5 Celebs You Don’t Want to Be While Traveling Around the Philippines

Be mindful of your actions when you travel and avoid making the same boo-boos as these celebrities.

By Mathew S. Chan
August 28, 2015


The Philippines is filled with tons of sites you can explore, so no matter when you decide to travel, you’ll have somewhere new to go. We Filipinos are sensitive by nature, though, so don’t forget to educate yourself and learn what people in other areas might find offensive. Also be aware of the laws in the places you are traveling to. Use the following celebrities as your examples for things you shouldn’t do to avoid getting yourself in trouble with the local government.

1. You don’t want to be Ramon Bautista in Davao City.
Ramon Bautista hosted an event in Davao City during the Kadayawan Festival in August 2014. During the event, he made an offensive joke against the women of Davao, referring to them as “hipon,” which immediately outraged Vice Mayor Paolo Dutuerte. The term “hipon” is often used to insult a person who has a great body but an ugly face. Despite Ramon Bautista’s apology right after the incident, according to Rappler.com, Davao City declared him persona non grata.

2. You don’t want to be Isabelle Daza in Siquijor.
Actress and model Isabelle Daza found herself in hot water in June earlier this year after she posted a photo on Instagram with her cousin using the hashtag “#siquiWhores.” She was scrutinized for the hashtag right away as people from Siquijor found it incredibly offensive. According to Push.com, Isabelle apologized to Siquijor Vice Governor Dingdong Avanzado for the caption and now the issue is just water under the bridge. In the end, the Vice Governor decided to forgive Isabelle and he urged his constituents who still want her punished to forgive her as well. He also decided not to declare her persona non grata despite the request of some.

3. You don’t want to be Xian Lim in Albay.
Actor Xian Lim and Albay Governor Joey Salceda went head to head in February over an alleged snafu during the “Fiesta Tsinoy Festival” in Albay. The story goes that Xian Lim refused to accept Albay-themed memorabilia offered to him by the chief-of-staff of Governor Salceda because he was not there to promote Albay. Meanwhile, the actor claimed he was misquoted and everything was just a misunderstanding. According to MB.com, Governor Salceda stood his ground, but despite this, he decided to forgive Xian in the spirit of Lent and even urged him to promote Albay as penance. Even if Xian wasn’t declared persona non grata, though, we still think it would be best to stay away for a while.

4. You don’t want to be Candy Pangilinan in Baguio.
During her performance, in celebration of Mother’s Day in SM Baguio in 2009, comedienne Candy Pangilinan said, “Hindi ako Igorot, tao po ako! (I'm not an Igorot, I'm a person)” causing outrage. In a report on GMANetwork.com, it said a resolution was filed to deem her persona non grata, which was approved by the Baguio City Counsel. Candy repeatedly apologized after and claimed that she did not mean to offend anyone. She said it was a joke she misdelivered because she claimed she was referring to Igorot statues and not the Igorot people.

5. You don’t want to be Claire Danes in Manila or Alec Baldwin anywhere in the Philippines.
Back in the 90s, TV powerhouse Claire Danes shot a movie called Brokedown Palace in Manila. According to a report on CBSNews.com, she made comments about the city in an interview with the magazine Vogue, essentially calling Manila "[a] ghastly and weird city.” Then Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada filed for her to be persona non grata as well as banned all her movies from being screened in the city.

Meanwhile, in 2009, during an interview on the Late Show with David Letterman, Alec Baldwin made a mail-order bride joke about Filipinas that angered several politicians and public officials. According to ABS-CBNNews.com, the actor was later barred from entering the Philippines by the Bureau of Immigration (effectively making him persona non grata in the country) because of his comments.