Tips to ensure ‘balikbayan’ boxes reach your loved ones


A simple joy yet fulfilling act of love for overseas Filipinos is to send packages of pasalubong or the so-called “balikbayan boxes” to their loved ones with contents from personal hygiene products to kitchen, bedroom, shower room needs; gadgets; and, appliances, bought from their hard-earned money. Thus, when these packages do not reach their destinations, these overseas Filipinos are infuriated and emotional, because they know that their loved ones are disappointed.

The Department of Trade and Industry, through its Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (DTI-PSB), continues its advocacy to prevent incidents like these from happening. DTI-PSB and DTI-Consumer Protection Group Officer-in-Charge lawyer Victorio Mario Dimagiba stressed that, “We, at DTI, reiterates to overseas Filipinos that there are easy steps that can guarantee that their balikbayan boxes will reach their loved ones here in the Philippines.”

“Most importantly, we urge them to use only the services of foreign consolidators or freight forwarders whose Philippine counterparts/agents are accredited with DTI in sending their balikbayan boxes to the Philippines,” he added.

DTI-PSB provides tips in sending Balikbayan boxes to overseas Filipinos to make sure they reach their loved ones, and avoid problems and inconveniences such as lost, pilfered or damaged cargo, delayed delivery and overcharging of fees.

• Check the list of DTI-accredited Philippine counterparts/agents at the DTI website— with link—

There are 615 DTI-accredited seafreight forwarders as of December 31, 2013.

• Be wary of exceptionally low rates—Most complaints for nondelivery involve cargo shipments that usually charge very low door-to-door rates.

In these cases, the foreign principals do not have enough funds to bear the cost of transporting the cargoes, compounded by their failure to remit releasing and delivery funds to their Philippine breakbulk agent, causing the shipments to be abandoned at the ports.

• Declare all the contents of your shipment in the packing list—Accomplish a detailed packing list stating all the contents of your box and value of shipment, per item if possible, as well as your preferred shipping date. Ask for proper (or extraordinary, if needed) packing, wrapping, strapping, sealing and labeling of your box.

DTI, however, reminds that the following items are not allowed to be included in the box:

– currencies, checks, money orders and travelers checks;

– pieces of jewelry;

– firearms, ammunitions and explosives;

– prohibited drugs and substances;

– pornographic materials, gambling cards and toy guns;

– pirated products, i.e. CDs, tapes, software; and

– items of commercial quantities.

• Keep and secure transport documents—such as cargo or official receipt and Bill of Lading (BL). A BL is a document issued by a transportation carrier to the shipper as proof that they received the shipment of goods, and have placed them on board a particular vessel for delivery to a particular destination. It also states the terms in which the received goods are to be carried.

• Know the name and contact details of the Philippine counterpart/agent—Be sure that these information are indicated in the transport documents.

• Monitor the movement of your cargo—from origin to destination to make sure it is being shipped and delivered. You may inquire for a tracking scheme or continuously contact the forwarding company. You may ask them to provide you details such as the name of shipping line, vessel’s name, voyage number, container number, and expected time of departure and arrival of your package.

• Immediately file a complaint for any loss, nondelivery or pilferage on your Balikbayan box—this should be done before the DTI-Philippine Shippers’ Bureau at Second Floor, DTI Building, 361 Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City, or send through facsimile number (632) 751-3305 or email to Call DTI Direct (632) 751-3330 for assistance.


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