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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Using Peso when we travel, will create more value for Filipinos

I started travelling when I was 12 years old, and my feet  has brought me to over 30 countries and over hundred cities around the world.

When I was 18, I stated to travel on my own; I always remember that I would bring Philippine Peso aside from carrying US dollars. Now a days, I just usually carry my ATM card (sometimes, I still carry Peso), only because I feel safer and at the same time, I don’t want to carry to much cash… in any currency.

I am writing this so Filipinos will start using peso or use more Philippine Peso when they travel. Of course, I know that there is a limit for carrying our notes which is 10,000 otherwise you need to declare it.

Why can’t we  carry more pesos? In US dollars, you can carry up to 10,000 usd  (about 450,000 pesos) and here in Singapore, you need to declare it  if your carrying 30,000 sgd or more (about 1 million in Peso) .

I am not writing these so we can bring million of pesos in our suitcase or promote illegal trade. However, I think it’s about time we raise 10,000 pesos to a higher limit that can be comfortably enough for a few days or weeks of travel.

Using Filipino Peso creates value when brought out of the country. It shows our confidence in our money as a people.  Here in Singapore, I normally advice Filipino travelers including my friends  to carry Peso and exchange it in Singapore dollars in lucky plaza or at the airport. They have a very good rate for peso to Singapore dollars here in the city state..

The key is to bring peso and change it in the country frequented by Filipino Expat or migrant workers. Then you are assured to get a good and competitive rate close enough to the marker value.

When I traveled to Hong Kong several years ago, I remember bringing peso and exchanging it in Worldwide Plaza (a mall where there are a lot of Filipinos). And because of this I can directly change peso to Hong Kong dollars. No unnecessary additional conversions to other currencies.

The problem is if we keep bringing US dollars out, firstly, you have to convert your money twice, from peso then to usd then to HK dollars. In the process, you lose some value. If peso is a widely circulated currency, then you get a good rate and conversions, Instead of two fold process, you’re down to just one conversion.

The value is more likely to be higher provided that the peso is highly traded in that particular country. In Singapore and Hong Kong, based on my observations and travels, peso is traded very well, so if you bring peso into these two countries, most likely you get a very good exchange rate. Thanks to the Expat who keeps on creating the value and the need for pesos in this areas.

However, in areas like  Thailand, were there is less Filipino, and Filipinos who travel to Thailand bring along only US currency, the Peso to Thailand exchange rate on the street level is dismal. I was recently in Phuket and Bangkok, and the rate of 1 peso  is 0.45 baht, at best, you can get 0.50 baht for every peso you exchange.

The real marker value is for every 1 peso you change, you should get 0.69 baht and not 0.50.This is an example that peso have not created the need to be competitive in this country. They don’t trade this money to much so the exchange rate is not so favorable. So if we have 5000 pesos in Thailand, instead of getting 3,457 baht, we will only receive 2,500 baht in exchange. See, we loose value of the peso just like that.

When Filipinos starts traveling and using its own money, it basically tells other countries, that peso is something of value and can be trusted as a currency for traveling and trading..

When a lot of us start  using our own currency, we are creating a value for our money and maybe we can get a more competitive street level exchange rate in many countries.

At the same time, don’t we want to hold on to US dollars or other foreign currencies as our foreign reserves. By traveling with Philippine peso, you don’t only create value and show your confidence in your own bill, you also keep foreign currency intact and can be use readily if needed.

I think it’s the colonial mentality that has been force into the minds of Filipino people. We never really examine the effect of this to our country.

Why are we conditioned  that our money should be kept at home. It’s a symbolic way of saying that their money is better since it can be traded everywhere and peso is negligible and has less value compared to other currencies.  In return, this has benefited  our colonizers because we also show that we are more confident in carrying US dollars than peso..

Singaporean do travel with there Singaporean dollars, they have shown there confidence in their money, so you would noticed that  even though there might not be a lot of Singaporean Expats in a particular overseas country, they still get a fair exchange rate. For Singaporeans, this shows the value and the trust they have put in their own currency that they can travel with their own bills and have the audacity that there own bill will be treated fairly.

I understand that this in not something that can change overnight, I am not expecting that that we get a very competitive rate by tomorrow when exchanging peso directly to euro when exchanging it in Europe. I am not expecting a miracle. But I am expecting people to analyzed the situation and think about traveling with peso on their next journey.

There are surely countries that have not seen our Philippine peso, or not traded peso before, but shouldn’t we start the trend. I remember in 2001, when I traveled to Helsinki, they money exchange at the train station can both buy and sell peso to Finnish Markka. I was so happy that in a country so far from home, they carry Philippine Peso. Isn't it good that peso is circulated and is fairly traded in other countries.

In countries such as Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma) , Laos and perhaps even Vietnam where we have slightly higher economic standing, we can easily create more value for our peso. It’s an opportunity for our Philippine business sector to explore these countries and to more active trading at the same time, test our currency.

Slowly, if we change out attitudes and use more our own money confidently  when traveling (also in establishing business investment), we are surely creating if not increasing the value of the peso.

So, go ahead, lets help each other create or attain more value for the Philippine Peso

Check out my related blog on the Peso:


Jonha | said...

I agree about losing value when we have out money converted to dollars then to HK dollars or SG dollars and I couldn't agree more about the need to encourage our kababayan to spend (have it converted in the place where you want to spend it) peso to help strengthen our currency.

I admire your patriotism even if you've been somewhat implanted in various places of the world. :-)

Eugene Tordecilla said...

Thanks for dropping your comment. We should use peso more often to create more value for our own currency. I am glad you realized the importance too. I hope more Pinoys will see the benefits of using our own currency when we travel or we do business.

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