Cell Phones In The Philippines

Cell Phones are part of the Philippines modern culture.  It is difficult to function here without them.  Texting is very common here.  Its not just a social tool for teens, it seems to be the primary means of communicating here.  I think it is more common than email or instant messaging that American adults are most likely to use.  Most Filipino do not have computers in their home but most do have a cell phone.

This morning I woke to the good news that I won P950,000!  Wow I’ve won more than  $19,000.  Now I could really use that!  I received a message informing me of, and I Quote:

D’Auditors of PGMA nform u dat ur Cp.# Won P950,000.00 2nd Price Winner drawn Lst Nov. 24-08/DTI-NCR Permit#21366/For more info,Call now! -Atty.Raul M,Ramerez.

That’s exactly how it came in.  Punctuation and spacing have not been altered.  It came from phone number  639098169103 give them a call and see if they will give you $19,000 too.  Cell Phone spam is pretty common here.  The first step is they send out a message trying to get you to reply.  I’m told if you ever fall for one of these, they will text you until you change your phone number.

Woman Talking On Cell Phone

Text Messaging In The Philippines

Changing your cell phone number is not difficult though, P50 or about a dollar for a new sim card and that includes a few text messages with it.  However, I have an easy number to remember so I hope I don’t have to change it.

Many people have a lot of problem affording the cost of the text messages.  I’ve had many Filipina that I don’t even know give me their number and ask me to send them “credits”.  In order to send text messages in the Philippines, you buy credits.  It cost P1.00  to 2.50 in most cases to send a message.

Text Credits Expire

I have a real problem with the credits expiring.  I don’t use a lot of credits and am usually finding my credits will expire before I use them all.  I usually buy P300 and try to make them last two months.  At the end of two months, they expire.   There was some talk of legislative action to bring an end to that practice.  One legislator even recommended making text messaging free.

I don’t think that is going to happen, I doubt he did either and suspect it may have been an attempt to encourage cell phone providers to stop this practice and to lower the cost.  I don’t know that though, perhaps he did mean it.  I’m all for free text messaging!  I don’t expect to see it however.

Cheap Cell Phones

You can pick up cell phones pretty cheap here but the cheapest ones are imitations or reconstructs as they are called here.  They tend to work just as well as the real thing but probably don’t last as long.  You can obtain an IPOD here for $25.00.  Of course, that’s not an Apple made IPOD but they seem to function just as well.  Or you can buy the real thing.  I’ve seen my phone, a Samsung Blackjack selling for $700 here.  Hopefully its the real thing!  It is on a site that is geared toward selling to foreigners but delivered some where in the Philippines.

If your on  you way here, make sure your cell phone works with the services offered here in the Philippines.  Most modern cell phones will but not all.  When you get here, get a SIM card.  Long term contracts with post paid plans like most in the US have, are not common here.  Those plans are not common in most parts of the world.  When you leave the Philippines, just put your old SIM card back in and your good to go.

Using your USA based post pay plan will cost you a serious amount of money.  I downloaded one web page and that cost me $10.00.  I figuired that out as soon as I did it so that was the last time I tried that.  LOL  You should make sure you have international coverage, call your provider to check that out.  Have it in case you need it for an emergency but don’t use it.  Get a Philippine SIM card for your stay here on the Islands.

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Filed under: Expats in the PhilippinesLiving In The Philippines

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