If this is your first time to visit a foreign country, it is recommended for you to plan not only your itinerary but also the amount of money you can bring for expenses. In as much as we want to use our dollars, euros, dinars, or francs, to pay for Pinoy dishes, we cannot really do so because the Philippines has its own unique money in circulation. To give you a full-blown review on this, read our post below as we introduce the official currency in the Philippines as well as the 5 easy tips regarding money as a tourist in the country.
The Philippines is undoubtedly the home to a number of amazing attractions that can rival what other countries have to offer. Want a taste of Switzerland? Immerse yourself with what Batanes has to offer. Interested in surfing in a place like Costa Rica? Then you might just need to hop on a bangka (Filipino boat) and visit Siargao. And why not complete your adventure with some of the best local dishes, right?
What sets it apart is that a huge number of foreign passport holders do not need to request a visa to visit the Philippines, which is why the country is very much active in terms of tourism. While it may sound dreamy and you might want to pack your bags and book for a flight now, you also need to understand a few things- and that includes money. You see, managing your expenses in the Philippines is easy but what may be difficult is the fact that the country has its own bills and coins. The good thing though is that the place is filled with moneychangers where you can exchange easily and get the best value for your money.
Not to be confused with the peso currencies of Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, or Uruguay, the peso of the Philippines is way too different! In fact, the first thing you will notice is that each bill has native characteristics such as:
Whenever you buy stuff online or in the marketplace, you have to take note that the Philippine peso can be denoted by the following symbols: ₱, PHP, php, PhP, or just the regular P. The Philippine peso is printed and minted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in multicolored notes that come in denominations of 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, and 20 (slowly being phased out). The coins come in 10 denominations of 20 (newly minted), 10 (one type is pure silver, the older one is bronze and silver), 5, 1, 25 cents, 10 cents, 5 cents, and a cent.
Before your visit, we highly suggest that you take note of the following, so you won’t find it hard to travel and purchase in the Philippines.
While it is true that there are a few big establishments in Pasay, Makati, and Manila where they can accept dollars as payment, but technically, you should not rely on this practice alone. If you will ask us, it is better if you change your local currency into the Philippine Pesos before your departure from your home country or in the airports (if you don’t mind the exchange rates).
In the Philippines, travelers are only allowed to carry up to $10,000 in cash, check, deposit certificate, money order, or traveler’s check. Now if you are planning to export the PHP, you are only allowed up to 50,000 pesos and if ever you are caught exporting beyond that without any authorization letter from the bank, your money will be automatically confiscated.
If you plan to go around major cities or tourist destinations, you can get instant access to ATMs and banks anywhere and even in malls. But as a tip, we usually recommend that you only transact on machines that are near banks for added security and you can instantly help if ever your card is not functioning well on the ATM.
Please note that depending on the machine you transact with, there will be varying maximum transactions. Usually, ATMs will only dispense 10,000 pesos per transaction while others may allow you to go beyond that.
Yes, we understand that a 1000-peso note is easier to bring than breaking the bills. However, please note that it is hard to transact with just that especially if you are just planning to buy 10- 100-peso items. Some travelers do not like the idea of keeping coins, but if there is one major tip that you should know of, then that would be to hold coins in your pocket.
If you are planning to ride the jeepney or the local tricycle it will be hard for the drivers to break your bill especially since most routes are just around 10 to 30 pesos. Additionally, there a number of street food that you can try for just 5 to 20 pesos!
Unlike in other countries wherein the tips are automatically computed along with the purchase, the tipping rules in the Philippines are on the blurry side. However, we recommend that you tip a few coins or even 20 pesos just to show appreciation for the hard work of another person.
Traveler's checks are usually not accepted for exchange in the Philippines. With this being said, we highly recommend that you exchange your money or have it transferred to your debit card and use that in ATMs to get local currency based on the outstanding exchange rate. You can also use credit cards for some of your purchases, especially in malls, restaurants, and bars.
Ready for an adventure? Feel free to review our foolproof list of common Tagalog phrases for travel too so that you can level up further your touring experience and connect with the locals in a more authentic manner.
As I end this article, I hope that I was able to shed light and spark your interest in the local currency used in the Philippines. If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it on social media and help us spread the word on the Philippines’ unique language, cuisine, traditions, attractions, and more!
Set aside at least 10 minutes a day with Ling App and we bet that you can speak the language in no time! Unlike other languages, Tagalog is easier to remember even if it holds a unique set of words as influenced by different cultures the country has come across. The language itself is charming in the sense that it holds an ever-growing set of words and phrases which are heavily shaped by the trends and history from all over the world.
Interested to learn more Tagalog language vocabulary words like how to express the basics to the most complex ideas? For extra reinforcement in the Tagalog language, be sure to check out the Ling App. This handy-dandy training buddy features fun mini-games and quizzes that can motivate you to practice and explore more about your target language day by day.