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5 Best VPNs for the Philippines

The Philippines has traditionally enjoyed a great deal of freedom when it comes to the internet, but the passing of the CyberCrime Prevention Act in September last year (2012) has sent ripples of alarm though human rights activists and internet freedom organisations (such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation who called the passing of the Act ‘a dark day for the Philippines’) alike.

The most controversial aspect of this Act, dubbed ‘Cyber Martial Law’ by its detractors, relates to Section 19, a libel provision which criminalizes anonymous online criticism, giving those who post defamatory comments much harsher sentences than if they had committed libel using more traditional forms of media.

As with legislation such as the infamous SOPA, this seemingly innocuous clause permits widespread and arbitrary curtailment of citizen’s online freedoms, as it allows the country’s Department of Justice to shut down websites judged to be criminally libellous, and to monitor online activities such as email, Facebook posts, instant messaging and video chats without the need for a warrant.

Civil rights groups have been outraged at the legislation, and have launched both protests and legal challenges. The hactivist group Anonymous claimed the Act meant the ‘effectively ends the Freedom of Expression in the Philippines… the bill basically says it can imprison anyone who commits libel either by written messages, comments, blogs, or posts in sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or any other comment-spaces of other social media in the Internet’, and were blamed for defacing a number of websites in retaliation to the law in October.

In addition to controversy over the Cybercrime law, government heavy-handedness over issues relating to content deemed harmful to minors (i.e. adult content), and comments perceived as ‘provoking communal feeling (i.e. stirring up trouble), or defaming the county’s ‘law and order’ in any way, have led to sharp rise in interest in using VPN to maintain anonymity.

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The most common locations for VPN providers to locate servers in South East Asia are Hong Kong and Singapore. Singapore itself has fairly strict internet regulations and some censorship issues, but these are unlikely to be relevant to international VPN users, who will be pleased to note that Singapore’s data retention laws are minimal. Hong Kong however, is not only closer to most areas of the Philippines (and you are thus less likely to suffer from lag), but it has minimal censorship, little accountability to DMCA takedown notices, and no mandatory data retention laws, making it great location to access VPN servers from Philippines! For more information see our article on Data retention and VPN logging in Hong Kong. Some companies also have servers in Taiwan, which is also close to the Philippines, and at present has minimal censorship, and no data retention laws, making it also a good choice (for now).


Summary

Rank Provider StartingPrice Grade Link

1

vyprvpn_logo $6.67/mo

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2

ExpressVPN_Logo $8.32/mo

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3

logo $6.67/mo

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4

logo $10/mo

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5

$5.95/mo

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Winner

VyprVPN

4,95/5

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  • PROS
  • Fast
  • 160-bit and 256-bit OpenVPN encryption (Pro only)
  • Android app
  • iOS app
  • 7 day money back guarantee
  • Up to 3 simultaneous connections
  • No usage logs
  • CONS
  • Not much
  • Price on high end

Run by global internet consortium Golden Frog, VyprVPN is a great choice for users in Philippines, especially as it runs its own data centers, which is not something any other VPN boasts, and therefore has excellent speeds. It keeps no usage logs (although it does keep some connection logs), and allows P2P downloading. Encryption is rock-solid at 160-bit to 256-bit OpenVPN, and the fact that you can connect up to 2 devices at once (or 3 for the premier package) is really good. Note that these comments only refer to the slightly pricey (our only real criticism) Pro plan, and that the PPTP only basic version should be avoided.

Try Out the Best VPN for Philippines Today!

» Visit VyprVPN

3 day free trial

2nd place

ExpressVPN

4,85/5

ExpressVPN_Logo

  • PROS
  • Servers in Hong Kong and Singapore
  • Good VPN client
  • 30 day money back guarantee
  • No logs
  • CONS
  • Reservations about no logs policy
  • P2P: no

This US based company impresses us with blazingly fast speedtest.net results, a ‘no logs’ policy, an Android app, an iOS auto-config file, and a 30 day money back guarantee. The no logs policy isn’t quite as ‘no logs whatsoever’ as we would like, but it is good to see. With servers located in Hong Kong and Singapore, ExpressVPN is well positioned to serve the VPN needs of Philippines residents.

 

 

» Visit ExpressVPN


3rd place

AirVPN

4,7/5

logo

  • PROS
  • No logs
  • Accepts Bitcoins
  • 256 bit AES encryption
  • Dynamic port forwarding
  • Uses shared Ips
  • Real time user and server statistics
  • Support for for Tor
  • Over VPN and VPN through SSL and SSH tunnels
  • Good speeds
  • 3 day free trial
  • P2P: yes
  • Based in Italy where DRD does not apply to VPNs
  • CONS
  • 0 simultaneous connection by default (but more can be purchased)
  • Mainly North America and Europe servers (plus some in Singapore)

Established in 2010 in Italy by hacktavists, AirVPN now maintains 40 servers in 10 countries- mainly in Europe, but also in the US and Singapore. This is a company we are fairly certain hasn’t been compromised by the NSA. AirVPN offers a host of features uncommon elsewhere. These include transparency of service, acceptance of Bitcoin payments, VPN over Tor and VPN through SHH and SSL tunnels. Their dedication to maintaining user anonymity is impressive and admirable. Additionally, this is supported by technological muscle which provides a simple but effective core service. And while support can’t compete with the 24/7 live chat of the larger VPNs, it is more than adequate.

AirVPN supports network transparency with detailed server information and allows P2P downloading. Although only one simultaneous connection is allowed by default, more can be added for less than $2 per month.

» Visit AirVPN


4th place

IPVanish

4,65/5

  • PROS
  • Servers located in Hong Kong, Singapur and Malaysia
  • Good VPN client
  • Great network speeds
  • CONS
  • Claims to keep no logs undermined by its actions
  • P2P: no

IPVanish is a US based company with an easy to use VPN client and good speedtest.net results. It also claims to keep no logs and to use shared IPs so individuals cannot be identified with any online behaviour, but the fact that we received a disconnection threat from it in relation to alleged copyright violations casts serious doubt over these claims. IPVanish has a large international presence, including servers in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).

» Visit IPVanish


5th place

SwitchVPN

4,6/5

  • PROS
  • Servers in Hong Kong
  • Singapore and Malaysia
  • May keep no logs
  • CONS
  • May keep logs
  • Most plans only include access to servers in 1 country

An Indian company, SwitchVPN has the distinction of offering insanely (and almost certainly unnecessarily) strong 2048-bit OpenVPN and SSTP encryption when connected to its servers in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. It does also claim to have a ‘no logs’ policy, but the wording of this in the ToS is so contradictory and confusing that we put little faith in it. One irritating feature of SwitchVPN’s service is that unless you pay for the most expensive package, you must pay for a new plan if you want to change servers.

» Visit SwitchVPN


Conclusion

As in so many places around the world, the internet in the Philippines is no longer as free as it once was. Because the censorship laws in The Philippines are aimed specifically at libel, you should be careful to remember that while the above VPN providers will protect your anonymity by hiding your IP, when remarks are posted on Facebook and Twitter etc. it is usually fairly easy to identify the individual responsible (unless using a false identity, in which case can VPN will help).


And here’s the summary once more:

Summary

Rank Provider StartingPrice Grade Link

1

vyprvpn_logo $6.67/mo

Read Review >
Visit Site >

2

ExpressVPN_Logo $8.32/mo

Read Review >
Visit Site >

3

logo $6.67/mo

Read Review >
Visit Site >

4

logo $10/mo

Read Review >
Visit Site >

5

$5.95/mo

Read Review >
Visit Site >

Pete runs Best VPN and wants to get detailed information to the readers. He is dedicated to being the best and providing the highest quality at anything he does. You can also find him on Twitter or Google+

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