HOW TO TIP IN THE PHILIPPINES
In the U.S. tipping is customary and expected for everything from lackluster to outstanding service. It is an etiquette which is ingrained in all trades, from the wait staff at restaurants to our baristas, valets, cab drivers, porters, and many more trades.
The questions `when?` and `how much?` that surround tipping can leave some travelers confused, as the practice varies. This guide attempts to cover most situations that you, as a tourist, will encounter. Hopefully using these `tips` will provide a smooth experience when interacting with locals in restaurants, bars, hotels, tour operators, and taxis.
In the Philippines, tipping is normally not expected and Filipinos do not necessarily practice a tipping culture. However, over the years the country has started adapting more to a Westernized culture, and tipping is becoming more common in tourist areas. Filipino staff will not be offended if you do not leave a tip, so there is no pressure to do so, especially if you have experienced bad service.
Some service establishments in the country will automatically include a 10% service charge on your bill. Leaving an amount above the 10% is at your discretion. It is common for patrons to leave their change or round up the bill to the nearest 100 pesos. Many people in the service industry earn a very small amount, so any tips left for them are greatly appreciated and even the smallest amount is significant to them.Currency: Can I pay in U.S. dollars, or should I use Pesos?
The units of currency in Manila are the Philippine Peso (₱). US dollars are not accepted, make sure to exchange your dollars for pesos before or upon entering the Philippines. Banks and ATMs are available at the airport and around the city and major credit cards are widely accepted.Restaurants, Cafes, and Bars: When should I tip? How much is customary?
In restaurants always be sure to check the bill and see if the service charge or SC of 10% has been added. If there is a service charge already added it really is not necessary to leave anymore. If no surcharge appears on your bill then leaving 10% of the total check would be recommended. Always be sure to hand any pesos you leave directly to your server.Hotel Staff: Who should I tip?
At hotels in the Philippines, you will normally find that the higher-rated hotels (4+) the staff usually expects to be tipped. For example, leaving the bellhops ₱20 or so pesos, housekeeper`s ₱20-50 a day (be sure to put in an envelope for them) and tip the concierge ₱50 or more if they go above and beyond for you. Other hotels in the country are still catching on to the tipping game, although they might not expect a tip, it is still a great way to show your appreciation for their hard work and service.Taxi Drivers: Should I tip?
You can tip taxi drivers in the Philippines anywhere from 10% of the total fare or around ₱20 - ₱50, depending upon the total distance traveled and how accommodating the driver was. If the taxi driver does not turn on his meter and quotes you a price before you get into the cab, there is a high chance that you are paying and escalated fare and the tip is definitely included.Tour Guides: Is a tip required?
Tipping your tour guide in the Philippines is recommended and very much appreciated. These workers make very little money and tips are part of their income. You can leave 10% of the total service or more, depending on your experience.Miscellaneous: Is there anyone I should tip that I would not normally?
Visiting a spa in the Philippines it is recommended to tip about 10% or ₱50 - ₱100 for your technician if you are satisfied with their service.Final Thoughts:
Remember that it is perfectly okay to abstain, especially if you are not happy with the service provided. This is also true for hotel staff, however if you should encounter a problem with the service within the hotel, we highly recommend speaking with the manager. When paying for services in cash (which we generally recommend for services other than your hotel) remember to take your receipt. This is important for two reasons; If you leave a tip on a credit card, the person providing the service may not always get it, and if there is a discrepancy it is important to have your receipt to settle it with the manager of the establishment and to prove that you paid for the service.