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Traveler's checks can be cashed at decent rates only at American Express offices, and even then, the rates are not good. Some other places will cash them but at an even lower rate. They know they have you in a corner and take advantage of it. I know of only two American Express offices, one in Manila and one in Cebu, and they are not open on weekends or in the evening. Banks don't want to cash traveler's checks. You have to set up an account, deposit them and wait for them to clear. You can go to American Express and write a check on your personal account in the US. They will give you pesos right away, but at a poor exchange rate.