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Is it safe to visit Gingoog City and nearby areas?

San Francisco...
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Is it safe to visit Gingoog City and nearby areas?

Hello!

The U.S. State Dept. recently updated their travel warning for the Philippines. It is worrisome:

"The State Department warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to the southern Philippine islands of Mindanao..., and urges extreme caution if traveling there. Sporadic violence throughout the Philippines is also possible before and after the May 10 national and local elections and the June 30 inaugurations.

Kidnap-for-ransom gangs are active throughout the Philippines and have targeted foreigners. U.S. Government employees must seek special permission for travel to Mindanao."

Am I, a white male American, putting himself at risk of kidnapping or worse if I visit Gingoog City, (where I will meet a very young women I met on a dating site)?

Please advise.

David

Australia
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for Cebu City, Cebu Island
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1. Re: Is it safe to visit Gingoog City and nearby areas?

Hello David

I read the travel advisory last week and felt it was less alarmist than before.

The section about elections is very sensible.

The foreigners that have been targeted for kidnap in the Philippines are usually

- Non muslim religious fanatics who are interfering with the Muslim culture.

- Rich chinese

Mindanao is a huge island and the problems are mostly restricted to the Muslim Autonomus region which is more west and more south of where you will be.

I have not travelled to Gingoog City but I have travelled to nearby Cagayan De Oro and Camiguin Island. Gingoog City is a place I would be happy to travel to.

I think the biggest danger you might experience is that the girl you met online will turn out to be a scammer.

Regards: Jim

San Francisco...
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2. Re: Is it safe to visit Gingoog City and nearby areas?

Hi Jim,

Thanks so much for your reply! It's so great to get an educated opinion.

Regarding the following statement: "I think the biggest danger you might experience is that the girl you met online will turn out to be a scammer."

I am also concerned about this but the woman, of course, swears that she loves me. Suppose I do spend over $1k to visit her and try to determine if she's sincere: what kind of "scam" could she run on me?

David

Manila
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for Manila
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3. Re: Is it safe to visit Gingoog City and nearby areas?

Typical scams are "My mother/father/grandmother/grandfather/uncle/aunt/sister/brother need an operation and I can't afford it.

I need to pay for my/my brothers/my sisters education and I don't have money.

My/my parents/brothers/sisters house burned down and we can't afford to rebuild it.

It is also possible that she has a boyfriend/husband/children and needs money.

So don't give money until you are sure and it can take years to find out she already has a husband.

Fortunately, not all Filipinas are scammers.

You should not have problems in Gingoog City.

San Francisco...
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4. Re: Is it safe to visit Gingoog City and nearby areas?

Awesome! Your perspective was very helpful. Thank you!

Australia
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for Cebu City, Cebu Island
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5. Re: Is it safe to visit Gingoog City and nearby areas?

If she hasn't asked for any money already, that is a good sign.

These are my guidelines to be met before sending any money.

- Meet in person

- Meet all the family, especially the parents

- See how and where the family live

- Make a long term commitment to each other

Let me tell you why each is important

1. So you can make sure for yourself that the person in the picture or the camera is the same as you thought. You can also determine if she is really a he because lots of women online aren't.

2. I have had relationships with many Filipinas. If I was invited home to meet the family, they were all over me. I had relationships with 2 girls who I knew to have worked as prostitutes prior to our relationship. When meeting their families, I was completely ignored. If you are ignored, it is time to end the relationship.

3. If the family lives in a nice 2 storey house and everyone is employed, you are on a winner. If they are all sitting around drinking tanduay rum next to a nipa hut, guess who will be expected to support their lifestyle.

4. means you were happy with 1 to 3 and are happy to take the next step.

If the only money you pay out is to visit her and it doesn't work out, it won't be wasted. The Philippines is a very nice country to have a holiday and almost certainly you will have met other Filipinas you are interested in before you head home.

Regards; Jim

Paranaque...
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6. Re: Is it safe to visit Gingoog City and nearby areas?

My 2 cents worth:

- If you are unsure about the girl, her background and who is around her, then do not meet her in Ginoog City. Choose a place where you'll be on 'equal footing' like Cebu, Davao or even Manila. If she's never been to any of the places I mentioned, you can explore the city together -- a good bonding experience.

- If it doesn't work out, at least you're not in the middle of nowhere.

- If you do hit it off, then by all means travel to Ginoog City and get to know her in her natural environment, meet her family.

- Try not to send any money. If you really want to send her something, send a gift rather than cash. I know of someone who met a girl online, 'fell in love' and got engaged. He sent her over US$1,000.00 for 'wedding preparations', only to be told a month later that she needed more because she spent it on an 'emergency'.

- As the previous poster said, not all Filipinas are scammers, but the ones who are, know where to go to to find their victims. In the same way that western men think there are many Filipinas online who would do anything for a husband, Filipinas also know that many lonely western men go online to look for wives.

- How much time do you need to figure out if she's for real? The same amount of time you would need to get to know someone that you met in your city. Why should it be any different?

- Are you chatting with other women or just her? Whatever you can do online, she can do too.

- If she is a nice, honest woman, then she will try to pay her own way (at least some of the time). She will not ask you to buy her things and will feel uncomfortable about you spending for everything. Filipinas know what the stereotype is -- if she's a good girl, she will make sure you know she's not a scammer.

- Practice common sense and listen to your gut.

Good luck =)

Mactan Island...
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7. Re: Is it safe to visit Gingoog City and nearby areas?

I would strongly agree with the last post. If you are just meeting her, I would do it in a more foreigner freindly place. What if you find out its not for you, or it was a scam. Even though you was the one done wrong, and you are at no fault. Sometimes Filipino dont see the wrong they do. Her family or her might hold you responsible for what they will call " disrespecting " her.

I experienced a similar sisuation on my first trip here. Turned out my whole online relationship was a scam. I went into a province, this was in CEBU, and when I found out the scam, I was still very uncomfortable with the reactions when I told them. The family and neighbors seem to think I should forgive because of their being poor and their sisuation.

Her father even refused to let me get my suitcase from inside their home. Thankful a local barangay offical had foreign friends also, he talked to the man and straighten it all out....

So that happened right here in one of the most foreigner friendly places in The Philippines. I could imagine how much more in the place your going.

Just be careful and use your head. My suggestion would have her meet you at the airport with her family, and then have another flight already purchased to return with you and her to cebu. If she says she can go with you, has to stay with her family, or is too scared. Then you dont want to start dealing with that......

Melbourne, Australia
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for Philippines
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8. Re: Is it safe to visit Gingoog City and nearby areas?

I endorse all the above, but most of all do not give her any substantial amounts of money.

This is not being harsh. If she is genuine your 'refusal' will not matter to her.

9. Re: Is it safe to visit Gingoog City and nearby areas?

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