Originally Posted by SeismicJoe
Also I'm curious to know if you ventured south into the Sula Bay or the southern islands?>
The reports of piracy are greatly exaggerated , according to local sources.
Is it media hysteria or is the southern island genuinely becoming more extreme?
No we did not venture into the Sulu sea. We came from Palau straight to the gulf of Davao. We've encountered fishing boats checking up on their "fish attraction devices" about 150 miles off the eastern Mindanao coast, is all. In the gulf, (we arrived at night), the fishermen came close without their lights just to check up on us but never bothered us at all. I can vouch that Davao Gulf, and the eastern coast of Mindanao is safe. We have met up with a Kiwi in Palau who sailed Philippines for a long time and he told us that he had sailed through the Sulu Sea several times with no problems. He never stopped, of course, just passed through. I think a lot of the news is all media hype. I haven't really heard of piracy attacks on sailing vessels; but maybe this is because there are very few sailing vessels coming by this way.
I encountered a website, owned by an American living in Mindanao, and he explains it well: http://mindanao.com/blog/?p=1911
. I think one should just take normal precautions, just like anywhere else, i.e. not venture into isolated areas, remain lowkey, etc and it should be fine. We've been warned in Solomons and in PNG, and we were fine there too. Some yachts were boarded in Solomons, but then they left all their hatches open when they went ashore. Here in the Philippines, my husband who is Norwegian, is told to cover up from head to toe when he goes mountain biking so no one will know he is "white"( there is this crazy belief here that when you are "white" you are super rich.) But this is going overboard - he'll more likely suffer heatstroke than be ambushed
. All he gets are locals calling him "Hey Joe" all the time.