Buying Load at a Sari Sari Store – Philippines

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    1. Yep.. but if I’m not online I turn it off.  On the small chance it became an issue, it’s only a few pesos for a new sim card.  🙂

  1. Here in the Philippines, you buy ‘load’ for phone and internet time as you need it.  I take a trip to a nearby sari sari store and show the process.  🙂

    1. Usually they are walking distance, in the neighborhood.  I like using them for stuff like load, eggs, coffee.  Saves me a trip to the market.   🙂

    1. Ha!, yah.. sari sari’s are connected to the home and run by family members so.. some will chat and be all friendly and other times you get the teenage son who would rather be out playing basketball.   Here you could actually find yourself buying booze from minor.  Or meet a cute filipina.  🙂

  2. A couple things I would like to add, Brother Henry, please: BOLO for deals on regular contract, or “post-pay” as it’s called. Deals can often be had on the cheap.

    If you do use pre-pay, buying load in bulk at a wholesale prices will save you money. Many carriers have an unlimited 30 day plans for calling and internet mins for around P1k each or so. One of the problems with pre-pay is that your load can be eaten, meaning it suddenly just disappears. There have been complaints of this on all networks in the PH, FYI.

    Finally, even though Not-So-Smart Bro’s have the largest coverage, I cannot recommend them do to software glitches such as eating your entire load and HORRIBLE customer service.

  3. I made a newbie mistake I thought I’d share. Might help prevent someone from making the same mistake. I bought a 30 day Supersurf999 plan with Globe, unlimited internet use. The day before the the 30 days were up Globe sent me a text “your 30 days are up tomorrow. Better re-sign up if you want to continue.” So I loaded up $1,100 and texted to sign up for another month. They texted back “you are still subscribed to supersurf999. I didn’t pay much attention to the wording. What they were trying to say is you can’t sign up for another 30 days until after your current 30 days are up. So I thought I had an unlimited additional 30 days and they thought they were communicating that I wasn’t signed up for anything. So I got a message a few days later “you are out of money”. It used up my $1,100 on per minute charges. I went to the Globe office, even insisted on talking to a manager, but they basically said “tough” and I was out the money after only 2 days.

    1. You have to wait until you expire first then load up again that’s the trick to it. Wait until you receive the “you are out of money” before loading up again. that’s what I do all the time. And I don’t use my smart phone to surf. I use my laptop for surfing the net. I just use my smart phone to txt people and use Smart instead of Globe. The promo I use is 50 pesos unlimited txt to Smart network users for 7 days so it’s not bad. I renew it when I get get the “unable to send” message which means, I am out of load. Get a wireless router in your place and get internet broadband service. I pay only P899 a month using BayanTel for DSL service. It’s pretty fast too and you can even use your smart phone to connect to it if you want. It’s easy to set up. It’s almost paying the same amount if you just use your phone. Unless you like to surf on your phone while travelling around. That’s the problem although you can usually use the Wifi in certain malls for free like SM Mall of Asia.

      They  have the All In 99 –  7 days Unlimited All Network texts, 100 minutes of calls to Smart, Talk ‘N Text, and Sun, 80MB of surfing data and Unli Facebook for only P99.

      There’s the Unli Call and Text 299 –  Enjoy unlimited calls & texts to Smart/TNT + 150 texts to all networks for only P299 valid for 15 days.

      Unli Call & Text 200 – unlimited calls & texts to Smart/TNT + 500 texts to all networks for only P200 valid for 7 days

      Unli Call & Text 150 – unlimitied calls & texts to Smart/TNT + 100 texts to all networks for only P150 valid for 7 days

      Those are just a few. There are a lot of promos and offers from Smart as well.

      Visit the site to learn more about their promotions.

  4. Its kinda like tracfone here in USA. My Cherry Mobile phone has either 2 or 3 sim slots for different sims, Sun, Globe, Smart or any of the others there. It was just a cheapy from CDR King in Cebu City. Around 400 or 500 pesos. It works fine for me. Hoping to be there this year. I will let know when we will be there maybe we can meet up. I was surprised that you let your cell number be read over internet.Be safe.

    1. No worries, the actual number he read off was for my internet sim.  (I got phone sim load after signing off from the video.)  My net sim is only ‘on’ when I’m home online.  I’ll be switching to dsl hopefully next week anyway.  🙂

  5. Hello Henry,

    How was the load transferred to your computer?  do you have a dongle of it that has a number?  Did the guy in the shop do that, or did you?  You seemed to say as you were walking away from the sari sari store that the transfer to the computer was complete.

    Thanks in advance for your help… I will be moving there very soon (to Cebu and Dumaguete), and this information will be helpful as i would prefer not to have a long term internet contract since,  like you,  I will want to move around a bit.

    1. The way it works is.. I give them my number to my sim-card in my adapter (at home).  They do a code which transfers the peso amount of ‘load’ from their phone to my sim-card, for my use.  That’s about it.  A laptop modem is basically a stripped-down phone with a sim-card that works just like a cell-phone, but is used for internet via usb instead.  You could even pull the sim-card out.. put it in your phone and the load that was credited to it will now be in that phone.

  6. I bought a Dual Sim Samsung while I was there.. so nice to have 2 slots.  I left it with my GF.  I wonder if they work in North America ?… as far as I know, we cannot buy them here (in Canada).  Other cool part is — anyone from anywhere can call or text you FOR FREE – you are only charged for outbound calls and text.  HINT… unlock your phone before you travel or carry/buy a 2nd Phone for use in the Phils.


  8. This is how I do it. I ask in advance if there is a surcharge. If yes, I go to another store. I bring up my # in my phone book and hand the phone to the clerk with the # displayed. That way, no mistakes on the #. I tell them how much I want. When I receive a msg that says the load has been put on my SIM, I then pay. .

    1. I buy from the same local sari-sari.. they know I’m local.  I’ll pay and then walk away.  I’ve never been stiffed on load.  But I can see your point when in town at a vendor who doesn’t know you or you don’t know them.

    1. there’s really no need to be paying women for ‘fun’.  with just a bit of patience you could build a lasting relationship.

  9. 😃awww Henry you are awesome !!!! Really never thought that you’d show views here even the simplest stuffs such as sari sari really great job henry i love your videos a looot and i always watch’em during free times even though i already watched’em i re-watch’em cause of the impressive way u express things to us .. Thx a lot henry we love ya buddy keep it up

  10. I am in UK and I regularly re-load my fiancees cellphone She live Santa Catalina, Negros Oriental, I use an ‘app.’ called Aryty or it can be done online at Register your card card details there.  setup is simple but the load available is 150, 300,500 & 1000 pesos, the  cost to me is $4, $10, $13.50 & $27.00 n I  am not sure how that compares , I do it mainly to  save her having to spend her money which she can use for other things.

    1. @William Faircloth you can either buy a phone here, it is already wired for the local networks.. or you can have your own phone ‘unlocked’ by a vendor in most any big mall here in the PH.  once it is ‘unlocked’, you can use a local sim card without incurring roaming charges.  (those roaming charges can add up to hundreds of dollars over months out of country, so turn off your home-country phone unless you signed up for anlimited roaming/overseas plan.)

    1. +Peanut Butter Sari-sari stores don’t give out receipts. You know the transaction is successful when you receive a notification text, usually reading “Autoload, [amount] has been loaded to [your phone number] from [store’s number].

  11. is it very expensive to visit the Philippines and how would I carry my money should I leave it on my card and use a debit to withdraw cash when I need it

    1. +jesse Quinonez i would carry perhaps $500 or so with me, then exchange it into Pesos when you get to a PH mall (for the best rate, better than the airport.) before you depart your country, set up an account with to send yourself money from anywhere online, then pick it up at any BDO bank branch in the PH. you can also send yourself money each week with western union, but i found their rates higher than . if you will be living in the PH long-term, simply send yourself what you need for the month and budget accordingly.

    1. +jesse Quinonez Chase bank is one of the few intl banks located in manila and possibly cebu. if you have an account with them it’s possibly you could use your credit/debit card there as a ‘local bank’. otherwise there are fees of about $4 to use ATM’s when drawing on an overseas bank. good news is that wells fargo has arrangements with BDO bank, so transferring money between them is fairly easy. but you have to go In Person to your WF branch ahead of time and let them know you want to move money while in the PH to yourself using BDO bank. a much simpler solution is to use to send yourself money from anywhere online, then pick it up at any BDO bank branch in the PH.

    1. wow, more than 3 yrs, amazing.. i can say that you are really enjoying the Philippines..;)
      and I am from Philippines but i have not been yet to mactan and dumaguete.. but i am very much familiar to those placesmand one of the beautiful places in the Phil.

    2. +pinay belle yes, it’s been more than 3 years now and i have been enjoying living everywhere from mactan to dumaguete. 🙂

    1. in the usa, only private schools use uniforms. but here in the ph, even the public schools use uniforms all the way to high school and even many of the colleges.

    1. for better, faster internet it would be best to go with a post-paid account, either DSL or LTE connection. but you could get a monthly plan via load on pre-paid until then. speeds are about 1mbps at best with USB Wifi.

  12. Hello Reekay I’m in NJ want to travel to San Jose Batangas in december, Do I need to go to the PH embassy here before travelling? or how do I do?

    1. no need for that, especially if it’s a short vacation. when you arrive at the airport you are automatically approved for a 30-day Tourist visa stay. if you plan to stay longer than 30 days, only then would it be advisable to visit the PH embassy before leaving so you could secure a longer visa in advance.

    1. there are monthly promos as well. you can choose either text-only, voice-only, internet-only or any combination of the three for 30 days. 🙂

    1. it depends if you get promos, and if you get Voice.. Text… Data or all three. but generally-speaking, 200p with a Text-only plan will last you about 30 days.

  13. What is the internet speed like? I’ve heard that at best, it’s horrible, no matter where you are in the Philippines. And then it’s even worse in some places

  14. Hi henry, i was wondering, how long does a 200 peso load last u?? I understand u do much video uploads, thinking of visiting PH in near future. Please answer if u can, Sincerely, mike

    1. Thanks, Henry, very good advice! I just love your videos, I consider you much help, for anyone interested in the Philippines! You’re a god sent! Sincerely, Mike

  15. Hi Reekay.
    So should I buy a new SIM card for my iPhone 6plus when I arrive at Ninoy International Airport and add “load” onto it ? Will this allow me to communicate with people that I meet in the Philippines.
    I’ve heard that some people get a “Burner phone” upon arrival. What is this ?

  16. I personally would rather have a service provider. U have to have load to calls, someone, in the next room. It also costs a fair bit to call a 1-800 # and can go dead in a long conversation. Just my opinion

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