Cebu rakes in thousands of visitors every year because of its reputation as a famous tourist destination. The island is home to stunning beaches, tasty delicacies, and, most of all, friendly people.
While it is a relatively safe place to live in, safety in Cebu should always remain a priority among locals and tourists. You need to be vigilant and remember a few important things when traveling around the city.
For starters, here are a few safety hazards you might encounter when traveling around Cebu.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
- Pickpockets and Snatchers
Cebu’s crime rate has decreased in 2022, even after getting the tourism and economy back up and running since the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some petty crimes remain unresolved, especially in crowded areas where people are prone to be distracted or preoccupied.
Pickpockets continue to run amok on the streets of Cebu, snatching precious valuables from unsuspecting victims. Some people who pass by large crowds keep their essentials within reach to prevent them from being stolen.
Even kids on the streets are prone to these types of crimes and will try to steal your wallet or phone if you’re not too careful.
- Natural Disasters
Since the Philippines is near the equator and the Pacific Ocean, around 20 tropical cyclones pass by the country every year. Storms may be predictable, but the destruction they leave isn’t.
Tropical cyclones can damage a whole lot of property, leading to water and power shortages. This could take months to restore, depending on the intensity of the storm and the calamity response. That said, it’s best to stock up on all the essentials and be mindful of the weather forecast.
- Scams and Overcharging
Watch out for scams, too. These include small-scale vendors selling fake products and advertising them as authentic, or taxi drivers asking for a higher fare instead of following the meter.
You can easily detect counterfeit items due to their poor quality and shamelessly low prices. If you really want to get the real deal, you should go to more established malls and shopping centers like Ayala and SM.
TIPS ON ENSURING YOUR SAFETY IN CEBU
- ALWAYS BE VIGILANT
Make sure to keep essential items like your wallet and smartphone safe inside your bag. Whether you’re carrying a sling or backpack, put it in front of you while you’re walking so you can keep an eye out for pickpockets.
If you have the money, you can purchase an anti-theft backpack. More importantly, be mindful of your surroundings, as some people intentionally make a scene just so they can distract you.
This tip doesn’t just apply to walking around the city, but also when taking public transportation. Put your phone inside your bag so no one can snatch it from you while you’re inside the bus or jeepney.
Watch out for crowded places like Colon Street and the Carbon Market, since these places are havens for petty criminals. The volume of people and the narrow sidewalks make it much easier for pickpocketing.
- LOOK UP THE PRICES
Go to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) website and check the prices for public transportation, especially taxis.
Some drivers will try to trick their passengers, especially foreigners, by saying that there is an extra charge for tourists. This setup is illegal, so when this happens, note down the plate number and report it to the LTFRB.
Phillife.co also suggests that you should be ready to say no to drivers that appear pushy or suspicious. These drivers would sometimes harass customers into riding their cabs or motorcycles even if you had already refused.
Be careful since they could be leading you to their deceitful tactics.
You can also book a taxi service online or download a ride-sharing app that offers fixed rates and safe routes.
- ALWAYS CHECK THE WEATHER
Weather conditions can be unpredictable, so it pays to know the weather before heading out to start your day. You can also bring the necessary gear or wear something appropriate depending on whether it will rain or shine.
In terms of where to live, check if there aren’t a lot of illegal activities around the area.
The Philippines only has two seasons, which is the dry and wet season. The dry season is the best time to go out and experience the tourist spots, but this also means that there will be more people visiting them.
Subsequently, the wet season brings in a lot of rain, so it’s not an ideal time to go to places like Busay, as the Cebu Transcentral Highway is quite susceptible to landslides.
We should never stay complacent even if we’ve grown to become comfortable in a certain city or country. We never really know what to expect when walking the streets of Cebu, so it’s best to stay vigilant wherever you go.
These tips can hopefully ensure your safety in Cebu and you can avoid getting into any dangerous situation. Keep your essentials safe and enjoy what the Queen City of the South has to offer with little to no worries.