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SM Mega Mall in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila.  <img src='http://www.guidegecko.de/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click for full image
Travel Guide > Asia > Philippines

Philippines Money & Shopping

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The Philippine Peso (PHP) is the official currency. As of January 2010, one U.S. dollar trades at around Php46. Peso bills come in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000. One peso is equivalent to 100 centavos and coins come in 5, 10 and 25 centavo variants in addition to the 1, 5 and 10 peso coins.

Money changers are not so common in the Philippines apart from some heavily touristed areas and most malls which usually have their own currency exchange stall. Banks on the other hand are widely available to exchange currency but usually impose a minimum amount and have limited hours of operation, usually from 9 AM to 3 PM on weekdays except Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and Banco De Oro (BDO) which have longer hours of operation. Don't exchange money in stalls along the streets as some of them might be exchanging your money for counterfeit money, contact Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines) if you suspect the money you've been given to be counterfeit.

Be aware that no person is allowed to enter the Philippines carrying more than P10,000 without prior authorisation by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Those who have not gained prior authorisation will have to declare the excess money at the customs desk upon arrival - but if you have a reason to do so, like you are going to, say rent an apartment in Manila, you can be allowed pass through without any fee while carrying P30,000. However, it's entirely possible that this was a one-day luck and on a different day you may lose out by entering with a large amount of money.

ATMs and credit cards

Visitors can also use the 6,000 ATMs nationwide to withdraw funds or ask for cash advances. The three major local ATM consortia are BancNet, MegaLink and Expressnet. International networks, like PLUS and Cirrus, are accessible with many ATMs, however Cirrus is more predominant than PLUS; however, withdrawals are often limited to 5,000 pesos. An exception is HSBC where up to 50,000 pesos is possible. Visitors who have a MasterCard/Maestro/Cirrus cards can withdraw funds or ask for cash advances at ATMs that display their logos. The most prominent MasterCard ATMs are the Express Tellers by BPI (Bank of the Philippine Islands) and the Smartellers by Banco de Oro. PLUS ATMs are not available locally as a complement by itself, but instead it is available along with Cirrus. Prominent examples include the Fasteller by Equitable PCI Bank and the Electronic Teller (ET) by Metrobank. Most MegaLink ATMs are linked to PLUS and Cirrus.

Credit card holders can use VISA, MasterCard, American Express and JCB cards in many locations in the Philippines but merchants would usually require a minimum purchase amount before you can use your card. Cardholders of China UnionPay credit cards can get cash advances at many BancNet ATMs (particularly of Metrobank) but cannot use their cards in point of sale transactions at the moment.


Traveling in Philippines is cheap (one of the least expensive places to visit in Asia and as well in the rest of the world). Some accommodations may be pricey, more so in some cases places to stay are cheaper in Thailand.

For example a stay in a hotel would cost as low as $30 or 400, a flight to Cebu from Manila and vice-versa will cost $35 or 645. Transportation is low as 18.50 for the first 4km in a Jeepney. Using the internet for 1 hour in an internet cafe range from 120 to 150 depending on the Internet Cafe's location, a can of coke costs as low was 116 while a copy of the International Herald Tribune costs 170 and Economist as low as 160. In most restaurants, there is 12% Value Added Tax (VAT) usually included in the unit price but service charge is often excluded and computed separately.


SM Mega Mall in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila.  <span style='white-space:nowrap;'><img src='http://www.guidegecko.de/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click to enlarge</span>

It isn't hard to find malls in the Philippines, the 3 largest malls in the world are found in the country, it's a fact consumerism has been part of a Filipino's life. They'll buy things they don't need but are on sale or with a discount. The reason why the country hasn't been affected much by recent financial crisis is because of the circulation of money, even if Filipinos are broke they'll find a way to buy something at least in a week for themselves.

Sales tend to happen during pay day and last for 3 days and also during the Christmas season (in the Philippines Christmas season extends from September to the first week of January) in Department stores like SM Department Store. Cheaper items are sold at flea markets and open markets where you can bargain the price like Divisoria, Market!Market!, Greenhills in Metro Manila.

Ayala Center is often compared to Singapore's Orchard Rd, from Entertainment to shopping, they have it all there, located in the Financial district of Makati. Not far from Makati is Serendra, a Piazza that offers lifestyle and luxury shops and often called the Luxury lifestyle center of Metro Manila. The piazza features modern architecture that will make you think you're somewhere near the world of Star Wars, stare, drool and be amazed at the public art displayed there. Coffee shops and tea shops are found around this area, as well as furniture and clothing stores and is located in Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. The 4 largest mall operators are SM, Gaisano, Ayala and Robinson's with branches around the archipelago.

Be aware of import/export laws, particularly when leaving the country, as some items like food may be confiscated at the airport. If you bought a pet, be sure it has the right papers that will be accepted in your destination. It is wise to declare your souvenirs to Customs Officials to avoid future trouble.

Shops & Stores in Philippines

Shopping Mall Robinsons Place Manila
An urban shopping complex with the usual amenities: food court, cinemas, department store, supermarket, etc. 7 levels, 330 stores. Located near Pedro Gil Station (LRT-1 / Yellow Line).Directionsbehind the Philippine General Hospital compound
in Ermita
Shopping Mall SM City Manila
Part of the nationwide SM "Supermall" chain, this shopping centre has all of the standard features of an urban mall (including a food court, cinemas, a department store and a supermarket) as well as scores of shops spread out over 6 floors. Located ne... more
in Ermita
Art/Crafts/Antiques Store The Silahis Center
Handmade Filipino goods and folk art. Other departments within the same showroom feature fine art, antiques, and books.
in Intramuros
Art/Crafts/Antiques Store Sagada Weaving
Store for local and handwoven products are one of the more popular souvenir shops in Sagada. It is one of Sagada's biggest employers and one can visit the weaving looms to view how intricate the weavers go about in producing the handwoven raw materials. Very... more
in Sagada
Shopping Mall Royal Subic
Royal Subic is the biggest department store in Subic. They carry imported and local housewares, cooking items, and snacks. Royal Subic also carries branded clothes. Most of are surplus so they're actually cheaper. Has an extensive selection of cigarettes an... more
in Subic
Shopping Mall Freeport Exchange
Freeport Exchange is similar to Royal Subic, however they also carry some electronice that are set for 220 volts. The mall also carries Subic's largest supply of candy (but it's a close competition with Royal Subic)!
in Subic
Shopping Mall Pure Gold
In early 2010, Pure Gold opened a huge warehouse-type store with a very large selection of goods. It is situated across the intersection from the Royal Subic.
in Subic
Shopping Mall Value City
Value City has a lot of things that other stores don't. They have a lot of quick snacks, and an extensive supply of cat food.
in Subic
Bookstore National Bookstore
National Bookstore has books, magazines, and a cafe. They are also very popular for getting school supplies.
in Subic
General/Other Store American Hardware
American Hardware is a hardware stores that carries lots of useful things. All their products are imported from the United States. They have lots of items that are very rare in the Philippines. American Hardware also runs the only car wash in Subic Bay.
in Subic
These are just 10 of 48 Shops & Stores in Philippines. Show more.

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