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Tipping in the Philippines

The Western culture has a convention that when a person is given a service, especially a first-class service, in hotels, restaurants, and other similar places, that person is supposed to give a tip. The old Filipino culture does not have the same practice. But when you travel to the Philippines, you would find that the modern Filipinos are aware and expect that certain peculiarity of Western tourists called “giving a tip”. The unwritten rules about giving tips in the country, however, may not be exactly similar to those of your country.

In restaurants, Western conventions would demand that a customer leave a tip that is equal to about ten to twenty percent of the value of the paid meal. In a Filipino restaurant, you need not trouble your head with the computation. Sometimes, you may just leave behind the coins of the change you get after you paid the bill. The coins will serve as your tip. Or you may carefully check the bill and see if there is an item called “service charge”. If you find it, then there is no need to leave a tip, unless you felt generous and wanted to show your appreciation. If there is no item called “service charge” and the service is excellent, then it is time to leave a tip. How much would be up to you.

In hotels, clients are expected to give the bellhop or the concierge a tip for bringing up the luggage and other services. In big hotels, this giving of tips is expected by hotel employees. There is no minimum or maximum limit for the tip that you are supposed to give. You may even give the tip in dollars. But it would still be a lot better if you have reserved peso bills. You may end up giving a tip in dollars which is equivalent to twice the rate of the hotel.

In taxis, giving tips would depend on the city where you are located. Taxi drivers in Manila (not all, I’m sure) are notorious for making pre-arrangements with passengers who are come from the airport and are obviously tourists. They charge high fees and they don’t use the taxi meter. After such mistreatment, you are not inclined to give tips. We say, don’t give tips to unscrupulous people. To avoid being ripped off, it would be best to arrange a van from the hotel where you are booked.

In Cebu, however, they have standard fares for tourists coming from the airport. It is a bit expensive, but it is their system. Within the city of Cebu, you may opt to leave the small change as your tip to the driver. In Davao, when you take a taxi from the airport, you will be given a piece of paper so that in case the driver overcharged you, this can be reported to the authorities. This is why their taxi drivers conscientiously give the exact change. But they do welcome tips.



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