The Issue of Tipping and Service Charge at Filipino Restaurants

Tipping in Filipino Restaurants

My Beloved Wife Lei asked me if we have to leave a tip for the staff of Uncle Cheffy restaurant in Nuvali Park. I checked the receipt and I answered “NO”.  My reason is that the restaurant already collected a 10% Service Charge. I believe that the service charge is equivalent to tips.

We left the restaurant with a shred of doubt. Am I correct in my assumption? Will the restaurant give the collected service charge to the staff? Who the hell invented this culture of tipping which made me so confused and feel awkward?

Atty. Persida Acosta of the Public Attorneys Office had the answer in her Manila Times column.  According to Atty. Acosta, the collected service charge should be distributed equally to all the restaurant employees. Cooks, waiters, receptionists – all get the same amount.

Atty. Acosta also mentioned that the staff only get 85% of the service charge while the management gets the 15%, which is shared to managerial employees.

This means that the collection of service charge replaces tipping. So, I shouldn’t feel bad if didn’t leave a tip the last time when we dined in Uncle Cheffy.

The Downside of Service Charge

Many diners are not happy with the rules on Service Charge like this one:

Comment on tipping and service charge at Filipino restaurants
(Source: Pepper.Ph)

I agree with her. Service charge is making customers unjustly pay more especially that restaurants already factored in salary of their staff when doing their costing for the dish. It is another case of passing the cost to customers like what NAPOCOR and MERALCO are doing.

Another unjust reason is that we are obliged to pay the service charge even if the service is terrible. We have no option to opt out since the law is forcing us.

Should We Leave a Tip?

Take note that the Philippines has no “tipping culture” despite the fact that we are the most Americanized country in Asia. However, I think that this culture is slowly permeating in our country, especially in the high-income level of our society.

Is it reasonable to leave a tip even if the restaurant collects a service charge? The answer depends on you. There are some diners who leave a tip for exceptionally good service. Others will not leave a tip but compliment the waiter and the staff. Both practice are good and I believe charitable.

When it comes to tipping, let your conscience guide you. Don’t tip if you feel you’re being forced to give tips.


What are your thoughts in giving tips to service staff in Filipino restaurants? Do you still give tips even if there's service charge on your bill?

Do you agree on being forced to pay a service charge on top of your bill?

Tell me my your thoughts by leaving a comment below.


Nothing Special at Uncle Cheffy Nuvali Park

I mentioned in the previous post that we celebrated our Second Wedding Anniversary at Nuvali Park in the city of Sta. Rosa, Laguna. It was a simple event. We just went on a stroll and took Little Ahab to his very first boat ride.

We also had a simple lunch date at Uncle Cheffy.

Uncle Cheffy at Nuvali Park

It was our first time in Uncle Cheffy so we didn’t know what to expect. What we did know was that they have rice and we entered their restaurant because we wanted to have a heavy lunch.

Staff of Uncle Cheffy at Nuvali Park

We ordered the Surf and Turf Platter, which is composed of chicken leg, lamb breast, beef and pork ribs, cream dory, and another fish meat – all of them roasted. The platter is accompanied with a bowl of rice at the price tag of 795 pesos.

Surf & Turf Platter in Uncle Cheffy at Nuvali Park

My Beloved Wife Lei got curious when she saw the Tessie Tomas Salad in the menu. Tessie Tomas is a local comedian who is touted as the “Original Queen of Daytime TV”.

The waiter told us that Tessie Tomas is a friend of the restaurant owner that’s why he lent her name to Uncle Cheffy.

Tessie Tomas Salad in Uncle Cheffy at Nuvali Park

Curiosity got the better of us so we ordered a bowl of Tessie Tomas Salad at the price tag of 250 pesos.

The serving is more than enough for me, Lei, and Little Ahab. In fact, we brought home some leftovers from the platter.

Sauces in Uncle Cheffy at Nuvali Park

Lei enjoyed Tessie’s salad. As for the platter, Lei wanted the sauce used for the roasted beef and pork ribs. As for me, I am OK with what we had from Uncle Cheffy since I’m not a picky eater unless it’s ampalaya or one of those very smelly fish dishes.

We had a good dining experience. The food is good – actually better than some of the casual dining restaurants that we’ve been. Lei’s only negative comment is that she didn’t taste anything special that will convince her to go back to Uncle Cheffy in the future.

Family Time at Nuvali Park in Laguna

My Beloved Wife Lei really wanted to go to Nuvali Park in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. She always tells me to go on this or that weekend but it never pushed through. Well, her wish only came through last week when we decided to celebrate our Second Wedding Anniversary at Nuvali.

Nuvali Park

We chose to go to Nuvali because the place has plenty of good restaurants. We only planned a simple lunch date and then a stroll around the park.

Lakeside of Nuvali Park
Nuvali is another Ayala Land community touted as eco-friendly and innovative. The place is more than a residential complex since it brags of having commercial spaces with plenty of shops and restaurant to choose from.

Restaurants in Nuvali Park

The real crowd drawer for Nuvali Park is the 4-hectare man-made lake. In fact, the lake is another reason why we wanted to go to Nuvali.

Koi fishes at Nuvali Park

The lake is filled with Koi fishes, which do nothing but eat and eat and eat the feed being thrown by park visitors. Nuvali has a shop where people buy the feed for the Kois.  This is an ingenious ploy for the park management since the visitors shoulder the cost of feeding the fishes.

Koi fishes at Nuvali Park

The fiery orange color of the Kois is nice to look at. It is funny to see scores of fishes fighting each other just to get the morsel of feed. Other kids are enjoying the Kois but Little Ahab just looked down at the fishes, uninterested.

Boating at Nuvali Park

Another main attraction in Nuvali Park is the boat ride. Actually, this is the reason why Lei wanted to go to Nuvali.

The boat ride costs 30 pesos per person and they require at least 6 passengers per boat. Little Ahab is not counted since he is still a baby so there’s only me and Lei. We had to wait for four more passengers before we could ride the boat.


We enjoyed the boat ride...well...actually me and Lei only. Little Ahab was scared when the boat started moving. He couldn’t let of go the seat because of his fear. I guess that the first boat ride was not that enjoyable for our little one.

Little Ahab’s reaction to the boat ride reminds me of his reaction when he experienced the sea when we visited Canyon Cove Resort in Nasugbu.

Now I know that our little boy reacts to new experience with fear. This is not abnormal since even adults fear the unknown. I believe that we have to make that we'll be with Little Ahab whenever he's experiencing new things so as to support him and make him feel unafraid.

There’s nothing much to do in Nuvali Park after our boat ride so we took our final family selfie and went home.


How to Go to Nuvali Park in Santa Rosa, Laguna

Nuvali Park

Nuvali Park is located along the Sta. Rosa – Tagaytay Road. Refer to the map below for directions.

Commuters can reach Nuvali Park by riding any jeepney going to Tagaytay. The jeeps are available at Balibago, Sta. Rosa or at the Sta. Rosa Exit of SLEX. You may also ride a tricycle, which are also available at Balibago or at the SLEX exit.