A few years ago, my husband overheard a conversation which went like:
Woman: They are going to the Philippines for holidays!
Man: They are really crazy! It is so dangerous there!
Woman: Yeah, they are really crazy!
Then a few days ago, my husband had a conversation with a colleague which went like:
Colleague: I want to go to Thailand for holidays.
My husband: Why don't you go to the Philippines, there are political protests going on in Thailand. The airport is closed.
Colleague: I don't like the Philippines. Anyway, also it is very dangerous.
Huh? Personally, I don't think the Philippines is more dangerous than Thailand, Bali, or India but the world perceive it to be. Why is this so? Okay, I admit, we had the kidnappings (a long time ago), a few coup d'etat, and an ongoing muslim insurgency to give us a bad reputation. When you think about it though, Thailand also had a coup d'etat recently (their airport is closed now even) and they also have a muslim insurgency in the south, Bali had the bombings and India had a few train bombings plus what had recently occurred in Mumbai but the Philippines is still perceived to be more dangerous than these places. Why?
When Trillanes and company went to the Manila Peninsula Hotel to express their grief, they let the people go and did not hurt anyone. Quite unlike what happened in Mumbai.
In his travels, my husband has been aggressed in Paris and Indonesia and has never had any bad encounters in the Philippines anywhere he went. The tambays (jobless men in street corners) in Baclaran really like him and would even watch our car.
Is it our media? Do you think they are too focused on the gruesome? Do you think they sensationalize crime too much that they put people in unnecessary fear? I really don't think that the Philippines is more dangerous than anywhere else. In Napoli, my friend discouraged us from bringing cameras because it might attract too much attention. I bring my camera anywhere in the Philippines -- Baclaran, Divisoria, Binondo-- and people in the streets would readily give me a smile and a pose. Still, the Philippines is perceived to be dangerous and the people who visit us labeled as "crazy".