How To's

Which mobile telco to go for?

If you’re visiting the Philippines for the first time (tourist or retiree) or coming back to the Philippines after a very long time away (OFW or Balikbayan), one of the first things you’ll want to know is which telco to go for.

There are just 2 main players at the moment:

  • PLDT/Smart.¬†Also includes Sun Cellular & Talk n’ Text mobile brands. PLDT provides internet & landline services.
  • Globe (which includes Touchmobile). Globe also provides internet & landline services.

These telcos don’t play nice with each other so You will be able to save more if the people you contact the most are on the same network.

We’re partial to Smart because of their coverage & speed. Smart is the fastest mobile network according to this¬†article.

Grab a free SIM card.

If you are a tourist, OFW, or Balikbayan, free SIMs are available at the airport the moment you exit Immigration. The SIM is free but you will need to buy at least Php500 worth of load credits. If you buy a SIM outside, it will cost you P45.

Take note these are prepaid SIMs. I haven’t gone through the postpaid mobile plans yet but have heard enough horror stories of overbilling on postpaid plans to avoid them completely.

Get a combo

You’ll save money by subscribing to a combo instead of paying as you go. Each telco has a truckload of combos that going through them all is dizzying. Just go through each telco’s website & see what they have to offer.

Right now, I’m using Smart prepaid and subscribing to the Giga+ combo that gives you 2GB of data, unlimited texts to all networks, unlimited calls to Smart/Sun/Tnt, and 1GB of video every day for 7 days. This is the best value for us so far especially the 1GB of Youtube to stream Baby BM’s favorite kids videos in the event of a meltdown when out & about.

So that’s it, the basics of Philippine mobile networks to get you started. Comment below if you have anything more to add!

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Where we are, how we got here

As I write this, we are now in Bacolod City, the Philippines. It’s 32 degrees with humidity at 50% and it is as hot as hell! It’s just the start of summer here so it is gonna get worse in the next few months.

We’ve been in Bacolod for almost two months. We’ve managed to find a 3-bedroom rental house that has (almost) everything we want. We’ve bought a decent second hand car. And last and certainly not least, we’ve found a housekeeper to lighten the load while we run after our unstoppable little tornado who’s turning 2 this month.

Before making the big move, we were city slickers in the land Down Under with full time office jobs. Two things happened that set all of this into motion:

Getting introduced to MMM. An office friend told me one day to read Mr. Money Moustache’s blog. That’s how we found out about FIRE (Financial Independence/Early Retirement) and how it was possible to live a life beyond the 9-5 grind. Prior to this we were already following people like Tim Ferris (of the 4-hour workweek fame) and reading financial books, but I have to say that it was MMM that gave us the direction & focus we needed to make this move.

We had a baby. Who ever wants to leave & go back to work after seeing your baby’s precious little face for the very first time? Neither did we. So that solidified our resolve to reach FIRE as early as possible so we could spend every waking moment with Baby BM and watch him grow up.

We got our lucky break just shortly before the baby was born. Mr. BM found a remote work job and I was still on maternity leave. After much discussion & brainstorming, we figured that we could reach our FI number (the amount needed in savings & investments in order to “retire”) if we moved back to my hometown where the cost of living very low.

And so — after several months of planning & packing & discarding — here we are in the City of Smiles, ready to start our lives as the only Mustachians (that we know of) in Bacolod.