OFW Guide to Packing and Sending Packages to the Philippines

A lot of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) love to send packages to their loved ones in the Philippines, sharing with them the many wonderful products available abroad for prices that are now much ‘affordable’ for them than if bought as imported goods back home.

But a lot of OFWs soon find themselves losing packages filled with lots of expensive goodies!

Many do get to receive the boxes, yet there are many times when the boxes have been looted or the items inside have become unusable because the liquid items have mixed with the dry goods. This leads to everything getting ruined, leaving everyone wishing the OFW had done something to prevent this from happening.

So, we’re sharing some tips that OFWs can use as guide to packing and sending packages to the Philippines.

Tip #1 Select a good box.

There are companies that actually sell durable balikbayan boxes with the right dimensions, but if you can’t find one, here are the usual dimensions:

Photo credit: Market Monitor

  • Mini box: 1 cu/ft. or 12x12x12 inches.
  • Medium box: 3.0 cu/ft. or 18x18x16 inches
  • Large box: 4.5 cu/ft. or 18x18x24 inches
  • Extra-large or Jumbo box – 6.0 cu/ft. or 24x18x24 inches

Remember that you would be paying a higher charge the larger the box you pick, but many OFWs do prefer the largest options because they could send more. These boxes do tend to get filled up after months of hard work, but if done correctly, you’d be sending more goodies for your family to enjoy.

Tip #2 Make a checklist and label the goods inside if there are items that need to be sent to specific members of the family or other people.

Better yet, take photos of the items. This prevents folks from squabbling about who gets to pick that item (yep, that happens a lot!) and to inform your family what’s inside the box.

Such would also help double check the items in the box so you could keep track if there were items lost in transit.

Photo credit: Pinoy OFW

Tip #3 Pack the items carefully.

Don’t just throw them in like you’re just storing them in the box for future use. You can’t expect the shippers to actually handle your package with care just like you instructed – even if you plaster ‘Fragile’ stickers all over the box! Sadly, it’s a sad reality that even the best shippers could mishandle a box or two at times.

While bottles with liquid items are usually sealed or closed when you bought them, the problem with putting them in the balikbayan box is that they could get squeezed inside. Pressure could cause the liquid to burst out of the container.

The liquid could ruin nearby items – and that could lead to disastrous results, especially because your box would be spending weeks traveling to the Philippines. To avoid this, add tape (duct tape is best) around the bottle covers. Better yet, also add another layer of protection by putting the liquid items inside an additional plastic bag.

Put fragile items in bubble wrap or Styrofoam boxes. Add another layer of protection by wrapping these items inside the clothes you are also sending in the box.

Photo credit: Planet Philippines

Tip #4 Thoroughly seal your box and label correctly.

You don’t want the box to tear up from pressure and handling. Use packing tape or wide scotch tape all over the box, taking care to secure the bottom and the edges.

Also make sure to label the box correctly and add the contact numbers of the receiver in several parts of the box to ensure the local couriers could find them.

Tip #5 Choose trusted couriers. This is key to ensuring your box will actually arrive! Ask your friends or do your research online so you can avoid getting duped and losing your box to couriers who can’t be trusted.

Hope your balikbayan box arrives safe and on time in the Philippines!