Balikbayan: Shipping Items to the Philippines

balikbayan_philippinesA balikbayan box (literally, “Repatriate box”) is intended for Filipinos returning to the Philippines. However many Foreigners moving to the Philippines have shipped household items using the Balikbayan box method. Balikbayan boxes do not go through the corrupt Customs officials here, every other type of shipping does and often the corrupt officials will attach a large fee on your items. One American expat moving to Cebu recently shipped by another method in spite of my warnings. He paid around $1000 to ship some items including a large flats screen TV. When the items arrived here in Cebu the customs officials decided to take him to the cleaners by charging him $3,000 for his used stuff. Needless to say he never paid them and lost his slightly used items. Balikbayan boxes are intended to be door to door. However some place them in a warehouse and have you pick them up with no additional charges.

The following link can help you ship a balikbayan box to the PH:

You can ship any number of small items in a “balikbayan” box. Often these boxes are shipped by freight forwarders specializing in balikbayan boxes and are shipped on container ships by sea and arrives within two months.

A balikbayan box was originally intended for air travel is designed to conform to airline luggage restrictions and many Filipino stores carry them. Some boxes come with a cloth cover and side handles. Others are tightly secured with tape or rope, and thus not confused with an ordinary moving box more lightly wrapped. The balikbayan boxes come in three standard sizes: Medium: 18 x 16 x 18 inches, Large: 18 x 18 x 24 inches, and Extra large: 24 x 18 x 24 inches. Shipped boxes are delivered directly to the recipient, nearly always the family of the overseas Filipino.  The cost per box can range from around 40 to 100 us dollars.

When packing these boxes pay close attention to structural strength even using a wood frame inside thelbc balikbayan box to keep the box from being crushed. I recommend using duct tape on all corners and edges making a frame of duct tape around the box then completely cover the cardboard in clear shipping tape to keep moisture out. I used shipping straps the nylon type to give the box added strength. I have shipped a Bass Guitar Stage amp in one that arrived OK, a bass guitar valued at $2,500 (had to take off the neck to get it to fit. I also shipped hard to find items of canned foods and lots of books. Balikbayan boxes come with tight security on both ends and are rarely broken into especially if packed properly, Use additional containers inside the main box to secure items on step further.

Delivery time can be up to 6 weeks, so be sure to ask about expected delivery time for your carrier.

Blacklisted Carriers

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has blacklisted 32 local cargo forwarders and their 28 foreign counterparts following rising complaints of undelivered balikbayan boxes.  The DTI on Oct. 16 identified the following local freight forwarders as having no accreditation with the department’s Philippine Shippers Bureau, and as having been the subject of complaints on undelivered packages:

2GO Express Inc.;
Alas Cargo Phil
Associated Consolidation Express
Dausan International Forwarder
FACF Parcel Delivery
FRS Philippine Freight Services Inc
International Cargo Forwarder
J.J. Transglobal Brokerage
JAR Cargo Forwarders
Mail Plus Cargo Carriers
Manila Broker
Maru Cargo Logistics Phil
R&M Cargo Services
Rodah Cargo Manila
South Atlantic Cargo Inc
Trico International Forwarding (Phils) Inc
VCG Customs Brokerage

The following companies, while accredited, have been blacklisted and subject to DTI show cause orders because of complaints on undelivered balikbayan boxes:

D’ Winner Logistics Phil. Inc
LCSN Express Movers Inc
MC Plus Inc
Transtech Global Phil Inc
Wide wide World Express Corp

On Oct. 31 the DTI blacklisted eight more Philippine firms:

ABS-CBN Global Cargo Corp
Gen Ex Cargo
Jonar Cargo
Joseph Glenn L. Galo
Pacific Logistics International Cargo
RDN Marketing & Cargo Forwarder
REN International Services

Accredited cargo forwarder RRG Freight Services, meanwhile, is now one of two companies that have been issued show cause orders by DTI-PSB due to complaints regarding balikbayan boxes.
The PSB also advised OFWs to stop doing business with the following foreign principal/cargo consolidators for reports of undelivered balikbayan boxes and other violations.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Al Rodah Marine Cargo
Cityline Cargo
Dagupan Cargo Packaging Services
Express Link Cargo Services
Smooth Express

United States of America (USA)

AAA Cargo Express Inc.
ABS-CBN Star Kargo
Alas Cargo
Associated Consolidations Express (ACE Cargo)
FRS Philippine Freight Services, Inc.
Shipping Express

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)

Cargo Net Worldwide Services formerly FAL-World Express Cargo
Fil Asia Cargo Forwarders Philippines

Global Cargo

RJM Freight Cargo Forwarders
WRJ Freight Forwarders (A Division of Al-Zagel Cargo)


Hagibis Express Pte. Ltd.
Maru Cargo Logistics (s) LLP


Maharlika Enterprise Cargo Services
SCRL Cargo

Other countries:

Bayanihan Express in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Dausan International Forwarder in Australia
Ford Cargo Internationaal (FCI) in Hong Kong

On Oct. 31 the DTI added six more foreign principals/consolidators to the blacklist:

Jasim Yaseen Al-Delam Air Cargo Services (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)
Pacific Logistics International Cargo (Kuwait)
Philand Ynterlink Ltd (United Kingdom)
Pentagon Cargo Inc (United States of America)
REN International (United States of America)
Star Xpress Forwarders (United States of America)

“Overseas Filipino workers who will send their balikbayan boxes and their consignees in the Philippines should book their packages only with reliable and PSB-accredited freight forwarders and Philippine agents to ensure that their packages will reach their destinations,” said Victorio Mario Dimagiba, DTI-PSB director-in-charge, in a statement.  “Senders may verify the company name of the Philippine sea freight forwarder counterpart at, or they may visit our Philippine Consulate offices abroad,” he said.

Dimagiba said foreign principals and cargo consolidators overseas must have local counterparts that are accredited by the DTI-PSB if it is a sea cargo forwarder and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines if an air cargo forwarder.  He also warned cargo senders from abroad against very low door-to-door rates that some foreign principals offer. “With low rates, they [foreign principals] do not have enough funds to bear the cost of transporting cargoes, and they fail to remit delivery funds to their Philippine freight forwarders, causing the shipments to be abandoned at the ports and not being
delivered to consignees,” the DTI official said.

“For consignees in the Philippines who have not received their packages from freight forwarders, they may contact DTI (02-751-3330) or go to PSB office to file an immediate claim or complaint,” he added.

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