How To Pack And Send A Balikbayan Box To The Philippines
As always I am looking around the house or at my surroundings what might be my next topic I can write about for Hub Pages. Then I remember that I still have a lot of things to do regarding my holidays in the Philippines with my husband this year. There are lots of things scattered in our living room due to my preparation in sending a lot of goodies to my home country and it should arrive at our destination a few weeks after we arrive. Things that we need for our vacation and some things for our family like perfumes, body creams, protection for the sun, German canned goods, baking equipments and many others. Then I saw the big box besides the things that I am going to send. It is the Balikbayan Box. Voila!!!! I have my topic now.
Balikbayan derives from two words balik (means return) and bayan (means town or country). Balikbayan box is a huge Filipino package made of corrugated cardboard and is used for shipping or for air freight for a Filipino who returns home to the Philippines from working a few years abroad. Almost all Filipinos who are living abroad are using these balikbayan boxes when they return home for a holiday like me. As I don´t like to carry much luggage when I travel home, so I benefit from these logistic company.
This Balikbayan Box was founded in the early of 1980´s, during late President Marcos time to help the Filipino overseas workers to save money in sending goods to their relatives in the Philippines. It is a custom in my home country to bring gifts to relatives and friends when going back home. This gifts called "Pasalubong" can be anything you like to give. It could be perfumes, watches, electrical appliances and many other things from abroad. By sending this Balikbayan box home, you can save a lot of money because it is tax free and there is no weight limit.
Where Can You Get Balikbayan Boxes?
You can get Balikbayan boxes from the Filipino-German shipping company here in if you are in Germany or else in any country from where you are sending. Balikbayan boxes are send from everywhere in the world where Filipinos are living or working. If you don´t know any, just ask a Filipino for surely she or he knows where you can get it. Some are even collecting fully packed Balikbayan boxes for the shipping company and get a discount payment. The more Balikbayan boxes you send the more discount you get .The prices range from €65 to Manila and €95 to Mindanao. Just ask the Balikbayan Box Door-to-Door services about the prices because some services are higher than the other and it depends on how many boxes you are going to send and where to in the Philippines. The Filipino Service size of the empty Balikbayan
box is 72x43x56 cm and it costs €5 with free delivery at home.
3 Balikbayan Door to Door Services here in Germany:
- CONPHIL SERVICE
- FILIPINO SERVICE
These are the three door to door services that I know of. I have always used the CONPHIL Service for many years and I am very contented. I will try the Filipino Service this time and I hope my boxes will arrive. I heard that they are collecting the full boxes at least twice a week and they are shipping at least 2 containers every month so I don´t have to wait for weeks until it is collected from where I live. Through friends I have learned that they are good. My boxes will be picked up from my place (the sender) and delivered to my family (the receiver), hence the door to door service. The average delivery varies from 6-8 weeks, it depends on what part of the country in the Philippines. To Mindanao where my boxes should arrive, it will be at least 2 months until it will be delivered to my door.
Note: Please read the updates and the comments as they might be helpful for sending your balikbayan boxes. (updated July 20, 2013)
Packing The Balikbayan Box
Packing a Balikbayan box costs a lot of time and effort as you have to go shopping for what you want to send. Most of the Filipinos go shopping the whole year when there´s a sale for the contents of their boxes. They are collecting the goods to be send the whole year round, so it is not much expensive when the time comes for sending.
Paper and Biro are ready on the table next to me for writing temporarily the goods I am sending before I write the contents on the sending form permanently. Scissor, tapes and ziplock or plastic bags are there as well.
When I pack my corrugated Balikbayan box, I first cover the bottom with a packaging tape with the use of the very durable one. Then I put plastic bags which I always have from shopping, on the bottom inside the box before I start putting the contents. I put the heavy things first which are usually electrical appliances for the kitchen like a baking machine. I use the original box of the baking machine and put some baking ingredients inside like flour, baking powder or anything that makes the space useful. Then I cover it and seal it with a packaging tape before placing it inside the Balikbayan box.
When I send shampoos, body lotions or other liquid goods, I seal them with a tape then put them in a plastic bag and seal them again in case the liquid is out of the bottle. When I send chocolates, I pack them in an alu foil and put them inside a freezing or ziplock bags and seal them. I just hope that it is not melting when the box arrives at the destination area. Sometimes I send a flower vase of glass. I put some goodies inside like Haribo candies for the children and then pack the vase with towels and put it inside a box and seal it tape.
Remember to put the heavy things first then the lighter ones. When there are still voids to fill in the Balikbayan box, I fill them with old clothes or towels. Before closing the box and sealing it with tapes, I cover the above content with plastic shopping bags which I always have from different supermarkets, just to protect the contents from any stuff that might get into my box. Then my final taping all over the above part of the box. After packing the box, I write my name as a sender and the name of my father as the receiver with respective addresses.
Do not over stuff your box for it is very heavy to carry for the worker. Remember also that you are not allowed to put firearms, munition, explosives and other materials which are not allowed by our Philippine and European law.
Sending The Balikbayan Box
Now is the time to send my box. I call my Door to Door Balikbayan Box Service and tell them that I am ready for the collection. I give the collector my Balikbayan Box Form which I have filled out. It is stated in this form the contents of the items and the prices of what I have send. In case of damage or lost, the box is insured for up to $400.
You Tube Video on How To Tape Boxes
My Balikbayan boxes which were sent from Ireland last year in Sept. 2010 was opened somewhere in Belfast, Ireland or in Manila. They were collected from a door to door Balikbayan Service ( a Filipino company who is situated in Belfast) from our home in Ireland before we moved back to Germany. They arrived last year before Christmas but it was only when my husband and I came home in the Philippines last month Sept. 2011 that there were things missing like my electric frying pan, electric raclette, the insides of our sound boxes and some corned beef. The things missing are not stolen here in my home. I am sure about that. They were stolen somewhere. It is too late for us to complain.
Be sure to check your balikbayan boxes when they arrived to your distination place. Let them check by your relatives in case you are not there when the boxes arrive.
I have received my Balikbayan boxes (the photos are in this article) from Filipino Service Germany 2 weeks ago. Exactly 2 months after they collected them from my house in Germany. They are in good condition and the FS sealed are still intact when they arrived in the Philippines. So they were not open somewhere. I know it because I was the one who received them when they were delivered at home.
Thank you Filipino Service, Germany
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Update: December 16, 2012
Be sure to ask when the next shipping of Balikbayan Boxes to the Philippines from your Balikbayan boxes service company you are sending.
Before I went to the Philippines last end of July 2012, my 2 balikbayan boxes were collected on the first week of July. It was supposed to arrived 2 months after the Filipino Service collected them from my house in Germany, but the boxes arrived 5 months later in the Philippines. That was on the 8th of Dec., 2012. They send balikbayan boxes twice a month, they said.
After my almost 3 months of waiting in my home country, my hubby phoned the company and asked about the said boxes. The company informed my hubby that they were still in the container in Hamburg to be sent to the Philippines. Just imagine that!
After long months of waiting, phoning and e-mailing, they arrived. Thank God they were not damaged or worse, stolen. This should not happened. I don´t think I´ll be sending again balikbayan boxes to the Philippines. Well, I might change my opinion. For now, I just have enough of stomachache due to this matter.
© 2011 Thelma Alberts