A question I get asked regularly is do I think the Philippines is safe for travelers and in all honesty I would have to say it depends on the person themselves. The reason being most things that got wrong for people here is down to not using common sense in many situations. Could be going out late at night in the wrong areas, carrying a lot of expensive camera equipment or jewellery or maybe having a wallet hanging out of a back pocket.
You will find most of the time I don’t wear my wedding ring when I am in certain areas due to the risk of robbery, I look at it this way could I afford to lose it and its one of the few possessions I wouldn’t give up without a fight. Which is why I leave it at home. Generally I will only carry the amount of money I need for the day and keep everything else well out of the reach of anyone else.
Kidnappings do maintain to be a problem in the Philippines although it isn’t as bad as things used to be although still not great in certain parts. Avoiding certain locations and islands are worth the while because if it does go wrong things can start to go wrong rapidly. On top of that there are plenty of beautiful locations that won’t put you in harms way.
Personally I find the area I live very safe and often in locations that others wouldn’t feel comfortable in at night. The reason being is I know the locals and most wouldn’t mean you harm and the fact I know many of the people personally does mean a lot of watchful eyes keep an eye on things for you. At the same time politics is still a big problem here with many politicians and their families acting more like mafia families than governing which are the main people you will find most people try to avoid regardless of local or not.
As a tourist though your unlikely to come across any of the problems that long-term people face simply because your not here long enough to get embroidered in the corruption. Travelling around and through the country you are bringing badly needed money and tourism to the country which is why your unlikely to fall foul of criminals.
At the same time like anywhere in the world use your head, if you don’t need it don’t bring it is the way I look at things. I bring what I will carry on me all day if I am travelling anywhere myself e.g. small camcorder, camera, watch (but not in market areas) as well as simply wearing clothes that are more secure such as zip pocket shorts. Travelling with others also will reduce the risk of things going wrong and personally I would advise a guide because they will save you money on most things and likely to actually save more than they cost with a good guide helping you find your way around.
Most important thing is enjoy your trip and I hope you love the Philippines the way I do and the Philippines is safe for travelers as long as your careful and use the standard safety guides you see all over the world these days.