Balikbayan boxes have been an integral part of the Filipino culture for the past decades. Every year, particularly during Christmas season, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) make it a point to fill their balikbayan boxes with treats like clothes, shoes, toys, canned goods and even chocolates to send to their families and loved ones in the Philippines.
Sadly, many balikbayan boxes often end up in the wrong hands. As a result, many get tampered and some contents even get stolen. In worse cases, some balikbayan boxes never reach the recipient.
In order to prevent these incidents, here are guidelines in sending balikbayan boxes to your loved ones.
- Verify if your foreign freight forwarder and their Philippine counterparts and agents are Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) accredited .
- Before sending items, check if they are listed in the prohibited items.
- Make sure to declare all contents of the balikbayan box and their corresponding value.
- If possible, request for proper packaging, wrapping, sealing, strapping and labeling of your balikbayan box.
- Keep all the necessary shipping documents like the official receipt, cargo receipt, house bill of lading, invoice as well as the shippers’ declaration or waybill.
- Take note of the name and contact information of the forwarder’s Philippine counterpart or agent. See to it that this information is indicated in your shipping documents.
- Monitor the movement of your cargo by asking shipment details such as the name of the shipping line, vessel’s name and voyage number, container number as well as the expected time of departure and arrival of your balikbayan box.
- You can ask for an insurance for your balikbayan box from your freight forwarder.
- Inform your family to check on the balikbayan box with the Philippine agent even before its expected time of arrival.
- Your family members must first inspect the packaging and seal of the balikbayan box. If the balikbayan box seems tampered, they shouldn’t open or accept it. They must inform the agent right away.
- For complaints, report to DTI – Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) at Ground Floor, UPRC Building, 315 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City or call them at 751-3330 or 0917-8343330 for assistance.