Dealing with Money in the Philippines and Siargao

Whether you’re coming for a brief vacation, a longer stay, or somewhere in between, prepare for a country with no Apple Pay and almost no credit cards.

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The ATMs in the Philippines are not very friendly to foreigners, with a maximum of 10,000 PHP per transaction and a 250 PHP fee. In Siargao, it’s sometimes even worse, as the ATMs often run out of money. Here are three different ways to avoid using ATMs while visiting, based on your type of stay.


Bring cash

1-3 Months

Use Gcash


Bank Account​

Short-Term Visits

Best to use: Cash 💵

If you’re visiting for only a few weeks, it’s best to stick with cash. Bring enough money to last you for your stay, and aim to convert it to PHP before arriving in Siargao, it can be difficult to exchange large amounts of cash here, and you don’t want to be stuck with a lot of money you can’t spend.
Please note! Even though robberies in the Philippines and Siargao are very rare, make sure to keep your money in a safe place.

1-3 Month Visits

Best to use: GCash 📱

For those staying in the Philippines for 1-3 months, it’s a good idea to use the local E-Wallet, Gcash. The app is used everywhere, from street vendors to big supermarkets, and it’s very easy to use.

You can open a GCash account as a foreigner and load it using different methods like PayPal, Wise, or buying load. For a detailed guide on how to use GCash as a foreigner, please visit our guide, on how to open GCash as a foreigner in the Philippines.

Long-Term Stays

Best to use: Bank account 🏦

For those staying in the Philippines for a longer term, it’s best to use a combination of GCash and bank accounts. After extending your visa for more than 2 months, and receiving your ACR card, you will be able to open your bank account using your Passport, ACR, and initial deposit (Around 3k PHP). A bank account can make it much easier to receive funds to the country, get a Debit/Credit card and be able to use ATMs with almost no fees.