Manila Hotels, Money Changing and Cellular Service
Replies: 4 - Last Post: Jan 28, 2013 7:28 AM Last Post By: loubbylou
Jan 26, 2013 8:05 PM
Manila Hotels, Money Changing and Cellular ServiceHi all,
My lady and I are preparing for a 3-week trip to Palawan and we have a few remaining questions which I hope someone could answer. We are in our 30's and are adventurous, but also want a degree of comfort when we travel.
1) Manila Hotels: As one might expect, we are flying into and out of Manila. Our first time there will require that we only stay from 9PM until 5AM and then fly to Puerto Princessa the following day. They only interest here is to find a hotel that is inexpensive, clean, and near the airport especially one that could help us get to the terminal in the early morning. The second night we stay in Manila will be 3 weeks later, and we will have much more time to explore the city, so something reasonably priced and conveniently located near any of the most interesting tourist spots. We can spend a bit more PHP here, but by no means do we want to go over-the-top. Suggestions?
2) Money changing We will be landing on a Saturday around 8:30PM and will be looking to change money. I know that there are FOREX counters at Ninoy, and they are likely to be open at that hour, but I want to know whether I'd be better served by waiting and getting a better rate on Rizal street in Puerto Princessa. Of course, I will need to change at least a small amount at the airport, but I will likely be needing to change up to $2000 USD to cover our entire trip's expenses (plus safety cushion), so differences in rates can mean big savings at that volume. We are leaving for PP at 6:30 in the morning, so it's unlikely that we would be able to venture into metro manila to find changers, unless late-night changers are really worth the trouble. Can anyone advise me as to the degree of difference between the rates at the airport terminal (near the exit), late night changers in Manila, or on Rizal in Puerto Princessa? Also, as I am in China, I have some RMBs. Is the rate as favorable for this type of currency or should i change it all into USD before I go?
3) Cellular Service Finally, as my girlfriend will be having to take her laptop with her to keep up with an online course (what a hassle, right?), I am interested in getting a sim card with a prepaid voice and data plan for my HTC One S. This phone already works with Chinese and US sims, so I assume it will take a PH card as well. With such a plan, I could use it to book bankas etc, and make reservations adjustments as needed, plus I can use it to create a "hotspot" to link up my girl's mac to the internet. Could anyone advise me about this topic? Are there reliable voice and data carrier with prepaid service and decent reception on Palawan? If so, which is the best and what are the prices, in general? Can I buy the card in Puerto Princessa?
Thanks in advance for any or all answers you may provide!
Jan 26, 2013 10:16 PM
11.Sogo hotel, Harrison st., Pasay. Walk in only.
2. Money changers away from the airport have better rates. Don't take your eyes off the hands when they count out your money, no matter what the distraction is. Count your money before leaving. I wouldn't carry 2000$ around the Philippines, there are pickpockets, bag snatchers and room thefts.
3.Outside Puerto Princesa there is only electricity between 5 or 6pm and midnight. So your computer use will be limited if you go outside the city. Networks are Smart, Sun and Globe.
Jan 27, 2013 12:18 AM
2airport moneychangers rates are not bad so long as you go to the ones furthest away from the exit door, to the left. They will give you almost a peso more per dollar than the ones nearest the exit. I often carry around over 50,000 pesos with me in the Philippines, but I wouldn't change $2000 at the airport.
Jan 27, 2013 12:32 PM
Jan 28, 2013 7:28 AM
4consider you can pay in many places with visa
Some places do accept credit cards, but most of them that do add on hefty fees (between 7-10%) per transaction.
Are there reliable voice and data carrier with prepaid service and decent reception on Palawan?
If your girlfriend really has to work via the internet, I'm not sure how successful you are going to be. We have used prepaid data on SMART (the other carriers are GLOBE and SUN) on Boracay and the reception, speed and reliability were terrible. This is on one of the most touristy islands in the Philippines, I wouldn't hold out hope the signal/reception will be good enough on Palawan. To be honest, most places outside of a city/big town are crap when it comes to mobile internet!
In theory all of the cell phone masts should be able to transmit for data but in reality some of them haven't been upgraded. We were once caught out in Sabang (Palawan) when SMART told us the masts there had been upgraded. When we got there - no signal for the internet via the masts. We rely on mobile internet for our business as well and just haven't risked going back to Palawan since that incident! Maybe someone who has been there recently could tell you more about the current state of affairs.
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