How safe it is?
Manila is a very big place and incorporates other city,s and has become so big that it appears never to end. Most visitors seem to past through Malate and Ermita which is rather run down these days. It used to be something special, but as the years go by it has become a place full of pollution, beggars and bars that have seen better days. Don’t get me wrong it still has great places to see and do. It still has fantastic bars hidden away and it still has a great choice of non-Filipino restaurants.
I have been coming to Ermita for over ten years and I can say that having lived here again for the last three years it is not a safe place. The tourist police seem to have vanished, the beggars are much more aggressive and the streets at night are not as safe as they use to be.
Early this year I was walking down a road from my apartment (a walk I had done 1000’s of times before), and it was till daylight. As I passed with my friend along a run of parked cars I was aware of people kneeling behind the cars. As I approached five people (3 men 2 women) stood up and without words tried to push my friend and me to the ground. As they all pushed down they had hands in pockets trying to get wallets and phones.
The incredible thing is that they made no noise, they did not speak at all. Lucky for me I managed to get grip and pull myself up and shrug my attackers off. My friend was not so lucky they had him on floor and he was seconds from being unable to protect his wallet and phone. I pushed through my attackers and manage to push his off and pull him to his feet. The attackers just looked and I decided to scream abuse at them, more in an effort to attract others attention. The abuse was loud and long. They gave no reaction at all.
We both walked off and realised that these people were doing this in daylight. I have no doubt that they were in cahoots with others including the police. The police were just around the corner. Recently several police have moved on following many complaints of receiving stolen goods and threatening foreigners.