A Balikbayan box is a package sent from abroad to the Philippines, usually by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) for their families and loved ones back home. It contains everyday items, treats, and gifts. These boxes come in various sizes and can include both necessities and luxury items. Delivery times range from 45 to 90 days, depending on the recipient’s province.How to Pack and Send Balikbayan Box to Philippines
Filipinos are generous and often pack everything they can fit in the box to share with family and friends. Sending a balikbayan box is a meaningful way to express love and care to those back home.
During the holiday season, OFWs and migrant workers rush to fill balikbayan boxes so that their families receive them in time for Christmas. However, there are specific rules regarding who can send them, how to pack them, and what can and cannot be placed inside.
Read on for more information on balikbayan boxes, including new shipping laws, recommended cargo shipping companies, and instructions on how to send them to the Philippines.
What is a Balikbayan Box?
A balikbayan box is a package sent by Filipinos living or working abroad to their families or relatives in the Philippines. It contains personal belongings, ‘pasalubongs’ (gifts), and various items. These boxes are delivered to the Philippines by air or sea.
Balikbayan boxes serve as a connection between overseas Filipinos and their loved ones in the Philippines. Typical contents include money, household items, toiletries, toys, clothing, and requested gifts. Filipinos living overseas are allowed to send one balikbayan box every six months. However, there are restrictions and guidelines to follow to avoid customs delays.
The practice of sending balikbayan boxes originated in the 1980s when a large number of Filipino workers migrated to the United States. Initially, two Filipino-owned freight forwarders, Ren International and Port Jersey Shipping International, facilitated the delivery of these boxes.
Who can send balikbayan boxes?
All individuals, including partnerships, sole proprietorships, and corporations, can send a balikbayan box to the Philippines. However, only Qualified Filipinos While Abroad (QFWA) are eligible for tax and duty-free benefits. QFWA includes resident Filipinos, non-resident Filipinos, overseas Filipino workers, as well as dual-citizen Filipinos residing abroad and those on student or temporary worker visas.
Documents needed to send a Balikbayan Box
To ensure compliance when sending balikbayan boxes to the Philippines, OFWs and migrant workers should follow these requirements:
- Fill out the Balikbayan BOC Information Sheet.
- Include a receipt or invoice for valuable goods.
- Provide a Philippine Passport (original or photocopy of the data page).
- For dual citizens without a Philippine passport, present proof of dual citizenship and provide a copy of a foreign passport containing personal information, photo, and signature.
Submit these documents to the consolidator overseas, who will handle sending them to the Bureau of Customs through the deconsolidation/freight forwarder in the Philippines.
Your cargo shipping company may have a Balikbayan Information Sheet provided by the Bureau of Customs (BOC). To comply with the requirements, you should download three (3) copies of the Balikbayan BOC Information Sheet from this link: [insert link]. Attach the first copy to your package, give the second copy to the shipping company, and keep the third copy for yourself.
Reasons Why Filipinos Love Balikbayan Box
Balikbayan boxes have a practical purpose and symbolize the efforts of Filipino migrants to support their families and friends in the Philippines. They reflect the kind and generous nature of Filipinos and strengthen the connection between overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their loved ones.
Balikbayan Box Price
The price of balikbayan boxes may vary depending on the country and store. You can conveniently buy balikbayan boxes online from platforms like Amazon for a quick and easy transaction.
Balikbayan Box Size Measurement
Balikbayan Boxes have different shapes and sizes. These are:
|Minibox||1 cubic foot||12 x 12 x 12 inches|
|Medium||3 cubic feet||18 x 18 x 16 inches|
|Large||4.5 cubic feet.||18 x 18 x 24 inches|
|Extra Large||6 cubic feet||24 x 18 x 24 inches|
|Compact||2.38 cubic feet||35 x 55 x 35 cm|
|Premium||4.5 cubic feet||37 x 55 x 63 cm|
|Cube||7 cubic feet||55 x 60 x 60 cm|
|Super Value||8.9 cubic feet||55 x 73 x 63 cm|
How to Pack and Send a Balikbayan Box?
- Gather and organize the items you want to send.
- List all items on the Balikbayan Box information sheet.
- Choose a reliable and affordable shipping company. Ask for packing tips if needed.
- Select a suitable box size and ensure it doesn’t exceed the allowed value.
- Strengthen the bottom of the box with padding or tape.
- Pack your items, using plastic bags for liquids and bubble wrap for fragile items. Adjust the weight distribution if necessary.
- Place the list of contents inside the box before closing it.
- Tape the box securely and include your and the recipient’s contact information on the label.
- Coordinate with the shipping company for pick-up and estimate if weight-based pricing.
- Track your shipment using the provided tracking service.
Once the balikbayan box arrives, contact your loved ones and consider a video call to share the joyful moment of opening the boxes.
List of Cargo Companies Providing Balikbayan Box Service
You should send your balikbayan box to the DTI – accredited cargo shipping company. The DTI-accredited cargo shipping companies are listed below:
- 12:24 Cargo Express Corporation
- Afreight Phils Incorporated
- Al Mohr Customs Brokers Incorporated
- Associated Freight Consolidators Incorporated
- Atlas Brokers & Express Padala Incorporated
- BICM Genesis Freight International Incorporated
- Brand Expert Freight Forwarder Corporation
- Cargoflex Haulers Corporation
- Chenvel Svcs Incorporated
- Coriner Global Express Logistics and Trading Corporation
- CT Movers and Forwarding Services Corporation
- Ernst International Logistics Corporation
- E-pad Freight Forwarder
- Fil Asia Cargo Express Services Corporation
- Fil Cargo Express
- Focus International Brokerage Corporation
- Forex Cargo
- Genesis Logistics Global Svcs Incorporated
- Globelink International Pty Limited
- I-Genex Cargo Forwarder Incorporated
- I-Merex Group of Companies Incorporated
- Jeezan Int’l Cargo and Courier Services
- Jexsan Logistics Philippines Incorporated
- Jiamin Cargo Express Incorporated
- Jolly-B Box Express Line Incorporated
- JRC Logistics Phils Int’l Incorporated
- KC Express Door Delivery Services Incorporated
- Kingspoint Express & Logistics
- LBC Express Incorporated
- LCSN Express Movers Incorporated
- Makati Express Cargo Incorporated
- MMD Logistics Incorporated
- Ocean Star Freight Express
- Pehanshin Shipping Philippines Incorporated
- Phil-Global Cargo Movers Incorporated
- Pooten Forwarding
- Rensworld Freight Logistics Corporation
- Roxas Cargo Express
- Royal Cargo Incorporated
- RV Door-to-Door Delivery Services
- Skyfreight Forwarders Incorporated
- Skyland Global Logistics Incorporated
- Speedstream Transport
- Total Line Logistics Incorporated
- Transtech Global Phils Incorporated
- Trico International Forwarding Phils Incorporated
- Umac Express Cargo
- Unifreight Cargo System Incorporated
- Willxpress Incorporated
- XYZ Global Express Corporation
Check the following link to find the nearest DTI – accredited cargo shipping company:
Common Items Packed inside a Balikbayan Box
The following are the items that OFWs most commonly included in a balikbayan box:
- Board games
- Cards with notes
- Canned goods
- Small gadget
- Stuffed toys
- Vitamins and supplements
Prohibited Items in a Balikbayan Box
According to the Bureau of Customs (BOC), to qualify for tax-free status, you must be a Qualified Filipino and the total value of items sent in your balikbayan box throughout the year must be less than Php 150,000. Excess value is subject to excise tax, VAT, and duty.
Only items in quantities lower than what is commercially available are allowed for shipment. The items in the balikbayan box cannot be sold and must be intended for personal use by your family.
Be aware that certain items may be restricted or prohibited by the BOC. They have the authority to seize any packages containing these items. The following items are forbidden:
- Alcoholic drinks
- Obscene or immoral items
- Perishable food items and fluids
- Bulk used clothes of commercial quantity (ukay-ukay in bales)
- Ceramic tableware
- Cultural artifacts and pottery
- Drug paraphernalia (unless medically prescribed)
- Items promoting or administering unlawful abortion
- Items or products containing dog or cat fur
- Items with military, proliferation applications, or defense articles
- Infringing goods as defined by the Intellectual Property Code
- Lottery and sweepstakes tickets (unless lists of drawings and advertisements)
- Manufactured goods made of gold, silver, or other precious metals without indicated fineness
- Plants, seeds, and soil
- Pornographic materials or items
- Raw meat, cheese, fruits, and vegetables (unless canned)
- Whole or parts of any automobile/motorcycle
- Whole or parts of any firearms or explosives
To avoid any issues, please refrain from sending these items. Although there have been instances where these items were sent, it is not recommended as they may be confiscated.
Balikbayan Box from Canada to the Philippines
Check out the video below to see how an OFW YouTuber packed, filled, and shipped his balikbayan box to the Philippines using a Canadian cargo company.
Common items included in a balikbayan box are clothes, shoes, food
A balikbayan box typically contains clothes, shoes, food, appliances, electronics, and sentimental gifts like knick-knacks and chocolates. It represents the hard work and sacrifice of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and helps them stay connected with their families. Receiving a balikbayan box is a cherished moment for Filipinos, symbolizing the sender’s dedication and bringing joy by bridging the distance between loved ones.
Frequently Asked Questions:
If you have any further questions regarding “What is a Balikbayan box? How to Pack and Send Balikbayan Boxes to the Philippines?” see the list of frequently asked questions and answers below.
1. How to Find a Balikbayan Box Service Near Me?
Please click the link to find a balikbayan box service near your current location in the host country: https://www.dti.gov.ph/konsyumer/accredited-seafreight-forwarders/
2. What is the cheapest balikbayan box?
The price of a balikbayan box can vary depending on its size, the country it is being sent to, and the store where you are purchasing it. The smallest and cheapest option for a balikbayan box is the minibox, measuring 12 x 12 x 12 inches.
3. How to track a balikbayan box?
Most cargo shipping businesses offer tracking services for customers to monitor their shipments. To track your balikbayan box, contact your chosen shipping company. Companies like LBC Express provide a shipping track order via email for immediate updates on your box’s location.
To track your balikbayan box with the Bureau of Customs (BOC), use the following link and enter your tracking number: https://parceltracking.customs.gov.ph/kiosk.php.
4. How many Days does a balikbayan box arrive to the recipient?
The shipping time varies depending on the shipping company, season, and service chosen. For air freight, it usually takes 7 to 10 days, while sea freight with LBC Express may take 40 to 60 days. Balikbayan boxes generally arrive within 8 to 12 weeks, but this can also be influenced by the season.
5. Does Balikbayan Box go through the Bureau of Customs in the Philippines?
Yes, the BOC will check the balikbayan box once the balikbayan has arrived in the Philippines, as required by law.
6. How many times a year am I allowed to ship?
Only three shipments are permitted per calendar year. No matter how many boxes you ship, the total cost cannot exceed Php 150,000.00.
7. Can I send as many boxes as I want?
Yes, unless you want to use the Balikbayan box privilege.
8. What is the Balikbayan box privilege?
A Filipino citizen who meets the requirements may send balikbayan boxes tax- and duty-free to family and friends.
9. When must I pay my taxes?
The excess of those shall be subject to duty, VAT, and excise TAX if there are more than 2 liters of wine, 2 reams of cigarettes, or 50 cigars.
10. Can I just hide the prohibited items?
If customs finds out about this, it may cause delays, non-delivery, or legal action against you. The list is consolidated with the enclosed items.
11. What causes delay or failure to deliver?
Possible rephrasing: “Delays may occur due to natural disasters. Please ensure you review your shipment for any prohibited or restricted items.”
12. Should I insure my cargo?
Insurance is suggested. Since we have no idea what will occur during delivery, it is better to be safe than sorry.
13. Is it possible to put money in the Balikbayan box?
Money cannot be sent via a balikbayan box. It is recommended to send money through a money transfer company or app.
The balikbayan box is a great way to send gifts to family back home. It’s not mandatory, but if you meet the requirements, you can take advantage of this privilege to please your loved ones. Balikbayan boxes bring joy and satisfy their curiosity for new things. Remember to be aware of the prohibited and restricted items to avoid any problems when sending items to your family.