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Are these clothes appropriate? EAM

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The Philippines is, in my view, a generally safe country.  There can be arguments about that, some people feel it is quite dangerous.  I am not in that camp, though.

I will say, there are some isolated parts of the Philippines, though, where westerners would not be as safe and precautions should be taken.

Tagalog Buddy

Recently, I got a question for my podcast from Bill.  Bill is wondering if it is OK to wear clothing, especially shirts that have things like a US Flag on them, also things with US sports team logos and such.

One way to determine the safety of this kind of thing is to look at the local people and see what they are wearing.  In my household, I need look no further than my own kids to know the answer to Bill’s question.

So, give the podcast a listen and see what I have to say.  Let me know how you feel.  Do you agree with my assessment, or disagree?

Do You Have a Question?

If you want to send a question for inclusion in a future Podcast, just use the app below, click on the button below, where it says “Start Recording”.

Questions submitted by eMail will no longer be answered, you must submit through the voice message above.

Thanks again for listening, everybody!

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Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

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Hey Joe
7 years ago

Bob, There is crime everywhere in the Philippines, Even Davao but to a much lesser extent thanks to your Mayor. Just having fair skin and a hair color other than black makes you a target for scams extortion or kidnapping. I personally think it is best to dress as much like the local as possible. Definitely, one should not carry or flash large sums of cash or any foreign currency. Do not advertize your natioality<period! I am like you however in that I feel very safe here and just be aware of your surroundings makes me feel much safer. I… Read more »

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  Hey Joe

Hi Joe – Thanks for stopping by. There is crime not only in the Philippines, but in every country. You said you should dress as much like the locals as possible, and I fully agree. As I said in the podcast, I see Filipinos every day wearing shirts with USA logos – flags, sports teams (especially basketball teams) that sort of thing. I don’t think it is a problem, except in areas where foreigners are less welcome, as I outlined in the Podcast. Haveing lived here for 16 years now, I have a fair amount of experience in this realm,… Read more »

queeniebee5
queeniebee5
7 years ago

Hi Bob, In Cebu as in other parts of the country, because of the popularity of ukay-ukay, American flag clothing and sports clothing are very popular items to purchase. I also notice American flag clothing that is new, being sold for local attire. Sometimes you can spot the fakes because it might say: “Harvard University, U.S.A.” which is not typically the orig way of printing it.:) One thing though I have come across often lately in the reading local news, is the case of drug related drive-by shootings. It seems that in the more touristy Mactan Island, Lapu Lapu City… Read more »

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  queeniebee5

You sure are correct, Queenie, about American styled clothing, it is very popular here. That is why I would not have a big concern about wearing that sort of thing in most parts of the Philippines.

Thankfully, drug trafficking is not much of a concern in Davao. I can see where it would be a concern in many places in the Philippines though.

queeniebee5
queeniebee5
7 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

As an aside,
I find it very surprising and disheartening to read in the local Cebu news about so many foreign nationals who are arrested for many serious crimes in Cebu. Drug trafficking is just one of the various crimes.
It makes us all look bad.

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  queeniebee5

I agree, Queenie. A lot of foreigners here get into these things, and it is not good! Here in Davao we have little crime, because the Mayor is so strong. Drug trafficking in the city is virtually non-existent now… those who were involved are mostly dead. It is an unconventional way of dealing with these criminals, but it did work. Those who are involved in such crime are afraid to enter the city now, they fear for their lives, and rightly so.

Malcolm
Malcolm
7 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

Sorry Bob, but you seem to have been listening to propaganda and/or don’t have any real appreciation of the extent of substance abuse in Davao. Sure it could well be far less than in other major cities of the Philippines, but there is still plenty of Shabu in Davao. You may or may not have heard that the Davao Death Squad (DDS) can be selective in who it murders. The kill on command order may well be responsible for for the fact that there are fewer drug dealers in Davao than elsewhere, but it is a very fine line between… Read more »

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm

Hi Malcolm – You seem to have had trouble reading what I wrote -) I never said anything about the presence of drugs or consumption of such. I commented on DRUG TRAFFICKING. Things like manufacturing, transporting, large scale oerations of such sort. I firmly believe that such large scale operations of that sort are rare in Davao.

John Miele
John Miele
7 years ago

Bob: When I first started going to Europe, people there immediately spotted me as an American just by the way I dressed. No, I did not wear clothing with the American flagg all over it. It is much more subtly. For instance, most Europeans never wear sneakers (“trainers”) unless they are going to the gym, jogging, or other such activity (same with white socks). In the USA, that is almost standard attire for a large portion of the population. In the Philippines, and Asia for that matter, we stick out even more, regardless of how we dress. Ever notice how… Read more »

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  John Miele

Hi John, I sure agree with everything you said. Funny, I have been here so long that, like Filipinos, I can easily spot an OFW or Asians who are not Filipino.

Wearing “trainers” here will identify you too… Anything other than tsinelas shows you to be an outsider.

AJ UK
AJ UK
7 years ago
Reply to  John Miele

Hi John & Bob The jewellery subject always raises its head when we go home to PI. If we are flying via Manila we both hide what we have but when we are home in Davao we never feel threatened or have a problems wearing jewellery. My wife does limit the amount she puts on though as we don’t want people getting upset with her as though she is showing off or “rubbing their noses in it”. My wife and I are nearly always able to spot the Americans by the uniform that you listed above. As I tend to… Read more »

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  AJ UK

Hi AJ – nice to see you, thanks for stopping by today.

Want to know why you are not asked if you are American? Because you are a foreigner, and in the Philippines, every foreigner is considered to be American!

You are right, NCCC is by far the best place in town to find western clothing sizes?

AJ UK
AJ UK
7 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

Not sure really Bob. It has happened but is a rarity as far as I can remember.

Possibly my London accent confuses the locals. I tend to get asked where I’m from rather than them assuming I’m American.

Or maybe it’s because I’m quiet, shy and retiring LOL.

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  AJ UK

I am generally assumed to be German.

Johnson
Johnson
7 years ago

Hi Bob, just wondering what your take on wearing army/camo clothing as a foreigner is there? I have been advised in the past not to wear it, and took that advice on my last few trips, not taking anything with me that could be mistaken for military clothing/equipment.

I guess that being a foreigner is one thing, but being mistaken for foreign military [especially US/UK, being the interfering bully-boy military power around the world that they are] is another. What are your thoughts?

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  Johnson

Hi Johnson – I never thought about that, but I agree with what you have been told before. You would be thought of as military, and probably considered to be “on a mission” or some sort. I would avoid wearing camo.

Bob New York
Bob New York
7 years ago

I usually wear locally purchased clothes and have my filipino friends advise me on what looks good to them. When it comes to clothes I guess I fit in the fashion flunkie category so I am happy to have local friends to assist. I don’t wear flip flops, I prefer regular oxford type work shoes that I wear all the time at home. Obviously as a foreigner I never expect to totally blend in but maybe just stand out a little bit less. LOL. I try to get a few new shirts on each visit and luckily have been able… Read more »

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  Bob New York

Hi Bob – I think that for somebody who comes here from time to time, as opposed to somebody who is here permanently, that is a great idea to rely on local friends. If anybody would know the scoop, it is them!

Ed
Ed
7 years ago

Many Pinoy wear old frayed Tshirts portraying US and other various foreign flags, et al. Those wearers, being Pinoy, however look more Pinoy than foreign, usually darker skin, flatter nose, Pinoy features, all that. Oh, and they speak fluent Tagalog plus whatever local dialect; Do you, can you reasonably converse in at least one or the other? The point is that the person wearing the clothes is more salient than the shirt they wear, so wisely consider who will be *in* your shirt before you put it on. Though I’ve been periodically tempted to get Tshirts made to wear, reading… Read more »

papaduck
papaduck
7 years ago
Reply to  Ed

It really doesn’t matter what clothes you wear, you are going to stick out anyways because you are a foreigner.

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  papaduck

You got that right, PD! 🙂

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