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Exchange currencies and travelers cheques in banks, shopping centers and Bangko Sentral (Central Bank) authorized moneychangers. Though moneychangers give good exchange rates, some are unscrupulous and would short change you.

If someone asks you to watch over his or her bag full of "money", decline the offer and move away. The money is actually padded with ordinary paper to appear bulky. The scam artist would then excuse himself and would ask you for your money, jewelryor mobile phone as a form of "guarantee" that you WON'T leave with the bag of money. This scam usually targets pensioners and old folks.

Cagayan de Oro is known as the "City of Golden Friendship" but being overly friendly is something else. Depending on the situation, one should exercise caution whenever a stranger (local or foreign) offers you food, drinks or a ride. These people might bill you or ask a tip afterwards. Some offer themselves to get you a taxi or attempts to open the taxi door for you. Others offer you an umbrella during rainy days.

If you have problems with your ATM transaction, look for the bank security guard for assistance. Always be the one to press the machine keypads. Do not allow a stranger to transact or press the machine keypads in your behalf. That stranger might already be withdrawing or transferring funds out of your account. If possible transact during banking hours or avoid off-site ATMs.

Online chatting has gained popularity in the city. Some foreigners (usually men) give generous amount of money to their online "girlfriends". There is nothing wrong with being generous but some of these women are taking advantage of the situation. In one case, a foreigner lost around 5,000 US Dollars to a woman he had chatted for over a year. Aside from exchanging photos, use webcams to verify the identity of your chatmate.

Women should never lose sight of their handbags. When sitting in a restaurant or waiting for someone, always place your handbag in front of you or on your lap. Never get distracted. When a stranger asks for something or calls your attention, hold your handbag.

If possible carry your backpacks in front of you. Thieves can slash open your bag with a sharp cutter. This usually happens in seaports when people crowd and push each other to get in/out of the boat. Wait for the crowd to settle down.

How safe is the hotel safety deposit box? So far, there has been no reported safety deposit box theft in Cagayan de Oro. However travelers are advised to be cautious as there is a growing number of complaints in travel forums. When using a hotel safety deposit box always ask the hotel management to make an inventory of the items deposited. Make sure you have a copy of the inventory and signed by the authorized hotel representative. If a personal safe is provided in the room, make an inventory of your own. Make two copies of the inventory. Do this every time you leave the hotel or retrieve/deposit something from the safety deposit box. Never transact or retrieve items from your safety deposit box when intoxicated.

Like any other city around the world, there will be scam artists who will try to take advantage of you. Whatever the case maybe, always use your common sense. When in doubt, say no and leave!

Police Assistance: 166. What to tell the operator:

  • Full Name
  • Exact location (street or any landmark)
  • Phone or Mobile Number

Philippine National Police (PNP) - Cagayan de Oro:

  • Plaza Divisoria Station: (8822) 72-7116 (located at Amphitheater, downtown)
  • Cogon Market Station: (88) 857-3178 (within the Cogon Public Market)
  • Carmen Market Station: (88) 858-2340 (within Carmen Public Market)
  • Lapasan-Agora Station: (88) 856-2471(within Agora Bus Terminal)

The Philippine National Police Head Office is located in Camp Alagar in Lapasan.

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