Philippine Peso (PHP; symbol Php or P) = 100 centavos. Notes are in denominations of Php1,000, 500, 200, 100, 50 and 20. Coins are in denominations of Php10, 5, 2 and 1, and 25, 10, 5 and 1 centavos.
MasterCard and Visa (and to a lesser extent American Express and Diners Club) are accepted in major establishments throughout the larger cities of the Philippines. Elsewhere acceptance is less reliable.
In locations with no ATMs, you may be able to get a cash advance on a credit card for a hefty fee from travel agents or other establishments.
ATMs are widely available in cities and major tourist areas, but may not be present on smaller islands or in mountain areas. It is best to check ahead before relying on the presence of ATMs. Major banks accepting foreign cards include PNB (www.pnb.com.ph ), BPI (www.bpiexpressonline.com) and Land Bank (www.landbank.com).
Travellers cheques may be cashed at most banks, and are accepted by some tourist-oriented hotels, restaurants and shops. This process can, however, be long-winded and frustrating. To reduce the difficulties, visitors are advised to take travellers cheques in US Dollars and to carry their receipt of purchase as well as their passport when cashing them.
The import and export of local currency is limited to Php10,000; any amount above this must be authorised by the Central Bank of the Phillippines. The import and export of foreign currency is limited to the equivalent of US$10,000.
Cash in Pounds Sterling or US Dollars can be exchanged in banks, hotels and some retail outlets. Always use authorised money-changers or banks in Manila. Outside the capital there is a shortage of facilities for changing foreign currency and rates may get progressively worse as you travel further away from the city. It is advisable to carry a sufficient amount of Philippine pesos when travelling to other provinces.
Philippines duty free
The following items may be imported into the Philippines by travellers aged 18 and over without incurring customs duty:
• 2 cartons of cigarettes or 2 tins of tobacco.
• 2 bottles of alcohol.
• Goods to the total value of US$1,000 (US$2,000 for overseas-based Filipinos and US$250 for children under 18). You may only import one of each type of non-consumable item worth over US$200.
The total purchase for any calendar year may not exceed US$10,000.
Firearms and ammunition, explosives, publications inciting treason or rebellion against the government, obscene or immoral materials, and anything related to carrying out or advertising abortions (which are illegal in the Philippines).