Travelling local or international can be a bit tricky when it comes to money, especially if you’re coming from halfway around the world. We may not have the answers to how things are done everywhere but as the Top Rated Expedition Company in Coron, we can give you a few answers on how some things are done in Coron and some tips.
When you’re travelling to different parts of the world, the main concern would be currency. So, how do you get cash in Coron?
You can’t use USD in the PH to buy a drink at convenience stores and you definitely can’t use GBP at the vendo machine. I guess the main message is, make sure you bring enough cash of the correct currency when you travel, especially overseas.
Is it hard to get money in the Philippines?
Getting money in the Philippines is quite easy if you’re in the city. You can even use plastics, especially if you have a MasterCard or a Visa Card! Yayyy! Yes, we’re not cavemen after all. But what about when you’re not in the mainland? Or what if you’re from Europe and you have a Maestro? Well, brace yourself as it can get pretty challenging.
What if I wanna go to Coron?
How do I prepare when I’m traveling to Coron?
When you’re traveling to Coron, preparing your monetary situation matters. Know that it’s still a little provincial. I mean, yes, it’s a touristy place but it’s still nowhere near the advancement of the metro. Besides, most people go there to experience the Island Life, after all. So, to be safe, make sure that you either book and pay for everything in advance or just make sure you have enough money on you for your planned activities and some extra bucks for extensions or emergencies.
Draw enough money and exchange your currencies while you’re in Manila. You won’t have a problem finding ForEx(foreign exchange) booths and ATMs when you’re in the city, but once you’re in the provinces, you’ll want to wish you did as told.
Only a few ATMs accept Maestro in smaller towns, and not a lot of money changers will change your GBP. In fact, the sad truth is that you can even expect some money changers to totally refuse changing your GBP to PHP. USD is generally easier to change anywhere but don’t change your GBP to USD before changing them to PHP again. You’ll be losing more money by doing that coz you’ll be paying for 2 exchanges.
Note: In the Philippines, there is a 10,000php cap per transaction on ATMs plus a 200php fee (for foreign banks) on top of what your bank would additionally charge you. You can draw 10,000PHP several times if you please, but there is a daily limit depending on your bank.
So, what if you’re already in Coron and you run out of cash?
Almost everything is on cash basis in Coron. “Help! I ran out of cash and I’m already in Coron! What do I do now?”
Well, some resorts and establishments do accept credit cards as long as they have a logo of MasterCard or Visa. The trick is finding which ones.
No Master or Visa card?
“I’m from a different part of the world and I don’t have a master or Visa card”
Don’t worry, there’s another way to get money when you’re already in Coron. A lot of travellers actually do this too! You can go online and send yourself some cash via remittance centers. Just write your name as the sender and recipient. You can also wire transfer money and receive it within minutes. But be warned, the fees can be quite heavy.
Got some dollars on you?
Another way is to get your Dollars (or Euro, Baht, Yen etc.) exchanged via local money changers or pawn shops around Coron.
You can go to local pawn shops like M’ Lhuillier to get your dollars exchanged (no need for an ID to change your currencies here) or you can send yourself the money via remittance. They have pretty good exchange rates here so this would be your best bet. You can also go for Western Union who has the same exchange rates as the bank (you might need an ID here).
You can also try other foreign exchange counters but the exchange rates might not be as good as you’d expect.
What if I’m doing island tours or expeditions?
The most common activity in Coron would be Island Hopping or Island Expeditions. If you’re spending some nights on secluded beaches and private islands, you don’t really need to carry as much cash on you since you’re not going to physically go to establishments and pay for stuff during each check out. Just make sure to bring enough to pay for the tour or settle your payment before the tour or expedition starts. If you’re booking with a company like Big Dream Boat Man whose package is inclusive of everything from fees to food to booze and accommodations then you’re all set! You don’t have to worry about carrying cash at all! Well, at least while you’re on the 3 day trip.
Tip: When you exchange your currency at the airport, the exchange rates can be pretty low. This may or may not affect your budget depending on how the amount you’re exchanging.
Another tip for you to not use up your cash on hand is booking your accommodations online. By doing so, you can just use your card to pay for it.
Now, the question: “I’m already in Coron and I want to book accommodations to the next place I want to stay in. How do I do that?” or “Is there internet access in Coron to do online bookings?”
You might have heard that there’s no internet in the Island but no, this isn’t entirely true. There is internet access in Coron but just bear in mind that you’re in a third world country so the internet can make you feel like you’re back in the Jurassic era (if you know what I mean). Leave your first world problems behind. You’re in an island, in the middle of the ocean, after all. But there are places like hotels or cafes with “good” internet service. The trick is finding the reliable ones.
If you intend to frequent the Philippines, you can consider opening a Global Filipino account if your country has a bank that supports this. You can deposit the money for your trips into the account and then draw it out in the Philippines using the local ATM card they will issue for no charge. It is intended to be a remittance tool so you cannot reload it once you’re in the Philippines. You also cannot access your foreign account using your local ATM and vice versa so be sure to draw out everything while you’re still in the Philippines.
The Coron Experience
Not having easy access to ATMs or Money Changers might be a dealbreaker but before you walk away, keep this in mind; stepping foot in this little paradise is definitely worth the preparation. You don’t always have to stay in city. After all, most of the time, when you’re traveling to the Philippines, it’s almost always about having a feel its colorful culture, basking in its beautiful beaches, and experiencing the wonderful island life.
Catch ya later! Cheers!