It is safe. Our international consultants go to Divisoria, the cheap shopping place that locals sometimes avoid. Once, when shopping for wine in a department store, my husband left his wallet and the sales lady went around the mall until she spotted us and asked us if we were from Canada. Suspicious, we hesitated to answer so she brought us back to the store and asked if we bought such and such wine. As my husband looked for the receipt in his wallet, he realized he did not have his wallet so after answering some questions to establish his identity, the wallet was returned. Our experience of Manila has been very pleasant.