Friday, 2 October 2015

Top Ten Money Changers in Manila, Philippines



Finding a legitimate money changer is always the last one I do every time I have an out of the country trip usually to change the philippine peso to US dollars. In the very short time I did a research and a shoutout from friends on Facebook I was able to gather. I decided to make something out of it so I can help anyone who needs this information. This post focused on places in Manila where a lot of foreigner populates especially in Makati area. 

      
1 . Sanry's


Most of my frequent Facebook friend travelers recommend Sanry's. They got really impressive office with a guard and a signage of  the current conversion of US Dollars, Yen and British Pounds   

Address: Ground Level Palm Drive The New Glorietta Mall Glorietta

Ayala Avenue cor. Pasay Road, Ayala Center, Makati
Tel num: +63 2 893 8520


2. Czarina's 


Established in 1976, Czarina's is also quite popular from locals and foreigners. It seems that if there is Sanry's, there is Czarina's nearby too.

Address: Ayala Avenue Ayala Center, Makati 
Tel num: +63 2 812 7060

3. 3G Service Central

This is actually the nearest and thus where I changed all my money 2013 when I went to Singapore and Malaysia trip. I exchanged half of my money to US dollars, then a fraction to Singaporean dollars and Malaysian ringgit.

Address: Unit 25-26 Lower Ground floor Shangri la Plaza Mall, Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City, 1552

Tel num: +63 636 7946
  

4. Tivoli 

Recommended by a former boss at work who juggles life between US and here in Manila. I have tried to search it online but I can't fnd any details. I will  park this for now and get back until I have all the details.
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5. Black Market in Malate

By listing black markets especially in Malate where a lot of foreigners dwell who have no white collar jobs and illegitimate money changers, does not mean the author is liable for whatever untoward consequence could happen to anyone who followed this advice. Sure you can have your dollars for a lot less but please don't forget that we warned you.

6.  Cebuana  Padala, MyRemit and Western Union

Check these out, they also allow currency conversions though these are not their forte so I would not really make this as your first option.


7. SM Department Stores / Forex nationwide


 Since SM is the largest mall  it is just right that  there should be a money- changer store inside. This I think is one of the safest way to have your cash changed to any foreign denomination.


8. Banks


Most banks only allow exchange of foreign exchange of money if you have an account with them. I learned this the hard way. I went to a BDO bank which is just at the ground floor of the condo unit where I live, I was told I have to go straight to the other BDO bank where I have a record.


9. Airports (Ninoy Aquino International Airport  and Manila International Airport )  


It is like asking if the grass is green. An airport is not complete without a money - changer station. For some reasons I heard a few of my Facebook friends about it but they say here the conversion isn't favorable. It is like buying in a restaurant inside the airport, expensive.


10.  ATM's


I don't personally recommend withdrawing money via ATM's especially abroad because of the high service charge but if it won't hurt you and that's how you define convenience go ahead.


There you go. The rates of conversion really vary every day. I was thinking that before I exchange my money from peso to US dollars I need to see a bunch of money changers so I can choose which one will offer the best deal.


Guess what the difference   is very slight so no need to follow what I do except if you have a version better than mine.   


Reminders: Most money changers in Manila only sells US dollars minimum of 100.


In my most recent trip back to Cambodia, I had very limited time that is why

I only checked out  Sanry's Money Changer located in Greenbelt plus one in Glorietta and Tivoli in Glorietta as well.

I went to Sanry's in Greenbelt 1 and bought USD 300 for PHP 18000 because the rate for the day was  USD 1 = PHP 50.30. While walking home I realized I still have PHP 3000 but I am too far away from them so I dropped by to Glorietta. My first stop was Sanry's but the line was too long. I am thinking this one may have the same rate as their other branch in Greenbelt.


I asked the guard for any nearby money changers inside Glorietta as well. I was pointed to Tivoli which is really out of the way. I had to pass by a parking area which is hot and lacking ventilation. The line is short which I am not surprised of their location. They are selling USD 1 to PHP = 50.15! I regretted not checking them first after realizing my money's worth is bigger here. However, they are not selling USD's which is less than 100 in total. I only got PHP 3000 so that is just about USD 80. I would need about PHP 5000 for that amount.


When I arrived in the airport, I immediately went to the nearest money changer inside NAIA from Air Asia's checking counter. They are selling USD 1 = PHP 50.50. It is much higher therefore not good but then I had no choice. The only good thing about buying / selling dollars inside the airport is that they can give you whatever is the amount of USD's you need as long as they have reserves. This is the first time I encountered this. Coming from my Indonesian trip, I had about a thousand dollars in my pocket. I asked them how much they buy it, it was less than where I had it exchanged it.


My conclusion is that, as much as possible avoid buying / selling dollars in key places like airport or in the centers of malls. Chances are they charge higher. Allocate more time to check at least 3 money changers in your area so that you can choose the ones that's best for you. 

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