Cell phones in the Philippines – guest author Allen Moretsky

A cell phone is incredibly important in the life of a Filipina and if you are a foreigner visiting here it will be your only means of communication when you are not physically with your friend.

You will have to check to see if your foreign cell phone will work here if you have one. I have been very disappointed in that my US cell phone and my Philippine cell phone did not work in the other county. No problem, the cell phones are pretty cheap in the Philippines. You don’t have to get the latest with the camera and internet access. I picked up a new Motorola here for 1700 Pesos. The equivalent Nokia is twice the price. Be careful with the salesmen.

When I first arrived in Manila I bought a “refurbished” Nokia. Pretty cheap. The phone was built for a different country and whenever I took the phone to the provinces I would get no reception. So be careful. One of the things that pisses me off here is there is very little by way of customer service. Once you own the thing, that’s it. Hard to get your money back or talk to the people.

Keep in mind that the way Filipinos use the cell phone is different then overseas. Filipinos almost always text one another. They rarely call. The calls are very expensive and the texts suffice. The texts if you are on the same carrier as your recipient is about 1 peso.

Don’t answer those advertisements. One time I did just that and unbeknown to me, I was transferring all my available load to another cell phone number. If you get a text from someone you don’t know, just delete. Also, don’t give your phone number out. Filipinos will give your phone number to their friends and soon you will be getting texts from people you don’t know. It is not so bad except that you can get confused. That happened to me and I ended up going to see a girl and it turned out to be someone other than the person I had in mind. Limit who you give your number to.

Beware of the “loads” that you get. It took me years to understand. I use Smart so let me address that. Smart sells loads at local stores. You can buy a 5p, 10P, 20P, etc… The problem I encountered with these loads is that they expire and you lose your unused portions after one or 2 days. Now I only buy the 300 Peso card. This card does not expire for 2 months after putting it on your cell phone. So that is 5 pesos per day for 2 months of usage if you are careful.

You will get requests from people to “pass a load”. That is they will ask you to transfer 5 pesos to them. I limit this to necessity. If you keep doing this you will get lots of such requests even from people you don’t know.

One of the most difficult questions to answer is whether to buy your lady, if you have one here, a cell phone. Keep in mind that a cell phone is more than a means of communication. It is also a status symbol. I bought my wife a cell phone only after we were married and I was going back to my country. I had a specific reason to buy her a phone. I wanted to be able to call her. I figured when I was courting with her and living

with her, she had no need because my cell phone was her cell phone. No need for a second phone.

By the way, there is a big danger in sharing a cell phone. I had other “friends” who would text other females I knew or who text me. Once you share your cell phone, there is no privacy and if you have a jealous lady… Good luck.

Once you have a cell phone you have to make a decision on which carrier to go with. Be careful. In the provinces you may find that the carrier you chose has no antenna in the area and you get no signal. This is not a big deal since you have an “open line” phone, right? The phone I have now is locked on Smart. That’s one of the reasons it was so cheap. That is not a big problem as to have it unlocked is only 100P. Beware!

Author :- Allen Moretsky