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Money & costs


There are thousands of ATMs throughout country, especially in the shopping areas of the larger cities, like Manila. There are also official moneychangers, although beware of those that charge large commissions, and never change on the street. Most of the larger hotels and guesthouses can change money, too. High-end restaurants, shops, and hotels accept credit cards, but most market stalls or other smaller establishments are cash-only.

Currency and exchange

The national currency of the Philippines is the peso (or piso). It is subdivided into 100 centavos (or sentimo). Bills are brightly multi-colored and come in 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 peso denominations. Coins come in 1, 2, 5 and 25 centavo, and 1, 5 and 10 peso denominations, though the smaller-value coins are rarely seen. At this writing the exchange rate was 41 peso to $1.


There is a government sales tax (VAT) of 12% added to most goods and services in the Philippines, but this is typically factored into listed prices, as is a small (.6%) hotel tax.


The Philippines is a non-tipping culture. Upmarket hotels and restaurants may add a service charge to bills (usually 10%). This is usually made clear on restaurant menus or incorporated into quoted hotel room rates. In mid- to low-range restaurants and hotels, tipping is not expected, though reward for good service is always appreciated. Tricycle taxi drivers do not expect a tip.