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

Philippines Money & Shopping

  
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Currency

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.

Costs

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.

Shopping

SM Mega Mall in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila.  <span style='white-space:nowrap;'><img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/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

Bookstore Fully Booked
A modern Borders-like bookshop with a good selection of imported fiction and non-fiction books, and a smaller collection of books about the Philippines. There is an in-shop cafe.
in Cebu
Bookstore National Book Store
Visit this chain of bookshops located in Ayala Center Cebu, Mango Cebu and SM City Cebu for good deals on local and foreign books, academic texts and stationery.
in Cebu
 
Shopping Mall The University Courtyard
Near the University of St. La Selle, the courtyard is home to many clothing stores, a bookshop, a beauty saloon, internet cafes and restaurants. It usually is where most students' hangout after school.
in Bacolod
Shopping Mall Terra Dolce
This is an arcade like mall where many clothing shops are.
in Bacolod
 
Shopping Mall 888 Chinatown Mall
A newly opened Mall in Bacolod, most of the products sold inside the mall are Made in China therefore called as Chinatown Mall, opened on August 8, 2008. Its interiors are some like Chinese and might make you feel you're in Chinatown but in a mall version. Cheap... more
in Bacolod
Souvenir Store Anp Showroom
A store that sells handicrafts made by proud Negrenses, it is the best source for souvenirs from MassKara masks, key chains etc. Aside from the Lacson street branch, they also sell their products in Merci's Pasalubong in Bacolod-Silay International Airport in th... more
in Bacolod
 
Art/Crafts/Antiques Store Recuerdos De Bacolod Arts And Antiques
One stop shop showcasing antiques such as statues of Santos; Saints, and woodwork.
in Bacolod
Market Central Market
The Central Market is a best option for affordable souvenirs such as Native handmade products, Sweet delicacies and Uga. This is the best place to bargain.
in Bacolod
 
Shopping Mall Gaisano City
Next to Robinson's Bacolod this mall was built and then faced competition with Robinson's, the mall has a cinema, famous fast food chains, bookstores and is popular for their monthly sales.
in Bacolod
Shopping Mall SM City Bacolod
The mall is divided into two buildings; Northwing and Southwing. Fastfood chains such as McDonald's, Jollibee and Pizza chains such as Pizza Hut are located here, from all the malls and shopping centers in Bacolod, this may be the best as its air conditioning is... more
in Bacolod
 
These are just 10 of 48 Shops & Stores in Philippines. Show more.




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