townhouse Hotel there's a party-like social scene with vibrant, almost magical energetic conversations between our guests who have the pleasure to meet each other and share their life's many experiences.Often three groups with conversations in different languages are going on at the same time. So we've been exposed to every kind of person from all over the world and shared their experiences. Since arriving back in the Philippines Nov 2011 from traveling for 8 months my wife and I have been busy buying land, building houses and expanding our Boracay beach front resort, Casa Camilla for 16 months. Hopefully we'll be finished by the end of 2013 with a total of 50 apartments, 44 units for yearly stays and the six units in our house to be saved for short term stays.

Publications,, who asked me to apply with

some college 2-1/2 years - no degree - I've been traveling since I was 18, almost 30 years.

Awards and Honors
Luckily, my wife and I have been semi-retired since we were 30 years old, almost 30 years.

Past/Present Clients
3000 to 4000 world travelers and guests on a budget pass through our guest house style Townhouse Hotel / Hostel each year since 1986 so we do get a lot of feedback and share a lot of experiences with people which we can then pass on to help others with their questions and problems

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