A Philippine military spokesman said the armed forces were gaining a “foothold” after a month-old war in Marawi city. That’s in the southland where Muslim militants have been violently agitating for more than 50 years for a measure of autonomy in the majority Catholic nation. But now Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte concedes the fighting might last a while. The four-year-old Maute Group, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and is described locally as a terrorist organization, is still hiding armed militants in the city, government officials suspect.
The country’s most dangerous places, most of which are to be avoided if possible, are:
5. Metro Manila.
Outside western Mindanao and the Sulu Sea provinces, most of the Philippines is relatively safe. But as in lots of countries, parts of the capital Manila and adjacent Quezon City show up on some Asia-wide lists of the most dangerous cities.
A lot of the 12.8-million population metro area is safe, too, and crime reports in Quezon City declined from 2014 to 2015. But travelers can still get mixed up in bar fights and kidnappings. The wise caution against exploring dark alleys or flashing valuables.