In the Philippines, chat websites and apps are the most common methods of communication. We all know the usual ways of chatting with someone online. In addition to dating chat sites, Facebook, Skype, Whatsapp, Line, Viber, and several others have been around for years. But those won’t do you much good if your lady doesn’t have regular Internet access. Fortunately, there are many ways in which your favorite Filipina can chat with you.
If your lady has a laptop, she’ll obviously need Internet access to chat with your from the Philippines. If she doesn’t already have Internet access at home, it’s probably not a good option because it’s expensive and in some cases there is an up-to two years contract. A better option would be to get a pay-as-you go mobile broadband device. Both Smart and Globe offer devices with affordable plans. This is a good options if you’re still communicating through dating chat sites, but if you’re talking much it’s time to upgrade to a better system.
The Philippines is fortunate to have a number of low-cost local cell phone brands. If a Filipina was able to make initial contact with you, she most likely has some type of cell phone. In the Philippines, there are smartphones, Java phones, and basic cell phones. Smartphones are obviously best, but any phone can be used to connect with them. That’s great, but can they text you abroad? Yes, they can! You can get a SIM from Smart with roaming activated and people in the Philippines can text you at no cost to you. It will cost them the same as if they are chatting with someone in the Philippines, and if they have an unlimited texting plan it won’t cost anything extra.
So you can receive SMS messages, but how do you text them back? There are several services online that allow you to chat by SMS with someone in the Philippines free or cheaply. One service I used a lot is Loadmena.com. This is an online service where can buy cheap SMS credits, currently 100 for $2.75, and text anyone in the Philippines on any network. They can reply to you within 24 hours. If you keep the loadmena.com page open, you can read their message there, or if you close it you’ll get the reply by email. It’s very slow, but it works. With this method, you don’t need a roaming SIM. The downside is that the site is not mobile friendly and there’s no app, making it practically useless unless you’re sitting in front of a computer.
Chikka.com is another service allowing you to chat by text with Filipinos. There is an app for most smartphones as well as the website. The problem is that they don’t allow free replies, and they limit you to 30 texts per day. On the upside, the service gets better the longer you use it. You get bonus texts when someone replies to you. This will cost them 2.5p, much higher than a standard text. And the longer you use it, the more daily texts you get. I’m not sure if this is based on the number of texts you send, or the number of replies you get, probably the later. This is a good service to combine with the roaming SIM service. You just have to explain to your Filipina chat partner that she needs to read your message, then text you back on your roaming number. She can occasionally reply to you to boost your credits.
There are a handful other services that allow you to text to the Philippines for free, but none of these allow you to reply. They come and go, so I’ll not list any here. Just Google it. You can use them in the same way as Chikka (minus the app), but keep in mind that they are not very reliable. I only ever used them when I ran out of Chikka credits.
The SMS chat methods listed above will work with any cell phone, even the cheapest. A much, much faster way that your Filipina friend can chat with you is by using Skype, Facebook Messenger, or any of the dozens of other chat apps. These require an Internet connection, but in the Philippines that’s not as expensive as it may seem. Both Smart and Globe have regular promos (local slang for promotional offers), for phone services. Your lady can use the load (credit balance) on her phone to avail (buy) a promo. You’ll have to take a look at Globe’s and Smart’s websites to see the current promos, but you can usually get unlimited texting which often includes a small amount of free data, and sometimes free access to a chat app, usually Facebook. You can also get a data-only package. The amount of data is limited, but it’s enough for chat using an app. If you’re paying for her to chat with you, just be sure she’s turned off or blocked every other app that accesses the Internet, or her data will quickly evaporate with all the weather, news, and app updates suck it up. If she’s only chatting with you online, not browsing and not using the full Facebook app, she should easily have enough data to talk to you until the promo period ends.
It’s even possible to video or voice chat using Skype or FB Messenger. This takes up a lot of data, but it’s worth it to see your beloved, or to make sure the Filipina you just met is really a girl. Most smartphones have a camera, and Skype seems to work with most, though it’s hit and miss with FB. Most phones can be tethered to a laptop to share the internet connection. A 3G connection is enough for voice chat, and you can sort of see each other on video chat. Internet speed varies depending on the local reception and how busy the service is. The speeds seem to be better at night, especially late. Manila has especially lousy mobile broadband speeds. Smaller cities don’t have very good coverage, and some areas may only have 2G coverage.
While the cost of chatting or texting in the Philippines is low, it can be expensive for a Filipina with a limited budget, especially if you’ll be chatting regularly. Most Filipinos avail a very short-term, low cost promo whenever they need to get in touch with friends or family. If you think you’ve found your perfect Filipina chat partner and it’s time to get to know her better, you can send her small amounts of load to help pay for your conversations. I cover how to send cellphone load to the Philippines in another post.