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International Data Traveller International Data Traveller...
03 March 2016 - Its time to go to the Philippines again. Visions of sitting on the beach lazily drafting this report, sipping a cold beer and watching all the pretty young things pass by. Richard Quest - Eat Your Heart Out.

That's the vision - The Real Life is not even close.

Everytime I go to the Philippines I start with the same dream. I take my Laptop and phone, along with wife, 40 Kgs of luggage, plastic and cash and head off to the airport. And its downhill from there.


She who must been obeyed wants to arrive at the airport early, so we get here 4 hours before take-off. We wait 30 Minutes for the Check In staff to Arrive, Check in, and head off through security. A little easier this time, the procedures have been refined. Browse through Duty Free and find that almost everything is cheaper on the High Street, and thats with the VAT taken off. Same old Rip Off.

Free Wifi at the airport, thats an improvement over the last trip, things could be looking up.

We eventually board the plane and settle into our seats. Twenty Three hours later we land in Manila. An uneventful journey and the wife is still alive.

The heat hits like a pillow. When we left the UK it was 5c and now its 32c. Even with the aircon at the airport I am soon covered with a sheen of sweat. The phone updates and Globe Telecom tell me calls or texts will cost me 1.00 UKP to send or receive. Yes thats right, I am roaming and therefore have to pay for incoming calls and texts.

We spend a leisurely hour waiting for baggage re-claim, while the aircon struggles with the heat. Queue up for immigration another 20 minutes. Then onward to convert some currency. The rate has improved from 55 peso to the pound to 65. Not even close to those heady days 10 years ago when you could get 105 peso for a pound.

We are met outside of Arrivals by a family friend and 4 immediate family members (2 Adults and 2 Children). That puts 5 adults and 2 children into a Toyota Avensis. The aircon noise is very welcome and the noise of everyone talking at once against the background of the Manila Traffic reminds me that we are once again back in Manila.

Next stop a fast food outlet as everyone, except me, is hungry. The iced tea is welcome though. Free Wifi and Google Now tells me that its 34c In Gen Trias and that our journey should only take 1.5 hours (less than 20 miles).

We get to our house and pile out of the car, to be attacked by the heat again. Google now tells me its 36c in Gen Trias and I must agree. Its damned hot.

Its urgent now to unpack the luggage before the chocolate melts. Kilos of the stuff is packed into the fridge (the "ref" in the local version of English). Then comes the IT stage of our first afternoon in the house. Over 5 years ago I managed to get a Landline into the house and got a broadband connection (2Mb\s)The wifi was courtesy of a Netgear DG834G Router handed down from my days as a Vodafone Broadband Beta Tester.

The original load was 1 laptop, hard wired and 3 cell phones used by the resident family members. This 8 year old plus piece of kit, that we all take for granted, was still working, but struggling under the increased load, (8 phones, 7 tablets 1 laptop and a desktop) all trying to connect to Faceache or email or Youtube or instagram or something.

Network dropouts where alarmingly frequent, something needs to be done. The onward march of technology should be able to help. Globe in the morning and we will find a solution.

Sat 05 March - about 10:00.

Time to go and sort out the IT. 4 Adults including the driver pile onto and into a Yamaha 125 Tricycle for the 1st stage of the trip to SM Das Marinas. 5 Minutes later we squeeze into a Jeepney for the 20 min drive to the Shopping Mall. Horrendus traffic, No Aircon, Exhaust Fumes coming in from every opening. Welcome to the Philippines.

We leave the Jeepney at the Shopping Mall Terminus and I get a security rubdown from the staff on the door, then the aircon hits. Its gone from a humid 34c to a cool 18c in 20 seconds. SM Welcomes you. Before we can get to the IT section on the third floor we have to stop for drinks and snacks on the way, One of the 30 plus fast food outlets on the 3 floors. All the brand names are here plus some that no-one has ever heard of. 10 years ago we would do 10 for breakfast and have change from 10.00 UKP. Now its only 3 and the bill is still 10.00 UKP.

There are at least 4 Large mobile service providers in the Philippines, but Smart and Globe rule the roost in our area, and only Globe can give us coverage when we go out to the provinces (Abra). So Globe is the provider of neccesity. The standard tariff for a local sim was 1 peso per text or per min call. 10 years ago 1 penny per minute or per text. Uk prices at the time where .25p per minute and .10p per text. Now the tarrif of choice is 50 peso for 3 days unlimeted calls and texts and 80 Mb per day data (About 80p).Cross provider calls are still charged at about 4 times the local rate. Sims cost about .60p so sim swaps work when travelling and you need to use your phone with another provider to get coverage.

My problen is a little more complex. I need connections at the moment and a Pocket Wifi system seems to fit the bill. Up to 9 similtainous users and a 800 Mb a day data cap should cover it. All for a mere 30.00 UKP per month. Well I'm only here for the Month so that shoud be ok. Its got the added advantage of when we travel we can take our Internet with us.

Doing anything in the Philippines seems to take at least 5 times longer than in the UK. Dealing with Globe is no different. Take a number and wait. 1 hour later we are good to go, All paid up and on line. A quick wander around the 30 Tech stores and its easy to see that the Philippines is not the cheap tech corner of Asia that it used to be. Prices for simple 7 inch tablets are around 45.00 UKP, and a LG G5 is around 495.00 UKP. Can't see any bargin buys here this time.




Date Submitted

15/03/2016

Last Updated

15/03/2016

Depreciation Date

20/10/2017

This information could\should be disregarded after the depreciation date