People always ask “how can I place a free call to Philippines? I need to call my family but it’s so expensive.” These days everyone has a cell phone, even in the Philippines people are addicted to texting to the point where they often prioritize “load” (prepaid cellphone units) over food. The difference is that in the West, everyone has a smart phone, but this isn’t always the case in the Philippines where the average Filipino might not be able to afford that type of technology. With that being said, I will provide two different solutions to making that free call to Philippines (and vice versa); one for those with smartphones at each end of the call, and the other the old fashion way.
Scenario 1: You and your family both have smart phones.
Before I start explaining how to make a real free call to Philippines with a real phone number, it’s important that I mention a few other none-phone number options. If you were not already aware, in the Philippines both cell phone providers Globe and Smart offer both free Facebook, and Facebook Messenger. Even if you run out of “load,” your sim-card will still allow the use of Facebook services. Although the version of Facebook you will be allowed to use will have images disabled, Facebook Messenger however will be fully functional minus the voice and video functionality. What this means is that you will always have a 100% free text & picture communication method with your family! On the contrary, if your family happens to have “load,” you can optionally avail the use of the voice and video chat features of Messenger. If you enjoy chatting this way, but the quality is lacking, then you can always try Viber. Do to various load top-up promotions available to Filipinos, Viber is sometimes free for both Globe and Smart users, but what if you want to make a real call?
What you will need:
What they will need:
With this above set up, you will now be able to call your family’s google voice number from your home country for absolutely not cost to you, and they will able to return the favor when they call out via the Hangouts Dialer. Disclaimer: Of course your family will need to have either cell phone data load, or WiFi for this to work; but with all the new free WiFi services all over the Philippines, this is no longer an issue! Salamat Duterte 🙂
Why is this better then using Facebook or Viber?
Scenario 2: Your family doesn’t have a smart phone.
Even if one of your family members does indeed have a smart phone, eventually you will find yourself needing to call a member of your family with a traditional touch-tone phone. What are your options Sure you can buy those expensive online phone card re-directly scams that charge you for minutes before your party even picks up (no thanks), or you can pay a premium though your phone provider to place an international call. We’re not going to play that game, we’re done with that, we want a free call to Philippines so lets get onto it!
What you will need:
What they will need:
Scenario 3: Everyone’s broke.
I understand that this will not work for some people. Especially if your Philippine family has not already budgeted for internet service. If a smart phone is not in your budget, and/or they live in the province where there is no free WiFi, and purchasing your family internet service and a Magic Jack isn’t feasible, then Google Voice can still help you call your family, and here’s how:
In the likely event that you are not already paying for a home VOIP service such as Vonage (which has great per minute call rates to the Philippines), Google Voice just so happens to have the best rates for the occasional caller! This is true because next to great per minute rates, there’s no device to buy, or monthly services fee’s required, so this makes the overall cost of Google Voice International for the occasional caller very low.
How does it work?
To add load credits to your Google Voice account, simply click the dotted menu, then above “Settings,” click “Credit.” After you top up your account then you can immediately begin to dial out. To dial out you can either use the Hangouts Dialer app, voice.google.com, hangouts.google.com, or gmail.com to call the Philippines. If you want to use your physical phone to dial out, you simply need to install the Google Voice app. After you setup the app on your phone, whenever you dial a number, the program will prompt you to select if you want to dial out with Google Voice, or with your phones native dialer. Selecting Google Voice will enable the phone call to use your Google Voice International load credits. If you wish to dial the Philippines from your landline phone and still use your Google Voice International credits, you can either log into voice.google.com or use the Google Voice Extension for Chrome to dial from whatever phone you’ve linked to your account. After selecting your phone, Google Voice will then ring that phone, you pick up, and the phone will automatically start dialing the Philippines number you entered.
Now that you’ve made your first free call to the Philippines, or close to it, you may have noticed that your family is calling you more frequently. Depending on your situation, this may or may not be a good thing! The only potential problem I see with free unlimited calling to and from the Philippines (other then more frequent requests for money), is related to the difference in time zones. You see, our family is likely call you early in the wee early hours of the morning, waking your entire family up in the process. Else they will end up calling you in the evening just as you’ve started to doze off into dreamland. Heck, they’ll probably call you morning and night just to check up on you 🙂 Lucky for you though, Google Voice can handle both these problems in two effective ways:
Note: these two features only work if you ONLY give out your Google Voice number. Remember, you can set your Google Voice number to ring any number of phones in your arsenal, so there is no need to give anyone your real number. Hope this helps!