I relied on my e-wallets the entire time.
Relying on online payment methods like e-wallets is more complicated than it seems. A lot of booths at the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) weren’t ready for cashless payments. Armed with cards, cash, and a fully-charged phone, my partner and I made our rounds at the MIBF.
The MIBF lasted four days, from September 15 to 18. It occupied three halls of the SMX Convention Center in Pasay. We successfully avoided large crowds by going on the last day.
Here’s what happened.
Going cashless at the Manila International Book Fair
The first booth I visited was the Komiket booth, where I bought Tarantadong Kalbo’s latest comic book. My partner paid for it in cash because it was his gift to me. We visited Central Books next, where I bought two books. They allowed customers to pay through bank transfer, GCash, and Maya.
The Indie Writers PH row accepted payments via GCash, making the transactions easy. The Ateneo Press and UP Press also accepted GCash and other online payment methods. I also paid via GCash and Maya at the rest of the booths.
I purchased a grand total of 22 books and comics and paid online for most of them. It was a great experience to go almost cashless at an event where I used to rely solely on cash.
Forced to shell out cash
After MIBF, we went to TGI Fridays for lunch, and I paid using Maya. We also bought a few things from Uniqlo and H&M and paid for those using our debit card or GCash. We bought donuts for pasalubong, but J.Co only accepted cash payments.
I loaded my Starbucks card using GCash, so I didn’t have to pay cash for our afternoon snack. Our trip home was also cashless, as I paid Grab directly via Maya. There were only two instances where we were forced to shell out cash, and that was when we paid for the donuts and Tarantadong Kalbo’s comic book.
Is the Philippines ready for cashless transactions?
I was worried about not having enough cash to pay for certain things during our trip, but GCash and Maya saved us. But our MIBF trip was just one day out of many when we were able to use our e-wallets for payments.
In general, the Philippines still isn’t ready to go completely cashless. J.Co was a good example of a reasonably large establishment that didn’t have other payment options.
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I’m hoping that the country will be able to transition to handling cashless payments. It’s easier for everyone involved. And since we’re still in a pandemic, it would be better not to transfer the virus via physical money.
Video Sam Yaneza
Featured Photo Daniella Sison