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My experience ordering from Newegg Global Philippines

I decided to purchase a monitor — the LG 27UD58P-B 27″ IPS 4K UHD monitor — from Newegg.com. It’s US list price at the time of purchase was $279.99. The PH price was PHP 15,053.99 for an effective 53.76:1 exchange rate. This exchange rate isn’t too bad and it appears that Newegg still forces the converted price to end with .99, at least for items they sell directly (non-Marketplace items).

After adding the item to the cart, the estimated VAT was PHP 1806.48. This is exactly 12% of the unit price. The shipping cost was PHP 2586.50 for World EggSaver Express (2-3 Business Days). The next lower shipping level, World EggSaver Standard (3-5 Business Days), was priced about PHP 50 lower.

During checkout, the quoted tax changed to PHP 2,298.34 (~15.3%)  and is now labeled as Est. Duty & VAT. I still haven’t figured out what formula Newegg uses to calculate duty and VAT. I tried checking out other monitors and the effective tax ranged from 23% to 35%. All-in, my total order cost was PHP 19938.83 or about $375.

I found the shipping cost to be quite reasonable. The monitor shipping weight is about 22 lbs. If I had used ShippingCart, the shipping cost alone would have been at least $154. Even though I wouldn’t have had to pay the VAT with ShippingCart, I think my over-all cost was still lower ordering from Newegg directly.

I placed the order on 10/29 and it shipped the same day. It was originally scheduled to be delivered on 11/05. It arrived in Manila on 11/01 but did not get cleared by customs until 11/06.

I read some people complain about FedEx charging some clearance and warehouse storage fees upon delivery. Fortunately I did not have to pay any additional fees to FedEx or to the Bureau of Customs. All in all, I think I would directly order from Newegg again if I find the total price, with duty, VAT and shipping to be competitive with using services like ShippingCart.

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and DirecTV Now from the Philippines with Smart DNS Proxy

Having recently moved from the US back to the Philippines, I still have a few active online video streaming accounts. I have a Netflix subscription paid up for the next six months or so, an Amazon Prime account, and a grandfathered, discounted “Go Big” DirecTV Now account. Although Netflix is already available locally in the Philippines, there’s a big difference in content selection due to regional licensing contracts. In some cases, it’s better like in the case of Better Call Saul whose episodes are made available weekly after their US airing. In most cases, the US content still trumps the local selection. For Amazon Prime Video, it seems I can only access the Amazon original content. I have not yet seen what would have been available at PrimeVideo.com. As for DirecTV Now, it is absolutely blocked outside the US.

At first I thought that I would need a VPN to access these services. That was before I found out about Smart DNS Proxy which allowed access to all three video services. There’s a two week trial available with no credit card required. To set it up, you need to change your DNS server to one of their DNS servers. Using a tool like QuickSetDNS makes it easy to switch the DNS server on Windows PCs. I’ve also set up Smart DNS Proxy on my Fire TV Stick and it worked flawlessly. After the two week trial, I’ve decided to subscribe for 1 year.