Yes I live here, but only 2 months so far...so really letting the dust settle before I start changing things like finances.
As others have commented, not required to change up your finances all that much. Various ways of working this out and best for you to think out what your requirements are so you can implement a process which works best for you. Think about safety and convenience as your building blocks.
- Keep your money and direct deposits (pensions/income) in your home country bank and set up a process where you can get money as you need it.
- Don't keep large amount of cash in your pocket or at your home in the PI.
- Keep an emergency fund amount in your PI bank account so it is available when needed (aka bugout fund).
- Check with your bank in your home country to see which banks in the Philippines are set up within their financial system to electronically transfer funds and any associated fees.
- Select a PI bank that is on your home bank's list, that has a banking office location near your PI home. Suggest one of the nationwide banks so you will have access all across the PI.
- Set up a Savings/ATM account in PI and then set up a bank to bank transfer account. Check the fine print on the account type and ensure you understand minimum balance and fee charges. Easy to set one up such that if you maintain a minimum balance there are no account fees or ATM use fees as long as you stayed within the banking network. You can also set up linked accounts where you can transfer funding from your home bank to your primary PI account (yours) and have secondary Savings/ATM account card (spouse/girlfriend) that you can then transfer money to from your primary account.
- All set up for online banking. No paper work, no standing in line and no waiting for the money to show up.
Lots of ways to minimize fees and get best exchange rates, but you might find that keeping your money safe while having convenient access worth a few dollars a month.