How do you Outsmart the Threats of Commute in Metro Manila?


I only started commuting two years ago. Before that, I was forced to drive myself to wherever I have to go since I didn’t know how to utilize public transportation. My parents were against commuting, but I figured, hey I’m turning thirty. I should not be rendered helpless without a car. Besides, I was not really into driving. I hate traffic and I hate looking for parking.

In the two years that I started commuting, I’m happy to say that I have never been victimized by pickpockets, snatchers or thefts. Knock on wood that it never happens to me. Now I want to share with you all some general precautions I practice when commuting.

First of all, remember that if there is nothing eye-catching on you, no one will mind you. Do not wear any valuables like earrings, necklaces, rings or watches. If you do not have any of these, what else will make you interesting for the bad guys?

Also avoid wearing attractive clothes or heeled shoes (in the case of ladies). I always bear in mind that I should be ready for the worst when I’m out there. In case chaos ensues, I am ready to run. A little paranoia will do you good if that will make you precautious all the time. If you really have to wear attractive clothing, why not just bring it with you and leave the house a little earlier so there will still be enough time to change after reaching your destination.

Cellphones are the usual target of pickpockets nowadays because these are easy to resell. Some people like to hang phones from their necks instead of putting them in their pockets. Well sure, this practice makes life more difficult for snatchers but it really does not draw attention away from you. For me, it is still better to NOT get their attention at all. What I can suggest is to put your phone inside your pocket or bag instead, away from prying eyes. If you are wearing tight-fitted pants, even the slimmest type of phone may show. In this case, it might be better to put it inside your bag. Also put it in silent and non-vibration mode.

Try not to be too predictable. For example, a pickpocket trying to reach into your bag will look for your wallet. If you place all your money, credit cards and IDs in there, you lose them all in a snap. Try to scatter your valuables in different places. Another tip is to stitch an inside pocket in your pants like what I normally do. Here’s how it looks like:

I normally put my money and other important items here. There is no way that it can be stolen from me. This idea can also be copied in bags. Create an invisible pocket in your bag that only you would know. You can be more creative than this. Just remember to avoid being predictable.

It will also help a lot if you use products that are tested safe and secure to use. Pacsafe bags are popular because of their anti-theft features. I personally like the The MetroSafe 100 Hip & Shoulder Bag because I can easily hang it from my shoulders. It is slashproof, snatchproof and tamperproof! I’m sure to be extra-protected always when I’m commuting.
Finally, I believe that even if you choose not to follow the tips I shared above, the most important thing is to be alert and smart when commuting. Always be aware of what is going on around you. The bad guys out there are smart people themselves. They will prey on people who look careless and carefree. Do not be one of them! Be smarter and be safe.
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