My Dad wrote an article last week about Mules in the context of sending stuff back to the Philippines (or any other country really) by having friends or family bring them in their luggage. He said that it’s a great alternative to sending a balikbayan box or if you need it sooner rather than later, shipping things by air. The downside is, of course, that you can’t send a lot of stuff and that stuff has to be pretty small.
A lot of you are probably familiar with balikbayan boxes, but if you aren’t then let me explain. Balikbayan boxes are boxes that you fill with stuff and send to the Philippines. Weight is irrelevant, there are standard sizes and there’s a flat rate depending on the size and where in the Philippines you want to send it. The biggest problem with the balikbayan box is making sure you put in as much stuff as you in order to not waste space. Over the course of my stay here, my parents have been telling me to buy some stuff from Amazon and other sites. I put everything in the box and there was still some room so I put in some decor my Grandma wanted to give my Mom. I made sure the decor was protected, just in case some stuff moves or the box gets bumped around, which will inevitably happen since it will travel by boat and be handled by a lot of people along the way.
Some great things to put in a box if you still have space are candy, school supplies and clothes. Also make sure you pack everything in as neatly and compactly as you can. A lot of the stuff I put in our box wasn’t fragile (aside from the decor), so it would be fine if there was some movement and some stuff hit other stuff within the box, but better safe than sorry. By packing everything as tight as you can, it makes sure that everything stays where it is. Removing things from their boxes also helps with space-saving, my Dad needed some shoes, but if I kept them in the shoe box, then that’s a lot of space wasted, so I got them out and put them in the balikbayan box. I also recommend that you make a list of everything that is going in the box, because sometimes when they inspect them, something might go missing. It has happened to us before, but it could be a rare occurrence. Still, better to have a list and know of something is missing than not know.
A lot of places ship balikbayan boxes. There are local Philippine stores here that send them, then there’s places like LBC, who actually pick the box up from your house. All you need to do is have the box and paperwork ready, then they come over at a scheduled time and get the box, it’s really convenient. I’m not sure exactly where all their branches are, but a quick Google search will yield results, so just do that.