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Shopping and Spending in the Philippines

Cash is the preferred method of payment throughout the whole Philippine Islands. Most major cities have establishments that will accept major credit cards. The most popularly accepted would be Visa and Mastercard. However, if you plan on traveling around the Philippine Provinces, it is better to have cash. Most Foreign currency can be easily exchanged to Philippine Peso, but the U.S. Dollar, Japanese Yen, and Saudi Arabian Riyal currencies are the easiest to exchange. Foreign exchange centers however, are often only found on the Province’s City or Capital, and most commercial hotspots in the most urban areas. There are also a number of International Banks all over the Philippines where you can use most International ATM Cards. Almost all Local Philippine Banks also have ATM’s that will accept Cirrus and Star ATM Cards.

The malls are the most popular place to shop. The most popular mall all over the Philippines would be the SM chain of Malls and Supermarkets. Not only do they own the most number of malls, they also own the largest malls. The SM Mall of Asia or MOA is said to be the largest mall all over the South-East Asia Region. The Robinson’s chain of Malls are smaller and fewer but not as crowded as the SM malls. The AyalaLand chains of Malls are considered to have better atmosphere and draws more of the richer crowds. The Powerplant Mall and the Fort Strip are the most beautiful malls I have visited (The Fort Strip is actually not a mall, it is a cluster of buildings that consists of various retail establishments). The 168 Mall in Quiapo, Manila City and the Greenhills Shopping Arcade in Greenhills, San Juan City are a haven for cheapskates, and is very crowded everyday. The Tiendesitas in Ugong, Pasig City is a shopping venue worth noting because the buildings are made to look like giant Nipa Huts, which are the Traditional House design of the Philippines. Tiendisitas also has that Filipino “Festive” feel. If you’re looking for great shopping bargains, the “Tiangge” is the one to look for. Tiangge’s are like small street markets filled with various small booths that sells a myriad of products. Tiangge’s are specially popular during the Holidays and Town Fiestas.

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