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An occasionally belligerent mother of four and an autism parent / advocate who believes that traveling, good food and good company are vital to keep one sane. I've worked as a news writer/newscaster, a quality systems auditor, a ISO9001 consultant, an FM radio DJ, a Filipino tutor, TOEFL reviewer and have gone into the food industry both as an entrepreneur and as a mommy chef, giving a sponsored demo on healthy cooking in a mall and on local TV. My favorite job however, is being a mom and a wife.

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Before You Head On Out For An Overseas Trip: The Bank Thing

it's only fun when you have access to your money :p
For us, traveling out of the country is always a new experience whether we've been in that country before or not.

As with all the travel tips, one must have cash on hand (of the country's currency), maybe a change of clothes in your hand carry just in case your luggage is delayed, or worst, lost or misplaced, and activating your phone's roaming features is always a good idea, just in case you encounter an emergency.

More often than not, we don't bring foreign currency, and just retain whatever Philippine Pesos we have in our pockets.

We've always had great faith in the banking system, and we feel that we get better rates when we just withdraw cash from an ATM, using our Philippine bank cards. I mean sure, you get charged around 150-200 pesos for every transaction, but the way we see it, you can withdraw all the cash you'd need on that trip and just budget from there to avoid more bank charges.

Unfortunately for us, on a second trip to Macau and nth trip to Hongkong, this didn't work. We tried desperately to withdraw from an X amount of ATMs in and out of the Hotel. We got Zip. Nada. Nothing.

It was a good thing that the trusty old credit card was available for most of our needs. We had our pesos converted to the local currency (Phil's cash for Patacas and mine for HK $). It was sort of a nightmare when you were budgeting your cash just in case something comes up (an extra cab ride, establishments that only take cash, etc.).

Not having cash in a foreign land is just too uncomfortable and well, a tad scary. And that fact that our last oversea trip a few months back (around April), happened without a hitch, as opposed to this September trip of ours, was quite baffling.

Upon returning to the Philippines, I called our bank and found out the reason for this bank mishap. Apparently, the Central Bank of the Philippines has issued an order for all banks to require registration of accounts that have access to international banking. Our initial access was stripped without our knowledge (our banks didn't even inform us, even when we were applying for our Chinese Visas and getting bank certificates and other requirements from them).

I had our accounts activated for international transactions immediately so as not to repeat what had happened to us in the Macau-Hongkong trip.

Thought you guys should know, if you haven't been informed of this yet.

From TMW, may all your wanderings be better than ours!

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