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Philippine Micronesia Alliance – The Divers Choice

Money & Prices

Philippine Peso

The unit of currency is the Philippine Peso (PHP). The US dollar is the most widely recognised foreign currency and there are many places where you can change peso for dollar. At the time of writing (June 2009) the exchange rate is approximately 48.0 pesos to 1 US dollar but continues to be the subject of some fluctuation. You will find that some resorts and centres will quote prices in dollars as well as pesos. Within Metro Manila it is also easy to exchange British pounds, Euros, Hong Kong dollars and so on.

We would advise that you always use authorised banks or money changers. The majority of larger towns have ATMís where you should be able to withdraw money. However, facilities for money withdrawal or changing are far less widespread away from the main centres of population. Always ensure that you carry enough cash on you to cover taxis, food and drink and any other sundries you may need whilst travelling.

Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted in all major establishments but again, in some of the locations away from the city, you may be required to pay an extra 5-8% surcharge for their use. It is possible to withdraw cash on your credit or debit cards in some banks or tourist centres. Travelers cheques are now less widely accepted throughout the country and are not as convenient as debit and credit cards.

As a very rough guide, typical costs in Metro Manila or Cebu are as follows:

  • Five minute taxi ride 50-100 pesos

  • Typical 'fast food' meal 80-150 pesos

  • Mid range meal 200-500 pesos

  • Deluxe meal 1,000+ pesos

  • Cinema ticket 100-200 pesos

  • Budget hotel/lodging 750-1,500 pesos

  • Mid range hotel/lodging (3-star property) 3,000-4,500 pesos

  • Deluxe hotel 7,000 pesos and above

Outside of Manila prices tend to vary considerably, although in popular tourist areas such as Boracay prices tend to reflect those in Manila. In quieter locations you may find that you are spending less money. Conversely some of the high end resorts will charge you a little more. Overall you will find that your money tends to go considerably further here than in many other countries.

Money Tips

  • Always ask the taxi driver to use the meter. If the driver refuses then politely exit and look for another taxi.

  • Recent enforcement of tax and VAT regulations mean that sometimes VAT (12.5%) is included with restaurant prices and sometimes it is not! A similar situation can occur with service charges. If you are worried about such things then check with staff before ordering your food.

  • A reasonable tip to leave service staff is 10%.

  • In markets you may like to try to negotiate but only do it in a friendly manner. Don’t forget that you may be impressing yourself with your bargaining ability but your perceived victory over the vendor may actually only have saved you a few US cents.

  • In department stores or malls negotiating is not going to be successful. It won’t happen at home and it won’t happen here in The Philippines either!


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Scuba Dive Philippines
Great value holidays
Total customer focus
Customised itineraries
Group travel planning
24 hour support
In-depth experience
Best resort selection
Travel trade accredited
International team
Easy payments

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