How to Send balikbayan box to the Philippines

Sending balikbayan box household items, food, and clothing to loved ones in the Philippines can sometimes be challenging since it may or may not be available in your area or the country you are in.

If you are sending balikbayan boxes to the Philippines, this is an important information. There are balikbayan companies who have been blacklisted by the Philippine Shipper’s Bureau - DTI because of undelivered boxes and other violations. To learn more of the list (as of Oct 25, 2012)  in your respective countries, click here

This has long been a tradition for Filipinos who live outside the Philippines. If you just married a Filipino or Filipina, don’t be surprised that they fill these boxes and send it home to their families. It is a Filipino tradition that whenever someone in the family is better off, they would share their wealth however big or small it may be. It’s just one of those things and it is a tradition. You just have to understand it.


So how do you get these balikbayan (buh-lik-buh-yun) boxes? Most major cities with major Filipino populations have these services. You can either find a balikbayan cargo box agent, Filipino store, Filipino restaurant who resells these services. You either buy the box and then once you are ready to send it, they deduct the amount of the box to the shipping cost. Most of the time the balikbayan cargo dealers give it for free as long as you send the box through their company.

You can also buy a box from one or any balikbayan box dealer or forwarder and send it through another balikbayan cargo dealer. Most of them will accept the box as long as it’s the same dimensions. What does it look like? Here’s some of them:

Contents can look this way packed:

Talking about the dimensions of the box, you cannot just purchase a box from Walmart, Officemax, or any department store. You can buy it a packing company or store as long as it has the same dimensions as what is required. They will not take it if it’s out of dimensions unless you have prior arrangements with them. Balikbayan cargo dealers have their own dimensions for the box because they pack the 20 or 40-foot container the way they like in a certain way.


So what goes in the balikbayan box? Per the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry, these are the items that DO NOT go in the boxes:

1. currencies, checks, money orders and travelers checks
2. jewelries
3. firearms, ammunitions and explosives
4. prohibited drugs and substances
5. pornographic materials, gambling cards and toy guns
6. pirated products i.e. cd, tapes, etc
 Also, DTI recommends the following:
Send your boxes only with PSB-accredited sea cargo consolidator / freight forwarder companies. These companies normally have Philippine counterparts which must have an accreditation from the Department of Trade and Industry’s Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (DTI-PSB) if by sea or from Civil Aeronautics Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) if by air.
Senders may verify the company name of Philippine seafreight forwarder counterpart at under the Consumer Welfare and Regulation section or thru our Philippine Consulate Office abroad.
Here’s the current list of Balikbayan Dealers, as of October 25, 2012 who are Blacklisted by the Philippine Shipper’s Bureau due to non-delivery of boxes:
United States of America (USA)

1. AAA Cargo Express Inc.
2. ABS-CBN Star Kargo
3. Aerosend
4. Alas Cargo
5. Associated Consolidations Express (ACE Cargo)
6. FRS Philippine Freight Services, Inc.
7. Shipping Express
8. South Atlantic Cargo

As of Feb 8, 2013, here’s the list of Balikbayan Cargo dealers in the United States who are under investigation for undelivered boxes or other violations:

1. AAA Cargo Express Inc.
2. ABS-CBN Star Kargo
3. Aerosend
4. Associated Consolidations Express (ACE Cargo)
5. FRS Philippine Freight Services, Inc.
6. Pentagon Cargo, Inc
7. REN International
8. Shipping Express
9. South Atlantic Cargo
10. Star Xpress Forwarders

 If you really want to believe this violations:   click here  to download the current list

For other countries: click here and download the current list

More on shipping the boxes …

• Declare your shipment by accomplishing 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.

• Secure transport documents such as cargo receipt (or Official Receipt) for fees paid, and Bill of Lading – a document issued by a transportation carrier to the shipper as proof that they have 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.
• Get the name and contact details of the forwarder’s agent in the Philippines. Be sure that these information are indicated in the transport document and/or receipt.
• 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.
• Inform your consignee to check your cargo with the Philippine agent even before it arrives. When it does, make sure to inspect the seal and wrapping of the box before signing the receipt of delivery. If you feel it has been tampered with, do not receive the box and ask the delivery agent to have it double-checked.
• If you encounter pilferage or lost item, much worst non-delivery, file an immediate claim or complaint with the freight forwarder’s customer service. You may also lodge your complaint directly to the Philippine Shippers’ Bureau at 2F DTI Bldg., 361 Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City or call the DTI-Direct Hotline (02) 751-3330.



196 Comments on How to Send balikbayan box to the Philippines

  1. hanggang ngayon di pa dumating yung box na pinadala na ate ko galing wau sau wi

  2. JOHN McGrew // June 26, 2015 at 11:06 pm // Reply

    How many items can you put in a balikbayan box?

  3. JOHN McGrew // June 26, 2015 at 11:05 pm // Reply

    How many items can you ship in a balikbayan

  4. Wishing to ship via ocean a 42inch 48in/width 38inch/height flat screen tv weighs 91 lbs.
    How much will this cost to Metro Manila? Thank You.

  5. Maria Cotton // June 25, 2015 at 2:38 pm // Reply

    I’m residing in Leavenworth Kansas, looking for balikbayan door to door service in my area

  6. Lora Hooge // June 24, 2015 at 9:10 pm // Reply

    I am an American Missionary serving in the Philippines since 1967. I recently was given a library for use of schools in the Philippines (elementary through high school) Can I get a special rate? We are looking at possible 60 pieces of 24x24x24 inch boxes. They are located in Centerville, VA 20120 and need to go to Paranaque, MM

  7. Vilma Bradford // June 23, 2015 at 8:18 am // Reply

    Hello! I really need help as of now we are trying to find out where we can find a 40 foot container from Dallas US to Dipolog city Philippines and we don’t know where to go and how to process and how much it cost we are going to move back to the Philippines but we don’t know how much we have to pay and for whom we can trust my husband is now retired so we don’t have much money to pay those corrupt customs in the Philippines is someone can help us where we can find a right company for shipment our stuff and what we gonna do for the paper works and everything I’m still a Filipino citizen so please help us I’m so much appreciate if someone can help us thank you .

  8. Hi, I am from Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. Where is the nearest location where I can buy balikbayan box to send to the Philippines? How much does it cost to send goods, is it based on the weight or the size of the balikbayan box? Please reply to my email address. Thank you.

  9. hi im in washington state,i would like to know where can i get balikbayan box.i want to send to mindanao..thank you very much

  10. Is this service only for filipinos? I am an American with my filipina girlfriend in Cebu. Am i allowed to send these boxes to her?

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