Prices are fixed in department stores and most retail outlets in malls, but in many antique shops and in markets, you’re expected to haggle. Bargaining is always amicable and relaxed, never confrontational. Filipinos see it as something of a polite game, interjecting their offers and counter offers with friendly chitchat about the weather, the state of the nation or, if you’re a foreigner, where you come from and what you’re doing in the Philippines.

Never play hardball and make a brusque “take it or leave it” offer because that’s likely to cause embarrassment and offence. Start by offering fifty to sixty percent of the initial asking price and work your way up from there. Foreigners tend to get less of a discount than Filipinos, so if you’re travelling with Filipino friends, ask them to do the haggling for you and hover in the background as if you’re not interested.

Essentials

Everything you need to know before you set off.

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Philippines features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The stunning Philippines in pictures

The stunning Philippines in pictures

Rough Guides writer Kiki Deere shares some of her best photographs of the Philippines from her latest trip to Southeast Asia.  Comprising 7107 islands, the …

18 Dec 2015 • Kiki Deere insert_drive_file Article
Gorgeous video explores the Philippines from above

Gorgeous video explores the Philippines from above

The Philippines is beautiful from the ground, but from above it's even better. This video soars hundreds of metres into the air to give you a bird's-eye view …

29 Jul 2015 • Lottie Gross videocam Video
Batanes: off the radar on The Philippines' remotest islands

Batanes: off the radar on The Philippines' remotest islands

Kiki Deere, co-author of the Rough Guide to the Philippines, heads off the tourist trail to Batanes. This cluster of islands, located almost 150km off the north…

25 May 2015 • Kiki Deere insert_drive_file Article
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