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In 2011, I did a lot of thinking about what I wanted to truly do the rest of my life. I've never been a "travel person" up until that point. I'd only been to border towns along northern Mexico for short vacations and visits.
But then in California, I met a wonderful Filipina who jump-started my interest in the Philippines. So by 2012, I was on a plane to explore the Philippines for 6 years and now have relocated to Vietnam to see the country and people. My plans are to continue seeing more of SouthEast Asia and eventually settle down 'somewhere'. Maybe. :)
Follow me on my journey as I share tips on how to travel safely, the places I visit and observations on a variety of cultures. I hope you'll find it both entertaining and informative.
Feel free to make use of or share the links above as they help to support this channel. Thanks. :)
I think it will be useful for many people.
There are dozens of exchangers on the Internet and each of them has its own exchange rate. The <a href="https://www.bestchange.com/" onclick="this.href='https://www.bestchange.com/?p=854965'">www.bestchange.com</a> monitoring service allows you to exchange electronic money at the best rates that can be found on the Internet. This site will give you the best currently available exchanger regarding its rate/reserve. All popular automatic exchangers are in this rating. The administrators take adding new exchangers to the rating seriously so you should not worry about the security of your exchanges.
Exchange rates are automatically updated for all exchangers every 5 seconds - they keep information really up to date at this monitoring service.
Thanks! The issue is I'm in the states so we were trying to send money to buy a home in my wife's city. Just not sure if she will have any issues carrying U.S. dollars . And the max she is allowed to carry. And how close they check. We been sending to her dad but they only let you send 2999 and 15.00 fee crazy times 16 gets expensive. She will activate her account and open a dollar account when there. But thank you!
a person can fly less than $10,000 USD in cash. anything above that, they must declare at customs. likely they will want to know the source of the funds, etc. could slow down one's arrival if over the $10k limit.
Hi my name is Pete I was reading your info. I'm American myself married to a filipana she is from Dumugete. Been there several times. Wife and I are buying a small home there and plan on moving there full time. My question is I see the peco rate is 49.83. But when I use Xoom I only get 47.5 but when I use Remitly they give me 48.35. I'm buying the home about 2m how do I get full value on the US dollars?Thank you for your time Pete
the surest and simplest way is to open a Dollar account in the PH. this way, when you transfer in dollars from your home account, it remains in dollars until you are ready to withdraw and use it. the reason you see a difference between the FOREX rate and Xoom, Remitly, WUnion or others is because they shave off a bit for themselves in addition to whatever up-front fee you pay. this is how they make money. the only wire-transfer company know and have used repeatedly that gives you the FOREX rate at time of exchange is www.transferwise.com . but if you transfer Dollars to a Dollar account in the PH, you accomplish the same thing.
Hey bud headed home to the states on Nov 30th not returning. Thought I was staying because I have lived here for years so last time I crossed the pond I brought a big chunk of change with me. I still have 64000 php burning a hole in my pocket. Can you give some advice on where to change it? I'll be going through HK to SFO then onward to Sacramento. What in your opinion would be my best exchange pont? Thanks Bud!
Another option no one seems to have mentioned is have a bank account through which you can withdraw cash at a local ATM. A good example is HSBC whom I bank with locally and through which I can withdraw in the Philippines at a local HSBC ATM at no charge. If you do this you get a good rate and avoid the risks associated with exchanging cash both in terms of fakes and security.
Is it not possible to buy Philippines notes in you own country?, Moroccan money is not possible to buy so l need change at the bank in Tanger. On another channel someone was saying that you need around 75 dollars before you enter at the airport so how can you get that money for fees if you have not the money to give them?.
+LifeBeyondTheSea - Philippines Maybe l misunderstood the other guys video. People here are saying "£1 from the Post Office" UK post office is notoriously bad at money changing, others quoting different methods, surely as you do not need money when you get off the plane you can go to an ATM in or outside the airport and take out what you need for a taxi etc. also you should check with your own bank in whatever country you are, now mid April 2016 you are getting a whole lot less for you money, British Pound is 65.45 and the USD is 46 which is a little better but still hard to swallow. My UK cards allow me £400 each day and l have the choice of having pounds sterling or local currency taken from my account. Having seen a video here of someone going to the change shop in an airport and them getting 42 for a British Pound is where you lose a fortune.If you need some money to pay fees for outgoing then in answer to my question is you can take currency out of Phils, leaving Morocco as l quoted it is a criminal offence and you cannot change Dirham's anywhere outside of the country.Possibly we are all awaiting the marriage proposal and you should be ready with your kneepad, your relationship is now time tested and l trust that you feel lucky that you have a decent girl that you can love unconditionally. Good Luck.
+CI Europe some people exchange their currency into PH pesos either on their layover at the airport Money Exchange, or at the ME in the airport once they arrive. as for fees to "enter the airport", i've not seen that for arriving flights into the PH, never seen it. it's on the way "out" of the PH that there can be a Terminal fee and/or an Exit Fee to pay when leaving.
+Abe Hill i have my own PH bank. with a Dollar account, the deposit stays in US Dollars until you make a withdrawal, then it's converted at that day's rate. with a Peso account it is converted into PH Pesos upon deposit. one thing to note is that Xoom charges $4.99 to transfer into a Peso account, $7.99 to transfer into a Dollar account. if you are moving large sums, a Dollar account is better since Xoom also makes a bit off the exchange rate into Pesos, in addition to the $4.99.
+Airplanes89 there are two rates.. the daily banking exchange rate.., and the lower rate (we get) as a customer of various money exchangers. (that is how they make money.)
today the rate could be 46.20 to the dollar.. and tomorrow be slightly higher or lower.
Exchanging money in the malls is usually a good place to start for foreigners. In Philippines I check the malls, dedicated Forex businesses, and banks. Rates can vary greatly depending which city and which vendor used.
you were lucky to get 40 pesos to 1$ in incheon and even lucky that they accepted them.... changing currencies in a third country(peso is not the currency of korea and its not the us dollar(the most used currency around the world) usuallly gives the lowest rates...i found exchanging money when arriving in manila airport is not bad at all (maybe 43-44) considering usually airports have the worst rates, even exchanging euros there is not that bad. i expected much worse. when travelling in airports you should avoid travelex offices or whatever the fanciest it looks ,the worse the rate. i changed with them only a couple of times (the smallest amount) just to have cash to buy something at the airport because i didnt want to use the atm...
thanks for the good advice i will keep it in mind on my next trip to philippines. i would be interested to find out the exchange rate for peso to britsh pound there, at western union branches here 64p to 1 gbp
I use Charles Schwab account when overseas. Their ATM card doesn't charge exchange fees or ATM fees. They reimburse you the foreign ATM fees. I find it safer than carrying around large amounts of cash. They also almost match the FOREX exchange rate. And you can withdraw whatever amount you need as long as you have money in the account LOL.
I was waiting for one of these to come, you should also tell them that they get more for $100 and $50 Bills, for some odd reason there in the Philippines they give you less if you were to try exchange US dollars in $20s :( so I recommend when you travel there bring big bills
While in Dumaguete have you seen "Little Children of the Philippines (in Claytown -Daro). They are a really good charity I have been working with for 14 years. When I visit, I stay at Bethel Guest House on Rizal. Its not fancy but it is "hospital clean" and very secure. Rates are pretty good as well. BTW, I enjoy reading your blog very much.
Wantagh, New York
My wife has a USD account with PNB and when I asked her if there was a limit on how much she can have in the account she was not able tell me. So, would you know the answer. Is there a limit, on a Filipina or Filipino, on how much USD's they can have in a savings account? I was told a foreigner can have no more than 10.000 USD in any bank account there.
+Merlin Baptiste i don't know what the 'max' amount is, but i do know that deposits over $10k must be reported in writing to the bank, who then notifies the IRS and i suspect Interpol as well. (to monitor possible money laundering.) another reason expats don't put excessive amounts into their PH bank is that PH banks do not have the high FDIC insurance on deposits that the usa has. (and other countries)
Welcome back to the PI. I have reviewed your videos over the past months and enjoyed your travels. It was not until I read your return trip to California that I realized we grew up in the same area. I graduated Perris Union High School and have enjoyed the many good times between Quai Valley/Sun City/Menifee/Mead Valley during my younger years. I grew up in the Perris area since I was 18 months old and earned my dgerees at University of Redlands. For the last 25+ years I lived in Laguna Niguel but still have family in Riverside. Currently, I call Tagaytay my home away from home since my 2013 retirement to the PI. Looking forward to viewing your postings (as always) and perhaps one day meeting you & your lady in person. Take care!
Hi Henry and others. As a regular traveler, I put up a video some little time ago which shows the math of how banks virtually ROB us when we use their forex exchange facilities
It is well worth a look !!
Just curious where is everyone getting their dollars to exchange for peso's? I have a bank account in the U.S. and I go to the ATM here to withdraw and it's in peso's. Is that the wrong way of doing? Thanks guys............
+BoB Barney That's not great as you probably get charged 2.5%+other expenses on the withdrawal which is a lot. To me it makes more sense to transfer it here in USD/EUR and then exchange it in Sanry's (the small currency exchange shops that are all around PH) as they offer a far superior rate compared to all major banks.
+LifeBeyondTheSea - Philippines I been here two years now, and never used a money exchanger. So I just give them my debit card?.....by the way, welcome back. I know you and your lady are very happy to be with each other again.
+BoB Barney yes, you can pull pesos from any PH atm and draw it on your home-country bank. however most PH atm's will charge $4 for this service, plus any fees from your own bank. using a money exchanger gets around that expense
there is a place to exchange USD to PHP at LAX also. A little hard to find, but in the international terminal. The rate is terrible.
I've noticed that the LMhueller that is local has a different rate ~.25 than the LMhueller in the larger town Kalibo. The folks at Kalibo office told me that they have a better rate than the branch offices.
Also noticed that sometimes the rate is better at Gaisano mall. Sometimes its the same, sometimes .1 better. But the attendant seems to always be at lunch.
Henry, from 40 pesos to 43 pesos...isn't "a little bit better"...it's a big difference !! You're talking about 7.5% better...and the 45 pesos is 12.5% better (HUGE difference)...these aren't small differences. So for $1000 on the 40 you're getting like $75 LESS ($925)...than the 43 pesos. Against the 45 peso exchange you're only getting $875 on your $1000. As an ex-pat living abroad for most of the last 7 years...I would have lost a small fortune settling for an exchange rate that I guess you would define as "a little bit less". People 'invest' they're hard earned savings to get a return of MAYBE 5% a year...so to take 40 instead of 45...you might as well set $125 per $1000 on fire. Thanks for the heads-up though...I'll be in Phils in October for 6 months.
+Christian Potyrala Henry gave us the rates of exchange from various sources. Not all sources. I would hope most could do the math and make an informed decision as to what works best for them based on their individual comfort level. I didnt feel he was pressuring anyone to go in one direction or the other. I personally dont usually use any of those exchange places as I find better rates in other places. When I do use them its only for small amounts when I happen to run short of funds.
+LifeBeyondTheSea - Philippines Ok Henry...didn't mean to be critical...kind of sounded like you were writing off the differences as not too consequential. But, I get it. I do appreciate all the videos...they've been a big help. I'll be in Dumaguete by early November...I'm glad to take you to lunch, if you like, as a thank you for all the great info. Take care, buddy.
+Christian Potyrala i understand. i was speaking relative to percentage. naturally, if i exchanged a million dollars the savings would be even higher. but some people exchange less than $100, while others exchange several thousand, so i kept the reference to just the percentage points. but yes, even a 1 point difference on large exchanges can add up to sizable savings, or losses.
Henry and All, We have consistently received the best exchange rate for US Dollars from Villarica pawn shop. I have no idea if this chain is nation wide but there are many convenient locations in our part of Luzon. I have learned also that my brokerage firm (Schwab) gives a great rate when I use the credit card attached to one of my brokerage accounts. The few places I use a credit card, we checked the current rate at the time of purchase and when the transaction appears in my account history it is always close to the best rate available at the time of purchase. Hope you all took advantage of the spike up on the AM. of the 6th, thank you Greece for the surge in the US Dollar.
those small foreign money changers around the city have the best rates. they will even beat any malls or SM rates. you just have to do a hundred bill per transaction in that way you are not prone to any anomaly.
Thank you for the information. I always knew that when I move to the Philippines, I always have to know how I'm going to exchange my American dollars into Filipino pesos. and doing at the mall? I never really thought of that. thanks for the info my friend.
Aussie dollar buys you around P34. We were level with the USD just 3 years ago, then our currency lost about a quarter of its exchange value. We still get such a great deal by going there that I'm not overly concerned though.
from my personal experiences with years of traveling back and forth to the Philippines. if you take higher currency such as 100 dollars the rate is a few centavos difference when utilizing Philippines Airport exchange banks. Never exchange peso from other foreign currencies from dollar to peso. You have to realize the Peso is worthless currency it's only good within there own country. Just a thought. my suggestion when you arrive at the airport ATM just take out a few thousand peso, then travel directly to outside money exchangers the rate is about .20 centavos lower from the Philippine Bank exchange. Besides it all adds up in the long run. Just a food of thought here. Enjoy these videos! thanks.
I ques you know what the Greek people did vote against the EU and Euro yesterday (Sunday July 5) How did that had an influence for a rate of 1 € against PHP? Just curious to know if you remember the rate there in Asia this day? I really hope Greece would be separated from Euro as what bad it has done for the whole continent with their grazy leaders! Pitty for the Greek people although... Did anyone followed the rate? Thanks for your comments, much appreciated!
Good on you Henry when in Cebu I use one at Robinsons but when last there in February its gone now always good rate there before I used top do it in Airport but was always low then out side Airport there is a money Changer going in to Cebu Citty just before you go on the bridge and usally there is pretty good only we need money for our van we hire from out town and food so usally its not much we get changed we sent our money straight in to our bank and get a good rate better than any exchange rate that is from a money changer in Adelaide South Australia saves carrying any money glad to see you back to hope all is well there !!!
Currency exchange rates are ALWAYS higher at the airports..no matter what country you visit. They know how badly you need to exchange into their currency, in order to pay for your taxi and even using cash for a vending machine to buy a snack, so they'll charge the max. I always keep left over cash /currency from that particular country ,so when I go back there I have ready money.
at the beginning of june2015 i got P45.10 pesos to the $1. its not bad considering it was slightly lower same time last year. though back in the 90's it was in the mid P50's, whew! good to see you back in Philippines.
Not always safe as i have experienced exchanging my dollars in the mall. Because it was a huge amount, and i thought theyre very trustworthy i never bothered to check each and one of the thousand denomination, Only to find out that one of the thousand peso that was included was fake! :( SO to be sure, exchange it in the bank :) Or SM Forex though are ok but other than that, i dont go to unreliable money changers :)
+albrenza Agree. As I stated above better still don't actually exchange cash. Simply withdraw it from a local atm. The rate is good and if it's the same global bank there will be no additional charge. It avoids the risk of fake notes and lack of security through carrying large amounts.
I agree I did all my exchanges at the mall mostly Rockwell in Makati city
they had the best rate also
in Baguio city at SM mall the rate was not as good and I had to fill out paper work
that was the only place I needed to fill anything out
I also changed money alabang at the mall
with out a doubt the malls are the best and safest place to change money
Richard in the tropics
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