For domestic long-distance calls or calls to mobile numbers, dial 0 followed by the city code (or mobile prefix) and then the seven-digit number.
Useful dialling codes from land lines include:
Philippines country code 63
International dialling code 00
PLDT directory 101171
International operator 108
Domestic operator 109
The Philippine Long-Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) operates the Philippines’ fixed-line network. International calls can be made from any PLDT office for US$0.40 per minute. Local calls cost almost nothing, and long-distance domestic calls are also very reasonable.
Mobile (cell) phones are ubiquitous, and half the country spends much of its time furiously texting the other half. Local SIM cards are widely available and can be loaded up cheaply with data and phone credit. Roaming is possible but expensive.
- Prepaid SIM cards cost as little as P40 and come pre-loaded with about the same amount of text credits.
- The two companies with the best national coverage are Globe (www.globe.com.ph) and Smart (www.smart.com.ph).
- Text messages on all mobile networks cost P1 to P2 per message; local calls cost P7.50 per minute (less if calling within a mobile network).
- International text messages cost P15, and international calls cost US$0.40 per minute.
- To dial a landline or mobile number from a mobile phone dial 0 or +63 followed by the three-digit prefix and the seven-digit number.
- Mobile prefixes always begin with a 9 (eg 917, 906).
- Roaming with your home phone is another, though likely very expensive, option.
PLDT cards such as ‘Budget’ (for international calls), ‘Pwede’ and ‘Touch’ cards can be used to make calls from any PLDT landline or from card-operated PLDT phones located in hotel foyers, commercial centres and shopping malls. Calls to the US using the Budget card cost only P3 per minute; other international destinations cost slightly more. Pwede and Touch cards allow dirt-cheap domestic calls from any PLDT landline or payphone.