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  1. #15046
    Quote Originally Posted by DashingDon  [View Original Post]
    On Wednesday night, 4/6, the IATF officially allowed rapid antigen tests for entry to the Phils per Malacanang. Reported in Philippine Lifestyle News on April 8..
    That's good news. Changes my pre-departure requirement to day before swinging by the local pharmacy where the Pharmacist will supervise and declare.

  2. #15045
    On Wednesday night, 4/6, the IATF officially allowed rapid antigen tests for entry to the Phils per Malacanang. Reported in Philippine Lifestyle News on April 8. The IATF also recommended that Alert Level One continue until June 30.

    The article contained some good news for mongers from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Mexico. Covid certificates from those countries will now be recognized for entry to the Phils.

  3. #15044
    Quote Originally Posted by Goferring  [View Original Post]
    The only issue I've had is that payments in the home currency to foreign accounts can get tricky eg paying USD into Philippines. There always needs to be some form of conversion, not just a transfer.
    I'm a WISE user also. When I'm sending USD remittances to Ph I do the conversion before sending it onto their Ph bank. So the local Ph bank should be receiving the remittance as P10,000 avoiding the arbitrary Ph conversion fees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Goferring  [View Original Post]
    They do have a Debit card that offers very good fees and features. The only thing that stopped me was a daily max withdrawal of $200..
    I haven't struck their daily limit. The problem as I see it is they increase charges after $350 in a month. $1.50 per transaction + 1.75%. Ouch. I also find Australian banks apply a higher ATM fee also.

    I do retain the WISE card for foreign purchases. Being able to obtain multiple card numbers and freeze cards online makes it great for online subscriptions.

    For cash use though there are better options like ING.

  4. #15043
    Quote Originally Posted by WestCoast1  [View Original Post]

    Will look into it!
    I've used Wise extensively for non mongering purposes, both to transfer cash and to pay for foreign purchases. FX rates are very good and fees are minimal. They can be extremely fast too. Its not uncommon for a transfer to SEA to be available in the recipient's account in an hour or two. The only issue I've had is that payments in the home currency to foreign accounts can get tricky eg paying USD into Philippines. There always needs to be some form of conversion, not just a transfer.

    They do have a Debit card that offers very good fees and features. The only thing that stopped me was a daily max withdrawl of $200. However that was a while ago and it may have changed. Let me know if it has as their platform is very user friendly and keeps getting better.

    Cheers. G.

  5. #15042
    Quote Originally Posted by Goferring  [View Original Post]
    This is very bank and home country dependant.

    For me, I have a bank issued 'Travel Debit Card' it has low / no fees and (importantly) wholesale FX rates.

    I have no 1st hand knowledge but many Americans report their banks refund all international fees.
    I am aware of one such bank. Charles Schwab, offers a debit card that has no ATM fees (well, you pay them, then they credit you the money back at the end of the billing cycle). In addition, Citi offers a Visa credit card (not debit) that offers no Foreign Transaction Fees (FTF's) on purchases (and careful, as with any CC, using it at an ATM will be considered a cash disbursement and hit you with a $10 US dollar fee). The typical FTF is 3% on all foreign purchases. If anyone else knows of such debit cards that rebate back all fees, or CC's that have no FTF's, please holler so the gents can get one. A bank loan officer once said to me: "We are not in the business of not making money on every transaction". I was looking on several major bank's CC's recently and they all have the standard 3% FTF.

    Quote Originally Posted by Goferring  [View Original Post]
    Web based peer to peer banks like Wise offer very good FX rates and fee structure.
    Will look into it!

    Quote Originally Posted by Goferring  [View Original Post]
    Neither of us has priced in the risk of holding large sums of cash to be converted. Perhaps not a big deal for a 3 day business trip but certainly a consideration for a month or two of fun. Let's face it, some of the people we have in our rooms could be very tempted by several '000 dollars held in a hotel safe.
    We have discussed before the lack of wisdom of traveling with large sums of cash. Lost, stolen, or taken by greedy government officials. Once its gone, its gone.

  6. #15041
    Quote Originally Posted by WestCoast1  [View Original Post]
    Anyone correct my digits.
    Consider the eventually higher cost to get foreign currency in cash as security insurance. It not refers to the Philippines only, but for global travelling.

    If I loose say 4000 Peso and my credit card -- its pain but not not the world. I use the second card to get new cash and inform my bank about the card-loss.

    If I loose 4000 $, my trip is fucked up.

    And to your digits: mine are lower as my card not charges for cash advance and get a slightly better rate than the moneychanger offers. But yes, I need to pay the local fee at the ATM.

  7. #15040
    Quote Originally Posted by WestCoast1  [View Original Post]

    Anyone correct my digits.
    This is very bank and home country dependant.

    For me, I have a bank issued 'Travel Debit Card' it has low / no fees and (importantly) wholesale FX rates.

    I have no 1st hand knowledge but many Americans report their banks refund all international fees.

    Web based peer to peer banks like Wise offer very good FX rates and fee structure.

    I can remember in the early days, on my first couple of trips, when I used a standard MasterCard credit card to withdraw cash from an ATM, the highest cost line item over the length of my holiday was bank fees. Now that was crazy.

    Neither of us has priced in the risk of holding large sums of cash to be converted. Perhaps not a big deal for a 3 day business trip but certainly a consideration for a month or two of fun. Let's face it, some of the people we have in our rooms could be very tempted by several '000 dollars held in a hotel safe.

    Enjoy, G.

  8. #15039
    Quote Originally Posted by AsianPursuits  [View Original Post]
    For entry / exit it is P10 K local currency. Seriously.
    This has been increased to 50 K PHP.

    See BSP Circular No. 922.

  9. #15038
    Quote Originally Posted by Goferring  [View Original Post]
    Personally, for such a short time, I would hire car and driver. In the current circumstances, many would jump at a 10 or 20 day package at very reasonable cost. However, if frequent mobility to out of the way places is important to you, then it's not a terribly idea.
    I agree. Furthermore, these guys drive for a living and know their way around. And they speak the language to ask for directions to places they don't know. Most are decent chaps and some of them can carry on an intelligent conversation in English.

  10. #15037
    Quote Originally Posted by AsianPursuits  [View Original Post]
    For entry / exit it is P10 K local currency. Seriously. All travelers should keep the following in mind regarding Philippine customs regulations:

    SNIP

    I will usually carry P4 k which is the max amount I need for a transport NAIA AC. I always have this kept from a previous visit.
    Already MM said he was clear on the Phils entry / exit policy. The policy is $10 k US dollars (not P10 k -- pesos, which would be about $200 USD). MM's question was regarding domestic flights inside of Phils: Is there a maximum limit one can carry on a domestic flight (say, from NAIA to Butuan)?

    Quote Originally Posted by AsianPursuits  [View Original Post]
    DO NOT exchange any currency and your home country.
    Did not understand this. Did you mean 'in your home county'? I would agree, as the fees are too high.

    Quote Originally Posted by AsianPursuits  [View Original Post]
    You will be repoorted.
    Reported to whom? For what reason? If I exchange $200 USD at my bank in my country for P10,000, why would that be reported, and to whom (and why would I care)? Alternately, if I exchange P10,000 (brought home by me from Phils previously) at my bank for $200 USD, why would that be reported?

    Quote Originally Posted by AsianPursuits  [View Original Post]
    I will swing by the ATM at NAIA arrivals and make a local currency withdrawal which gives a competitive rate. Failing that there are currency exchanges at NAIA.
    Using an ATM in Phils to withdraw cash from your bank in another country would result in high fees. The ATM would give you pesos at a worse exchange rate than the money changer. In addition, there are ATM fees to be paid at the (usually p250 or such), and probably a $5 US dollar 'out of network' fee charged by your home country bank.

    An example. Say today's exchange rate is p50 to 1 US dollar. The money changer is offering p49 per dollar. I hand the money changer $200 US dollars, and he hands me p9800 (200 x 49). I give up $200 and get p9800 (a p200 or $4 loss for using the money changer).

    I go to a BDO ATM machine in NAIA. The machine demands a p250 fee ($5). I tell the machine I want p10000. The machine gives me p10000, but takes $208.33 from my US bank account (an exchange rate of p48 per $1 US dollar). In addition, my bank charges me a $5 US dollar fee for an overseas ATM use. I get p10000, and I give up $208.33 + $5 + $5 = $218.33. That's an $18 kick in the wallet.

    Anyone correct my digits.

  11. #15036
    Quote Originally Posted by AsianPursuits  [View Original Post]
    For entry / exit it is P10 K local currency. Seriously.

    All travelers should keep the following in mind regarding Philippine customs regulations:

    I will usually carry P4 k which is the max amount I need for a transport NAIA AC. I always have this kept from a previous visit.

    DO NOT exchange any currency and your home country. You will be repoorted.

    I will swing by the ATM at NAIA arrivals and make a local currency withdrawal which gives a competitive rate. Failing that there are currency exchanges at NAIA.
    I find this advice confusing. First, P10 K is only $200 US. My recollection is similar to MontanaMonger: a limit of the equivalent of $10 K US for entering the country.

    Second, your "Do Not exchange" statement is unclear. Do you mean don't exchange currency in your home country or from your home country? I have done both of these and nobody reported me. And what's the point of using a currency exchange at NAIA if you get reported for exchanging currency from your home country? In my experience the exchanges at the airport give a slightly better rate than from ATMs and with no transaction charge. Currency exchanges in the city give rates as good or better than exchanges at the airport.

    Granted, I have not been in country in nearly three years, but I can't imagine these things have changed that dramatically. Have I missed something?

  12. #15035
    Quote Originally Posted by RandMcNasty  [View Original Post]
    Just wondering what the thoughts are on this board about the both the safety and convenience (or lack thereof) of getting a rental car.....Mt. Pulag. And of course, try my hand at some of the country!
    If you do this, be sure you have front, back, side cameras on the car. Saved a friend of mine from a car accident where the locals quickly pinned him as a foreigner to be at fault. However, he remained calm and when the police arrived along with his cell recording all the convo, replayed the events of accident and the people were quick to change their tune from burning him on the cross to displaying "empathy and compassion. " he also had a bat in the car in case things got out of hand.

  13. #15034
    Quote Originally Posted by RandMcNasty  [View Original Post]
    Wisdom or Folly of a Rental Car..
    My guess is Folly.

    I doubt you will have this problem but the groups of Koreans in expensive SUVs had problems. Trike drivers would cut in front of the Korean SUV when slowing at an intersection or stop light. Of course the sidecar would be facing the SUV thus limiting the trike driver getting hurt. This way the Filipino gets a new trike.

    The mass traffic and horrible roads will not make for an enjoyable drive.

    Finding a parking spot is an act of God in so many places.

  14. #15033
    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaMonger  [View Original Post]
    Is there in writing somewhere stating how much currency you can carry on domestic flights within the Philippines. I am well aware of the currency limits when entering and exiting the country.
    For entry / exit it is P10 K local currency. Seriously.

    All travelers should keep the following in mind regarding Philippine customs regulations:

    Firearms and pornography are forbidden
    Certain items like alcohol and tobacco can be imported duty-free in small amounts only
    Foreign currency of more than US$10,000 and local currency of more than P10,000 must be declared upon entry or exit
    I will usually carry P4 k which is the max amount I need for a transport NAIA AC. I always have this kept from a previous visit.

    DO NOT exchange any currency and your home country. You will be repoorted.

    I will swing by the ATM at NAIA arrivals and make a local currency withdrawal which gives a competitive rate. Failing that there are currency exchanges at NAIA.

  15. #15032
    Quote Originally Posted by RandMcNasty  [View Original Post]
    Just wondering what the thoughts are on this board about the both the safety and convenience (or lack thereof) of getting a rental car....

    What roadside dangers could I expect, both from people and maybe crooked cops?

    Maybe this is all a terrible idea. So, coming to the experts!
    How comfortable are you driving in chaotic traffic? Do you need a car every day? If that's ok, then it's doable and the risks are managable.

    The biggest risk is that if (many would say when) there is an accident, and you are driving then it's going to be your fault, regardless of the circumstances. Without being melodratic, I've seen these go right up to a fatality. Do you have a plan to deal with these should they occur.

    Cops and other civilians don't pose much of an issue if you don't give them a reason to.

    Personally, for such a short time, I would hire car and driver. In the current circumstances, many would jump at a 10 or 20 day package at very reasonable cost. However, if frequent mobility to out of the way places is important to you, then it's not a terribly idea.

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