When I first moved to the Philippines, back in 2000, there were not a lot of options if you needed to make a phone call overseas. Basically, you paid the very high per minute rates of the telephone company – PLDT in most Philippine locations. At that time, I believe the rate was 60 US Cents per minute. Later it came down to 40 Cents, but was still expensive! Today, for $25 per month, I am able to call anywhere in North America, and many other locations for an unlimited amount of time! I can do this with VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol).
When using VOIP there are number of options. With nearly any chat client you can use your PC to talk to others on a PC almost anywhere in the world, and this is generally free. You can use other software applications such as Skype and others to use you PC to call to phones (not other PC’s) around the world, but there is a small charge for that.
My choice is that I use Vonage to make such calls. Vonage is a company that sells telephone services using VOIP. You can get a telephone number at nearly any exchange you choose in the United States (some other countries are included too, but I am speaking from experience about the USA for the purposes of this post). For example, I have a phone number in Vancouver, Washington through Vonage. My family in the States (Mom and Brother) live in the Vancouver, Washington area, so they can dial me at a local number, and when they dial, the phone rings here in the Philippines! Quite amazing, huh? And, on top of that, the quality of the call is as good as a regular landline! I can also call anywhere in the USA, Canada, Mexico and parts of Europe for an unlimited time by simply paying a monthly charge of $25. Other countries can be called for a very low price. For example, my wife has a close friend that she went to school with who is living in Japan. My wife calls here weekly and the cost is just 6 cents per minute. Now, that’s not bad!
Another nice thing about using Vonage is that it does not require a computer, the calls go straight through to a regular telephone! Of course the voice is turned to digital data and transmitted through my DSL modem, but you just use a normal phone, not your computer to talk. It works out nice for my family, because, for example, my kids can just pick up a telephone, hit speed dial and talk to their grandmother in the States without any assistance from me!
Anyway, if you decide to live in the Philippines, or any other country, if you can get a DSL internet connection (or any kind of broadband connection), I highly recommend Vonage for communicating to the USA or any other part of the world.