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Christian von der Ropp

Although http://www.cablemap.info/ shows seven submarine cables landing on the Philippines only two are intercontinental ones:
The old and slow SEA-ME-WE 3 cable running to Europe with 24 landing points inbetween which each claim some of the relatively moderate 1 TBit/s-bandwidth and the AAG with 2.88TBit/s heading to the US.
All other cables have a rather regional scope. Further there seems to be little overall capacity from Asia westbound to Europe.
That said I believe most of Filipino internet traffic is routed through Japan or Guam to the US and further given the lack of capacity from Asia to Europe on the westbound route even traffic to Europe is likely to also travel through the US.
When I traceroute www.smart.com.ph and www.globe.com.ph (Filipino MNOs) at least my German ISP routes through the States. Tracing www.digitel.ph didn't give a clear result as IP-packets are forwarded transparently (on IP level) on a long distance but given the fact latency after the last hop in Europe (in Munich) increases by 330ms when pinging the next hop in Hong Kong indicates a routing via the USA, too.
Actually the submarine cable topology of the world has been very USA-centric and only recently projects for new transoceanic routes emerge (e.g. from Africa to Latin America like WASACE South or SAex) and with several cable systems surrounding Africa plans are to establish new westbound routes from Asia to Europe on these cables.
So your traffic back to Germany has probably taken a quite long route with many potential bottlenecks. Anyway your observations regarding the discrepancy in data rates between different services is strange. Perhaps your VPN packets require more CPU power during interception and deep packet inspection by Echelon when passing the USA ;-)

Stefan

Could this simply be a result of (transparent) web caches or CDNs like Akamai? With VPN connections, you won't get the contents served by local servers ...

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