The Philippines is no friend to Internet freedom, which is why you need a VPN if you live in or plan to travel to that country. This comprehensive guide will teach you about Philippine surveillance and censorship of the Internet, plus how to fight back with VPN encryption and IP spoofing.
In the Philippines today there are major concerns about freedom of speech, due to the 2016 election of Rodrigo Duterte as President. He has openly said that opposing journalists should be assassinated, and has encouraged other extrajudicial killings. The comes on the heels of a 2012 cybercrime law which was suspended and then reintroduced, which made it a criminal offence to commit libel online. With warnings from police that anyone who spread libelous information or even just joking political memes online could face charges, many people are reluctant to speak their mind on social media or on blogs.
There have also been incidents where materials that were unflattering to the government have been removed from the internet, such as a YouTube video which showed the killing of police officers in Mamasapano. The National Bureau of Investigation resolved to go after not only the person who posted the video, but also anyone who liked it on social media – a move that has since been ruled unconstitutional.
All of this has lead to an environment in which people do not feel free to voice their opinions online or to search for certain materials that may be unflattering to the government. For this reason, citizens in the Philippines may choose to use a VPN to keep themselves safe and to browse and post on the internet anonymously. Below we’ll discuss how a VPN can keep you anonymous online, then share our recommendations for the best VPN for the Philippines.
Browse Philippine Internet anonymously with a vpn
If you want to use the internet without worrying about the government looking over your shoulder, then a VPN can help. Normally, whenever you connect to the internet, your device is assigned a unique IP address which is traceable to you personally. This means that anything that you look at or write online can be tracked, by the government or by your ISP.
When you use a VPN, you install a piece of software onto your device which encrypts all of the data that you send over the internet. This encrypted data is sent to a server, which is owned by your VPN provider and is located somewhere else in the world. At this server, your data is decrypted and you are assigned a new IP address which corresponds to the server rather than to your device. Then, the decrypted data is sent on to its original destination.
This means that when you use a VPN, your experience of browsing the internet is the same. However, your real IP address is hidden so that your online activities cannot be traced to you personally. The encryption of your data also means that no one is able to peek in and see what sites you have been visiting, what files you have been downloading, or what messages you have sent. Even your ISP won’t know what your online activities are. This makes it difficult or impossible for the government to track your online activities, so you can use the internet freely.
The top VPNs for the Philippines
From this, you can see why a VPN is so useful in a country with freedom of speech issues like the Philippines. However, if you want to get a VPN to keep yourself safe, when you come to choose one you’ll find that there are hundreds of providers out there. How do you know which VPN is right for your needs? We recommend that you consider the following factors:
- A high level of security. In order to protect yourself and ensure that the government cannot crack the encryption that you use, you want a VPN that has a high level of security such as the use of strong 256-bit encryption.
- A no logging policy. Another security concern is due to logging. If your VPN company keeps its own records of your internet activities, then they can be forced by law to hand over these records to the government. To avoid this, use only a VPN provider with a policy of keeping no logs of users’ activities.
- Fast connection speeds. Your VPN shouldn’t slow you down and make your internet tedious to use. VPNs with fast connections are much better in terms of usability.
- A large network of servers. For the best flexibility, you want a VPN that has multiple servers available in many different countries, so that you can easily find one that meets your needs.
- Good software compatibility. When you purchase a VPN subscription, you can use this one subscription to protect all of your devices at once, as long as they are supported. Look for a VPN provider which offers software for a wide variety of devices.
When we took all of these different factors into mind, we came up with the following list of VPN recommendations for users in the Philippines:
For a no compromises VPN that offers it all: top notch security, lightning fast connections, and softare that’s easy to use, you need ExpressVPN. This service has key security features like 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy, and it has extra options that can give you even more security like a kill switch which you can enable to stop data being passed over an unsecured connection, and DNS leak protection to ensure that your data remains fully anonymous.
The connections of ExpressVPN are, as the name would suggest, super fast and are perfect for everything from browsing the internet to watching high definition videos. The massive server network consists of over 3,000 servers in 160 locations in 94 different countries so you can easily get around any regional restrictions and browse the internet as you want to. The software can be installed on devices running Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Android, or for an even more convenient option you can use the browser extensions which are available for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
- Unblocking Netflix USA, iPlayer, Amazon Prime
- 3,000+ super fast servers
- No DNS/IP leaks found
- Strict no-logging policy
- 24/7 Live Chat.
- Month-to-month plan has high cost.
If you are concerned about government observation and you want an extra level of security, then you will be interested in NordVPN. Here you’ll find the security features you expect, like strong 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy. But the special features are what makes this provider stand out, like the availability of double encryption. Double encryption is a feature in which your data is sent to two separate servers and is encrypted at both locations, to create two layers of encryption which are practically impossible to crack.
The network of servers available is absolutely massive, covering more than 5,400 servers in some 59 countries, and it includes specialist servers such as those for P2P downloads, onion over VPN, anti DDoS, or dedicated IP. The software can be installed on devices which use the Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Chrome OS, Android, or Windows Phone software.
Read our full NordVPN review.
- Highly affordable plans
- Most VPN servers with different IP addresses
- Allows up to 6 devices to be connected at once
- No logs and encrypted connections for total privacy
- 24/7 Chat Support.
- They can take 30 days to process refunds.
Users who don’t have a lot of experience with VPNs and want software which is incredibly easy to use should try CyberGhost. This service does have the good security we look for, with 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy. But what makes it stand out is the graphical user interface of the software, which makes it ever so simple to select the right options for your needs. You just open up the software and choose from options like browse anonymously, torrent anonymously, or unblock websites. Users in the Philippines will most likely want the browse anonymously option, which will disguise your IP address and anonymise your browsing data.
The range of servers available is truly impressive, with more than 5,700 servers in 90 countries, and the software is available for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac OS.
Read our full CyberGhost review.
- Unblocks US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube
- Affordable plans
- Apps for ALL devices
- No logs policy
- 45-days money back guarantee.
- Can’t unblock some other streaming sites.
If you want super fast connections optimized for streaming, we recommend IPVanish. With some of the fastest connections we’ve seen on any VPN, IPVanish is ideal for those who like to download large files or those who browse a lot and value speed. This speed doesn’t mean a compromise on security though, as the service also offers strong 256-bit encryption and a no logging service. In the software you’ll find further security features like a kill switch, DNS leak protection, periodic IP address change for the best anonymity, and DNS configuration to let you adjust the VPN to your needs.
The server network available is large, with more than 1,300 servers available in 60+ different countries. And you can install the software on devices running Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Android.
Read our full IPVanish review.
If you want to shore up your cyber security generally as well as getting a reliable and trustworthy VPN, then we recommend PureVPN. The VPN has the key security features you need, like 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy. It also has fast connection speeds and a reasonably sized server network of more than 2,000 servers in an incredible 140+ different countries.
But the strength of PureVPN lies in all the extras that you also get access to. This includes security features like anti virus and anti malware protection, plus an anti spam filter for your email inbox. There are options for app filtering so you can choose which apps pass their data through the VPN, plus DDoS protection, a kill switch, the option for a dedicated IP, and a NAT firewall. If you want a simple security bundle with a VPN plus lots of other security software, this offers everything you need in one package. The software is available for Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Android TV devices, plus browser extensions for the Chrome and Firefox browsers.
Read our full PureVPN review.
Sometimes when you’re travelling or using wifi on a restricted network, you’ll find that some VPNs don’t work on a particular network. This is common in countries like the Philippines which have very strict internet censorship. In these places, networks use VPN detection to stop people from using VPNs. However, VyprVPN lets you get around these restrictions with a special feature called the Chameleon protocol which encrypts your metadata so that you can use it even on networks with VPN blocking. This makes it one of the most flexible VPNs that you can use on all sorts of network.
Other security features of this service include the use of 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy. The server network is not as large as some others, at 700 servers in 70 different countries, but this is still plenty of servers to let you find one which works for you. The software is available for platforms including Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android.
Read our full VyprVPN review.
Other reasons to use a VPN
In addition to the ability to browse anonymously, there are other advantages to using a VPN. You can use a VPN to connect to a server located elsewhere in the world, and then your internet traffic will appear to come from that country. This means that you can get around region locks and use websites with regional restrictions like the UK’s BBC iPlayer or Canadian CBC news channels. You can browse the internet as if you were located in another country.
You’ll also be protecting yourself from hackers, for example when you connect to a public wifi network. The way that wifi works is that you connect to the same network as all of the other users – and this makes it possible for other users to intercept your traffic and read your messages or to steal your identity. When you use a VPN, the encryption means that no one can access your data, even if you are on the same network as them.
Using a VPN lets you browse the internet freely, keeps your communications private, improves your cyber security, and means that the government won’t be able to track your online activities.
With increasing concerns about freedom of speech in the Philippines, especially online and regarding social media use, many users are looking for a way that they can use the internet safely and anonymously. Using a VPN will hide your IP address and encrypt your data to not only protect your identity but also to improve your cyber security. We’ve recommended a selection of VPNs that will keep users in the Philippines safe and ensure that they can use the internet without restrictions.
If you’re based in the Philippines, do you use a VPN? And have you tried out any of the VPNs that we recommended? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.
If you need a VPN for a short while when traveling for example, you can get our top ranked VPN free of charge. ExpressVPN includes a 30-day money-back guarantee. You will need to pay for the subscription, that’s a fact, but it allows full access for 30 days and then you cancel for a full refund. Their no-questions-asked cancellation policy lives up to its name.