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Money Matters


CURRENCY

1 Philippine Peso (Php) = 100 centavos.

Bank notes: Php20, Php50, Php100, Php200, Php500, Php1,000.

Coins: 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, Php1, Php5, Php10.

Foreign currency may be exchanged at most hotels, and in most of the large department stores, banks and authorized money changing shops. Exchanging money anywhere else is illegal and the laws are strictly enforced.


TIPPING

Feel free to tip waiters, drivers, porters, housekeepers, salon staff, barbers, and other service providers.

A tip of 10% of the total bill is the usual practice. But if the bill already includes a 10% service charge, tipping is optional.


BUSINESS AND BANKING HOURS

Private and government offices are usually open between 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Most banks close by 4:00 p.m. But ATMs – some with Cirrus, Citi and Maestro tie-ups for international withdrawals – are common in most cities and major towns.

Most shopping malls, department stores, and supermarkets are open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., with hours extending until 10:00 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

They usually stay open until 11pm during peak Christmas season. You can also watch out for the Midnight Sales, when they stay open until, well, midnight.

Thanks to the Philippines’ fast growing Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry, more and more establishments in major cities have 24/7 service. Apart from convenience stores, fast-food outlets like McDonald’s and Jollibee can serve up your burger while your body clock’s still adjusting.


CREDIT CARDS

Visa, Diners Club, Mastercard, American Express & JBC and other credit and debit cards are widely accepted at major stores, restaurants, and hotels.

Foreign exchange regulations

It is illegal for any incoming or outgoing passenger to bring in or take out Philippine Pesos in excess of P10,000.00 without prior authority from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Any violation of this rule may lead to the money’s seizure and civil penalties and/or criminal prosecution. (BSP Circular 98-1995)

The transportation of foreign currency or monetary instruments is legal. However, the carrying of foreign currency in excess of US$10,000.00 or its equivalent in other foreign currencies must be declared to a Customs Officer or the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Violation of this rule may lead to seizure and sanctions, fines and / or penalties.

For more information about Bureau of Customs Passengers Guidelines, visit http://www.customs.gov.ph/bustravel.php

Exchange rate

The Philippines has been experiencing a lift in its credit rating & general economic health. The Peso is currently stabilizing in the lower Php40s.

For the latest exchange rate, check Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines) http://www.bsp.gov.ph

You can have your currency exchanged at most hotels, malls, banks and money exchange facilities.

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