I assume that people would prefer to have foreign currency to no tip. But should I absolutely make it a point to covert some currency first thing so that I can tip in Pesos?

2 Answers 2


In general I would always arrive in a country with a least a little local currency (if it's legal to do so, which it isn't always but is in the Philippines). There's been a couple of times I've been close to stranded on arrival because I didn't. You probably need money to get from the airport (unless you've pre-arranged transport), and exchanging money in the airport isn't the best deal (plus the counters aren't always manned).

In Manila airport there are ATMs just outside customs that will take international cards.

You can certainly tip dollars, be aware that people will probably getting a very poor exchange rate for them. You'll need to pay transport in pesos. Try and have some smaller bills if at all possible, taxis (airport taxis in particular) will often claim to have no change to force you to pay them 1000 pesos for the trip. ATMs will dispense down to 100 peso notes if you request an amount they can't make in larger notes.


You can, but I would strongly advise to you get some PESOS at the airport. Paying or tipping in USD will attract unneeded attention and you will be assumed to be carrying a lot of USD. Not good. It attracts greedy people! Remember 5% tipping is all you need to give since tipping is not a custom in the Philippines, and giving USD will be leaving a very large tip! It promotes greed in future dealings with foreigners!

  • My observation (in Cebu, at least) was that simply having white skin was sufficient to attract such attention, regardless of what currency you used for tips. As a side note, some places (like the airport's immigration fee collection desk) would accept USD but would not provide change if you paid in USD, so you could end up way overpaying.
    – reirab
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 20:08

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