This would not be the first time I have been trapped by my own assumptions, but it is still an eye opener.
It’s boring to write about things already long-explained and in common use. Unless, of course, one’s audience is not familiar with that common use, and then. one realizes, often inadvertently, that one has been writing ‘over the heads’ of the intended audience. Embarrassing. I apologize.
Recently I mentioned something here on PhilFAQS, where I attempt to answer the frequently asked questions about moving to the Philippines, living in the Philippines and retiring in the Philippines that certainly should have been ep0lained better or at least written abut more frequently or clearly.
Balik Bayan Boxes:
- 1 Balik Bayan Boxes:
- 2 Who Can Use Balik Bayan Boxes?
- 3 What Can be Sent in a Balik Bayan?
- 4 How long Does a Balik Bayan Box Shipment Take?
- 5 How Much Does Shipping a Balik Bayan Box Cost?
- 6 What Makes Balik Bayan Boxes Special?
- 7 Related Posts
- 8 Readers who viewed this page, also viewed:
- 9 Share this Article:
From a reader. My bad:
Hi Dave, Sorry to bother but I just don’t know what a "balikbayan box" is? Is it a cheaper way to ship things? How? I would like to send clothes to a family. Again, sorry to bother you with this but I just don’t know, would appreciate you enlightening me on this.
Balikbayan boxes or Balik Bayan boxes are something unique to the Philippine culture. They are a relatively cheap, often quite painless way to ship quantities of goods and household effects from the US (and at least 20 or so other countries) to families and individuals in the Philippines.
The term comes from two common Filipino words: Balik which means to return or turn and go the other way, and Bayan which is the most common way to refer to “the country” or the “home country” or “mother-land”. The most common usage term balik bayan literally means to return to the Philippines.
It will often be used to describe a former resident of the Philippines returning home either permanently or for a temporary stay in ‘the home country’. … “Oh, that new guy you saw on the street yesterday? He’s a balik bayan" from California.
Years back several Philippine shipping and freight handling companies realized that there were thousands (now literally millions of Filipino workers living overseas who had the need to ship food, clothes and almost any sort of ‘nice to have’ personal items back to friends and families in the Philippines.
They could, of course, always go to the post office wherever thy were living and send a package home, but we know that can be expensive, is very weight versus price dependent and often difficult to insure actual home delivery here in the Philippines.
It’s also readily apparent to many that there is a huge trade in shipping large ocean ship[ping containers between the US and the Philippines. Although there actually _IS_ a weight limit on these containers, they typically move for a flat rate, regardless of weight … and they are big, commonly eight feet by eight feet by 20 feet or even 40 feet long… they would hold a _LOT_ of small packages destined for a lot of families, and, as we say here in the Philippines, “they more the manier”, as long as a box can fit in, there’s no additional cost per box shipped.
So the idea was born of offering a service of shipping strong cardboard cartons Often 18” by 18” by 18” or some other multiple of six inches that will readily stack together in an ocean container, collecting the boxes at some central point until there was a container full of them, ‘stuffing’ the in a container full, shipping it via freighter to Manila at one flat rate, and then in Manila, breaking it back down to the individual boxes and delivering them, door to door, to their recipients in the Philippines.
Who Can Use Balik Bayan Boxes?
Basically anyone of any nationality in the US or other countries served by licensed box shippers. Here are just a few of the reliable ones that serve the USA:
Manila Forwarder … I have used them and personally recommend them
UMAC … I have used them and personally recommend them
LBC … According to some, they invented the BB box. An express package and money delivery company that was up and operating long before FedEx was even a college boy’s dream.
What Can be Sent in a Balik Bayan?
Almost anything that fits in a box (and many companies now accommodate out-size boxes as well as the standard square or oblong shape), except perishable items and a relatively small number of items prohibited for International shipping or prohibited by the government of the Philippines. (se your shipper for a list of prohibited items).
How long Does a Balik Bayan Box Shipment Take?
Generally the rule of thumb is allow two months between the time box gets picked up at your door in the US and is delivered in the Philippines.
How Much Does Shipping a Balik Bayan Box Cost?
There are a lot of promos. special sales and such going on from different vendors at different times, but another rule of thumb is to figure about $120 per box … less to Metro Manila addresses more to more remote areas of the Philippines.
What Makes Balik Bayan Boxes Special?
In addition to the cost benefits of being able to ship so much at a reasonable rate, virtually no weight restrictions and so forth, there’s an appeal to the Balik Bayan box that crosses virtually all economic classes in the Philippines, and even nationalities here in the Philippines … I’m eagerly awaiting my next box, due in any day now … Amoy ni America … when you open a Balik Bayan box you always hold you face close and breath in deeply as the box opens. Amoy ni America … the smell of America. It will surprise you the first time you experience it, believe me.
Sounds silly to some, but means a lot to me and my family.
One caution … it’s less than 90 days to Pasko (Christmas). Holiday boxes should already be shipped, or else RSN (Real Son Now). Ship early and ship often