The Philippines use the peso as their recognised currency. This is not the only form of the peso that exists in the world, but it is the one that is used by the Philippines and no other country.

There are 100 centavos in each peso, making it a decimalised currency. Strictly speaking the Filipino people refer to the currency as piso nowadays, since peso is the English term.

What coins and notes are available for this currency?

While there are coins that exist in the denomination of centavos, they are now rarely in use. They were once used quite frequently in 1, 5, 10 and 25 centavo denominations. Nowadays the main coins you will use there are the 1, 5 and 10 peso coins.

There are five banknotes commonly used in the country, which are the 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 peso notes. It is only the 200 peso note that is now very uncommon.

From past to present – the history of the Philippine peso

The Filipino people have moved from bartering in the early days of the country to the peso they use today. Decimalisation was actually brought in back in 1857, far sooner than many other countries tackled the same issue. This was partly due to having several different currencies in use in the Philippines at the time. This was obviously confusing and nowadays the peso is the official currency in use. The coins and banknotes used English as the main language, but this changed to Filipino in 1967 and has remained so ever since.

How to get hold of the Philippine peso

Some countries still take traveller’s cheques but you will find they are not generally welcome in the Philippines. However you can use credit cards in many places now, most of which will have this fact clearly displayed upon entry to the stores and restaurants. If in doubt, make sure you check before using them.

You will find a good network of cash machines around the country, enabling you to get access to more cash as and when you need it. The best card to have with you is a Visa Electron card, so make sure you take one of those and keep it safe. Your bank will very likely charge you for taking cash out abroad, so you might want to find out the charges prior to going. At least you’ll know where you stand if you do this.

As for changing cash, you can do this at the airport when you arrive. However with that said many travellers believe it is a lot cheaper to exchange cash when you arrive at your final destination. There should be bureaux de change there that will provide a better exchange rate than you’d get at the airport.

How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the Philippine peso

You just need access to a currency converter to do this. You can enter the currency you’re starting with first and then enter the destination one, which in this case will be the peso. You should be able to type in PHP to easily find the peso as this is the ISO code.

If you wish to learn more about the Philippines, perhaps because you are intending to go there in the near future, go to to find out more about the country. This is the embassy website for the UK.

Travelling safely with the Philippine peso

Since the Philippines consists of a variety of islands you should check the current situation regarding safety and security across the islands before you travel there. At the time of writing the islands in the southern area of the country are either not recommended to be visited or only to be visited if absolutely vital. Do check the latest situation before you go, just to be on the safe side.

While there are dangers involved with visiting the country, they are not thought to be particularly concerning for tourists. Violent crime is a problem in the country though so it is wise to be alert for any potential issues and to steer clear of any situations that look problematic.

Keep a close eye on your valuables and keep them out of sight as much as you can. Some people opt to wear a money belt; it can also be good to make use of a hotel safe if your room has access to one. This is where your passport should stay for the duration of your trip. You should however have photocopies of your passport pages with you as you may be asked to provide identification at any time.

Finally make sure you don’t carry excessive amounts of cash and be alert when using your cards, either to pay in stores or to withdraw money from cash machines. This is all really common sense and much of what you will do will be akin to the steps you will take in other countries.

Where to spend your pesos in the Philippines – and what to spend them on

The Philippines is a country created from literally thousands of separate islands. They exist quite close together to the east of Vietnam and the north-east of Indonesia. The capital city is Manila although the largest city is Quezon City. If you start your tour of the Philippines in Manila you can look forward to seeing a wide variety of sights. These include Manila Ocean Park, which is located in Rizal Park. It gives you the opportunity to see a wide variety of marine mammals in various different areas. These include the Fishing Ground, The Reef and the Living Ocean. The latter provides a walkway under the water that enables you to see fish and marine animals of all kinds up close.

Rizal Park itself is a key tourist attraction in Manila and it has several other notable sights alongside the oceanarium. These include a dancing fountain, Japanese garden and Quirino Grandstand.

Aside from that, Manila also offers you some superb shopping experiences if you are ready to enjoy them. Whatever you want to buy here you are bound to find a shop that sells it! It’s certainly a great place to go if you want to spend some pesos on a variety of souvenirs to take home with you.

There is plenty more you can look forward to discovering in the Philippines as well. For example you can see the Banaue rice terraces up close – a sight that is well worth the trip to see. These terraces date back hundreds of years and while growing rice on the terraces is not perhaps as popular today as it was back then, it still goes on from year to year.

Another popular natural destination people like to see when in the Philippines is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. It might sound like a mouthful but it is well worth going to. You can take a guided boat through the river as it cuts into the side of a rock face. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and for good reason – some regard it as a modern wonder of the world. While you can see some of the underground river and the waterfalls that exist in there, you won’t see all of it. This is simply because some of the structure has not been discovered because of the lack of oxygen and the inability to reach those areas.

Finally a trip to the Philippines would not be complete without mention of a volcano. Here we shall mention the Taal Volcano, which can be found on an island called Luzon. This is towards the north of the Philippines. As is the case with every volcano on these islands, it is just one of the many that form this section of the Pacific Ring of Fire. There is evidence that activity at the volcano has preceded earthquakes elsewhere in the region.


With so many thousands of islands to explore, it is perhaps no big surprise to learn the Philippines attract many visitors every year. Some will visit popular destinations such as Manila and beach locations including Boracay, Puerto Galera and Panglao Island. But others will visit numerous other locations such as the underground river and the volcano – sights that would not be possible without the beauty of nature.

If you decide to visit the Philippines it is a great idea to do a spot of research first. This will help you work out which islands you would most like to visit. With enough of them to keep you going for the rest of your life and beyond, it makes sense to assess which would be the most appealing islands to start with.

Any trip to the Philippines will be an experience you will not soon forget and it’s not hard to see why. With lots of new experiences to be had there, whichever islands you choose to visit, you will long remember the holiday you had and the many pesos you spent!

Philippine Peso – PHP

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