When people arrive in holiday mode they forget they are in a foreign country with a lot of risks they didn’t expect.
To be honest though I think Cebu’s taxis for example are a lot safer than taxis in Paris or Prague.
But making sure you keep safe is the important thing aswell as making it obvious to the driver(s) that your not an easy target. So I prepared a short list if ideas.
1. Find out where you are staying and the normal cost. e.g. a friend of mine recently paid double the normal rate because she wasn’t aware of the real price. ESPECIALLY at Airports in the Philippines they will take advantage of this.
2. What routes are there to the location, for example if you have been told to go via a certain road instead of another tell the driver you want to go that way because it shows you have some local knowledge. Recently another friend got taken on a double route for extra charge because they didn’t know the area.
3. If there is a number on the side of the cab take it and the registration and text it to a friend (even if your not). But make it very public so the driver knows your leaving a trail incase something happens to you.
4. Learn a few local words doesn’t have to be many but things like pull over and put the meter on are two important phrases no matter where you are in the world.
5. Make sure the meter is running otherwise get out the taxi and find another. More common than not you will get a taxi driver overpricing you on purpose telling you he forgot to switch the meter on.
6. Don’t travel with strangers. This may not seem such an issue at first but the person you share the taxi with might be looking to find out where you live for example to come back and rob you at a later date or like in a recent film came back with associates and kidnapped the people for the sex trade. May seem a bit Hollywood but it does happen especially if 1 or 2 females are travelling alone.
7. Get your emergency numbers! This is most important and if your going to be in Mactan for example get your nearest main police stations phone number. Aswell as your friends/hotel you will be staying at as they will be your first port of call for minor emergencies.
I’m not trying to scare people about traveling in taxis but the truth is many of the taxis I’ve ridden in Cebu aren’t roadworthy to start with and when I found out via relatives a lot of taxi drivers take drugs to stay awake for long hours it didn’t inspire me with confidence. One thing I would say if it bothers you use my wife’s uncle for private hire the rates are about the same but the service and safety is much higher for sure. Just look on the menu for vehicle hire for his details and a few photos of one of his vehicles.