Although the Internet is fairly open in the Philippines, the number of VPN users in the country is growing with the day. And it’s not necessarily related to various restrictions imposed by local laws — a VPN lets users access services that could otherwise be outside of their reach. We’re talking about US Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max and so on.
In addition, a good VPN also protects users when they’re connecting to a public Wi-Fi hotspot when their data may be intercepted by a savvy hacker. Not if a VPN is running in the background, which will encrypt every bit of data traveling between the user’s device(s) and the rest of the Internet.
Arguably the most important thing a VPN does is that it keeps the user’s identity under the radar, letting him/her anonymously browse the web, download and upload files with BitTorrent, and so on. And here are the best VPNs for the Philippines:
- 5,000+ servers in the network
- Easy to use - install it and forget it
- One license is good for up to 6 devices
- Strict zero-logs policy
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Chrome extension is just a proxy
- You can't pay with PayPal
Its network includes more than 5,000 servers spread across 60 countries, which directly translates into faster speeds. NordVPN is also very secure, relying on the strong 256-bit encryption combined with secure VPN protocols (OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2/IPSec). But as a user, you get a seamless experience with all this technology "doing its thing" in the background.
NordVPN is well suited to pretty much every task you throw at it — whether it's accessing a banned site from some country that filters out the internet, torrenting, accessing streaming services, or just wanting to keep a low profile on the web. It also doesn't keep any logs.
We highly recommend NordVPN to anyone looking for reliable service.
- Feature-rich yet easy to use
- One of the best VPNs around
- Strong no-logging policy
- Reliable support you can reach 24/7
- Limited number of servers in Africa and the Middle East
- Kinda pricey
ExpressVPN has great desktop apps for Windows and Mac, mobile apps and browser extensions. Also, it is well suited for video streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and others.
However, what makes it stand out is its ease of use. We can't emphasize this enough. One could tell a lot of time has been spent making sure even the advanced features are easily accessible. And we love it for that. Plus, let's not forget ExpressVPN's speed which tends to leave other services in the dust.
- It's super fast!
- Works with Netflix, BBC and others
- Easy to use apps, browser extensions
- You can try it for free!
- Some advanced features are not configurable
- Not the best for high-censorship countries
Furthermore, thanks to the availability of browser extensions - Hotspot Shield is also one of our top choices for Chrome and Firefox VPNs.
Your privacy is equally well protected, with the software only collecting some anonymized that help continually improve its service.
There is one caveat though - it won't work in high-censorship countries like China. If you don't need that in the first place, we highly recommend Hotspot Shield.
As that's typically the case with most VPN services out there, the longer you commit - the better deal you get. However, what makes Hotspot Shield even better is the fact that it offers a 7-day free trial of its service. A few other top VPN providers do the same. Plus, its money-back guarantee lasts for 45 days, making for a risk-free purchase. Cause, you can always get your money back. Sweet and just the way we like it.
- Reliable download and upload speeds
- Works with Netflix and BBC iPlayer
- Strict zero-logs policy
- Lets you use it on unlimited number of devices
- Low number of servers in Africa and Australia
You can rely on it for streaming and torrenting, with included extra features like CleanWeb and MultiHop, delivering a that much better — and more secure — experience.
Surfshark, the company, is based in the British Virgin Islands and with its zero-logs policy makes for a powerful combo to anyone looking to keep its web whereabouts under the radar.
The service is easy to use and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- One the best VPNs for torrenting
- Works well with Netflix
- Simple setup on all popular devices
- Strict zero-logs policy
- Doesn't work with BBC iPlayer
- Doesn't work in China
Its desktop apps are not among the prettiest ones, but they get the job done. The important thing is that installation is easy and straightforward, and that no logs are kept by the company.
When it comes to pricing, IPVanish is somewhere in the middle — it's not the most affordable option but also not the most expensive one. As noted, it will be most appreciated by heavy BitTorrent users, and — related — Kodi fans.
Censorship in the Philippines
With the advent of the Internet in the Philippines, there was debate regarding the necessity to block pornography in response to reports of Filipinos being prostituted through online means. The issue reached the Senate at the time with Senators Blas Ople and Orlando Mercado calling for a hearing on the matter in 1995, and Senator Gregorio Honasan filing a bill as a bid to address the matter.
In 2012, the Cybercrime Prevention Act was passed drawing concerns by human rights activists especially its provisions on cyber-libel. The law was challenged and the Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that the original author of libelous content is only liable against the law saying that the act of posting libelous content is not a crime. The court also iterated that access to websites can’t be restricted by the Department of Justice without a prior court order and that the government could not monitor individuals in “real time” without the same.
The Church had its ISP in the Philippines
This is rather interesting… In 2000, the local Catholic Church through the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) launched cbcpNet, its ISP, which filters out content depicting pornography, homosexuality, violence and devil worship, for its subscribers. This venture failed due to CBCP’s partners fledging the Philippines which led to debt and legal issues. CBCP World was introduced in 2002 as the CBCP’s second attempt to set up its own ISP which also offered filtered online access (like its predecessor).
Internet is mostly open in the Philippines
Freedom House’s Freedom on the Net 2013 report ranked the Philippines 10th out of 60 countries. It did not receive reports that officials are pressuring bloggers or online journalists to delete content deemed critical to the authorities. However, it said that “many news websites are online versions of traditional media which self-censor due to the level of violence against journalists in the Philippines”.
It added that “the government does not require the registration of user information prior to logging online or subscribing to internet and mobile phone services, especially since prepaid services are widely available, even in small neighborhood stores.” The same report also stated that the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 negatively affected the state of internet freedom of the country. It has also noted that the internet penetration of the country remains low which it attributes to PLDT’s “de facto monopoly” and lack of infrastructure and bureaucratic government regulation. The study says that the monopoly resulted in high broadband subscription fees.
Locals want their Internet to be free…
A study released in March 2014 by the United States-based Pew Research Center states that most Filipinos find access to the Internet without censorship is important or somewhat important. Thirty-five percent of the respondents said they found internet access without censorship as “very important”, 38% as “somewhat important”, 18% “not too important”, 6% “not important” and the rest said they don’t know or refused to answer.
And so many Philippinos turn to VPNs to bypass various restrictions as well as to access content that could otherwise be outside of their reach. And that’s just one piece of the puzzle with a VPN letting users do many other things, including:
- Accessing content that could otherwise be restricted in your physical location.
- Preventing tracking and minimizing your digital footprint so that no one can track you online (at least not that easily).
- Avoiding throttling from your ISP – which is known to happen when you’re torrenting or accessing video streaming services.
- Bypassing firewalls in a workplace, university, school and so on.
- Bypassing censorship in places like China, North Korea, countries in the Middle East, and even Turkey and Russia.
- Securely connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots – with a VPN encrypting all the traffic coming to and from your devices.
The bottom line is – get a VPN that fits all your needs. The top contenders include the following: