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“THE BOX”

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Yes I’m talking about the famous “Balik Bayan Box” that comes in at this time of year from the States, Europe or Australia, delivered by many shipping companies but mostly by the LBC folks and right to your door. Upon seeing the truck on your street Heart rates will rise; excitement levels will run amuck little feet will be tapping in anticipation of the opening of the flaps on “The BOX”. It’s just like Christmas morning but early it’s like a party in a box.

The first “BOX” arrived last Wednesday from my Sister-in-law Susan who lives in Holland, and is married to a great guy named Evert and she have a son named Stephen who is one of the coolest little guys I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, and not just because he calls me Oom Paul (Uncle Paul in Dutch) albeit that does sound so cool. So now after all these years I’m a real “Dutch Uncle” well at least on LiP anyway, and he is my Oomzegger (Nephew).

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Within the BOX are goodies from Holland to include some chocolates from the Netherlands that I’m very fond of. But also Christmas presents for the kids. Susan sent a set of roller blades for Colleen (Our Granddaughter) which is far better than Ice Skates for cruising on the Zuiderzee (A River).

But the bottom line is the happiness the “BOX” gives to all the family here in the Philippines, and we miss her, Evert and Stephan very much at this time of year.

Now for Paul’s list of what not to pack prior to bringing the BOX to LBC for shipping to the Philippines.

Spam: There is no shortage of it here.
Instant Coffee: Hey ground coffee would be nice.
Powdered Creamer: Again it’s here.
Spaghetti and Macaroni: Yes we’ve never seen it before.
Ramen or any instant noodles: You are using that as packing material, right, like Styrofoam peanuts?
Costco’s or Sam’s Club #10 size cans of anything, (#10 = Restaurant size) they’re too big even if we throw a large party.
Pringles: We are not living in the stone ages.

Okay, we all understand the packing of “The BOX” and sometimes we just run out of ideas. Now Susan packed a great “BOX” and got it all right. But there is another IN-LAW who resides in the US of A who will send stuff like you’ve never seen, all of the above list and stuff that will surprise even the person who has seen it all. Clothes’ from the thrift store? We have Ukay-Ukay here and they are overflowing now that the typhoons relief supplies are flowing in from around the world. Items that the family relies on me, to tell them what it is and how it’s used (Which quite often is NEVER) Stuff that Mike & Frank (The Pickers) would walk right by. A good rule is; If you don’t know what it is or does, don’t send it.

When I was in the shipping business (Meaning sending LBC Boxes myself), I had a list of ages sizes genders and other information for the family. Then I’d walk into a Store somewhere in the world, find the young Pinay employee (And there always was one) tell her boss that I was going to spend an obscene amount of money, but not if I had to do it by myself. Give the young lady my list and follow behind her and nod approval as she checked off each name. Then I would tip her a few days pay, and tote it all to the nearest LBC using bearers and ship it home, stop for a few cocktails then return to the ship, as my Christmas shopping was now done.

Now Mayang has replaced the girl in the store as my duty shopper and I pull one of my daughters aside, and sneak her some money and have her shop for her mother presents. (I know they discuss it between themselves but I don’t care) But I always shop on my own for that one special gift for Mrs. Thompson; because at least that one must be from me.

To those packing the “BOX” back in the land of the Big Box Stores, to send over to family and friends, remember those 1.75 liter bottles of Rum, Scotch, Bourbon, and oh, well use your imagination are always a welcome Stocking Stuffer, and won’t be sold at the families Sari-sari Store in January. BTW; they still don’t know what to do with those #10 cans of Hormel Chili w/beans Item # 740336 @ $8.13.at Costco’s.

Note from my Grandson to the world, you can keep the stuff in the “THE BOX”” as long as he gets to play with “THE BOX”.

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Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson; has resided in the Philippines since 1993, living close to Subic Bay. I’m married to a wonderful girl named Maria (AKA Mayang).Who is from Gordon Heights in Olongapo where she grew up with her Mom & Dad and seven siblings Our two daughters are both grown up and have left the nest, the eldest married to a wonderful guy named Chris, and they have blessed us with our granddaughter Heather Colleen Our youngest daughter and her husband Cecil have blessed us with a grandson named. Jayden Logan. I’m a retired U.S. NAVY Senior Chief after 22 years of active duty. After retirement from the Navy I lived for 7 years in Puerto Rico as a Night Club owner. Then Hurricane Hugo told me to find a new line of work, I was hired by Military Sealift Command and went back to sea in Asia as a Merchant Seaman for 10 years. After 30 plus years at sea I buried my anchor on a mountain in the Philippines and am now residing in Dinalupihan (or DinBat for short), Roosevelt, Bataan where we built our home. And last but not least, anything I writes will be pure "Tongue in Cheek "If anybody is offended, I'll lose no sleep over it, but here's a quick Mea Culpa in advance!

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MindanaoBob
8 years ago

Sorry folks.. there was a technical glitch that made it where you could not comment on this article for the first hour that it was published. I have fixed that and the article is now open for comments. Sorry for the glitch!

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Happy to do it, Paul! Not sure how it got like that…. Monday morning glitch, I suppose.

Agile StephenWarren
8 years ago

Do these Balik Bayan Boxes still pass customs?

Victor Emanuel Nobrega

My wife sent one stuffed with goods! As in brimming!

Bob Martin
8 years ago

Sure, they pass customs, Agile StephenWarren

Jay
Jay
8 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Hi Paul,

We had one we sent to family in Mindinao that was opened by the time it got to our family there more than half the contents were gone.

Manny
Manny
8 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Hi Paul, From what I have understood from my local LBC branch here in New Jersey, inspection, customs, and fees are handled here. The fees being the type of box (size) and total weight, plus LBC’s service charge for said box. The total charge is always a whole lot cheaper than using one of the major carriers like UPS or FEDEX and even the USPS. Plus, there is no need to worry about customs fees when it arrives in the Philippines. To date I have paid between $25 to $35 with the exception of one shipment a couple of years… Read more »

Bob Martin
8 years ago

Spreading a little cheer, huh, Victor Emanuel Nobrega!

Agile StephenWarren
8 years ago

OK, I have a friend who paid 500 pesos at EMS customs mail counter here in Manila for a t-shirt and pair of shorts sent from a friend in the USA via regular mail.

Bob New York
Bob New York
8 years ago

I have sent packages to The Philippines through US Postal Service and they got to their destination, Iligan City, Philippines without any customs charges and they packages were not opened. If you send something ” Insured ” ( that may not be covered once it leaves the country of origin ) that will set off the bells and whistles at most foreign Customs that there is something of value inside that should be taxed. Additionally sending something to a business address is also an open invitation for Customs to evaluate and tax the contents. There may be a ” package… Read more »

Bob Martin
8 years ago

That has nothing to do with a Balikbayan box. Balikbayan boxes don’t come through the postal system.

Axel Carin
8 years ago
Reply to  Bob Martin

Last time we send Balikbayan boxes, they were delayed a lot.
We called the company and asked why:They told us they were delayed, because our boxes were “taken out” for inspection by costums. Maybe it was a bad excuse, i don’t know. They arrived fine and no problem.

We have send many boxes and there have never been a problem.

RandyL
8 years ago
Reply to  Axel Carin

Axel, we have been shipping balikbayan boxes for nearly 30 years. I recently compiled a rather insightful article ( http://retiredinsamar.com/?p=1653 ) pertaining to what you need to know about BB shipping and yes, Customs (U.S. and Philippines) and Homeland Security is very involved in container inspections. Recently there seems to be a difference in inspection levels between west coast and east coast shipping facilities. Especially read the article written by Roland Paez ( http://asianjournalusa.com/frankly-speaking-balikbayan-box-issues-and-discussion-p12418-145.htm ) of the San Diego based Asian Journal for some additional insights.Hope Bob don’t mind me sharing this info.

Heinz Schirmaier
Heinz Schirmaier
8 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Paul.
I’ll never use Mail again. Send a couple of watches as b-day presents in a padded US Postal envelope, insured it and that was the last I saw or heard from them, never arrived!!! Somebody over there got a nice present!
LBC and ONLY LBC for years now!

Agile StephenWarren
8 years ago

ok, lesson learned then

Bob Martin
8 years ago

I have never heard of any taxes or duties on a Balikbayan Box, next time might be best to use one of those.

chasrand
chasrand
8 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Paul, interesting post about BB boxes, doubt I will ever need one, nothing I can’t avail in PH that i would really miss. If I ever did, a quick trip to SG would solve that lol. I read a few years back that although BB boxes generally were not checked at the PH end they are now randomly scanned/xrayed. It’s the way of the world now. Over the years I’ve read of many complaints about normal overseas postal letters and small packages not arriving at there PH destination. I have sent many Greetings cards and small packages to Mindanao over… Read more »

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