Does Philippine Customs overcharge?

Over the years, I have had items shipped into the Philippines from various places.  Sometimes I order goods and have them shipped in.  Sometimes friends and readers send me gifts (thank you to those who have done so, BTW).  In addition to my own experiences, I also hear from others who e-mail me or talk to me in person and ask about having items shipped in and problems that they have experienced in doing so.

I have experienced problems with this kind of thing over the years too.

Probably the most complaints that I hear from foreigners on this topic are complaints about customs charges.  I have done some looking into this, though, and have learned a bit, so I thought I’d share this information with you today.

PhilPost Philippine Mail
PhilPost Philippine Mail

I remember about 5 years ago, I had a new DSLR camera.  It was an expensive model at the time, a Canon Rebel XT.  I paid over $1,000 for it and the accessories that came with it.  A friend hand carried this for me to the Philippines, so there was no customs to be concerned with.  However, I decided to order two extra battery packs for the camera through Amazon.  These were both after-market batteries (not Canon brand batteries).  They were very inexpensive, the two batteries cost less than $15.  So, I did not expect that customs would really be a big issue, given the low price of the batteries.  When the batteries were delivered (as I recall it was either through FedEX or DHL), the “customs charge” was nearly $50.  $50 taxes on a pair of batteries that cost less than $15?  Whoa!

Over the years I have heard such stories from many expats.  They pay charges of $30 to $50 for customs on items that are worth way less than that!  It doesn’t seem right.  Our conversations always seem to turn to the fact that the Philippine Customs Department is charging way too much on such packages.  Or are they?

How much will the customs be?
How much will the customs be?

Well, I have found that they really are not overcharging at all.  The vast bulk of that money you are paying for customs is not going to the Government at all.  It is going to FedEX, DHL, UPS and such, the people who are handling the shipping.  You see, those companies are charging you to fill out the papers for customs.  There are reports and declarations that must be filed to facilitate the inspection of those packages by the Customs Department.  The shipping companies are charging huge amounts just to fill out that paperwork, and the cost is to be paid by the recipient of the package.  For example, if you send a package to your girlfriend or wife here in the Philippines, it might cost her $50 just to receive the package, because of the charges.  And, you can bet that the shipping company is getting the vast majority of those funds (even though you already paid a shipping charge).  In fact, I believe that the shipper may be getting $49 out of $50 that they charge to you, just for filling out the forms!

In the past month, I have gotten two packages from the USA.  The first package contained some items that I ordered from a seller on eBay.  The seller was in North Carolina, USA.  The total amount of the items that I ordered was about $275.  When the package arrived, do you know how much the customs charge was?  P40.  That’s a little less than $1.  Last week, I got another package.  This was from a blog reader and Facebook friend, he sent me a gift.  I don’t know for sure the value of the items he sent me, but I suppose reasonably it could be around $100 or so.  Know how much I paid for customs?  P40 again.

Why am I paying so little for customs suddenly?

It’s simple.  Both of these packages were sent through the Post Office.  Yes, that’s right, through the Post Office.  It is notorious that the Philippine Post Office (it’s called PhilPost) is rampant with corruption.  Perhaps you have experienced such corruption… a package you sent never arrived, or it arrived missing some items.  Well, the truth is that I have never had such an experience using PhilPost.  But, I am not saying that such incidents don’t happen, I am only saying that I believe they occur way less often than you may believe from “what you hear.”

The key to using the Post Office and getting your package there safely lies in using some type of mailing that is registered and tracked.  A package that is registered and tracked can easily be shown where it went astray if such an event happens.  That makes it more difficult for somebody to steal, and thus makes it a lot more likely that your package will make it to it’s destination.  Sending in a way that is registered and tracked is not so hard or expensive.  You just need to use a service like International Priority mail or something of the sort.  You get a tracking number, and can check right on the Internet to find out where your package is.  And, the good thing is, for almost any package coming via the Post Office, the customs fee is P40.  That’s nothing!

Now, I am not advising you that if you want to send a watch or a diamond ring to the Philippines you should send it through the post office.  But, if you want to send some batteries for a camera, or some other item that is relatively low in value, well, the Post Office is a pretty reliable way to send it.  The shipping is also cheap, and I have found it reliable, and the customs fees are very low.  Why pay a shipping company to fill out papers?  Probably most of those forms are computer generated anyway.

So, next time you think that the Philippine Government is ripping you off with customs charges, look at the forms a little more carefully and see who is getting the bulk of that money!  You might just be surprised.  I know I was.

Post Author: MindanaoBob (1353 Posts)

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.

Investigation in the Philippines


      • Papa Duck says


        Good info to know, thanks so much. How about just sending regular first class letters?How is the reliability in receiving them? Thanks alot for any info you can provide. Have a nice day!

        • says

          hi Papa Duck – To be honest, I use a mail consolidating service in the USA. All of my letters are gathered and sent to me via DHL whenever i request them to be sent. So, I have no experience using first class mail. Sorry about that.

          • Bob New York says

            I have sent at least 20 letters through the Postal Service to Iligan City and Cagayan De Oro. It takes about 3 weeks for them to get there. All of those I have sent did reach their destination I always send a confirmation letter to Hotels I make a reservation with, well ahead of time, as a back up. I believe mail from the USA arrives in Manila by air and is then sorted ( I don’t know if by hand or automation ), then it takes about 5 days from Manila to a postal distribution center in CDO. Once again mail is sorted ( not sure if by hand or automation ) and is then sent to the cities or area post offices it is addressed to. The final step is local delivery to the recipient. That is the best I have been able to determine how a letter gets from me to the end recipient. Letters I have received back also take about 3 weeks to get to me.

      • Papa Duck says


        Thanks so much for the good info. How about sending letters by regular 1st class mail? When i live there permanently i will be receiving my annual tax statements. I’m worried about not receiving them. What do you suggest for this? Thanks alot for any info you can provide. Have a nice day!

        • Papa Duck says


          Sorry for the duplicate posts. I didn’t think the first one went through because it did not post up.

      • Casey Freidrich says

        Hi Bob- Thanks for the great info. So does this mean that in order to get something sent via Phil Post in the Philippines I would need to send it via US Post from the States? I just wanted to clarify. Thanks!

      • Gary Campbell says

        Is that fee going to be the same with some thing like a laptop computer if sent through the post office registered mail from say Portland Oregon to Ormoc City Philippines?

      • Efren says

        Hello Bob I bought sale bag only £39 then send to Royal mail last July 1 then arrived in Manila July 10 but until now my gf don’t receive my parcel. And she told me they want to charged about 4200 pesos that means the bag cheap but the taxes is too

      • JB says

        My Experience With Philippine Customs and FedEx on 26 March 2014 (FedEx tracking #580893940167)

        On 02 March 2014 I ordered a signal amplifier for a ‘remote control toy car Tx’ and the manufacturer in China had it shipped to me via Hong Kong Post on 03 March 2014. The declared value of the item was US$33.00. According to Hong Kong Post tracking website the item arrived in Manila on 10 March 2014 and was subsequently delivered to my local post office in Cavite on 21 March 2014. Why it took 10 days to reach my local post office is a mystery, but that is not the subject of this story.

        Anyway, when I collected the package from my local post office 0n 21 March 2014, of course there were no customs duties imposed because an item classified as a toy with value under US$50 should not be subject to any import tariffs. Actually, I paid nothing at the post office when I collected my package. To note, the Standard Classification of Goods tariff heading for anything to do with remote control cars, planes, etc. is 9503.20.10. In the Philippine Tariff Schedule for goods shipped from China (the ACFTA Schedule) they use the sub-category number 9503.00.40. Why the Philippine Tariff Commission cannot simply use the Standard Classification of Goods produced by the United Nations is another mystery!

        When I got the product home, however, I discovered that it was damaged. So I contacted the Seller, and they immediately shipped me a new amplifier, this time using 3-day FedEx air shipment. The new amplifier was delivered to my home by FedEx’s third party logistics company on 26 March 2014 (today). However, when the package was delivered, the delivery driver presented me with a FedEx invoice for P2,027 (US$46) which was for P1,0 00 FedEx administrative fees (P800 “storage fee” and P200 paperwork fee) and P1,027 Customs tariff (P223 Customs duty, P554 Compensating Tax and P250 for some other unidentified fee). Fortunately for me, I had all the documents showing no customs duties where charged when the same amplifier had been shipped to me the week before using standard Hong Kong Post. So I told the delivery driver to get someone from FedEx on the phone because I was not going to pay anything for a FedEx door-to-door shipment which had been fully paid already by the Seller in China and his truck was not leaving my gated community with my property still inside.

        While standing out in the hot sunshine waiting for someone from FedEx to call me back, I started examining the Customs documents attached to FedEx’s delivery invoice. Especially interesting was the Customs tariff computation form where they had correctly entered the item description as “Toy controller amplifier” and the correct value as “US$33.00”. However, in the adjacent column of the form the Customs agent had written “95049099” as the Tariff Heading. So I went inside the house , opened my internet and looked up that Standard Classification of Goods number and discovered it is an unspecified classification name “Others” which sits between “95049092 – Bingo Equipment” and “9505 – Other entertainment articles, including conjuring tricks and novelty jokes”. How appropriate for the Philippines Customs to extort money from people using a nameless goods classification number which sits in between those two wonderful categories!!

        Needless to say, by the time the FedEx supervisor called me (one hour later), I was highly irritated. I quickly told him that the same item had been delivered to me last week via standard Hong Kong post without customs duty, and also mentioned the fact that the Customs agent used the goods classification number for ‘Bingo Equipment’ to try to extort money from me. I then went on to state that it was totally ridiculous for FedEx to give me an invoice for P2,037 (US$46) when the declared value of the item shipped was only US$33.00. The FedEx supervisor told me that “the Customs agent probably made a mistake” , and then told the delivery driver to release my package without collecting any money from me.

        Suggestion 1: Only use standard Hong Kong Post if you order any toys or gadgets from China. It is worth waiting the 15 to 20 days!

        Suggestion 2: If you ever have to collect shipped goods from any Customs office in the Philippines, make sure you have a way to check the ‘Tariff Heading’ number the Customs agent uses to classify your goods. You will need access to the internet because the Philippine Tariff Commission uses eight (8) different Tariff Schedules to calculate tariff rates based on classification and point of origin of your goods.

        1. Most Favoured Nation (MFN)
        2. ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA)
        3. ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA)
        4. ASEAN-India Free Trade Area (AIFTA)
        5. ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (AJCEPA)
        6. ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Area (AKFTA)
        7. ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA)
        8. Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA)

        Just select the appropriate schedule and enter the goods classification number that the Philippine Customs agent used to classify your good and customs duty.

        In my case, since the item I purchased was shipped from China, I would use the ACFTA Tariff Schedule. And when you enter the goods classification 9503.00.40 (for anything to do with remote controlled toys), the ACFTA clearly states that there is ZERO tariff duties all the way out until 2018!!

        The corruption inside the Philippine Bureau of Customs is a well-publicized issue in the local newspapers, so I won’t comment any further on that issue. But what surprised me the most was the fact that the FedEx Broker willingly paid the Philippine Customs agent the P1,027.00 to clear my goods from Customs, and then FedEx tried to recover that amount from me! Unbelievable! Obviously, FedEx needs to take a closer look at their internal procedures and at the competency of the people they hire as Brokers to deal with Philippine Customs agents. It took me a total of 2 minutes on the internet to discover that the Philippine Customs agent used a bogus goods classification number for my shipment.

        • alexis says

          hi sir…

          can you send me the link of that acfta classification of goods so could learn more about it… thnks a lot

        • BROKER says

          In relation to duties and taxes classification. Please be advised that ACFTA, JPEPA etc can only be used as classification when item was accompanied by a Certificate of Origin from its origin country otherwise the MFN rate will be used

        • Marlon Sto. Tomas says

          Very good information and now i know. It same what happen from me but my experience is very worst. My parcel is around 1000US and i paid about 13000pesos because they hold in custom in 15days and a pay the storage fee, because they hold it of their reason – they need a documents. They say my declation value is around 1000US. But i only know is you pay the duty and taxes in BOC is the rules.

      • Lizzy Punay says

        Hi Bob. I am thinking of ordering a pair of rubber shoes via ebay. The seller says he will be shipping them via Registered Airmail(from Japan). Does this mean that these shoes will be sent to my local post office? Will the tax still be P40 if the shoes are worth P5,500? Thanks and will appreciate a reply.

      • Lei says

        Hi. I am from Los Angeles California. I recently sent a package to the Philippines for my aunt. I used the United States Postal Service. I filed out the Customs form they gave me at the post office and paid the fee. The value of the package is less than $40. The package got to the post office in the Philippines and they sent my aunt a notice to claim the package. They are charging her 1,100 pesos to claim the package. I was surprised! Is there any way to waive that fee since I already paid for the shipping and filled out the customs form?

      • rechelle says

        i wish this is the case with me. I sent my sister a laptop and declared 300 dollars on the custom form. I used USPS priority. Custom in the MAnila is asking her to pay P2600 to pick it up. Thats over 50 dollars, on top of the 70 dollars that I paid USPS. I called USPS and ask them if its true that large portion of the custom tax will go to them and not the philippines, they laugh at that lie! It is not true. NONE of that money will go to USPS.

        • says

          Hello Rechelle – Apparently you did not read the article carefully, or didn’t understand what you read. I never said anything about USPS getting part of the money. I said UPS gets part of it if they are handling the package, and they do. They (and FedEX and others) charge extra on the customs to cover their fees.

          • Rechelle says

            I did read your blog.You did say that if you send it through the post office fee should only be P40. And this is what I meant. This was not my case, the post office is now charging my sister 2,600 pesos, not 40. SO i just assumed, maybe since they want that much, i figured I should call the USPS and ask if portion of that huge amount will go to them, just like how it would go to UPS ,fed ex,etc, as you mentioned. Call me ignorant as I dont know any reasons why the fee will be that much. They dont deliver it to the address, instead asked her to pick it up at the post office which is few cities away btw, but someone from the senate has to petition to change this cr*p.

            I did send 2 cellphones to Marinduque provnce which is south Luzon, about 8 months ago, also through USPS priority flat rate box, $600 value. They didnt ask for fees.

            I am now confused as to how much should it really be.

      • Joe says

        greetings Robert,

        I have recently sent a laptop computer two very good friend of mine in the Philippines, it recently arrived at customs, what I need to know is, what is the extent of them checking this package do they totally take apart the box and everything and open up the computer? Or do they just do a brief examination of the package? Can you answer any or all these questions please,

        Joe Willis

        • says

          Hi Joe – They will do whatever they feel is appropriate. It just depends on how they feel at the time. They could take everything apart, or they might not even open the package.

      • Michael Anderson says

        Hi Bob,
        I sent a small cell phone to Phil, near Ormoc. I sent it from the US Post Office, and paid around $25 to ship it. It arrived 5 weeks later, and my recipient had to pay 35 usd! Is this normal? Thanks!

          • Kay says

            Hi Bob,

            I ordered sticky notes ( around 2 reams) and papers 70mm by 22mm size of 15 pcs online via kickstarter (all cost 90USD). The company is based in CA and said they are planning to deliver the package using US postal office.

            Any advice?

            Last time I got something shipped from twice from Hongkong (clocks and pen gadgets online) [declared cost at 22USD] I got to pay around 1000php to 2000php for customs fee. it was via DHL though.

    • Ivan says

      Hi There…..

      I ám working in Korea and planning to send a laptop through EMS…but unfortunately my brother lives in Bukidnon and I’ve read that they have to personally pick the items in Custom’s office in Pasay..Is there any other option that it would reach Bukidnon?

    • pie says

      do you have any idea how much it cost for shipping a car to philippines? i would like to ship my bmw from germany. probably how much it will cost???

      • says

        Generally, the duty on a car is 100% of the new price of the car. That does not include the shipping, only the taxes. Also, you cannot ship in a car that is more than 5 years old.

  1. Tom Ramberg says

    Hi Bob,

    It might be worth noting that the sender has to be careful what they declare the value of the package to be. My daughter sent a package with maybe $100 US value to it. On the label she indicated that the value was around $200 because she included the postage. The post office here in GenSan opened and inspected the contents and charged me a hefty fine er I mean fee. I did get a laptop battery sent from Hong Kong and the fee was small.

  2. Dan says

    Bob..good post….as far as sending thru the USA post office…you the sender do the paper work before you take to the post office and then they put it all in their computor data base and etc and its a done deal….How ever..its more work now than what it used to be…I no because send stuff international from time to time and the Customs here in the USA changed things some what…you have to list each item on the custom form..the weight and the cost and my quess is that what you total up with better come close to what they get as weight at the post office..[of course allowing for weight of the box and some packing]…The USA post office has 2 or 3 intenational priority flat rate boxes and price runs around $13.50 for the small one..around $45.00 for the medium size one and close to $65.00 for the large one..and belive you are insured for up to around $70.00 or so for the contents… if you want to spend the big money can send Global Priority USA mail and that gets expensive…but you can insure up to around $2500.00 and they offer 3 day service…..also on all you can track with the customs number pretty much… far as Fed-x or UPS or Dsl..for get them..they will rip you a new one…for sure… you are pretty much right on what your post said…….from what I have experinced…with the Post Office here you pretty much do the customs work your self….of course for any one interested you can go to the USA POSTAL WEB SITE and its all there….even the 2 customs forms……now if you are not in a can also send small box.[can now weigh over 4 pounds ] and go’s slower but never had one get lost…….so……belive you hit it good…..its those other company’s that are making the money on customs fees and they have the receiver over the barrel, untill they pay the big fees……sure you post will help those out or help them become more informed on shipping stuff to the Philippines or having some one ship something to them….

  3. says

    Hi Bob – A lot of the confusion regarding customs overcharging runs all the way back in history to the Spanish era. Customs officers were appointed individuals who were in favor with the government. Unpaid, they were required to pay the crown a certain amount of money each year, regardless of the amount of duties they collected. Additionally, they were free to set their own duty fees. Any excess collections over the amount due to the crown were considered their “salary.” Needless to say, those customs officers in ports such as Manila, Cebu, etc. lived the high life and amassed personal fortunes. Often, they’d influence the government to select a retiring customs officer’s family member to fill the vacancy created by the retirement; thus “keeping it in the family.”

    Though this is no longer the case, the customs offices are still not free from corruption (legal or illegal). On the whole, however, it is as you’ve depicted.

      • leth says

        Hi Good Day Everyone.I send a mail last Dec.2 at our municipal post office, but the post incharge only took the payment and didn’t gave me form to fill up (i.e.consignment note) .May I ask , when will my mail arrive to its destination country(New Zealand)? And why did the post in change didn’t gave me form to fill out? It’s like unrecorded mail.

        Anyone can help me..Please

    • chasdv says

      “keeping it in the family” sounds very much like the Unions “closed shops” we had here in the UK in the 1970’s.

  4. Alan Hettinger says

    Sent my wife a $40 magicjack which she paid $40 in customs fees to recieve with FedEx. My mother send me a camera back in 2006 which never arrived through USPS.

    • says

      Hi Alan – Sorry to hear of the MagicJack fiasco! Not sure if you are aware, but you can buy them locally for about $50.

      On your mother’s package, was it registered with tracking?

  5. Don says

    When I use the myusmail service which sends by dhl, I do not pay customs unless they are paying on their side. But when send thru regular usps I pay close to 20% including admin charges. This is in metro Manila. For me, it’s easier to pay for dhl as it arrives faster and without customs, it’s cheaper.

    • Don says

      Also, I pay p40 to local post office as some service fee for notifying me that I received a package. Then would receive the customs statement for the customs duty.

      • says

        Hi Don – In the Davao City main post office there is a sign next to the pickup window that says that P40 is the “Customs Fee.” There are no other charges.

    • says

      Hi Don – that shocks me, to be honest. I use MYUSMAIL too and have for years. They indeed send DHL, and if I get a package (not mail, but a package with goods in it), I always pay customs. Through the mail I have never paid more than P40. This experience encompasses hundreds of packages over the years.

    • brian says

      Hi Bob, I also use ‘mymailusa’ and when i had an item shipped via them (cost $20) whenit arrived they wanted 1,360 pesos “customs fee”..or 1.5 times the value of the item. I told them to keep it !

      • says

        That’s right… you mentioned that to me in an e-mail, and I forgot to reply to that part! I kept trying to remember who had mentioned it to me… since I couldn’t remember, I just wrote this article instead! ha ha

  6. David L Smith says

    Hi Bob
    I have been using the phil post office for sending parcels to my wife for 3 years now and never had a problem so far ….whereas in Australia i have had the misfortune of two items going missing( over a long period of time though.) I had heard all sorts of wild stories about the phil postal system, even that other countries will not register your parcels because of the corruption in the postal system in phil. I found that story to be a load of old codswallop as i have insured many items that i have sent to my wife.

    • says

      Hi David – Like you say, I also believe that the horror stories about PhilPost are way overblown. I know that my experience with them has been largely good.

  7. says

    In my quest to downsize before moving to the Philippines, I have sold 30 or so items on eBay and have shipped each one via USPS (Post office) “Priority Flat Rate” boxes, 3 day service, with tracking. Not only is the service quick, thru your account in eBay you are able to actually print out the postage/shipping label and do not have to spend time inside the post office at all (just drop the box off as the postage is paid right there at your computer screen thru PayPal.)

    You can also do all the shipping stuff outside of eBay, of course, just go to the USPS website (from the US to your destination). You can also schedule a “pick-up” where the truck comes to your home to pick up what ever you are shipping (free pickup). I also ordered 10 shipping boxes for free thru the USPS website. No wonder the USPS is going deeper in debt on a daily basis!

    While studying selling habits of others on eBay I noticed that a lot of international shippers boldly state that they can “declare” the value of the item they are shipping to you at some ridiculous low price so the customs will not be so steep. I have no idea if this ploy works or not.

    • says

      Hi Rich – In my case, when I have bought from eBay, many times the sellers have marked the customs form as “gift” on the item, which often makes it no duties at all.

  8. Hudson says

    Hey Bob,
    My experience with sending a package to the Philippines hasn’t been good. I sent a package to my wife (then girlfriend) in Davao using USPS International Priority mail . I had a tracking label on it so I was able to track it on-line. I sent it out, and it took a day to get from SoCal to San Fransico. The next day It arrived in Manila, where it sat for more than two weeks. A week later it made it to CDO. Another week later it ended up in Davao. Just over four weeks to go from SoCal to Davao. Keep in mind that a Balikbayan Box only takes 7 weeks for the same trip.

    • says

      Hi Hudson – The timeline that you give is typical, and I have no problem with it. Take my eBay purchase. If it had been sent FedEX or some other courier service it would have cost an extra $50 for shipping, and also an extra $50 for customs. I would have had it in a week or maybe a bit less. I saved $100 for waiting like 3 extra weeks. That, to me, is no problem at all.

  9. Lenny says

    My son sent me here from the USPS a credit card replacement and he told me he paid only $1.00 to mail it. I thought right away oh no!.. It’s coming on the boat (1 month or longer) it never arrived been 6 months now. When he first told me that I right away called and told my credit card company I had lost the original card and to send me another one please… They did and I made him send me the new card thru fed ex, it arrived in 6 days….Before I have sent many packages to the Philipphines thru USPS and just always made sure it was going by air, never had a problem, but was expensive..

  10. art wolford says

    Bob—When a package is sent by Global guarantee here in the USA it does not go by post office. They have contract with Fed x. I have sent several packages like that sine 2001. And when it gets to the phils and the package is going out of fed x range they use a local carrier company there to deliver it. I know i have had my share of problems with fedx trying to track the package once the local carrier has it. Also, if shipped by priority mail the post office here cannot track once it has left this country. I always use global guarantee from post office even thought fed x takes it because they charge less then going straight to fed x. I have had 4 different packages to get stuck at customs. I had to pay ;large fees through fed x. Also, if you use post office here and send priority and it gets caught in customs the post office cannot help you. I have an account with Fed x and they charge my account if customs wants a fee. Normally on the declaration sheet you write things down and put the value and it is under $50 they let it go through. I have sent over 5 packages that way. The main thing to remember is to fill out the declaration sheet fully so they won’t get supicious.


    • says

      Hi Art – I am not familiar with Global Guarantee, never heard of it. Since FedEx is handling the package, does that mean they handle customs too and overcharge?

      • art wolford says

        bob, yes if it is sent global guarantee fed x takes the package from post office and they handle all the paperwork at customs. it normally takes 5 to 7 days to send a package to Davao from usa. Example: i sent a small package last april using global and it cost me $47 at post office. if i had gone straight to fed x they wanted $72. the post office has a good contract with fed x for cheaper rates. if the items is of any value i always use global guarantee. if the packages doesn’t arrive on the date stamp at post office then they will refund the cost. i had it refunded 1 time.


  11. Lenny says

    Bob….. Is Don… saying that the USPS has International boxes there.. to send here.. for $45.00 and $65.00, And that the sender in the US can fill them up.. and get them sent here for that price??

    • says

      Hi Lenny – USPS has priority and express mail boxes which are free. They can be used for international shipping too. For domestic shipping they offer flat rate regardless of weight. I do not believe that such a service is offered for international, though.. those, I believe are all based on weight.

      • Dan says

        Bob…the USA Post office does have priority flat rate boxes for international…they are good for domestic or international…as said before the small one is around $13.50…the Middle one is around $45.00 and the large one is about $65.00..there is a 20 pound limit on them how ever [there could be another size also but not sure]….but you have hard time getting 20 pounds in the small one..but can get that much in the other 2 sizes…the boxes are free and most post offices of any size have them…they also have a couple of priority flat rate envalopes also for international and not sure what the price is on those…and as one poster said or you said the global priority is a deal between Fed-x and the Post office and my self would not touch that…one reason is very expensive and the other is you are really right back to Fed-x…Now on customs for the USA Post office..they had big changes about near 2 years ago..its a pain in the rear now….before it was a snap……but now you have to list each item..the cost..the weight and discription of each item….I talk to one of the postal people and they told me this was done by Home Land Security and they hate it,but they have to do it…hi hi hi….so maybe this helps a little here…

        For those that want more info on the USA Post office just go here….. and about all you want to know is can even find out if something you per say want to ship is even allowed to be shipped to the country you may have a interest in…I think a lot of the problems are with the different country’s post offices…….example…….sent a birthday card to a friend in go there in 5 days…hello..could hardly belive that one….went to HCMC…then about 5 years ago sent a Christmas card to a lady friend in the Phillipines and she is still waiting for it!…but..she sent me one and it came in about 10 days…She told me that sad to say but a lot of times..letters and cards never make it…she told me the post offices there or some of the people that work for them..will if see a letter or card…open it to see if any money in it….or try to steam it open..or just open it and throw it away…any way..

    • art wolford says

      hey lenny. all international packages are based on the total weight. if you use fed x service or post office global guarantee at least they will handle the problem at customs if the package gets help up there. about 6 years ago i used regular service and my package got stopped at customs. it was a nightmare trying to get fee paid and release of item. i think it is worth the extra money fed x charges to handle the problem if the item is important.


  12. says

    Hi Bob. Your experiences have been exactly the same as mine however i was confused over the customs. I will try the post route from now on and see what happens. So far all my deliveries to Bohol (6 or so) have arrived, which, based on previous readings has been somewhat of a surprise.



  13. Biz Doc says

    hi bob, thanks for bringing this up.

    plenty of locals– including my family– have for decades avoided sending anything via post office. prior to the internet, postal folks back in my hometown had a reputation for ripping open packages and resealing them with tape before delivering them to you. so you had to call the senders long distance just to find out whether anything they sent over was missing.

    i’d be glad to try them out this time around, but how long do packages from the US take to get to you in davao?


  14. says

    We have similar experience, Bob. When I ordered my items abroad and shipped it via post office, the charge is very minimal. I paid only Php30.00 at the post office to get my goods. However, when i ordered an item on-line and shipped it via FedEx, the charges are almost 50% of the actual cost of the product that i purchased.

  15. dans says

    hi bob,

    I ‘ve known the “charging fee” problem for a long time and that is the main reason I avoid to send my packages via DHL/FedEx/USPS if possible, if the my package is not that important i just use the “registered service”, the only problem i had with the post office is the time of arrival, other than that, never experienced any problem with it.

  16. says

    Hi Bob, Last year my son sent his used golf clubs (3) via Phil post 3 months ahead of his arrival in Marinduque. Since the clubs were second-hand, he valuated it to about $50. He was shock in disbelief when he was charged $150 to pick up the package. It arrived in a timely manner though ( after 45 days) and he was able to play golf at Bellarocca Resort here in Marinduque- one of the 101 things he wants to do before he dies. Cheers! David K.

  17. chasdv says

    Hi Bob;
    Never had a problem sending low value small packages to the PH by normal Air Mail post, everyone to date has arrived, just takes a long time, but unless its urgent, it doesn’t really matter. (Generally 5 days to Manila, then anything up to 6 weeks to get to Mindanao,lol).

    Postal costs though have truly escalated here in UK, it recently cost me just under US$6 to send an A5 size Birthday Card by normal Post Office Airmail. (Generally takes 10 to 14 days to get to Mindanao).

    I would suggest to any readers here wishing to send packages by normal Airmail to PH for Xmas, to send in September, the PH Post Office service appears to grind to a halt by mid November.


      • chasdv says

        Funny you should mention Internet greetings cards, as i do use them from time to time, but i havn’t sent a personal greetings card for about 3yrs until recently.
        The cost 3yrs ago was about half what it is now, talk about inflation!
        I’m sure if i investigated it, it would be blamed on Oil costs etc lol.

  18. Isagani Cruz says

    Slightly off-topic, but I hope somebody can help. I’m having difficulty having my medical insurance in the US cover Voltaren gel, which my doctor has prescribed. It’s a topical medication for arthritic/joint pain (I have tendinitis). It’s available over-the-counter in the Philippines and less than 1/10th the price here. What are the chances that it will get to me if my sister sends it via Philpost air mail? Any other thoughts/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  19. Isagani Cruz says

    Wow, that was quick. Thanks, Bob! Just wondering if the US Post Office (Customs, perhaps?) would be sticky about meds being sent from the Philippines. I’ve never tried this.

    • says

      Like you, I have never tried it before, so I can’t say for sure. But, I think that for a shipment that was obviously for personal use there should not be a problem. If you were shipping in commercial quantities then I could imagine there would be a problem.

      Good luck!

  20. Katrina says

    Even sending in the Philippines alone, the private companies do charge a lot to the point that it is more practical to use the Philpost’s “registered mail”. A simple letter in the Phils can cost you around Php300 when a registered mail can be less than a hundred. And it is best not to send during Christmas season as the thieves in the Philpost come one. The card I sent to my friend never arrived (no cash!) and the book she sent neither arrived to me either.

  21. kikas_head says

    Johnny Air is the best way to go when shopping online. I buy from (for example) Amazon, it ships free to their office in New York, they send it here and I pick it up in Manila 7-10 days later. There is a flat per pound fee and it includes all fees and taxes. I have used them a whole bunch including items that I would never send through the postal service (i.e., Ipad). They are awesome. I believe they have offices in Davao also.

    • says

      Hi Kikas – I have also used Johnny Air, and i agree that they are good for higher value items and such. You are right… in fact, they have several offices in Davao.

  22. says

    Bob, I’ve paid fees direct to customs for things like clothing and chocolates. Those fees were not due. They were sent via USPS and Phil Post. I was not paying for forms, I got receipts from customs. I had my mail held at the Phil Post until I (of Jessie before I got here) went to customs and paid the dues.

    Once I shipped some things that never turned up. So the USPS sent a trace, then they showed up. Then the Philpost decided that customs had to value it and I paid $75 tax on $150 worth of stuff. I did my best to get an itemized receipt, what the value was and what the tax was on each item, couldn’t get it. I really hate to say it but it was just flat bogus. When I asked for the receipt it was all over their faces. It also took hours. I had to go to the post office, then to customs and then to the land bank to pay the fees and then back to customs. I guess I should just get over it. Its been three years ago but it still bugs me. Chocolates, I paid custom duties to PhilPost for chocolates.

    I’m not one to whine about the corruption in the Philippines, I’ve seen a little but most of that I just have not seen personally. I’ve seen some payments in customs that just didn’t seem due to me.

    If I ship via Johnny Air Cargo I pay no custom fees. That’s how I ship now.

    • says

      Hi Rusty – That has been different than my experience. I am not saying, though, that you will never have to pay customs fees through PhilPost, what I am saying is that you won’t have to pay DHL or some other courier to just fill out the forms. The day might also come when you have to pay Johnny Air Cargo for customs fees too. I think it just goes on a case by case basis.

  23. Adam says

    The trick i have learned is to use the normal post office, slowest shipping possible and delcare the item has a very low value (even if it doesnt) Include a fake receipt to reflect this low value

    And thats the trick works for me

  24. Rizza says

    Hi Bob,

    I plan to order something for a friend from Japan. Would you happen to know if packages sent via airmail to the Philippines have to be picked up at the local post office, or will it be delivered directly to the address (like EMS)?

    Thank you. =)

      • Rizza says


        I see. Thank you so much for your quick reply. I do hope we won’t have to pass by the post office any longer. He he.

        More power to your blog. (^_^)

  25. rhema says

    Thanks Bob for the info.. But I have a question.. Would u know if there’s a minimum how much the item cost? Coz post office here in Canada wants me to find out if there’s a minimum limit cost.. I really want to know so bad.. 😀

    • says

      Hi rhema – I am sorry, I don’t really understand your question. Do you mean the minimum cost of an item you will send through the post office? I suppose the minimum would be zero. I think that I don’t understand what you are asking.

  26. says

    Hi Bob. I’m a Fil-Am Pinay. PhilPost is truly corrupt. I posted an article on my blog about what happens when I pick up a package / gift from my mother-in-law at the post office. Here’s the link:

    The customs guy was going to charge me almost 100% customs taxes for Christmas gifts. At the advice of another post office worker, I “showed” the customs official a yellow piece of paper with a picture of a Filipino martyr. I think the image of the martyr softened his heart. lol. I got my package without a tax payment receipt.

    I posted a question on yahoo answers regarding what the correct tax is and my experience. Surprisingly, one guy replied it with something like, “I didn’t know you can do that. Next time, I’ll do the same instead of paying 3,600 pesos.”

    • says

      Hello FilAmerican Mom – I’m sorry to hear of your experience. I can say that your experience is vastly different from mine. Maybe that means that things are improving. I hope so, at least.

  27. Louie lubangco says

    hi bob,

    thanks for the input. i had the same experience recently. shipment coming from china, valued at $465,sent via dhl. Guess how much i was charged for duties and taxes? $300! i was complaining for 2 days to DHL but to no avail. they just said that the customs officer upgraded the package to $950.In the end, i agreed to pay the $300 d&t as i badly need the item. If i will to file a complaint, it will take 1-2 weeks and the package will not be released,which i cant afford.

  28. Joe P says


    For decades I have been using Philpost and ALL of my experiences are just as you stated. (ALl my mail and packages goes to PI via Registered return receipt by the way)

    If it is a lot of items then it goes via balikbayan box for 55-60 bucks no weight limit…whatever fits in the 20x20x20 box ships. Takes a bit longer and in some case a VERY long time, but here again, never lost a thing ever.

    And in closing Customs Charges over the years have been low if at all for Philpost items and ZERO on Balibayan stuff…even after several were opened for inspection.

  29. Irene Sanchez says

    Hello. I just want to ask because my friend sent me a letter that contains photos through registered mail. I was wondering if I will need to claim it at Philpost or it will be delivered to my house? :O Thanks for the help! 😀

  30. Clifford bode says

    Hi Bob I have a ?
    I am engage to a philipinno girl in Daveo city. I sent her a package with her engagment ring worth $1,000 costoms what 23,000p. Is this normal?
    We are working on her KI and have all the paper work in to the US goverment she will come to america but some point in the future and we will get Married. Could we move back to Philipines and would I need to applie for citsinship or a long term visa. When I was there we stay at pearl farm have you been there?

    • says

      Hi Clifford – Yeah, it’s pretty normal. I would never send something like a $1000 ring like that. Better to wait and buy something here.

      If you want to live here, just move here, no citizenship is needed. After you marry, you are qualified for a 13(a) resident visa and you can live here as long as you like with that.

      Good luck!

  31. bojoperez says

    actually yes they are over charging, speaking on behalf of online buying, they should not add the shipping fee to the tax computation. you already shouldered the shipping and you need to pay tax for the money you spent. and bigger if you go thru fedex or dhl cause more extra fees for the company.

  32. dave says

    Hi Bob,
    Can i ask how much will they tax me if the seller shipped my item to international mail?
    The seller is from uk and i bought an earphone from them. The price of the earphone is GBP 30 (around $47).

  33. James says

    Thanks for your website Mindanao Bob.

    Very helpful. Just been reading the comments. Seems most people have the same problem. My Christmas parcel [DHL] left England Monday 5th November and arrived in Cebu on the Wednesday where its been ever since. Either the Filipino customs have got their finger shoved up their backside or just plain lazy remains to be seen. I just hope to god my £16 necklace i bought for my girl isnt going to be charged a hefty price. Christmas card was a big boxed thing at £10 too.

    My only worry is that the boxed card will be opened and then not delivered to her and my small priced necklace will ‘go missing’. I choose cheap cos something the same look would be very mahal in Phils.

    • says

      Hi James – I hope everything works out on your gifts! In the future, if you want to send gifts and avoid the customs hassle and long delays, you might consider using my Philippine gift delivery service at WowPhilippines. We’d be happy to take care of it for you, and your item can be delivered in just a day or two.

    • chasdv says

      You left that rather late, the system gets really bogged down this time of year.
      In my experience you really need to send parcels by late Sept for them to arrive by Xmas.

  34. Chasdv says

    Yea Chasdv, i understand its the busy season, just like any place. More so in Philippines as they have the knack of doing things slow all year by way of Filipino time. My girl lives in Cebu and is a 300 pesos taxi drive from customs. And as i sent it on the 5th, its more than enough time, I figured anytime after the 15th i would have serious issues on a Crimbo delivery.

    Oh well. Fingers crossed.

  35. hardcorehero says

    Hi MindanaoBob, just wondering why I was charged almost Php 2,000 by FedEx when they delivered the item to me. You see I ordered a wrestling shirt and before they were using USPS for international shipping, then they switched to DHL which isn’t that good because out of 4 packages that I ordered, only 1 came and the other 3 didn’t arrive so they replaced it and reshipped it again, and I’m still waiting for it. Then last 12/15, I ordered another shirt, it shipped via FedEx on 12/17 then it arrive today 12/21, but before they gave me my package, they were charging me Php 2000!! So do you think it has something to do with a door-to-door service because back then it was delivered to the post office then they’ll send me a card to claim my package? And if thats the case, can FedEx just deliver to the post ofice so that I would only pay Php 40?

  36. MICHAEL says

    Hi Bob, may I ask. , I bought something online (Sunscreen just costs $20)and had it shipped using USPS EXPRESS MAIL INTERNATIONAL from US to Cebu City , Philippines, with tracking . From my experience using that type of shipping it only takes like 7-9 days to arrive. Is my item lost or does that mean I have to pay some money to get my item in the post office but is it in the post office already or still stuck in customs? Please help

    But my tracking for the LAST 5 DAYS HAS BEEN

    Class: Express Mail International®
    Status: Customs Clearance

    Your item is being processed by customs in PHILIPPINES at 1:13 pm on February 06, 2012.
    Detailed Results:

    Bullet Customs Clearance, February 06, 2012, 1:13 pm, PHILIPPINES
    Bullet Processed Through Sort Facility, February 06, 2012, 9:59 am, PHILIPPINES
    Bullet Processed Through Sort Facility, February 01, 2012, 8:52 pm, ISC CHICAGO IL (USPS)
    Bullet Arrived at Sort Facility, February 01, 2012, 8:50 pm, ISC CHICAGO IL (USPS)
    Bullet Electronic Shipping Info Received, January 31, 2012
    Bullet Depart USPS Sort Facility, January 31, 2012, OMAHA, NE 68108
    Bullet Processed through USPS Sort Facility, January 31, 2012, 5:33 pm, OMAHA, NE 68108
    Bullet Processed through USPS Sort Facility, January 31, 2012, 4:27 pm, COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA 51501
    Bullet Acceptance, January 31, 2012, 3:50 pm, COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA 51501

    • says

      Hi Micheal – While it might usually take 7 to 9 days for such a package, I have also had these kind of packages take up to 2 months after they reach the Philippines. I can’t say if your package is lost or stolen, of course, but I don’t think so.

      Good luck.

  37. RamsM says

    Hello Bob

    I bought a product worth $36 on Jan 24,2012 on a UK site store. The product includes the shipment fee. however, it is not stated what kind of delivery it was. It is just stated to wait for up to 14 working days for delivery. Is it normally delivered and can be picked up at philpost? what do i need to get it there? Sorry for my noob questions. this is my first time to do online shopping.

    • says

      Hi Rams – I am sorry, but given that I was not involved in the transaction, I really have no way of knowing what shipping method they will use. Generally, to pick up a parcel at PhilPost, you need some kind of photo id like a postal ID, driver’s license, etc.

  38. yule says

    Now this is very informative. I am currently waiting for a package that I bought online in the UK and is set to arrive on or before March 22 through standard mail. I’m kinda worried about the custom charges knowing that I will be possibly overcharged. I’m a bit relieved after reading your article and am crossing my fingers that I will only pay less than a hundred.

    Thanks a lot!

  39. christian says

    hi MindanaoBob!

    i am just a bit worried.. i bought something from an international forum which is a secondhand earphone. he mailed it thru USPS EMS last March 12 and the last update i had was

    March 15, 2012
    Your item was processed through our ISC SAN FRANCISCO (USPS) facility on March 15, 2012 at 2:05 pm. The item is currently in transit to the destination.

    when do you think it will arrive here? i reside at QC. will i pay P40 like you do since it’s EMS?

    really nervous that i might pay a lot of money but it’s only a secondhand earphone and wasn’t bought from a store

    thank you!

  40. christian says

    so what do you suggest me to do now? should I call EMS Pasay right away? it’s been 1 week now and I don’t want to wait for 3-4 weeks

    my place is very near to my local post office here in Cubao but what do i need to expect, EMS Pasay, my local office or right at my doorstep?

    thank YOU!!

    • says

      Ha ha, Christian.. you don’t want to wait 3 or 4 weeks? What will you do, go to the airport and search every plane for it? There is really nothing you can do, my friend. You have to just get it when it arrives and is ready for pickup.

  41. christian says

    alright then thanks.. I swear i’ll never use the EMS again if it will take a very long time..

    thank you

  42. rich says


  43. Larangitis says

    Hi. :) I want my package to be shipped to Davao Post Office through USPS, should I use the address of Davao Post Office for the shipping address? Is that what you did? Please Help. Thanks :)

  44. Joy Ramos says

    Hi bob! Thanks for the info.. It was quite an eye opener. I have a question about packages.. You said they charge a minimum of php. 40. Does that apply to all packages regardless of weight and value? Thanks!

  45. Larangitis says

    Hi. I want my package to be shipped to Davao Post Office through USPS, should I use the address of Davao Post Office for the shipping address? Is that what you did? Please Help. Thanks

  46. paranoiddavaoena says

    im a little bit relieved after reading your post. plus knowing that you’re from davao too, my hopes are high. my friend from japan sent me his old dslr camera, but he declared the original/brand new price and he missed to indicate that the camera is used. the kit didnt include the zoom lens and the batteries, supposedly included in a brand new camera kit. the total declared value is 50000jpy, approx 25000php. good thing, he indicated it as a gift. now, the thing that i am scared about is paying extremely high tax for an old camera. it’s supposed to be just a hand-me-down gift, but im daunted by the thought of shedding a lot of money just to claim it. pray for me, ill be going to davao philpost tomorrow. =) accompany meeeee. T_T

  47. Paul says

    I ordered a new Dell 24-inch monitor monitor from a seller on ebay. Package should be large, about 26 pounds or more. Seller shipped via USPS express mail international with tracking. It shipped out on April 12th from Chicago, and tracking shows “processed Through Sort Facility” in Philippines on April 16th, and “Customs Clearance” on April 17th in the Philippines. I am an American living in a condominium building in Baguio. Will the package be delivered to my condo building, or will I get a notice in the mail for me to pick it up?

    • says

      Hi Paul – Generally, they will deliver letters to your house, but not packages like that. Normally, for such a package, they will bring a claim paper to your house, and you must go claim it at the Post Office.

  48. says

    Hi Bob! I am happy to read your post, knowing that you are from Davao too. Have you claimed a package more than 1000$ in Davao Post? I am planning to buy a DSLR Camera from Hong Kong and I am looking for ways to be shipped to me with very minimum charge. Do you think a post office or via EMS (Express Mail Service) is fine? Hope to hear from you. Thanks,

    Jam Izz

  49. Mark says

    Hi Bob I bought a clipper from Amazon i wanna know when I can received the
    Package here in Pampanga? Here is the tracking:

    Processed Through Sort Facility April 20, 2012, 10:55 am PHILIPPINES

    Processed Through Sort Facility April 03, 2012, 5:26 pm ISC MIAMI FL (USPS)

    Arrived at Sort Facility April 03, 2012, 5:25 pm ISC MIAMI FL (USPS)

    Processed through USPS Sort Facility March 31, 2012, 12:33 am TAMPA, FL 33605

    Dispatched to Sort Facility March 30, 2012, 6:06 pm SARASOTA, FL 34232

    Acceptance March 30, 2012, 4:57 pm SARASOTA, FL 34232

  50. Charlie Tuna says

    Just and FYI, I just received a 7 lb. package USPS International Priority Mail.
    It shipped from Michigan in the U.S. on March 24th and we took possesion here at the Post Office in Dumaguete yesterday April 24th.

  51. says

    Nice to read that you haven’t had any overcharging experience, but I have news for you that the post office, despite how good it might sound, since it is under government, they also overcharge…those other companies, if they do it, might be doing it also since many of us first blames the government. IT IS A DOUBLE-EDGE SWORD that we are dealing with.

    When the postal fee was only P35 back than, I was being asked for P1,500 to 2,000 to pick up my package and even though a tracker was on it, those back at home, once it left the country it was in, could not promise much after it leaves the country it came from.

    FIRST – when those back at home said it was already in my location, the post office never sent me a notice to the house I was in at the time, and then when the post office knew about it they said it needed to be viewed by customs, and by the way, for those of you who are foreigners, most government workers negligent and never gives proper eye contact, so when customs did reply back to the post office, you wont believe it but they charged me, or tried to charge me, almost P2,000 and acted like it was nothing for someone like me to pay and ignored even trying to explain why they fee was being asked until i showed that i was not playing games with their silence I showed my rights to information.

    They asked at the post office, “do you know what is in the box?” and i replied “yes, but that is for me to know and all that matters is did the post office in my country okay for it to be sent,” so than the officer said “you have ear-rings in your box” which i than laughed and said “no, they are not ear rings but ear plugs to censor out the noise in loud places. Would you like for me to open the box right here in front of you to let you see for yourself?”

    So, he sent me to Customs, which was 2 jeep rides away, to see on getting it marked off. When i arrived at customs they tried to ignore me by acting as if i was never there or to say “just pay it” but i remember a lawyer said “anything above the P35, which is P40 today, is corruption and i requested it to be removed so i was tossed from one desk to the next when finally the first desk signed it off when they knew how serious i was.

    Even on a box of books being sent for mission purposes was over taxed on me and even a box sent from a church to a church was taxed on me.

    So, even though customs is government that receives their income through daily taxes, not normally from our added fees, it just as corrupt.

    Right now I have a government worker living in my area and they laughed when i shared about all these added fees and asked of me to use people i trust in the country instead of doing it myself so when my next box arrives this year you better believe it that I will let them see just how we foreigners are treated.

    “Delay of tactics” is another terrible issues so terribly played out in government and the QUESTION is WHY because they are negligent and most of those in government are only in those positions because of the people they know who got them in there.

    Despite how a receipt might be not even them can you trust because one officer, after my complaint was received admitted that i was overcharged and refused to return the extra money taken from me.

    READ CHRISTINE L. DIAZ “THE OTHER PHILIPPINE HISTORY TEXTBOOK” if you can find one still in print for it says it so clearly that the Spanish has never left the country but has remained through the influence they have implanted within this country’s very own people especially those in government who misuses their position for power instead of an act of service to the people.

    As Dorothy from the “Wizard of Oz” once said “There’s no place like home,” a quote Dorothy repeats return home to Kansas, and, as for me, i can’t wait to get back home to my own country after my wife finishes her RN degree.

    Many ask for me to stay but after what i have experienced, I am better off back in my own country. It is my hope that Noynoy really quiets down most of the corruption I have experienced and rids the offices of negligent officers who does not take their act of duty serious towards helping people…government is not a place to sit and wait on a pay check but an act of service to the people and as one quote, i remember reading in a book but do not know where even though i try many times to find it again, the quote shared “if you are in government for the money you are better off going out for there are greener fields else where in life than here in the government which is for one thing only to provide service to the people.”

  52. Wilfred Lopez says

    Hello Bob, I found your blog from a web search and find it to be very interesting. Last week I won an IPAD in an online contest, and the company who organized the contest sent the package via fedex. I think the package value is @500-$550.

    I am worried since most of the reviews of Fedex overcharges the tax are rampant all over the internet. The package came from the US, can you share some of your experience how much tax would I pay for that kind of value of package? by the way I am now on Davao City.

    I will wait for your response. Thanks Bob and more power to you

  53. shia says

    hi bob! i`m gonna send a letter to u.s.a via PHILPOST and i want it to get there 2weeks maximum..
    how much would that cost? and is it true that customs will open to check the letter? won`t it ruin the letter envelope?? it`s my first time,so,i really don`t know..

  54. megluvs2read says

    Hi! I am planning to buy a laptop battery on ebay that will be shipped from China via Hongkong Post going here in the Phils. The total cost including shipping is $35. I have no idea how to compute for whatever it is the customs will charge. Can you explain to me what the customs is charging? Thanks.

  55. Ford says

    If you have items that are to be shipped via Fedex, have them sent on weekends so they arrive on weekdays. They charge extra for storage fees on weekends.

  56. CountryGirl says

    Hi, I sent a package via USPS priority mail from Vermont to Pampanga….Since May 5,2012 it’s already in Pasay…and latest update is “Customs Clearance” May 19,2012….I am hoping that my daughter will get her package this week before her birthday….

  57. Carlo says

    hello! This is a very nice post! Thanks for the information.
    When I order my puzzles in Hongkong I use the Post Office to receive the items.
    AND GLADLY I ONLY PAY 40 PESOS. This 40 pesos is payment for the storage. But it takes 2 -weeks before I receive my order/items.

  58. Ford says

    Mine has this status for 7 days now.
    Processed Through Sort Facility
    May 14, 2012, 3:23 pm

    It usually reaches custom clearance within the same day or two. Should I be worried?

  59. kurei says

    I received a claiming stub from PhilPost… I read a few blogs and this one is actually different from the rest… Most are negative comments most specially about the obscured and confusing computain of taxes…

    I do hope I will only pay 40 pesos just like the others but I will definitely tell you my experience when I get my parcel.

  60. Xen says

    hi! my gf in Singapore sent thru Fedex the DSLR camera that she bought 3 months ago in Singapore that cost 970SGD or around 32,500 pesos. We used the camera when we traveled to Cambodia last March, in Taiwan in May and going to use next week in Indonesia. It’s her first time to send thru Fedex and both of us got shocked when the fedex called me that the custom charge is amounting to 5,088 pesos. Why the custom has to charge us with that amount? What made us upset, my gf paid 200SGD or around 6,500 pesos for shipment and i have to pay 5,088 pesos for custom charge and local charge of around 1,000 for storage fee as per fedex staff. That is really too much, almost same cost of the return ticket to Singapore and Philippines. The camera is not mine, it’s not new and i will return it to my gf living in singapore. Why when my gf send any packages thru LBC and other carriers, it doesn’t cost that much and i never paid anything, i just received. She even sent a laptop worth around 40K pesos and i didn’t pay anything and she only paid around 5K for the shipment. I’m sorry, i’m not that really good in English. I hope u will understand. Thank u.

    • says

      Hi Xen – I can’t answer why they charge those kind of prices. While I am not certain, I would guess that you are Filipino… if so, it is your country, and you are more able to do something about this than I am as a foreigner. Make some noise and make the system change. That’s the only way that you can improve your country.

  61. Chris_hb says

    Hi bob, my friend sent me a steering wheel for computer gaming which is 15lb in weight and the usps tracking says ,
    “Customs Clearance        PHILIPPINES                            05/15/12  2:34pm”

    What does this mean? How long should i wait before i called the customs? How long does it usually take to be delivered here at my house? And lastly, do you think i will be paying any taxes for this? Thanks in advance tom

  62. mhaya says

    Philippines’ Customs really sucks… As i sent a stuff cost 420 pesos to my sister they charge 1900 pesos! they are not helping they are burden to filipino people. I hope government can clearly see this thing!

  63. Zen says

    My friend and I buy model kits from a certain website. We’ve been buying for a long time now.
    At first we were scared of the postal office. We received our first package and it came with a P1000 peso custom charge. The item was originally priced at around $50. nothing big we thought first.
    The 2nd package arrived and we were charger P1,500 for that one. This was all in the Paranaque branch.
    The 3rd package came and we only paid P40 then which surprised us a lot. It was also almost closing time for the post office and they were rushing my friend who was picking it up.
    We tried to change locations and so we requested the next package to be sent in Pasay city. We picked it up and had to pay P1,200 for the package.
    We switched again to Las Pinas and had to pay around P800 for the package.
    We finally switched our mailing address again to Cavite city and from then on every package we get we’re only being charged P40.

  64. rizzie says

    Hi Bob, nice blog, very informative! :)

    I am currently waiting for a package from USPS and I would just like to ask two things. 1. Do you have an idea/estimate how much customs will charge for clothes and/or shoes from US? 2. Do you know what should be the next update would be for tracking remarks below?
    *** Your item was processed through a facility in PHILIPPINES on May 30, 2012 at 10:39am. The item is currently in transit to the destination. [Endicia Status]***
    *** Service: Priority Mail International Parcels, Status of Your Item: Processed Through Sort Facility, Date & Time: May 30, 2012, 10:39am, Location: Philippines [ – Track & Confirm]***


    P.S. I haven’t received the package or note from the post office yet so I’m worried that I’ll be charged too much for non-designer stuff and that something might be wrong with the delivery =/

    • says

      Likely the tracking will never be updated. Once the item is in the Philippines, that is the norm.

      I have no way of knowing how much the customs charges will be.

  65. says

    thanks i read all the comments it’s lighten me up. I’ve tried many courier including PhilPost, I’ve found philphost is better they charge me 40 peso. I have an incoming item to be shipped door to door this 11:00 pm this evening and they texted me to my cellphone about the duties and taxes that was cost about 1871.66 pesos. The item cost is 3,125.00 pesos from china, that was 50% of the item price. This blog post was the same of the above mentioned. Thanks bob. I’m waiting this time with my package. Have a nice day ahead!

  66. lola says

    Hi just want to ask coz i just recently bought CD’s from korea in Ebay and they shipped it thru EMS, provided with tracking number. When I checked its status its already here in the Philippines dated 6/14, handed over to the Customs. Will I get those items delivered to my house or will I go to the Customs or Post office to get the items? Do I also get to pay taxes? I was getting worried because its my first time buying something abroad. Thanks!

  67. Bernard says

    Good day to all. I’m a seafarer. On June 01, 2012 our ship was in Indonesian port and I ordered online an item worth $200 from a US online store. I paid $45 for the flat rate shipment and I knew I have to pay for the tax. On June 08, I requested from the seller to provide me the tracking number of my package. He replied that he will forward in due course as my package is sent thru USPS and tracking number is not generated automatically. Just because I work onboard the ship, only on June 18 I followed up my requested tracking number. I checked on USPS online using the tracking and found out that my package arrived in the Philippines on June 08. I called my wife to check my package at our town post office. She informed me that my package arrived on June 18 in our town post office which is 30km from Iloilo city. She paid 40pesos for the package.
    I suggest that if you are living in the city, you have to check personally your package or mail in your city post office. Living in town or barangay you have to check it in your town post office. I noticed in our town post office, packages and other mails which need signature of receivers are kept in the post office. Ordinary mails are distrubuted thru our Barangay Captains/Chairmen, local school teachers and even ourselves can check it and claim our own mails. Their reason is that they don’t have enough time to deliver as they are only two working in the post office.
    I recommend that you have to inform your friends or relatives to advise you in advance when sending package or mail. Surprise package or mail should be sent thru private companies but of course not at 40pesos rate.
    I hope this will help.

  68. raymundhere says

    Hellow Bob, Im planning to buy a CD and DVD’s in… what should i do so that i can get low cost of charges?, i LIve in Naga city Camarines Sur. I need to pu the adress of the Post office here or put my house adress? THANK U!

  69. Eric says

    Hi Bob, thanks for the great info. I thought what I chose to do was wrong but it seems it’s alright. I got one question though, do you know how long will it take for customs to get over with the process? I had a box that weight about 20lbs, and had many things inside like camera, bags, and chocolates. I used EMS (Express Mail Service) and sent it on June 11, now it’s 22nd in Philippines and still have “Customs Clearance” on it. The package I’m sending is going to Tarlac, any idea if it’s gonna be delivered or will the receiver needs to get it via post office?

  70. Channing says

    In 2009 I sent a laptop to my fiance’ with accessories by USPS Global Express and it arrived fine, no customs fee that I remember.

    Now that I’m living here, however, my Mom sent me a package about 5 days ago and USPS would not let her send it Global Express because of “difficulties” they said with delivery. So she had to shell out a whopping $185 for Express International…a lot more than I had to pay to send the laptop.

    And the value inside is much, much less as well….smokeless tobacco, a few clothes I left with my Mom when I came here, and some Rice-A-Roni and other food items….

    I also suspect it will be held up by customs for awhile, but not sure.

  71. B says

    Hi Bob! I plan on ordering a 4d cityscape puzzle from the US. It it written it will be shipped thru USPS First Class Mail International, amounting to around $20-22. The product costs $30. Will I be charged with a huge amount to claim my package? Or is it still php40?

  72. David says

    i just sent some cloths to my wife from the US using USPS all online, about 460 dollars in stuff and was chared 5777peso for it, not to bad about a 1 to 4 ratio.

  73. kapkaj says

    I ordered a digitizer and a tool kit for cellphone on ebay from China last June 8 and they sent it via philpost. A notice arrived after 10 days, June 18 to get the package in the post office and a 40 pesos fee. To Bacoor, Cavite post office…good job!

  74. Francis says

    Having your parcel delivered thru postal service no longer works, based on a very recent experience.

    I bought a pair of Lacoste sneakers at ebay thinking that I will be able to get it cheaper that way and lo and behold, the parcel went thru customs and charged me almost PHP 2,000.00!!!!!

    I have another one arriving so I am preparing same amount and then after that no more online shopping for me =/

  75. John says

    Hi Bob. Do you know by any chance a reason why I could not link my paypal to my eon card? I just applied recently around 2 weeks ago. I already asked unionbank abt it but they said there aren’t any problems with it, my card is active and there are no restrictions. Perhaps you know the answer?

    • says

      Hi John – I am sorry, I would really have no way of knowing. I know that my EON card works fine for Paypal. Did you have any money in your EON account when you tried to set it up?

      • John says

        Yes, there is money. I’ve been trying link already for days but it just doesn’t want to. Anyway, thanks for the quick response Bob!

  76. knoffler says

    i sent my item to my wife using the postoffice in japan..
    just like you, the first few times i sent the items my wife only had to pay the 40 pesos fee. but now all of a sudden they want her to pay for the i tem i had recently sent. iphones. i sent an iphone before and she received it with no problems. please let me know what’s going on here. I also always put the items as gifts and now the post office is claiming that i didn’t not put the price on items which i did.

    • says

      Hi knoffler – Sorry, I don’t work for the Bureau of Customs, nor do I work for PhilPost, so I really don’t have any way of knowing for certain what is happening. I wish I could help, but I can only report my experiences.

  77. carl says

    Hi sir bob is it normal my package takes too long?
    it is being held in customs last july 10,2012. it is a pair of shoes. do you think it is stolen or lost?hte package was sent via usps priority mail the status of my package is still customs clearance. should i get worried now?:/ what should i do?please help :(

  78. ache says

    I’m about to order dolls from e-bay but i am afraid that the customs would charge a huge fee for them. if i would use usps priority mail, i am afraid that the dolls would not arrive at all. what is the best option for this?

  79. rinroh says

    Hello Bob, I’m planning to buy a laptop from Indiana, US. Condition is used for probably only $120.
    What do you think is the best type of delivery I should use? I’m not really sure. And preferably not being victimized by notorious custom taxes.

    Thank you.

  80. Elpon says

    Hello Sir Bob,
    I currently bought used office equipment (blueprint machine) from North Carolina, USA through eBay, weighing 100lbs and has the dimension of 68″x18″x12″-box. The amount of item is US$175 and the shipping cost almost US$885(FedEx), a total of US$1060. I ask the seller to ship it to FedEx so that I can use it in the first week of September. Any idea how much I will pay for this kind of package? I don’t have idea since I didn’t bought like this huge things before on eBay. Thank you Sir Bob.

  81. Kyrene says

    Hi Sir Bob,

    This is a very helpful article. Thank you for sharing. I will be sharing this to my friends as well.

    Anyway, just few days ago, I ordered online (from China) this pulse oximeter device that will be used for my grandmother homecare support. I paid USD17.00 for that item and USD18.00 for the shipping fee (DHL). The value declared by my shipper is actually USD10.00, making it non-taxable as he said so. The item arrived the DHL facility in Iligan City last Saturday and my mom got a call from them and askd for this Duties and Taxes that they said the customs had charged them — amounting to PHP1130.60. This is crazy as it’s almost 300% of the declared value!

    I got back to my shipper. He told me thay have sent emails to the DHL Philippines and have screamed at their forwarder but as of now, there’s still no progress.

    What should I do now? Can I threat DHL of filing a complaint against them so that I will end up paying just the correct tax (PHP40.00 or accordingly) or not paying anything at all? They said they have the receipt issued by the customs. And this is ridiculous as they ended up paying it in my behalf.

    Please advice me Sir Bob. Thank you so much.

    • says

      As far as I know you have only two options, either pay and get the package, or don’t pay, and you won’t get it. It is crazy, but I know of nothing you can do to change it.

      • Kyrene says

        Thanks for the reply Sir Bob.

        This is ridiculous! I will talk to them tomorrow. If this is the case, I guess my last option is to humbly ask for discount. *sigh*

        Thank you again.

  82. Red says

    Hello Bob,

    My client in Chicago send laptop to me via USPS using Express Mail International send to me here in Davao City. It was send last August 14, 2012 and my client says it would take 7 -10 days according to USPS before I received it but until now it does not been delivered to me. I will go to post office tomorrow to inquire about it. I’m worried about the package. Any suggestion?Thank you

  83. Common Sense says

    Make sure to check with customs about the duty or cost of shipping hazardous materials to any places in the world you intend to get it shipped to, batteries are hazardous materials, if you’ll be able to get it shipped, most likely, shipping will be a bit overhelming.

  84. Red says

    Hello Bob,

    oh, Sorry I was wrong it was ship via USPS using Priority Mail International. I go to the Post Office here in Davao last August 31, 2012 the post office say’s the package did not arrived yet, the post office man say’s it will take 3 weeks to 1month they same as you said. That package is very important to me I’m hoping that it will arrived safe and delivered. Thanks for the information Bob.

  85. Ann says

    Hi bob,
    Reading to all of your comments and advice is so wonderful.thank you so much for making me understand.just today we paid $85.00 for the customs charges as they called it.first week of August we send used laptop ( notebook) to the Philippines through FedEx and we put an amount for$75.00 and we paid $100 plus for the shipment.two weeks later or so they deliver it to the receiver and charge them like P3,000 plus for the customs the receiver didn’t accept it and the next day the FedEx called us and ask if who gonna fee for the charges,my husband told them to abondon it but the FedEx says that even if we’re going to abondon it the Philippines customs will still charge us,it means we don’t have any reason of not paying it…it really makes me mad…

  86. Red says

    Hi Bob, I check my package earlier at the post office and it’s already there. They told me come back tomorrow because no customs personel was in the post office earlier. Do you have any idea of how much ” customs fee ” should I pay?Thanks

  87. mckenzee says

    hi, i would like to share my experience.

    Last Aug.01 i bought a food supplement in the internet for my girlfriend and noted as a “gift” and it cost me $180 approx. php7750 for 8pcs. bottle container and its free of shipping for a priority flat rate box. i didn’t know that merchandiser would choose USPS for air courier.It took a couple of weeks before it arrive to the Philippines. when i check the tracking number it says it is still process in the sort facilities in the Philippines and sit there for a couple of weeks before my girlfriend receive a letter from the post office that it is ready for pickup.
    finally, we go to the Quezon city post office for pick up at around 12:20pm but it break time so we wait and fall in line. around 1pm it is open and go to window # assigned. I paid only php40 for storage fee.after that the moment of truth they open the box and ask me to see whats inside, I’ve already prepare my php2000 for some reason they would overcharge me for other duty taxes like i read on the blog sites that they would overcharge . luckily due to uncomfortable ambient inside and the long wait line they only made small cut line in the box and they only saw instructional manual and other goodies i purchased that makes it assorted. and then they said i can have my parcel! =)
    ——my advice, approach the custom officer in good mood! =)

  88. Chris M. says

    I was hoping you could answer a question about something. I recently shipped something with a declared value of $350. I shipped it express internation via usps, but I’m worried about customs fees now. Is there a chance that the recipient will be expected to pay a large some of money? She received a slip telling her to go pick it up on monday.

    Should i wire her some money just in case? Any advice would be helpful.

    • says

      Hi Chris, I really have no way of knowing for certain what will happen. If she already received notice, then she just needs to go and find out what the fees are. If she does not have enough to pay, I am sure they will hold the packagecwhile youbsend funds.

      Good luck.

  89. Deigo says

    Hi Bob, my fiance and I were planning to order 100 pieces of personalized key chains for our wedding favors. May I ask if you happen to know how much the customs will charge for these giveaways? Thanks

  90. gossipgreyshow says

    Please help! My American BF sent me a package that contains a touchscreen Nikon camera, tripod, perfumes, body lotion, soaps, polos for my brother, DVDs and a debit card. He sent it via USPS. I have tracked the package and it arrived last September 3, 2012 to the Philippines. It’s been two weeks and the package was still not dispatched. I went to the local Post Office here in my town in Bulacan, and they told me that they weren’t able to get the package because they were told that the package is still being inspected by the Customs people. What will I do? Is it okay to just pick up the package in the Central Post Office? Are they gonna charge a tax? Is there a possibility that the package could get lost? Please help me. Anyone here who had the same experience? Thanks!

    • gossipgreyshow says

      I had no problem with the other package that was sent to me by my BF on August 2, 2012… Got the package at the local post office on the 24th. Was it because the package only contained shirts, soaps, bags, and sunglasses? Why am I experiencing it now with this second package that contains a camera and other stuffs? Please help.

  91. Jef says

    Just want to know if i buy a book from will it be charged also? and if i want it to be delivered in postal office here in iloilo should i put the address of postal office instead of my home?


  92. Gege says

    Hello Mr. Bob.
    I purchased a book online from overseas.
    And it was my first time.
    It says there that it will be sent thru Royal Mail Airmail. what does that imply?

  93. tia says


    I just wanna ask. A friend of mine from the US wanted to send me some stuff mostly personal items. It’s just a small package. He will be sending it through a FedEx, or DHL (private courier). Will I still pay the taxes when the package arrives here in the Philippines?

    Or does the taxes only apply to packages sent via Postal Office?

    Also, I want to send him something. Will the personnel at the post office inspect the package for valuation before I’m able to send it? or can I just box the things up when i go to the post office?

    Hope you can help me with this.



    • MindanaoBob says

      Hi Tia – Yes, there will be taxes to pay when your package arrives. When packages come in through a private courier like DHL or FedEX, the taxes are much higher than if the package comes in via the post office.

      Yes, it is likely that your package contents will need to be inspected before the post office will accept it.

      Good luck to you.

        • tia says

          Hi Bob,
          One more thing. When your package arrived via post office, did you have to get it the Postal Office near your place or was it delivered to you personally?

          Thanks again,

          • MindanaoBob says

            Hi tia – I highly recommend that you read the article. The information that you are asking is clearly stated in the article.

    • tia says

      *****Please ignore or delete the upper comment.

      I just wanna ask about this part:

      “Also, I want to send him something. Will the personnel at the post office inspect the package for valuation before I’m able to send it? or can I just box the things up when i go to the post office?”


  94. Noel says

    Hi Bob,

    I was scouring the web for info regarding the Priority Mails, we’ll I’d like your two cents on my situation,.. I’m planning to buy a watch online, the company is based on Singapore, the watch costs a little more than $1K, and it is stated on their site that I can have door to door shipment through UPS,.. I’m hesitant about how the package is going through customs, like as you said – it is notorious for corruption and needless to say ubiquitous complaints of theft and the likes.
    Hope to hear from you! Thanks!

  95. Kdyz says

    40 php? really?! I just ordered a psvita that costs me around 197 usd and when it arrived we tried to claim it and they wanted 8175 pesos! and it was sent via standard international shipping from us? any corruption there?

    • Kdyz says

      is there a way to bargain around this?, inside it is a birthday greeting for me from the sender, it was supposed to come in at 21 but was delayed, I don’t want to pay that much tax cause if I do pay then buying a psvita here would be like way cheaper, I want to lower it to like maybe just 5000, that’s the max that I could waste on it….

    • MindanaoBob says

      Something like a PS Vita will have a fair amount of customs on it. Any kind of electronics will be like that. The charge of P8175 seems excessive, but that seems how they do it here.

  96. Daniel-a-nator!!! says

    This isn’t how things work here in Manila – here, they ask for receipt no matter how small the package is. They even ask the real price of the item even if it’s marked there.

    …and people who receive gifts from around the world get charged a lot

    This is how things work here in the big cities – I have heard that provinces do let the small packages go. They will always pay P40, no matter how much the declared value is.

  97. says

    Hi Bob,

    Sorry to bother. Just wanted to ask for some advice. I live in Davao City and I was planning to order something from Amazon. Nothing too expensive, under $60.. I wanted to ask if you’ve ordered anything lately and how much were you charged for it (customs, I mean)? Also, how did you go about it? Which shipping option should I choose? Was the item delivered straight to your address or did you have to pick it up from the post office near Roxas?

    Thanks and sorry for all the questions. :)

    Kind Regards,


    • MindanaoBob says

      I recommend that you use postal delivery if possible, as the customs is less in that case. As the article says, I have been paying only P40 when packages come through the postal service. Pick up the packages at the Main Post Office on Roxas.

  98. glenn says

    hi bob..i will asked if how much will be the possible custom pay for the parcel worth 130 usd..approximately 5400 pesos..using ems.? i was planning to buy shoes from an online store..but im worried about the tax…can you give me an estimated value Bob? based on your experience..thank you.

  99. an baron says

    hi bob! i live in mindanao i ordered item from uk, but its 2months the item did arrived, but the tracking the item from royal mail, the item did arrived at Philippines. do you where to file complaint at PHilpost or do you whats the tel. no of luzon philpost?

  100. JOHN says

    Hi SIr Bob, how about if we order from amazon online and we have send the package like an iPad or another gadget via Johnny Air Cargo? Is the shipping cost and tax expensive through this cargo company? Another thing, is what online store from the Philippines that sells gadgets that sells according to the SRP without the GST Tax? Is there such an online site? I have seen that when I order let’s say an iPod iTouch from the apple online store in the Philippines, it said that shipping is free but they ask for additional payment that covers the GST tax. How come they ask for this when shipping is free?

    • MindanaoBob says

      The Apple online store, I believe, ships from Singapore. You have to pay the Government Sales tax of Singapore on your purchase.

  101. John Miele says

    Bob: You know, sometimes it is funny how they calculate. I sometimes think that someone at customs sits there just pulling numbers out of thin air. My company just sent me some new brochures a couple of weeks ago via Chronopost (The French post office express mail service). These were very obviously promotional brochures with no cash value, nothing else in the box… Got hit with P1,700 duty.

    Not so much the duty that bothered me, but moreso the hassle of getting it paid… When Philpost called me prior to delivery, I should say 4 or 5 times, they couldn’t seem to believe that anyone would pay duty on this… They made the assumption that I would reject the shipment. So, several days pass, no delivery, then another call. I say “yes”, deliver them, and wait again. Repeat X 4.

    Strange situation.

  102. Jan says

    Hi Mr. Bob,

    Thank you very much for your post. It’s very informative, however, I am still quite confused. You mentioned that the customs charge is for the big shipping companies like FedEx and DHL, right? Well, I got a package from Japan the other day and I used EMS to ship it. I was charged more than $50 for it and I was very surprised. It was only through postal service but the customs charge is very expensive. Does this mean that EMS uses FedEx or DHL? The amount of the items in the package is around $300 if that helps. Hope to hear if you can enlighten me in this situation. Thanks so much for your time.

  103. gel says

    Hello mr. bob

    Wanna ask if how much do you think the custom will gonna charge my sister with two mobile(samsung galaxy s2) from sweden? Even i will write it’s a gift do they still need to pay ?

    Thank you in advance!

  104. hardol cruz says

    Hey Bob,
    I have a laptop that I bought it 6 months ago, and I wanted to send it to my niece in Baguio city, do you think the USPS is the best place to send it. Do you think it’s safe. Thank you for your info.

    • MindanaoBob says

      Personally, I would not trust sending a laptop through the Philippine Postal system. That is only my personal opinion. What you do is your choice.

    • Mark says

      hi hardol,

      please don’t ship valuable item using the postal service, my friend sent me a bass guitar last oct 16,2012 and until now it haven’t arrived. she mailed it from california and after 1 week, it arrived here in the philippines after arriving in the philippines it was sent for customs clearance. it is sitting there for more than 2 weeks now, i’ve been asking our postmaster here in baguio city but he has no idea when it will be cleared, he told me that one of the parcel in his office was in customs possession for almost months!

      i also want to share my experince with DHL. i’ve ordered 9 pcs lomography film for about 30USD in hongkong it arrived here in the philippines after 1day but DHL told me to pay 50USD for customs fee! i’ve checked for the rate computation is customs website and it is nowhere near their claim. i’ve asked them for the breakdown but they told me that the can’t provide that, i think my 50USD lined up their pocket.

  105. kendi says

    Hi there all!

    please let me know any idea will be so useful. If parcel is unclaimed in Pasay customs would they return it to the sender, as this is what was stated in the paper attached to the parcel.

  106. Eubree says

    Hi, I am planning to buy this toy/plush from ebay and I’ve found 2 types of delivery from 2 sellers. the other one’s USPS Priority mail international and the other’s USPS first class mail international. The former’s more expensive than the other and I don’t get the difference between the 2. Which is better?

    And would it be advisable if I buy it at this time of the year? (christmas season) I am quite more concerned on our country’s system. I’m afraid I would waste my money once the system here ruins the shipping.

    • MindanaoBob says

      Hello Eubree – The Priority mail will be faster than the first class. Other than that, they should be handled in an identical manner.

  107. kris says

    hi bob, thanks for the info, I am really annoyed by how my goods are being taxed at customs. i bought this goods from china, they had many shipment method to choose from but i chose the cheap method, and that’s the fedEx at that moment, paid the shipment and hoping nothing was the problem until the air21 called me and said i had to pay for the customs tax which is much expensive than the goods itself. i am wondering cause, its my 3rd time to placed an order online and the first 2 orders were delivered by lbc which had no tax and by now, i was shocked that, if only i know this would happen, i won’t take any risk. i should have bought here at local store than wait for 7 days, paid the tax, poor quality the end, i pay money for some kind of a hell..

    • MindanaoBob says

      If you are a Filipino, Kris, complain to the government about this. If enough complain, maybe something will be done.

    • John Ryan says

      I had a similar experience, FedEx Philippines charges a Storage Fee and a Individual Entry Form Fee on top of a Customs Fee Listed as “Other Government Charges”. These are ALL subject to a 12% VAT, so, a No Declared Value item shipped from the US, this time, a “warranty” sports headset, which cost close to Php3,000 to send via FedEx to begin with, would incur you around Php1,250. Only 250 of that amount is the actual Customs (gov’t) fee. The rest goes to guess what – FedEx!

  108. Bruce says

    I bought a game on ebay and it cost about 53.88$ I have the tracking number and it’s in Philpost. Will customs tax me a lot?

  109. Bruce says

    I bought a game on ebay and it cost about 53.88$ I have the tracking number and it’s in Philpost. Will customs tax me a lot?

  110. zee says

    Hi Bob. I’m from cebu. I’m expecting a package from the U.S. It just a box of cosmetics. I usually have it shipped via USPS and I’ve had no problems getting them from the post office. But this time, I don’t know what came over me, I sent it using Fedex. Now, I’m worried that I’ll be charged for customs and taxes. :(

    • Isshi says

      Well you will be. Last year I did order cosmetics. The package itself cost about 2000 in peso and I paid Fedex for roughly 30 dollars. So the total cost for the package is more than 3000 in peso. My package arrive really fast but then I was charged about 1800. It was delivered on our door and tax was collected on the spot. I felt robbed that time since I can’t even make a proper complaint. On the computation, it shows that shipping was included in the tax computation. The actual computation was actually not printed. Fedex doesn’t have a physical company here. It was delivered by a local forwarding company.

  111. Mike says

    Hi Bob,

    I want to order a circuit board for a hard drive from the US. The item costs $35. The options for shipping are below. Which one would you recommend? Thanks.

    USPS First Class or Air Mail
    Free Shipping $0.00
    Federal Express
    International Economy $45.55
    International Priority $61.27
    United States Postal Service
    First-Class Mail International Large Envelope $11.01
    Priority Mail International $35.25
    Express Mail International $43.95

  112. Marielle says


    I bought 4 used calculators (all from the same seller) for $16.00. The shipping costs is $12.00. He sent it via USPS First-Class Mail International. Will these be delivered to my doorstep or do I have to claim it at the post office or at the customs office? How much should I expect to pay? Also, it was shipped on January 07, 2013 from Ohio. Do you know the estimated time of arrival here in the Philippines. Thank you very much!

        • says

          Sure, I would say you should expect to pay between P 20 to P 2000. On items of a similar value, I have paid wide ranging charges like this. That is how wild ranging Philippine customs is, and why I try not to answer questions like yours. There is just no way to give an estimate that is even close.

  113. Nahla says

    I once received a package containing one used Harry Potter book from the US before, I lived in the ARMM region back then. It was sent via first class, though I can’t remember which company though. I received the parcel, and it didn’t cost me a penny. To tell you the truth, I was really surprised.

  114. Anne says

    Hello, my boyfriend send me an ipad mini and some other stuff through USPS. He sent it last dec 23 the package is currently with the Philippine custom since Jan 15, my question is how long do u think it will be delivered in my house since its been a week…? Thank you.

  115. Anthony says

    Hi, the 40 pesos charge used to work for me. I live in metro manila. But just this morning I received the notice from philpost about the cellphone battery that i bought from ebay for only 7.98 dollars (320 pesos more or less). when i got to the post office i paid 40 and then they are asking for another 720 pesos for customs duties and taxes! That’s more than 2x the price of the battery. I was thinking like, “What! This is absurd!” So i just politely said to the person (who was never there before on my previous claims) that i don’t have that money because i was expecting the same price.

  116. Marinell says

    Hi, last Jan. 6, 2012, my mother-in-law sent us a package (DVD set and 30 books) with a total value of $68. It took 10 days for us to claim it and I paid P44 for a Medium Flat Rate box. Then, last July 30, 2012 she sent another package (Digital Camera) worth $150. Sadly it took almost 2 months to received it, but the worst part, they charge me P1425 for BOC. Now my husband sent a package worth $300, he sent it last Jan. 25, 2013, when I tracked it, it’s already here last Jan. 28 and still at the sorting facility…I’m hoping it will arrive soon because all of the items in there are for my baby.

  117. chargeittoexperience says

    i ordered some products in the US with a total declared value of 2000 dollars sent via DHL…which is now being held and taxes yet to be declared…upon reading this thread i might as well say adieu to my 2000 bucks.

  118. says

    hi..i’m waiting for the package my sister sent last January 22, 2013. it’s from SanFo and i’m in Misamis Oriental near Cagayan de Oro. i have her tracking number and i saw that its now in the Philippines under process thru sort facility….i’m really excited because she sent books-thick ones…she paid $70 for it….

  119. Carol says

    Hi. I am waiting for a package (dslr camera) a gift from a friend in the US, the USPS told her that it would take like 3-5 days for the package to be received. It has been more than a week now and based on the track and trace website it has been in customs clearance for days now and hasn’t been moved out. My friend had it registered and insured, when I searched the web regarding this “customs clearance” I found out that there are so many complaints already about packages/boxes that got lost and never reached its destination. I am searching for a number where I can inquire about my package, but to no avail. When I called the post office they told me that the package was sent via Express Mail and it will not pass thru them so they adviced me to go and inquire at the Pasay Office, they gave me a number to call but the number seemed to be not in service. Do you have any number where I can make an inquiry on this? Thanks in advance

    • says

      The USPS did not know what they were talking about if they said it would take 3 to 5 days. It takes at least 2 weeks for a package from the USA to make it to the Philippines, go through customs, etc, before it will be delivered. That is just how the Philippines works. They are slow here. I have no number, sorry.

  120. says

    hi bob,,can i ask because my boyfrend send me a package it came from the USA,.like watch, i phone and set of jewelries,,,first they charge me on the set of jewelries of $1500 and then after i pay a couple of days they charge me again for a gold certicate of the jewelry and suddenly my boyfrend is in travel so again we pay $1350 for the custom again in manila,,and now they see an envelope which is my boyfrend accidentally put ther have a money inside,,thats the money he cant find b4,,and then now i call her and why my items is not deliver till now??? and thats they told me they see some money to the envelope,,and then i ask them what should we do,,they told they charge me again???is this true how many dollar we spend now???my package is deliver here in dubai and i dont know why it came in the philippines,,so many custom they pass by in usa,netherland and in malaysia,,they dont have problem,,,and i dont know what is the problem ther in the philippines custom,,,

  121. Jaymie says

    I can just imagine how rich these people in customs and post offices are whether in physical goods or cash “robbed” from victims like us who have no choice but to pay exorbitant rate which has no direct basis or standard ways of computation. As one of the messages here said “just get the mount out of the thin air”

    I won’t tell my exact story altho it’s similar to many of those here. I can just conclude that it’s not really a good idea to send something to PH unless it’s a worst scenario situation that you really really have to send it. There’s too much hassle, waiting, headache, and slash from your pocket. The savings that we thought we got from buying abroad will not be a savings at all.

    Thanks for all the messages here. They are helpful. I will just wait for the relative who is coming to bring the items to PH instead.

    Also, the website tracking of Philpost is useless since even if it says item has arrived it’s destination- it stays put in the post office for some more days upto 1 month and so. Expect stress when you’re shipping to PH.

    I hope someone working in the PO can expose the notorious activities of how exactly PH Post is.

  122. Marci says

    Hi…I have read a lot of bad experience using philpost for overcharging especially in luzon areas. I’m from Davao Oriental, my fiancee sent me about 10 packages already which value from 100 to $250 and pay P40 each for postal fee. But last week, fiancee send me package which contains iphone and ipad mini and some things which value $900. im a bit scared of charges than it will be lost or stolen cos it was insured. lol Sooo for a better protection I didnt addressed it to my home instead to my aunt who works in the municipality since they all know her. And i was thinking maybe the customs wont charge much since it will be from a person working in the government too. I’ll let u know when/if i get it and how much I have to pay.

      • Marci says

        Ty bob.. So I got it today! I thought I’m going to get it in 2 weeks but not. It was exact 6 working days(usps express mail int’l). My aunt text me that it arrives already that I should pay P50 for it. I went there as fast as I could and told the post office employee that I’m going to check first if some thing is missing. I’m glad everything was there and happily went back home. 😀

          • Mike says

            that sounds like reasonable time for them to decide if they want to steal my package or forward it to my local post office…you think if us Filipino citizens create some noise Phil customs will change it’s way? it’s about HOPE I can say. good luck!

  123. Mike says

    Hi Bob, just a quick question for me to have an idea what to do. I have these package sent last December from USA (USPS priority mail) and I received it in less than 6 weeks, not bad I only paid 40 php as I expected. so again I have the same package send to me (same weight, same process ) BUT since “January 24, 2013, 1:15 pm” on my tracking it is for “Custom Clearance” to mention package is already in the Philippines since “January 17, 2013”. until now I keep following up in PO but they cannot give me information. What do you suggest me to do if there’s any or is these just normal process and average time? Thanks Bob

    • says

      Hi Mike – I am really not sure what you can do. Did you ask at the post office if you can file some kind of complaint, to see if they can track it down? Also, since you said that your first package took about 6 weeks, it would seem that you are not too far beyond that on your second package. Maybe it will show up soon? Beyond that, I can’t really say.

      • Mike says

        Thanks Bob, I went to PO yesterday and wow! they said it’s normal, there’s what they have this tracking system only for them to use and PO told me some packages took 5-6 months in custom clearance, I just told them my brother didn’t sent the whole supermarket so it will take that long. and leave PO. maybe I’ll just wait the card on my door steps expecting 3 more months. weew! what else can we do right? we can’t make such noise to get their attention. Thanks again Bob. more power!

  124. jeeka says

    Hey Mindanaobob,

    I sent a package from the USA to your country the Philippines, but my girlfriends (yes you read it right) told me that they have not received it yet. What’s wrong with your freight service Mindanaobob???? Are you for real? I thought your service is fast with your exorbitant prices. Where are my packages for my GIRLFRIENDS? Here is the tracking number, in case you lost it too….MBOB-4568-222-O210

    • says

      It would seem tthat you are confused. I am not Filipino, so it is not my country or my postal service. Good luck with your package, but don’t blame me if you don’t like the service.

  125. Nastassia Leslie says

    Hello! Thanks for this info!

    Anyway, I was wondering if you know anything about packages from UK to the Philippines? I wanted to buy from this online store ( since they ship internationally. I was just worried that I would be charged for claiming my package, and I was also wondering if they will deliver it to my doorstep or I’d have to claim it or something. This is my first time to try buying items to be shipped.


    • says

      Hi Nastasisia – Thanks for dropping by my site and for commenting. I really don’t have an experience in receiving packages from the UK, but I would expect that it is about the same as from the USA, as it is once the package enters the Philippines when bad things and delays usually happen. If you read the comments here about experiences in receiving packages from the USA, I think those experiences are what you can expect.

  126. Niko says

    I bought some concert goods from Taiwan a year ago and they charged me P40 for the customs fee.
    I am planning to buy some dvds in Japan but I am worried they might charge me a large amount because some friends have experienced paying as much as P1500
    Is the customs charge dependent on the cost of the goods or on the weight of the items or from where it was sent?
    Thank you very much.

  127. Bee says

    Hi bob. My mother sent 3 tablets and 2 ipods. she paid shipping fee and now customs charged about 20,000 for pick up. is this normal? could the items be returned back to sender and would there be any fees if so? thanks.

    • says

      Hi Bee – It is not surprising to me that the customs charges are so high, given the value of the items shipped.

      There will be significant costs to send it back to the States, they won’t do that for free. If you don’t intend to pick the items up, probably they will just be confiscated by the Customs department.

      • Bee says

        thanks! i think its not appropriate to base the customs fee depending on the value of the items. they should’ve charged items at a fixed price cause the sender already shouldered the shipping fee.. :( anyway, thank you! this really helped me a lot.

  128. corjo says

    Wow what a long running article. Maybe you should do a book on shipping.
    In an effort to help, I would like to mention L.B.C. AIR CARGO they are not cheap but are good.
    They handle all Philippine customs and will even pack your items for you. Its £30 for laptop -netbook -tablet customs charge. £7 for a phone the same rates apply to used or new.
    The shipping charge from London to Visayas is £30 per kilo. The weekly container leaves on Friday so I drop my packages to their office Thursday morning and the packages are in delivered in Visayas on Monday morning.
    Another hint for packages to Philippines is that there is a 250 peso charge on informal postal packages as well as the customs duty. So if you ant to send several spare expensive batteries then send them with a phone or other electronics and declare them as spare batteries for that equipment. In that way you will pay duty on the equipment only. A replacement battery for a cell phone is charged at the same rate as the phone if it is not shipped with the phone.
    I never ship phones laptops or anything expensive through the post I have had some horrible experiences with Philpost.

  129. Eddy Peck says

    Its sad that the customs department is making it so hard to import goods, they are crippling the economy and technology advancement. Its just another one of the things that makes this country stay third world… comon philippines move to 2nd world some day get control of the customs dept….

  130. Rj says

    Hi Bob, I bought $220 worth of goodies weighting 7lbs, they are shipped with dhl , do you have any idea how much customs would charge me? cause for real I don’t really have any money in my hands to pay any custom fees

  131. Steven says

    Hi Bob, thank God I found this thread. It is of great help. I recently ordered a recording mixer from ebay. The sender used USPS Priority Mail International for the shipping. The item costs $129.99 and weighs about 7-9 lbs. Postage price was $74.75. I am not actually acquainted with the Customs rules on which items they put tax on (of which I believe they don’t really have set standards). Is my package heavy or expensive enough to be noticed by the Customs ‘crooks’?

    I ordered the item for my wedding in May. I’m a musician so my fiancee and I came up to this idea that we will record our own songs and put it in a CD for our wedding tokens (she always wanted something different, and I love her for that ^_^). I am expecting my order to arrive sometime next week since it was indicated that the business days would take 6-10 days. In your post and comments you said that items sent via USPS Priority Mail Int’l took 2-4 weeks to reach the destination. haha. That gave me a bit of a worry because we (badly) need the item a.s.a.p.

    Certainly, your post lifted up my hopes. Thanks Bob!


  132. Kaycee says

    I don’t mind paying for these charges as long as it’s within reason. I bought this “box” from this popular website, it contains different items picked by them. Normal value for the box is $40 + $17 shipping via Fedex. I had a coupon which was $25 off, thus I only paid $32. I estimate the charges would be Php1500 at the most for the package. I had items delivered to me by a different courier and was charged Php800 – 1500 for items worth $50 – 80. When I emailed Fedex asking how much I have to pay, they replied that I have to pay Php2300+, almost 200% of what I have paid. I then asked them to give me a breakdown and I never received a reply (they were prompt with random queries before hehe).

    I contacted the website where I bought the box from to ask if there is any way I can refuse the delivery, have it sent back and get a refund. They were really sorry for the additional charges and told me to attach an invoice so they can refund me. Now I kinda feel bad doing this because they need pay me $57 when I only paid $32 including shipping. I am not sure if they would actually do that, so I’m not keeping my hopes up. They have also told me that they have coordinated with Fedex and for future orders, I won’t be charged anymore for duties. Hmm.

    As for deliveries made via post office, I think it depends on the mood of the person inspecting the box. Based on my experience, I just pay Php40 storage fee for low value items $60 or less. But then, the lady beside me waiting at the post office said she was charged Php 500 for a cheap electric toothbrush.

  133. Andrew says

    Hi, I live in California and I have an ebay auction going for an Apple MacBook Pro Laptop and the high bidder is from the Phillipines. The bid is at $589 USD plus he would pay $70 for shipping through EMS. It;s states in the auction that there may be a customs fee, duty, or tax for international customers, so they must expect to pay some extra for taxes. I’ve read up on shipping through EMS and it seems unreliable for expensive items and they may get charged a lot? Would FedEx be more reliable? I know it costs more, but will the customs charges be more accurate through FedEx and will the laptop arrive safe and secure? Thanks!

  134. Marc says

    Wow. I never knew this at all. Yesterday was the first time that I ordered something online. I paid like $48 including shipping via FedEx. How much would you think I will pay for the customs charges? Thank you so much

  135. Odin says

    Hi Bob, first of all thank you for this post

    I just want to ask what you mean by sending it to the Post Office? Do you mean that instead of sending it to my home address, I will use the address of the post office to send my items? I am planning to buy some clothes from China and the seller only accepts EMS… I did buy a shoe once and I sent it directly to my home address. Guess what, the people over at the Customs raped me with their “magic” taxes…

    So do i have to use the address of the Post office instead of using my own address in order to avoid this? Then pick the item up at the post office when it arrives? I heard my friend saying he only paid 40 pesos and we even bought the same item! Maybe that’s what he did?

    Thanks and hope you can answer!

  136. Lawrence says

    Hi Bob, I just want to ask if I’ll avoid taxes if I use USPS to ship what I buy online to the Philippines.

  137. cristina says

    Hi Bob,

    we are thinking to shipping the our car from Korea to Philippines, do you have any advice?


  138. Tisha says

    Hi Bob!

    Thank you for making a post regarding this very controversial topic. I wanted to back you up in saying, STAY AWAY FROM FEDEX. And for Filipinos, do not use Air21, I don’t know how many times my heart has been broken and my shipments have ALWAYS been delayed when the shipper uses them as the courier.

    I was scouring the web for an affordable Kindle Paperwhite WiFi since the ones being sold on eBay, sulit, etc had an additional 2000+ PHP mark-up on it and the others being sold locally, were double the price of a Kindle Paperwhite. I eventually ended up deciding to purchase from a website called:, since the prices were the most reasonable ones I’ve come across and it was being sold for Php 5,499. I decided to purchase it and my mistake was in choosing my preferred mode of shipment. Since the Kindle was priced a few hundreds lower than what was being sold here, I picked the “FedEx International Priority” shipment option since after checking out the website and seeing that International Priority meant “shipping in 1-3 days, door-to-door customs clearance” service, I decided I would spend extra on the shipping.

    Ha. I should have just waited a few extra days and saved myself the hassle. Today, I have been informed that regardless of the services FedEx have promised for what I have paid them for, my parcel is currently being priced by customs for its duties and taxes! Their Customer Service Representative informed me that once they have made a quote of how much I have to pony up for my item, they will have it out for shipping the day AFTER they do the calculation.

    Not only did they fail to provide me with the services I had paid for them to do, but they are making me pay an extra fee on top of that! An extra fee on top of service I never received in the first place! I will not receive my parcel “within 1-3 days”, I have to pick up my parcel or door-to-door will cost even more money and the parcel was not “customs-cleared”. From what I understand about the term, “customs-cleared”, for International Priority, you are paying more since whatever customs or extra fees your parcel may magically incur, this will be covered by FedEx already.

    I don’t understand and I feel like I have been swindled by the website for failing to mention the possibility of having to pay customs, duties, tax fees, even as a disclaimer and by FedEx who do not adhere to their 1-3 days shipping policy.

    • says

      Hello Tisha – It is not the responsibility of a website to inform you about customs. They cannot know the customs of every country in the world. It is your government that is charging excessive (in my opinion) duties on imports. You are the person who needs to be informed on that.

  139. edz says

    well no problems with Philpost been using it for quite a while now..the only thing is they are asking me 45 to 55 pesos as a fee not just 40 pesos. well that is alright for me

  140. Lucky says

    Hi there! I just like to share this horrible encounter with DHL today. I bought two bottles of perfume online. We all know how expensive buying perfume here in the Philippines is, so I decided to buy online instead, and I only paid $90 for the two bottles. I’ve done a lot of online shopping for years and I was used to paying only 40pesos. Now when those bottles were about to be delivered, I was told I needed to pay 3227.60. Wow that’s almost the full price of the two bottles I bought. Now it’s a lose-lose situation for me. If I don’t pay, my package won’t come and my $90 would go to waste. If I pay, then I still lose money. I feel ripped off really. I hope it won’t happen to anyone again. But thanks for this post, I now understand the difference.

  141. Steve says

    I ordered a car part from uk, its a small package, size like a book. i ordered the part in april 16, and still the part is not here. i have the tracking number and called philpost, they told me that its still processing and it will take about 3 to 4 weeks, well guess what? its been 5 weeks since they told me that!! checked the tracking again, and the item never moved since May 1!

    another incident, my friend bought a camera lens in hong kong worth 1000 pesos and it arrived after 2 and a half months! it arrive to the local post office and then payed 1000 pesos! i think sometimes i dont trust philpost! they rip you off sometimes!

    i wish i have someone to contact to and complain about this situation! its very frustrating! its already rainy day season and my car has not started yet thanks to customs delay!

    • says

      PhilPost does not charge you anything. They only collect fees that are imposed by the Bureau of Customs. So, if anybody is ripping you off, it is the BoC, not PhilPost.

  142. says

    actually bob, what pisses me is the inconsistency of the parcels getting here.
    if i bought something from china, i just expect it to get lost somehow and ask for refund from the seller. i never had issues with packages coming from the US/UK…. however, this bloody item i purchased is turning 5 weeks and i still don’t have it. 3 weeks has always been the longest and if there are any delays, give it 4 weeks the most…but over 4 weeks can be a bit insane. they charge you anyway, so they might as well just work faster.

    • jefferson faudan says

      …guess what Bob, over 2 months and poof!!! the ring i purchased never got here from the states…that’s the VERY first lost parcel coming from the US… and from what has happened i am a bit anxious if the ipod touch and psp i purchased will get here… the ipod touch is due this week – the 4th week… so i’m starting to get worried. of course ebay sends refunds but it’s such a pain for the seller which i understand since aside from my seo and graphic work, i am a seller myself on ebay locally(i haven’t tried shipping abroad due to worries of items getting lost).

      …also you may have to add that either you pay $10 or $40 via USPS it still doesn’t make any difference… express or not, it still takes 3-4 weeks for items to get here… quite annoying really.

  143. Martin says

    Hi Bob and other posters,

    I’ve been reading a lot about this topic from several sources too. It seems to me that using couriers (DHL, Fedex, UPS, etc) and EMS have been the bane of most people here tax-wise, and using the local post office has been relatively “fair”. With this premise, I’d like to ask what shipping options go to where.

    This is what I know:
    USPS Express >>> EMS
    USPS Registered >>> Local Post Office
    USPS First Class >>> ?????
    USPS Priority >>> ?????

    If anyone could care to fill in the blanks, that’d be a great help to me and a lot of the posters here. :)


  144. says

    I agree… DHL is always charging me about P500 every time someone from Australia sends me something. When I asked them why they charge such amount they say it is the minimum that the local government charges. It’s hard to believe so I ask them every time they deliver a package. I used EMS before and they charged only P50 for a big box. The only pain in EMS is you have to go to customs clearing office so the package will be opened in front of you before you pay for duties.

    The packages from Australia are only sample parts I refer to when designing injection molds.

    • Aurelia says

      DHL charges me Php1845.65 for a Php1600.00 shoes from Australia. :(
      i wonder how could i prevent this. does having a PO BOX would prevent DHL from charging me this amount?

      • says

        There are no guarantees, Aurelia. Even with a post office box you may still be charged, because the charges come from the Philippines Bureau of Customs. I have generally found that I am charged less through the Post Office, but that is not guaranteed. Good luck.

  145. Marisol says

    Hi Bob,

    Your post was very helpful and reassuring but I am a little confused on somethings mention in the post and in the discussion. I just moved to the Philippines so,(1) when you say that an item has been mailed to you do you mean mailed to one of your local home or office addresses? (2) What did an earlier poster mean by, ” The only pain in EMS is you have to go to customs clearing office so the package will be opened in front of you before you pay for duties”? When would this occur and why? (3) Do P.O. Boxes exists here? I did see the earlier posts but where would I find a P.O. Box? Since, my post office location is a man behind a window(s) and depending on if a person is receiving or sending a package, he’ll switch windows.
    If it helps, I’m a student and I’m trying to consider whether to order my textbooks direct from an online retailer or have a friend in the US send over my books in order to save on some money.


    • says

      Hi Marisol – 1. Both.. my office is in my home, so my home and my office are the same place.

      2. I have never had such a thing happen to me, so I can’t say what he meant or how often that happens.

      3. Yes, PO Boxes are very common. You would find a PO Box at the Post Office.

      Books sent in from overseas are highly taxed… you would be better to buy here.

  146. annzkie says

    i usually ordered items from USA from an online seller in the philippines and they will deliver it to our doorstep.This is my first time to order from ebay for a rubber shoes and the seller is from taiwan and he will ship the item thru EMS and now I am afraid that customs will charge mu with huge amount.any idea how to calculate for the charges.

      • Luca says

        Hi Bob,

        I ve a girlfriend in the philippines and i want to send her a small birthday gift (2 pendants and 1 pair of earring) together with a birthday card. I want to send it from canada registered normal airmail.the cash value is not high. I was thinking of not even putting the small boxes to make it fit in a smaller letter not to attract the attention. I dont want her to pay to receive that. well 40 p would be ok im sure. but still….even for a small letter/package do you know if i have to fill a cn22 declaration form?would it pass through the postal system like that? Thanks for your help !

  147. says

    Hi BOB

    I sent package my mum but until now still not receive them.
    On my account on FedEx it’s was show CLEARANCE DELAY sense there receive the package on 8/16 until the estimate date when there deliver it was N/A….I call many times on FedEx why my package was delay and there can’t explain very will and some customer service he just hang up me. I’m worried how much the custom charged my package…don’t know what to do now…

      • says

        Do u think my package was safe and there not replace.
        How long should be waiting for. Supposed to be my family will receive on 8/19 that’s saying on FedEx but there not told me about custom take long or delay. Do u know how much charged the custom my items coz I sent a gadget..

          • says

            Hi Bob

            Anyway the FedEx in Manila there call my mum asking for letter intent for custom. Why there ask about that’s one supposed to be that’s obligations on FedEx to get on custom and deliver. Coz my family there not one to pay for custom I’m the one to pay on my FedEx account. And now there ask for letter intent. Do u think my mum she need to sent a letter intent on FedEx so the FedEx there can go on custom office show letter intent my mum and release the package. What u think Bob don’t have idea about this one the costumer service her in USA there not give me all the info why there fedex in Manila asking letter intent my mum. Can u tell what to do Bob so I can tell my mum to….and thanks u a lot….

  148. Sam says

    Hi Bob! Thanks for the informative site!
    I would just like to ask (anyone) about how long does it take for a package to be cleared from customs? My boyfriend in Sweden sent me a package with a LAPTOP and his shirt inside and we tracked it and it says it’s in the customs being “cleared”. He did not under-declare nor lied about anything inside it. He also told me I wouldn’t have to pay since he paid for everything he had to pay for to send it here. Oh and he used Swedish post sent Aug 9,2013 and currently in customs. I am terrified that I might pay almost half the price of a laptop for tax. Plus, we’re terrified it might get stolen. Any help would be highly appreciated since I’ve never received anything out of the country (even mail) before. :) Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Sam – If you read some of my many replies to other questions on this topic, you will see the answer to your question. How long does it take to clear customs? There is no way to answer that. Sometimes it takes a couple days, sometimes it takes a couple months. A package sent on August 9 will not be delivered yet, I can guarantee that. You could have another week or two, or even a couple more months. You will have to pay something when you receive it, it is just not possible to know how much.

  149. annzkie says

    As i mentioned a few weeks ago, i ordered from ebay seller and shipped the shoes thru EMS by the seller.After two days it arrived in the philippines coz I have the tracking number, it was written in the box as gift and the value is 45$, how many days passed and my husband is not receiving any notice so I have a feeling that it is being held by the customs and my husband went to EMS in pasay and they gave a computation of tax amounting to 1500 pesos, it is good my husband old that he doesn’t have that much money and it was only a gift fro my son from me and after some bargaining they release the shoes after paying 995 pesos.Our customs really sucks.

  150. JoshB says

    My experiences sending 2 packages. The first I sent USPS international Priority Mail.
    Nikon DSLR Camera (Camera was in the camera bag with charger, battery, memory card, and remote! I guess I should have listed camera bag, memory card in camera, battery in camera, and remote in bag!!)
    Book Grammatically Correct for English.
    1 BlackBerry phone – (I included one extra for spare parts that was broken but didn’t list it, They also took the USB charger)
    Chocolate (not listed but just pieces to fill gaps assorted)

    My fiance received it until maybe 4 weeks after it arrived there. I called PhilaPost Many times asking about the package. I was told it wasn’t there after giving the tracking number. I the phone was passed from person too person like it was a game. Sometimes they told me it wasnt the PhilaPost office but I called the same number. Once I was laughed at because I didnt understand tagalog and I heard someone say its a foreigner and more laughter. When she would go they would say there was no package! Finally my fiance went to the post office with the police to check for the package. Low and behold all the sudden it was there and in bad shape!! It had already been opened. Also I included an extra broken phone for parts. They took everything not listed. Like the phone charger usb cable, they took the good phone and left the spare, they took the camera charger, they took the camera bag, they took the memory card in the camera, and they took the camera remote. She said they handed her item by item what was listed and said there was nothing else in the package!! The camera was also banged up and had to be repaired by a Filipino friend of hers that’s a photographer!! He only charged her about 300 pesos so it was fine.

    I was just surprised she received the camera and the battery inside it!
    Also of-course they took all the chocolate. She said she saw one guy in the back smiling and put one in his mouth.


    Next time I sent the package USPS Global Express Guaranteed (delivered by FedEx to her Door) and I put a $50 value. It included a book, laptop, replacement camera charger, replacement camera bag, replacement memory card, and some chocolate. It was delivered to her door in less than a week. The delivery guy made her open it in front of him and he saw the laptop I didn’t list but he only charged her about 3500 or 4000 pesos .

    Global Express Guaranteed was a whole lot better and the extra cost was worth it.

    • says

      Hi JoshB – I am sorry to hear of the troubles you experienced. Some of the stuff you say don’t really make sense, but I guess you are just confused. For example, USPS Global Express Guaranteed is also a Postal Service product, not FedEx. Anyway, good luck next time.

      • JoshB says

        Sorry I meant USPS Global Express Guaranteed is delivered by FedEx Express.

        I understand it’s a Postal service product on the USPS website. I brought and printed off my mailing label from the USPS website and scheduled the free pickup.

        Global Express Guaranteed® is our fastest* international shipping service, with transportation and delivery by FedEx Express.

        Technically it goes too Air21 in the Philippines.

  151. airene says

    Sir bob i bought a casing from UK and it was sent via royal mail.would it be received at philpost also??i hope you could help me with these.

  152. Archie says

    I recently purchased a crocs slipper on Ebay and shipped via royal mail. It was dispatched on the origin last September 9, 2013 and it took about 10 days and it arrived to Philippines and forwarded to PhilPost. As of this posting I haven’t yet received the package as the item was en route to the local post office. Anyway to help you track you parcels, you can check the tracking service they have provided;

    I am pretty confident that on next week I wear the slipper I bought and waited for about 3 weeks.

  153. jeric says

    hi bob thanks for this. it really helps..
    but my parcel did not arrived yet to my girlfriend in the philippines, i sent her a coach bag.
    it says arrived last sept25, processed through sort facility of philippines, and now oct3. its in the customs clearance, philippines, would i wait for more weeks? would my parcel be safe even in costums? i used priority mail international.. usps.. thankyou and God bless!

      • jeric says

        hey bob.. good day.. the tracking updated last october 8, 2013, it says CUSTOMS CLEARANCE 9:53am.
        what does it means? does my item was hold in the costums? :(

        • says

          I am not 100% sure what it means, jeric, but I would guess that it either means:

          1. It is now at Customs awaiting clearance.
          2. It has just cleared customs.

          They wrote it in a way that is not clear.

            • jeric says

              hi again bob, i asked my girlfriend to check/update it in our local post office, but they said that they cannot locate my item.. :( is this a bad news? or they cannot really trace it even in their own system? thankyou!

            • jeric says

              hello again bob, my girlfriend asked an update in our local post officem and they said that it will arrive there but no specific date yet. but they are asking to prepare to much money to pay.. is there any way that we can pay lower?? because i know they just computed that pricej ust in their hands to have the money in their pocket!

              • jeric says

                and i have another question bob, do you know how much is the tax computation for the import items?? (based on the price in the receipt.) thanks alot!

              • says

                jeric – Please go back and read the article and the comments. I have said dozens of times already that there is no way to know how much the charge is because it varies every time. I have no way of guessing.

              • jeric says

                alright bob, i have read those.. im sorry.. and thankyou again.. il update you soon regarding this.. good day!

              • jeric says

                hello Bob how are you?
                my parcel had an update on the tracking, it says its now released by customs and enroute to delivery local post office.. do you have an idea of how many days estimate for the parcel get into the local post office? thankyou! its beenm ore than 2 months for my parcel!

  154. jeric says

    thank you bob.. that’s fine if i need to wait for weeks, the important thing is the item will be safe and in great condition.. :) crossed-fingers’

  155. Mary says

    Hi, I am planning to order from and they offer free shipping for a single item to the Philippines via China Post Air courier. How will I know if this will go through Philippine Post Office so I wont have to pay for huge amounts of taxes? It will be my first time to order from a different country. Hope to hear a reply on this matter.

      • Mary says

        Thank you for your reply. Would it be delivered directly to my house here in the province or do i need to get it in manila? I don’t know how this works.

        • says

          I can’t say for sure, Mary, also I don’t know where you live. For example, if you live in Mindanao or the Visayas, I am pretty sure you would not have to go to Manila. If you live somewhere like Bulacan that is near Manila, maybe you would have to, I don’t know for sure. Normally, when packages are sent to me here in Davao, the packages are not delivered to my house, I have to pick them up at the local post office.

            • annzkie says

              Even they will send it thru philpost they customs will see if it is taxable.I ordered shoes from taiwan thru online and the sender put it as a gift with a value of less than 50$ but still they charge my husband with 1500pesos for taxes and after so much bargaining they agree for 990 pesos.Our customs sucks.

              • Mary says

                I see. That’s what Aliexpress told me, they’ll send it as a gift. So there’s still a possibility that I’ll end up pay taxes more than what my purchased item is worth. :( Thanks for sharing.

              • annzkie says

                yes that’s what happened to me, the package arrived after 2 days but not delivered to my husband so I told him to check in the main office and the package was there and he has to wait for the tax computation and after that you still have to pay in the gate.

  156. marie says

    hello Bob.. I’m planning to send my boyfriend some food products from our place, but i worry it would go bad by the time it would get there.. Do you also have an idea on how long it takes for a parcel to get from Philippines to USA?

    • says

      It is hard for me to answer your question, Marie, because we get packages from the States regularly, and they can take anywhere from a few weeks up to about 6 months, it varies all the time. I would say you should expect a minimum of a month.

      • marie says

        thank you Bob.. that’s a little frustrating but i’ve sent my package already so i’m keeping my fingers crossed.. hope it wont take too long.. thanks again.. God bless you and family.. :)

  157. louie says

    Hi! I was about to buy Region 2 Blu-rays and Region 2 UK DVDs from Australia via

    Will a box set of 23 dvds worth AUS67.00 cost me BoC customs taxes which will may cost around 1000? This is my first time to shop online.
    What forwarder/courier do you reccomend?
    I would want to use LBC UPS or FedEx instead of the EMS. It will be delivered straight to my house and i’m willing to pay extra fees as long as my parcel arrives safe and sound? Or it will be headed to customs first.
    I’m a minor by the way, and I have no idea about online shopping yet… and also PayPal and credit card processes
    And what will overseas online shopping process looks like and how it works?

  158. Ash says

    Hi Bob, How about small items such as a diary bougth from online store in Taiwan. It says that shipping is free. Total cost is $19 with free shipping and tracking via EMS. When my package arrives here in Manila, how much do you think would be the additional fee? Thank you and More Power :)

  159. lhyn says

    Hi Bob!
    my bf from London sent me a package via track express courier company it contains
    apple tablet
    diamond ring/set of gold
    yesterday morning someone called me that my package was already there.But she told me that the customs detect that there’s money inside the box so i have to pay extra taxes.she asked me to pay 23,722.00 so they can deliver it right away.But i just confused why the address she send me to pay the custom clearance is from cebu?My bf addresses here at my house in paranaque.It’s really confusing.

  160. angel says

    hi bob. i was wonderin. all the customs duties and taxes ive read in the internet are scary. thank you for sharing Philpost strategy. i am planning to buy clothes from china thru online transactions. what are the steps for me to do so that my parcel would get to philpost? and how much should i pay? my items are aroung 2000 pesos. pls answer, thank you very much! god bless!

  161. Jeff says

    How can you send items through the post office? Are they going to deliver it by the door or someone has to pick it up from there?

    • says

      If you mail a package through your local post office, it will be delivered by the post office. Sometimes they will deliver the package, other times they will notify the recipient to come and pick it up at their local post office.

  162. grace says

    hi.. i purchased clothes from china worth USD$300. is it possible for me to use post office? and how long it will take?thanks a lot. God bless

  163. Jit says

    Hi bob, i bought something from an US online clothing store and they will send it via USPS here in the Philippines, how will i know the customs charge amount, is the delivery man will automatic charge me when the package arrive here or will i need to go to customs office to pay the charge. This is my 1st time buying from an online store

  164. George says

    .Hi Bob,
    Firstly thank you for all the great info and your dedication. Secondly, how about sending items out of the philipines? Mainly Australia. What is the best and most efficient way? I’m thinking of selling some items on ebay. Thank you!

    • says

      Hi George – It is difficult to find a good, reliable, and inexpensive way to ship items out of the Philippines. I am sorry, but I have been looking for a good method for many years and have not come up with a solution on that.

  165. Patricia says

    Hi sir. I’m planning to do business online. what if my supplier use ems in sending the package here in the philippines. is there a chance that the custom will charge me an expensive tax? thank you im from manila.

    • says

      As I have said many times in this thread… there is no way to know what the customs might charge. It varies widely, and you just never know. So, yes, it may be high, or it may not be, I just cannot say. Good luck to you.

  166. Day says

    Hi Bob,

    My friends sent me a birthday and christmas gift from UK through UK Royal Mail. The items are valuable though Ive been told extra fees were paid for the security of the package. The tracking number says it arrived in Manila 11/28/2013 and thats teh last info I have. I am in cebu but up to now I have not received the package yet. Could the package be in the post office of Cebu? or it takes that long to be delivered? Im scared its been stolen. Thank you.

    • says

      Hello Day – With the package arriving in the Philippines on 11/28, I don’t think there is too much cause for concern. It is still within the time frame that it is probably OK.

  167. Liza says

    Hi Bob!My boyfriend (who’s in France) and I(here in Manila) have been sending letters and parcels to each other since June this year and so far we have no complaints…until now. I sent him a parcel Dec2 and it got to him less than than 2 weeks…but the letter he sent me last dec2 has not arrived yet. Is this normal for the holidays? I am starting to get concerned.

      • Liza says

        Yeah. i was starting to put a little faith in the Philpost again after so many years of not sending post but then this changes everything. I’m scared that his letter doesn’t get to me…Was hoping to open something nice from him for Christmas. He told me there’s nothing that valuable in there so I’m really worried as hell why the letter has not arrived yet. Ugh. Will consider other options for sending him gifts next time around and I hope he does too. I am truly doubtful of the efficiency and honesty of the Philpost.Thanks, Bob.

  168. Liza says

    I(here in Manila) have been sending letters and parcels to each other since June this year and so far we have no complaints…until now. I sent him a parcel Dec2 and it got to him less than than 2 weeks…but the letter he sent me last dec2 has not arrived yet. Is this normal for the holidays? I am starting to get concerned.

  169. Roland Magalang says

    Hi Bob, …i am from Philippines but currently here in the US. I sent my mothers medicines and her vitames through USPS last Dec. 7, 2013. I was informed that my package will arrived Philippines in 10 to 15 days only. True enough when i checked it out online. . my packaged went through from LA by Dec. 23. and am pretty much sure it will be in the Phils by next few days. The package arrived Jan. 9, one month later. I paid USPS around 35 dollars or a bit less. . I just found out today.. NOW that the Phili Post Office are charging my mother 60 dollars taxes!!!!… what the heck is my government now!!… i just cant believe these are happenings!! sooo upset. . i cant really accept it. . .

  170. says

    Hello Bob!
    This is my first time going to your site and I wished I have read your post before.
    I have ordered my Art materials last month from Dick Blick and the duties I paid to FedEx was a staggering 120USD. I also paid another 100USD for the FedEx Shipping fee at DickBlick beforehand.
    And my items were just watercolours, paints, brushes and prismacolored pencils.
    Thank you for your practical advice on using Postal office. Would that mean you recommend me to go with USPS International Priority mail next time?
    I agree, I have items bought from Ebay and I only paid 50pesos on the post office just recently.
    Oh well, charge it to experience.
    Your posts are insightful and handy. Thanks for your Sherlock-like investigation to certain issues!

    Stay awesome

    • says

      Hi Cons,

      Thank you for your kind words. Yes I recommend that you use USPS some kind of registered service through them. That should help reduce the customs fees.

      Thank you very much, and good luck.

  171. Caroline L. says

    We recently bought a Notebook pc for my sister who is a nun in the Philippines to be use for her Ministry. We try sending it though the Post office using one of those priority mail International flat rate box a medium size and it would cost me over $60+ to ship it and as what i have read on the sign posted inside the post office you don’t have to fill out a custom declaration paper if it’s priority mail ship international (maybe sign is old). Here is the fun begin as soon as i get there to ship the package the receptionist ask me up front “do you have the custom declaration fill out for this?” I said no so she handed me one and without any hesitation or question ask I filled it out (Just want to ship this package A.S.A.P) of course you have to declare the amount and weight of the item which is $300 not including the shipping and on top of that I wanted to register the package and get a tracking on it and Insurance in case the item won’t make it coz it get stolen or lost on the way which is typical in the Philippines (hate to say it but it’s true!!! it’s been a long battle over there ever since i can remember)…Problem arise Post office could not register it or insured it.. for any reason?? i don’t know!!! No luck on the Post office and sure don’t use Fedex or DHL either it would cost arm and a leg for the reciever. Thanks for posting :) have a great day!!

  172. Tim Kempton says

    Hello Bob,
    First I would just like to thank you on behalf of all your readers for giving your time to answer questions like this. You are a very generous man and I know we are all very grateful for your help and information.
    My question is have you had any experience with LBC when it comes to international parcels. I am in Australia and I am about to send my old but still quite expensive Cell Phone to my Girlfriend in CDO I really don’t want it to go missing but I don’t want her to be hit with a ridiculous customs charge from a courier service either. LBC have offices here as they regularly ship Balikbayan boxes from here to the Philippines and they also offer an Air courier service that they tell me will take less than a week to deliver a pouch to CDO. So what I am asking you if is if I send my old cell worth maybe $100 US and a few other gifts to her will LBC then try and hit her with a huge customs charge or will they be reasonable like the Post?

    Thanks again Bob you are a great help to us all

    • says

      Hi Tim,

      To be honest, I have never shipped internationally through LBC. I have used them extensively for domestic shipping though. I feel they are an honest and trustworthy company, I don’t think they will rip you off.

  173. Mimi says

    I have claimed parcels that I bought online several times already, and from where I claim it, (Las Pinas Post Office) they will start to charge you with “tax” if the item is more than $50. They will open your package in front of you and they will ask for a receipt. I paid P1,260 for a phone worth P6,500+.So I’m just wondering which branch did you claim your parcels worth $275 and $100? I know those non-corrupt branches will only charge you P50 regardless of the item.

  174. Herbert says

    Hi Bob!

    Im 21 years of age, residing in Davao City.
    I ordered something worth $250 on march 27,2014.
    The item of origin is in Mia FL. Courier is USPS Priority mail Intl
    The item was delivered by air on April 2, 2014 so 6 days to sort and all.
    Now today arpil 7,2014 the package is being sorted in the philippines.
    My question is where did usps deliver my package? Luzon VIsayas or Mindanao?
    I would like to know if it is in Davao City or in Manila.

    • says

      Hi Herbert – I don’t know where it is right now. The shipment will arrive in Manila where it will undergo customs inspection, then be sent on to Davao.

  175. Martin says

    I think this does not work anymore. Picked up a parcel this morning I ordered online worth $18.65 (830 pesos). There’s a sign in the post office that its worth 50 pesos per package but after the customs officer checked the item. He was charging me 1,300+. I told them that there must be something wrong with their computation. After going inside their office. They reduced the amount to 675 pesos + the 50 pesos that goes to the postal office. It seems they charge 550 pesos automatically per package. Does not matter what’s inside. Saw their logbook and there was a LOT of unclaimed packages. So I guess no more online shopping for me.

  176. Roderick says

    I am planning to send a diet pill that is $90 worth to the Philippines tru FedEx how much tax they will charge?

    • says

      If you read the comments, Roderick, you would see that I give the same answer every time this question is asked… and it is asked a lot. There is no way to know how much they will charge because they are very inconsistent. The only way to find out is to send the package and see what they charge.

  177. Cris says

    Hi Bob i recently bought a sneaker from a foreign website via UPSP
    the current status states that
    May 20, 2014 , 10:52 am
    Processed Through Sort Facility
    May 16, 2014 , 4:16 pm
    Processed Through Sort Facility
    May 16, 2014 , 4:12 pm
    Arrived at Sort Facility
    May 15, 2014 , 4:04 am
    Depart USPS Sort Facility
    BETHPAGE, NY 11714
    May 14, 2014 , 9:30 pm
    Processed at USPS Origin Sort Facility
    BETHPAGE, NY 11714
    May 14, 2014 , 8:15 pm
    Accepted at USPS Origin Sort Facility
    NEW YORK, NY 10002
    May 14, 2014
    Electronic Shipping Info Received

    Its been already three days and the status havent changed yet
    How will i know if my package is already in my local post office?

    • says

      No, it is way too early for the package to have made it to the Post Office. Could still be 2 to 3 more weeks, to be honest.

      The status on the tracking will never change. Once it enters the Philippines, there will be no more updates.

      Good luck.

      • Cris says

        hey bob its me again….so i received a notice last weekend and gone to the post office already to pick it up…i was expecting and all in to pay for the tax for my sneaker…i went to window 37 to sign some papers and was asked to pay p50 by the guy at the counter. he got my package and showed me what is inside…suddenly his voice changed and he was like saying that my package should be taxed…he asked me a couple of questions like is it my first time? etc. i was being honest with him i said yes and for some reason he just told me that since the custom guy was not around during that time i could get my package even without paying the tax….he reminded as well that i should pay next time….well it was my lucky day! i also noticed that something was missing in my package but it is really not important…its just an accessory and i didnt want to confront the guy coz he might change his mind so i just left the post office right away…until earlier today, i was surprised i received another notice from the post asking to pickup my package…so ive been thinking that maybe the accessory is the one being asked to be picked up this time and if that is the case im not willing to go back there…i dont wanna risk being taxed! so here is my question what will happen if i will not claim my lets say package/parcel?

          • Cris says

            thanks bob…i decided not to get it its just an icecream….i really appreciate you keeping in touch with our questions

  178. Tim Kempton says

    Bob this is slightly off subject but not completely I will be flying in for a couple of weeks with my Girlfriend next month and I have a ring to give her (yes an important one) and I am concerned about being charged duty or having it confiscated at the airport. Do you have any advice on bringing jewellery into the country? Is it an issue? I was told by somebody that if I bring it in its box I will have problems so I should put it on a chain around my neck ala “Lord of the Rings” and then they will not say anything.

    • says

      Personally, I don’t think you will have any problem. If it were me, I would put it in my pocket, in the box is fine. They will look in your bags. If they ask if you ate carrying something else, show the ring, but tell them it is a gift. I don’t think you will get any hassle.

  179. sam says

    Hi Bob! I won a promo a year ago on tumblr and it was a small shirt. The blog owner asked for my whole name and my complete mailing address and contact number which I gave. She estimated that it will arrive here in the Philippines after 3 months or so. The package came from Italy. She sent it through post mail and 6 months after she sent it and it hasn’t arrived yet, I went to our local post office to pick it up myself since I am a minor and I don’t know how these things work. I asked for that specific package and they said no package in my name hasn’t arrived. The blog owner didn’t give me a tracking number. What do you think happened? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Sam, sorry, my friend, I have no way to know for sure. If the package was sent via some kind of air service, I would guess that the package was lost or stolen. But since she said it will take 3 months, maybe it was sent via ship, in which case I think it is possible that it could still show up.

      • sam says

        Thank you for the reply, Bob! I have one more q, I would like to send a handmade gift to a friend in Australia via post mail, and it’s the size of a coin envelope and I was wondering if I have to pay anything in the post office when I send it.

  180. mark says

    Hi Bob, Thanks for this article f

    I have a question, regarding collect fee in my parcel claim notice.Theres a php 3,436 indicated in claim notice even I’ve already paid the USPS Priority Mail International $80.50 (approx. PHP 3,502.59) my parcel was arrived in Custom pasay for clearance.

    The item price is US $182.50
    Approx: PHP 7,940.65

    Do you think its a overcharge fee?

    Thank you,

  181. Lesley Cara Delos Santos says

    Hello Mr. Bob!

    How do I have my item shipped through the Post Service instead of the usual FedEx and etc? I have not experienced online shopping yet because I was afraid of the Customs Charge but there are items I would really love to buy.

  182. Jesu Jericho L. Sy says

    Hello Mr. Bob,

    I ordered The Walking Dead Season 4 Limited Edition [blu-ray] in, last day and the address I put their is my complete address here in the Philippines. My question is how many percent that my order go to Post Office not in the Customs? Thanks!

  183. Hwang Seunghyeon says

    Hi, I have a question. I’m planning to buy action figures (in box) in Amazon and then from USA it will be shipped in the Philippines. Will it have a tax? around 21 boxes of action figures

  184. Mark Duy says

    Hi Bob, thank you for the insightful post.
    I also live in Davao City and I would just like to ask if what was the most expensive item you ordered through PhilPost and how much did they charge you for tax? And did they deliver it to you?
    I ordered a collector’s toy through ebay and sent it using China Post. It is worth 97usd and Im nervous about the tax they will charge me.

    • says

      Hi Mark – Over my years of living in the Philippines, I have come to be content with things that I can buy here, and it has been many years since I have ordered anything and had it shipped here. To be honest, because it has been so long, I really don’t remember what the most expensive thing was that I ever ordered. I also don’t really see why it would be relevant to your situation. I mean what I have done in the past doesn’t really impact what will happen wiht you, especially since it has been many years later.

      You are right to be nervous about whether it will arrive and how much tax they will charge. Unfortunately, the Philippine Post office does not have a good track record about reliability when it comes to delivering packages. Also, customs does seem to overcharge, or that is what I hear from many people. About all you can do at this point is to wait and see what happens.

      Good luck to you.

  185. sara says

    i have an online shop here in the philippines, i run it on instagram. and i have been looking for shipping courier that ships a big box or heavy box that goes through post office directly that ships fast(7-10days atleast) and only charges the flat rate of 50. does anybody know?

    ive been looking up EMS, and i saw some bad reviews and good reviews. im rather confused. some said they were not charged a lot but only the flat rate of 50, but others are complaining that they were charged more than that. so when will you be charged more than that?

    i am importing swimsuits from china, and i used to mail it through CHINA POST AIR MAIL, and yes they always charge 50flat rate, but it takes so long! it takes atleast 30-40days before i get the items.

    HELP ME GUYS! if you have any experience with EMS please share it to me. i’d love to get a feed back.
    thank you

  186. Chryz says

    Can anyone identify if this time they are really overcharging? The flat rate that used to be only P50 for claiming small packets suddenly raised P100, effective this Sept. 15. So even the item I bought is around $1 dollar, I still have to pay P100. It may be less for one packet but I order a lot from ebay. So far this is the site that seems to have concern about customs fee, import fee, etc. Hope to hear from you Bob or from anybody else.

  187. Sj says

    Hi Bob, I ordered Rastaclats bracelets in the US worth $550 last August 2014 and it already arrived in the Philippines after 10 days. But until now almost 3 weeks. My package hold by custom clearance. The shipper declared my package as a gift and put a low value. Any idea why they are not releasing it?

    What is the best thing to do? Go to the Central Mail Exchange Center? But I don’t receive any notification letter or card. I’m from the Province btw. Thanks! :)

    • says

      Hello Sj, given that the value was intentionally undeclared and it was lied about that the item was a gift, you should be happy if you get the package at all. Such statements are a crime.

  188. dhen says

    hi do i do that?do you mean i need to send it thru EMS then i’ll declare my address?and what about the tracking?thanks..hope you can reply =)

    • says

      Hi Dhen – Since you did not reply to any certain comment, or give reference to what comment you are talking about, when you say “how do I do that” – I am not sure what “that” is. How do you do what?

  189. Au says

    Thanks for sharing this information, Bob. It makes so much sense. I’ve had similar experiences (shipped through DHL, paid ridiculous customs fees; shipped through Philpost, paid a minimal P40 or P50) and I’ve wondered why that was the case. Now I know!

  190. Rhena Deglenn says

    thank you so much. this is really useful. i got some information that’s what i really need to know. FYI, the custom fee now got increased to 100 pesos,.. hahaha!

  191. Liz says

    Usually when I receive a package (either I order it from Amazon or a gift from a friend) they deliver it and only ask me to pay P50. I got notice from Post office yesterday that my package arrived. It is from Ireland and contents cost about $200. They were asking me to pick it up and when I went there, they like me to pay P2299 for custom charges :(.

  192. Jean Rey says

    Hello there! My parcel(containing food) from my friend from The Netherlands just arrived today. IT was sent via DHLFORYOU.NL , and I e-mailed DHL DE and I got a reply back telling me that my pacakage just arrived in the Philippines.\

    My utmost concern: DHL informed me that from the time of arrival in the Philippines, they are going to hand over the package to PHILPOST, something that made me feel very uneasy (I have had traumatic experiences with the very inefficient and corrupt PHLPost).

    Has anyone among you received a package sent via DHL but coursed through PHLPost once it arrives in the Philip[pines. This is last year’s collabortain of PHLPOST with DHL ( are we seeing a privatization soon? ).



  193. Nog says

    I just bought a video game from a French Gaming company thru their online service, the product was imported from Germany as the DHL tracking says. the cost of the product is 150.00 EURO, DHL asked me 4,100 Pesos! for customs & tax upon delivery showing me the receipt from PH customs. then I went to the recommended duty calculator by the store and turns out I only need to pay PhP 2319.61 so yes you are correct the Philippine Customs are run by corrupt Idiots who does not have a knowledge and a basis for taxing imported goods!

  194. SM says

    *WARNING: long comment*

    I’ve had a couple of terrible experiences with PhilPost and Customs. It used to be that when I received a package via PhilPost, the only thing I’d pay for is postage fee, which is a measly amount. Then my boyfriend decided to send me a box of chocolates, some candy, and an envelope with a Valentine’s card inside.

    The box had been “eaten” through, and so was part of the envelope, by what look like rat bite marks. Funny thing is the package did not smell like anything but torn paper and plastic at all, and no droppings or anything gross, and the chocolates only had a few pieces missing. The candies were untouched. Note that the box was sold packaged in a way that it had been sealed in plastic. One more thing to note is that if the rats smelled the chocolate and ate through the box for that, then why eat through the envelope too? Were the rats checking for cash because they misread the declared value of 200 SEK as 200 USD (the lady at the post office said this, commenting on rats and saying that the value was 200 USD)? Thankfully they didn’t charge any customs fees.

    And then I started purchasing items online from a shop in China, and things started getting even uglier.

    The first two or three purchases went without a hitch. I’d read on a blog that apparently as long as you keep total value under 50 USD they don’t charge customs, so I made purchases that were up to around 30 USD. They didn’t charge for that. Then, I made a pretty heavy order of ~60 USD, which was only that high because I had it sent through DHL express (the person who wanted the stuff wanted it quick) and DHL ends up charging me 500 USD. Of course I don’t like it, and I decide I’m never using DHL express again.

    Then just a couple of months ago I decide to purchase online again, total amount including shipping (via China Post, which goes through PhilPost) being ~46 USD. The customs officer charges me ~20 USD for customs and even provides me with a full receipt with all the computations for it. I ask about the 50 USD ceiling, and he declares there was no such thing, that they were required to apply customs tax on EVERYTHING. I didn’t trust myself to argue reasonably with him, so I decided to just go ahead and pay and maybe try DHL again.

    Here’s something funny though: since the China Post option takes about a month to ship, I had ordered another couple batches of items from the same online shop. They all arrive at the same time, and while individually they didn’t cost much, they totaled around 30 USD in value. I went to pick them up, fearing the worst, but guess what – they released my items to me without charging anything aside from the tiny postal fee. The difference? The customs officer was not present.

    Now I’ve tried DHL express again. For a 43 USD package I’ll be paying P1,682.

    Well, well, well, Merry Christmas.

  195. Lex says

    Hi Bob,

    I’m from Makati Philippines. I bought a collecting card on ebay US worth 500 USD. The seller will going to use USPS, he asked me to pay 50 USD. But after I heard about problems with customs and philpost, I change my mind and told the seller to use a better courier the UPS. I paid around 90 USD just to secure my item and avoid not to get lost. Did I made the right decision securing my item? Thanks

  196. Katreena Maria A. Carranza says

    this is so true. i experience being charged by fedex over Php 4,000 just to claim a package sent to me by my exboyfriend when we were still dating. i was shocked and so pissed off because they show up at my office without any notification on a money order and they were demanding the certain amount. i had to call my ex, wake him up at almost 1am his time and he had to make a payment at wee hours. to think it was just a small box. the customs charge was almost as expensive as the item sent to me. when my mum send huge boxes from australia, i remember only paying php50 per box. yes it takes a little longer than UPS/FedEx/DHL but at least you’re not getting ripped off by companies. at the moment i am waiting for a package sent to me from the US by a friend, it’s a christmas present. i’m tracking it through the USPS website, i has a rrived in the philippines but is probably going through sorting/customs, but it’s good because it is being tracked. only thing i’m waiting is the notification from the post office that my box is ready to be claimed and i’m not even worried about it being charged a huge amount for it.

  197. says

    Thanks for your article Bob! Having some recent experience with FedEX filling out forms on my behalf, I wonder if sending my package through the mail would have arrived unmolested.

    It’s very good to know that the good ole Post Office might be a more viable option than I thought.


  198. Thea Tansingco says

    Let me get this straight, please, because I’m a first-time online shopper and I didn’t realize all the rules and regulations regarding customs and fees until now. I wasn’t even aware of them until my friend mentioned his horror story.

    If I ordered, say, two pairs of hand wraps from ebay and the total cost–including shipping–is less than US $20.00, and it ships through USPS, I don’t have to pay any horrendous amount that would double the final cost of my item?

    Because I checked the Bureau of Customs website and their tax calculator put the tax amount on my package upwards of Php 700.00.

    This is so confusing. :((

  199. Tim Kempton says

    I order things for my fiance on ebay and have them delivered via the post. You will have to pay 100P when you pick your parcel up from the post office. If your parcel has attracted the attention of the customs office you may have to pay more depending on the contents and the declared value on the customs form. But normally on Items that do not have any special taxes (CellPhones,Cameras, computers etc.) then the 100P standard fee is all you will pay. If you use a courier company DHL Fedex etc then you can expect more fees. If you use a Filipino courier that has customs inspection permission e.g. LBC then your sender can pay all fees on despatch and you will pay nothing extra on delivery.

  200. Tim Kempton says

    Clarification Cell Phones Cameras Computers etc. are the items that attract special taxes and will have extra charges.

  201. Eileen says

    Hi Bob,
    I am glad for your 40 p low charge. Today I had a horrible experience with the post office. After inquiring for my late package ( a box from my mom in the USA) I heard from my friend that the post office was going to return my box to sender, since it had been in the office so long. It turns out it had only been there a week. The clerk charged me the customary mail fees and then did his best to explain to me the 600 peso customs charge. My mom sent the under nine pound box with homemade goodies on the 12 of December, priority air mail. It arrived in Manila on the 14th. Her charge for this was 102. us dollars. There is must have sat, until Jan 27 it must have arrived in Bohol. The charge was listed as Cebu customs charge. I was so angry. From now on I am asking any friends to send their packages LBC. Is there anything my mom could have done to prevent this overcharge. Like writing home cooked food items on the the customs form?

  202. Paula Elizabeth says


    I was wondering about my package and how much the taxes would be. It is a gift but I am very scared for a high tax that I’ve read about. My fiancee is sending me a used camera, itouch and hard drive. Along with other stuff but these are the ones I’m worried about. He did not specify that they are already used :( The total value of the package is around 25,000php and I don’t see why the tax would be so high if he paid for it already via USPS and if they are gifts…

    I cant even contact the nearest post office to my home (Taguig), none of the numbers work!

    I hope they do not tax me too much as I may not be able to pay. .

  203. says

    GOOD MORNING.Just wondering my mail from usps they arrive on feb20,2015 its ordinary mail usps LC tracking number until now i didnt receive yet.i am just worried? can u help me is this possible arrive in philippine even its ordinary mail?

  204. Wayne says

    I need to have some meds sent to me from the U.S. A friend will pick them up and ship for me. Anyone have experience having perscriptions sent to Davao? How long for delivery? Customs? Some countries can be very intrusive and perskickety. What carriers are best?

    Thanks in advance.

  205. says

    $50 ciompared to 40P
    “Why am I paying so little for customs suddenly?”

    “It’s simple. Both of these packages were sent through the Post Office. Yes, that’s right, through the Post Office.”

    To track or not to track, the Post Office cannot be trusted. I was overcharged when using the post office. I was told it was customs and had to speak with them to get it removed.

    They ignored me at first and even told me that I can afford to pay it but why pay for something that I legally do not have to pay, so I raised my voice and said “hello! Speak english and no I will not pay so mark it off.” Finally the one guy who gave me the run around marked it off after acting like he was not able to do it…there is negligence for you RA 6770 Section 24.

    When my mom sent it to another address instead of to my PO Box I was no longer charged customs not even the 40P through LBC.

    Even though this artcile writer shared his side, through my experience it is wrong.

    DO NOT TRUST THE POST OFFICE EVER…know your rights.

    • Tim Kempton says

      Please note that when you send via LBC and other Philippines Government registered Courier services you are paying all taxes and fees as part of the payment when it is sent. This means that the receiver gets the delivery with all fees already paid. However when you send via the postal service the taxes and fees from the Philippines Government are not paid by the sender and so they must be paid by the receiver. this is why you must pay to pick up a parcel from the post in the Philippines. The standard fee is currently 100P but as I said in a previous comment Cameras, Cell Phones and some other electronics attract extra taxes even if they are second hand. I am told that these taxes can be avoided if you send via Sea freight as part of a Balikbayan Box but as yet I have not done this so I do not know for sure if that is the case.

  206. Zac says

    Hi. I wonder if it’s the same if I send a parcel from the UK through Royal Mail to the Philippines. I’m planning to send an ‘Experia Z3 arm band’ its worth is only 9GBP so around 600PHP. Not worth much really so I wonder if there would still be a fee that my friend in the Philippines has to pay when it reaches the Philippines and will it go through Philpost?
    Thank you!

  207. Ian Mark says

    Hi Bob, just wondering if how much will I be able to pay for the shipment cost of a musical instrument like bass guitar shipped from Philippines to NY? I need some info about this, I never tried sending items outside the Philippines before especially big and heavy instrument. I hope you can give some good advice regarding my concern. Thank you :)

    • says

      Hi Ian – As I have said literally dozens of times on this thread, there is no way I can know how much you will pay. The Philippine Customs is not consistent in what they charge.

  208. says

    Quick question about customs – but not about charges:

    Any idea how long Philippines Customs take to process parcels by mail? I sent myself 8 parcels before I left India, where I’d been living for 18 months prior to moving to the Philippines. It took 8 days for them to get from India to Manila, and they’ve been in customs for 19 days so far (according to online tracking). Is that normal/unusual?
    Many thanks,

    • Tim K says

      Russell there is no way to tell I have found it is consistently inconsistent. It does seem to make a difference where the parcels are from though, for instance at the moment if you have a parcel coming from China you can expect it to sit in customs for a minimum of a month (I think that the tense political situation may have some influence on that). I think that you may see some movement soon. Try going to the post office and request a trace that may trigger some movement.

      Good luck

    • says

      Just an update on the parcels I sent from India to myself prior to coming:

      The were 8 days going from India to Manila, and then over a month at Customs… or so I thought. I was at the Post Office sending something and asked if they could track my parcels from this end. They asked me to go inside the office, and see the man who does the tracking. When he saw my name, he pointed to three parcels. They’d trickled in over 2 weeks, and there was only P100 to pay on each for Customs Clearance. Interestingly, at least one had been opened by Indian Customs on the way out!!

      I received (along with other things in each package) my Skill circular saw, my Bosch random orbital sander and my AEG hammer drill. There were some bedsheets, socks, my Dremel router table, most of the Dremel drill press, electric shaver and a bunch of little things to fill the spaces.

      I still have my Canon printer on its way, minus the paper trays and cables (to make it less attractive to steal – replacement cost of those would be near the price of the printer). The other parcels don’t have much of value or interest to others – mainly power adapters/battery eliminators, and parts and accessories of other devices I have already received or brought with me.

      I was advised by a Pinay friend in Australia that Philippine Customs rarely charge duty on uninsured parcels – but they can still go missing…. There’s always a gamble. But once you’ve insured it, there is a value that Customs can work on. And remember, in almost every country in the world the value is the total of the value of the consignment PLUS the freight/postage/shipping AND any insurance charges. e.g. a consignment worth $50 is sent by DHL at a cost of $50 plus insurance of $10, the total for customs is $110, not just $50.

      Also, I received a small packet from China in just three weeks – it arrived unopened with just the P100 Customs Clearance charge. It was worth $10 USD plus postage of $2.50 (China Post is very cheap!)