What is a Balikbayan Box? How to send Balikbayan Box from Hong Kong? Are there any cargo companies that ship Balikbayan Boxes to Hong Kong? TopMart has gathered everything you need to know about Balikbayan Box.
The balikbayan box has become an iconic symbol of Filipinos living abroad, representing their love, support, and connection to their families back home in the Philippines. This box, filled with carefully chosen items, is a way for Filipinos to share their blessings and remind their loved ones of their presence, regardless of the distance that separates them.
What is a Balikbayan Box?
Many Filipinos sacrificed years of being away from home to earn more money. But this doesn’t stop them from showing their love to their families with the help of balikbayan boxes.
The balikbayan box is a large and sturdy cardboard box filled with all kinds of household goods such as chocolates, canned goods, apparel, shampoo, soap, toys, shoes, and special-request gifts. Whereas, sending a balikbayan box is another way for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) to show their families back home that they are remembered.
It is also one of the most iconic ways for every OFW, to give back to their family at home. A typical Filipino household gets excited every time they hear the word Balikbayan box from their OFW relatives. Why? It is because this box brings joy to everyone knowing that it is full of hard-earned gifts from their loved ones abroad.
Origin and Cultural Significance of Balikbayan Box
The balikbayan box tradition originated in the 1980s, during a time of political and economic challenges in the Philippines. Many Filipinos were forced to leave their homeland and seek better opportunities abroad, resulting in a diaspora of Filipinos around the world.
The balikbayan box became a symbol of Filipinos’ resilience, love, and support for their families back home. It embodies the concept of balik, which means “return,” representing the Filipinos’ desire to come back to their roots, culture, and family. The balikbayan box is a way for Filipinos to bridge the distance, time of year, and social media updates, and maintain a strong connection with their loved ones.
Sending balikbayan boxes during Christmas time has become a cherished tradition for Filipinos around the world. It is a time of year when Filipinos yearn for the warmth of family, and the balikbayan box helps to bring a piece of home to them, no matter where they are.
The Concept and Purpose of Balikbayan Box
Balikbayan boxes are more than just packages of gifts, they are filled with love, and memories, and a tangible representation of Filipinos’ support for their families. These boxes contain various items, including clothing, electronics, food, and household goods, carefully chosen to meet the needs and desires of their loved ones.
The purpose of the balikbayan box is to provide Filipinos abroad with a convenient, cost-effective, and secure way of sending essential items to their loved ones. It allows Filipinos to share their experiences, culture, and love through the items they send, creating a sense of anticipation, surprise, and joy for the recipients.
In addition to bringing happiness to their families, the balikbayan box also plays a role in supporting the Philippine economy. The items sent often include local products, helping promote local businesses and contributing to the growth of the country.
Preparing a Balikbayan Box
Now that we understand the significance of balikbayan boxes, let’s discuss how to prepare one.
Finding The Right Box
Choosing the right box is essential to ensure the safety of your items during shipment. Look for a box made of durable material, such as corrugated cardboard, that can withstand the rigors of transportation. It should be of an appropriate size, not too big or too small, to optimize space and avoid unnecessary weight.
Many balikbayan box providers or cargo companies offer standardized boxes specifically designed for balikbayan shipments. These boxes are often of high quality and designed to protect the contents during transit. It is important to choose a balikbayan box provider that has a reputation for safe and timely deliveries.
We gathered 7 Cargo Companies in Hong Kong with their box sizes and other information that will help OFWs send balikbayan boxes to their loved ones at home. You’ll find them later in this article.
Packing Tips for Balikbayan Box
Proper packing is crucial to ensure that your balikbayan box arrives safely and intact. Here are some packing tips to consider:
– Use packing materials such as bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and newspaper to protect fragile items.
– Pack items tightly, filling any empty spaces with soft materials, such as clothing or towels, to prevent shifting during transit.
– Place heavier items at the bottom of the box, with lighter and more delicate items on top, to distribute weight evenly.
– Wrap individual items, especially breakable ones, with bubble wrap or protective material before placing them in the box.
– Seal the box securely using strong packing tape to prevent any accidental openings or damage during shipment.
Items Allowed and Prohibited in a Balikbayan Box
While balikbayan boxes generally allow a wide range of items, it is important to be aware of any restrictions or prohibitions imposed by customs regulations. Before packing your balikbayan box, familiarize yourself with the specific customs regulations of the destination country.
Generally, balikbayan boxes allow for items such as clothing, non-perishable food, toiletries, and household goods. However, prohibited items may include firearms, explosives, drugs, perishable food, and illegal substances. It is advisable to avoid sending high-value items, such as jewelry, cash, or important documents, to minimize the risk of loss or theft.
Including a detailed inventory of the box’s contents, including their estimated values, can help with customs clearance and ensure a smooth delivery process.
8 Most Common Items to Put in Your Balikbayan Box from Hong Kong
There are lots of common items that you can put in your balikbayan box, including chocolates, canned goods, used clothes, and more. But we list down some items that you can send to your family fresh from Hong Kong.
1. Electronic Appliances
Hong Kong has a lot of hi-tech electronic appliances that your family will surely love. These appliances are multi-purpose, they can be used daily and when they decide to do a small business. Some handy electronic appliances that you can put on your balikbayan box are a Multifunction Sandwich and Cooking Machine, a Solid Food Chopper with a Stainless Steel Bowl, a Small Family Electric Oven, a Wireless Portable Juicer, Solid Electric Coffee Dripper with Pot, and more. You can check out other interesting appliances from Hong Kong at TopMart.
2. Cooking Ware
Of course, Filipinos love to cook, that’s why another item you can put on your Balikbayan box is cooking wares. There are lots of awesome cooking wares that you can find in Hong Kong, such as Non-stick pans, Stainless steel cook sets, Non-stick main stone pots, an Air fryer, and more. These are very lightweight products that you can put on your balikbayan box and can make your mother smile.
Go on and visit TopMart to see lots of affordable cooking ware.
If you are looking for a present for your younger sibling, daughters, sons, and other relatives, I think gadgets are a good option. Some affordable and quality gadgets that you can buy in Hong Kong are Wireless Bluetooth Earphones, Smartphones, Android Tablets, and more.
4. Health Supplements and Tools
Considering the high expense of vitamins and supplements in the country, sending months’ worth of vitamin supplies is a good idea. After all, when it comes to health, prevention is always preferable to cure. You can also send some health tools such as the Healthcare Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor, Steam Gun, Spray Disinfectant Gun, Infrared non-contact thermometer gun, Sinocare Blood Glucose Self Monitoring Meter Complete Set, and more. These are good items that can remind them how you care for their health and safety even when you are away.
5. Houseware and Leisure
Housewares are always on the list of common items to put. Things like a Vacuum cleaner, Steam Iron, Water Boiler, Organisers, etc., are good. One of the hobbies and bonding of a Filipino household is having Karaoke time together, which is why another handy item you can use is a Solid Karaoke Set that they can use in their leisure time.
We’ve got some awesome houseware items at TopMart from Hong Kong that you can get at an affordable price.
Apparel such as jeans, skirts, shirts, cardigans, and more are some of the clothes to put on your balikbayan box. There are lots of High-end brands in Hong Kong where you can buy fashionable clothes. Don’t tire yourself because, at TopMart, we’ve got some high-quality apparel and other items for ladies that you can buy at an affordable price.
If you are looking for a perfect gift for your husband, father, brother, and uncles, then a Tool Kit is the best option for you. It is a common item that OFWs usually send to their families. You can send them an All-Round Tool Kit Set or a Powerful Electric Screwdriver Set that they can use for different house maintenance.
8. Solar Products
One of the interesting items that you can find in Hong Kong is Solar Products. Since in the Philippines, there is always a power interruption, solar items are a great idea. Some of the solar items that you can put on your balikbayan box are Solar Energy Automatic Spotlight and Solar Energy Power Storage Light. They can use these items as a backup light when there is a sudden power interruption. These are very helpful products that you can buy at TopMart.
How to send a Balikbayan Box?
Here is a quick guide on how you can send your Balikbayan boxes.
- Gather all of the items that you’d like to ship. Make a list of them on the Balikbayan Box information sheet.
- Look for a shipping agency that is well-reviewed and fits your budget.
- Get a box that can fit all the items you’re sending.
- Put all the items together in a box. Make sure that you put all liquid items in a Ziploc bag and carefully wrap fragile items using bubble wrap.
- Make your box sturdier by adding padding or tape to the bottom side. Items should be in their proper position and before you close the box, place a copy of the list you created a while ago.
- Tape the box carefully. Attached is a label with your complete information and the receiver’s name, address, and phone number.
- Contact the shipping agency you have chosen and wait for them to pick up your box.
- Track your balikbayan box and wait for its arrival to your family in the Philippines.
What Documents Are Needed to Send a Balikbayan Box?
The following are the required documents by the BOC for the senders to send balikbayan boxes.
- An Original copy of your Philippine passport or a photocopy that contains your personal information, signature, and photo.
- For dual citizens without a Philippine passport, you may present a copy of your foreign passport with your personal information, signature, and photo.
- BOC information sheet.
- A receipt of valuable goods (if you have any)
Shipping Your Balikbayan Box
Once your balikbayan box is packed and ready, it’s time to ship it to your loved ones in the Philippines. Let’s discuss the steps involved in shipping your balikbayan box.
Choose a Reliable Cargo Company in Hong Kong
When it comes to shipping your balikbayan box, choosing a reliable cargo company is crucial. Research different cargo companies, comparing their services, reputation, and customer reviews, to find a reliable balikbayan box service provider.
Look for cargo companies that specialize in balikbayan box shipments, as they are likely to have the necessary expertise, experience, and network of partners to ensure smooth deliveries. Consider the track record of the cargo company, including their on-time delivery rate, customer satisfaction, and handling of mishandled or lost packages.
It is also worth checking if the cargo company offers additional services, such as pickup, tracking, insurance, and customs clearance assistance, to provide added convenience and peace of mind. Request quotes from multiple cargo companies, comparing their pricing, including any additional fees, to find the most cost-effective option.
7 Hong Kong Cargo Companies for Balikbayan Box
Available Box Sizes
|Bida||24” x 24” x 36”|
|Jumbo||24” x 24” x 26”|
|Regular||24” x 24” x 20”|
|M-Plus||24” x 18” x 20”|
|Half||24” x 14” x 20”|
|Q-Plus||24” x 14” x 14”|
|Gift Pack||12” x 14” x 14”|
12” x 12” x 8”
Tel: +852 2522 4253
Location: Shop 372 Worldwide Plaza, 19 Des Voeux Road Central Hong Kong
2. Royal Cargo Express
Cargo Rates and Available Box Sizes
|Size||Malina||Luzon 1||Luzon 2||Visayas||Mindanao||Islands|
|Small||24” x 14” x 24”||HK$445||HK$455||HK$475||HK$505||HK$525||HK$505|
|Medium||24” x 24” x 20”||HK$585||HK$595||HK$605||HK$645||HK$665||HK$645|
|Large||24” x 24” x 26”||HK$646||HK$665||HK$685||HK$725||HK$755||HK$725|
|Extra Large||24” x 24” x 36”||HK$755||HK$775||HK$795||HK$815||HK$835||
Tel: +852 2543 0600
Location: Royal Cargo Express, Hong Kong Industrial Building, Flat E1, 444-452 19th Floor, Des Voeux Rd W, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong
3. ALiN Cargo Express Co. Ltd.
Cargo Rates and Available Box Sizes
|Bulilit Box or XSmall Box||24” x 12” x 12”||HK$225||HK$275||HK$275|
|Half Box||24” x 24” x 12”||HK$325||HK$375||HK$375|
|Small + Free XSmall Box||24” x 24” x 24”||HK$625||HK$675||HK$675|
|Medium + Free XSmall Box||24” x 24” x 30”||HK$725||HK$775||HK$775|
|Large + Free XSmall Box||24” x 24” x 36”||HK$825||HK$875||HK$875|
|Extra Large + Free XSmall Box||24” x 24” x 42”||HK$925||HK$975||
Tel: +852 5688 3682
Location: Central Head Office, Shop 309, 3F Worldwide House, #19 Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong
4. Gen-Ex Cargo
Cargo Rates and Available Box Sizes
|Size||Malina||Luzon 1||Luzon 2||Visayas||Mindanao||Islands|
|Super Jumbo||24” x 24” x 36”||HK$910||HK$930||HK$950||HK$970||HK$990||HK$1170|
|Jumbo||24” x 24” x 26”||HK$800||HK$820||HK$840||HK$870||HK$900||HK$1070|
|Regular||24” x 24” x 20”||HK$720||HK$730||HK$740||HK$780||HK$800||HK$980|
|Half||24” x 14” x 20”||HK$540||HK$550||HK$570||HK$600||HK$620||HK$700|
|Baby||24” x 12” x 12”||HK$410||HK$420||HK$440||HK$490||HK$510||
Tel: +852 2343 4307
Location: 9E, 2 Tai Yau St, San Po Kong, Hong Kong
5. Focus Forwarders
Cargo Rates and Available Box Sizes
|Size||Malina||Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Batangas||Luzon||Visayas||Mindanao||Islands|
|Super Jumbo||24” x 24” x 36”||HK$797||HK$817||HK$837||HK$857||HK$877||HK$1197|
|Jumbo||24” x 24” x 26”||HK$687||HK$707||HK$727||HK$757||HK$787||HK$937|
|Regular||24” x 24” x 20”||HK$597||HK$617||HK$637||HK$657||HK$677||HK$887|
|Half Box||24” x 14” x 24”||HK$487||HK$507||HK$517||HK$547||HK$557||HK$937|
|Parcel||24” x 12” x 12”||HK$327||HK$347||HK$357||HK$407||HK$417||HK$737|
|Junior||14” x 12” x 14”||HK$257||HK$267||HK$277||HK$307||HK$367||HK$677|
|Mini||14” x 14” x 7”||HK$157||HK$167||HK$187||/||/||
Tel: +852 2529 2150
Location: 3/F Shop 346 Wolrd Wide Plaza, 19 Des Voeux Rd. Central Hong Kong
6. Quickbox International Co., Limited
Cargo Rates and Available Box Sizes
|Size||Malina||Luzon 1||Luzon 2||Bicol, Islands, Visayas||Mindanao|
|Extra Large||24” x 24” x 36”||HK$719||HK$759||HK$779||HK$799||HK$809|
|Large||24” x 24” x 26”||HK$619||HK$649||HK$669||HK$689||HK$719|
|Medium||24” x 24” x 20”||HK$529||HK$569||HK$579||HK$619||HK$659|
|Small||24” x 14” x 24”||HK$409||HK$429||HK$449||HK$459||HK$489|
|Extra Small||24” x 14” x 14”||HK$299||HK$309||HK$319||HK$349||
Tel: +852 9152 3335
Location: Shop 222, 2nd Floor, Worldwide House No. 19 Des Voeux Road, Central District, Hong Kong
7. Ex Speed Logistics
Cargo Rates and Available Box Sizes
|King||24” x 24” x 41”||HK$925||HK$985||HK$1015||HK$1030|
|Super||24” x 24” x 36”||HK$840||HK$880||HK$910||HK$940|
|Jumbo||24” x 24” x 26”||HK$700||HK$730||HK$790||HK$820|
|Regular||24” x 24” x 22”||HK$645||HK$665||HK$705||HK$745|
|Medium||24” x 16” x 20”||HK$470||HK$490||HK$520||HK$550|
|Small||24” x 14” x 15”||HK$340||HK$360||HK$400||HK$420|
|Ex Budget||12” x 12” x 14”||210||230||250||
Location: Room 9B, 11/F, Block B, Merit Industrial Center, No. 94 To Kwa Wan Road, To Kwa Wan Kowloon, Hong Kong
Costing and Pricing of Shipment
The cost of shipping a balikbayan box can vary depending on factors such as the size, weight, destination, and additional services required. Cargo companies typically offer different pricing options, including flat rates, weight-based rates, and box size-based rates, so it is important to compare and choose the most suitable option.
Additional services, such as pickup, tracking, insurance, and customs clearance, may incur extra charges, so factor them into your overall cost considerations. It is advisable to request quotes from multiple cargo companies, comparing their pricing, including any additional fees, to find the most competitive and cost-effective option.
Keep in mind that peak seasons, such as holidays, may result in higher shipping costs and longer delivery times, so plan your shipment accordingly.
Shipping and Delivery Time Frames
The time it takes for your Balikbayan box to be shipped and delivered can vary depending on the destination and time of year. Check the estimated delivery time provided by the cargo company and keep track of your shipment through online tracking services.
Make sure to provide accurate contact information to receive delivery updates. It is also important to keep in mind that delivery time frames can be affected by customs clearance processes, so be patient and allow for some flexibility in your expectations.
Philippine Government rules on Balikbayan Box (Customs Rules and Regulations)
Navigating customs rules and regulations can be a complex process when it comes to shipping balikbayan boxes. Let’s delve into this topic further.
Back then, sending Balikbayan boxes was free, which is why many Filipinos love to send boxes full of goods as their way of giving and sharing. However, some took advantage of this “tax-free” privilege.
In August 2017, a new policy was implemented by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) that aims to prevent the smuggling or illegal importation of goods in the Philippines. According to the policy, duty and import tax will now apply to balikbayan boxes, with only certain exemptions and limitations.
You can still send your balikbayan box, but there are a few things that you should keep in mind, such as:
- Fill out a document listing everything in the box.
- Provide a photocopy of your documents and a receipt for all valuable things such as gadgets, jewelry, appliances, and some expensive items.
Upon sending the Balikbayan box, these documents will be submitted to the Cargo companies catering the boxes to the Philippines. So, if you want to send Balikbayan boxes to your family, you have to follow certain rules.
Understanding the Philippine Customs Laws on Balikbayan Boxes
Balikbayan boxes are covered under the Philippine Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, which provides tax exemptions for balikbayan boxes, subject to certain conditions. To ensure a smooth customs clearance process, it is important to understand the customs laws of the Philippines regarding balikbayan boxes.
The law states that balikbayan boxes must be for personal use and not for commercial purposes. The box should contain personal and household items, and the total value of the box should not exceed the allowed limit. It is of utmost importance to declare the contents of the box accurately to avoid any issues with customs.
Duties, Taxes, and Expectations for Balikbayan Box
In general, balikbayan boxes are exempt from import duties and taxes in the Philippines. However, there may be specific cases where duties or taxes apply, such as for restricted items or if the box exceeds the prescribed limit of value.
It is essential to familiarize yourself with the current duty and tax rates for non-exempt items, as these rates can change over time. Consulting with customs authorities or a customs broker can provide you with specific details on exemptions, ensuring a smooth customs clearance process for your balikbayan box.
Who can send a tax-free Balikbayan Box?
Everyone can still send a balikbayan box in the Philippines. However, those balikbayan boxes that do not qualify for the exemptions and limitations will be subject to duty and import tax.
The following are covered by the exemptions and limitations of the new policy.
- Qualified Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW)
- Dual Citizen Filipinos
- Filipino citizens with a temporary visa (e.g students, business visas, or temporary workers)
Note: You can send up to 150,000 pesos worth of tax-free balikbayan boxes containing only household items.
Who can receive a Balikbayan Box?
Anyone related to the sender can receive the package. However, sending a box to someone else (unrelated to the sender) will lose its tax-free privilege.
Receiving Your Balikbayan Box
The day of receiving your balikbayan box is always an exciting time, both for the sender and the recipient. Let’s discuss what to expect and how to handle this moment.
Tracking Your Balikbayan Box Shipment
Being able to track the progress of your balikbayan box shipment is crucial, as it helps you stay informed and anticipate its arrival. Most cargo companies provide online tracking services, allowing you to check the status of your box, including its location and estimated time of arrival.
Take advantage of this service, sign up for text or email notifications, and keep an eye on your box’s progress. If you have any concerns or inquiries about the tracking process, don’t hesitate to contact the shipping company or courier for assistance.
What To Do Upon Receipt of The Balikbayan Box?
Upon receiving your balikbayan box, take the time to inspect it for any signs of mishandling or damage during transit. Carefully examine the box and its contents, noting any discrepancies, such as missing or broken items, and report them immediately to the shipping company or courier.
It is also advisable to keep the packaging materials, including the box, in case of return or insurance claims. Sort and organize the contents of the box, making sure to dispose of any prohibited items properly. Finally, share your balikbayan box experience on social media, encouraging others to send their boxes and continue this meaningful tradition.
Common Challenges and Solutions When Sending a Balikbayan Box
While sending a balikbayan box can be a rewarding experience, there are some common challenges that Filipinos may encounter. Let’s discuss these challenges and possible solutions.
One common challenge is the weight limit of balikbayan boxes imposed by shipping companies. To ensure that your box meets the weight requirements, carefully select the items you include, prioritizing essential and meaningful items. Consider lighter alternatives for bulky or heavy items, or opt for smaller sizes of products when possible.
Another challenge Filipinos may face is ensuring that the contents of the balikbayan box are securely packed and will not be damaged during transit. Follow proper packing techniques, using appropriate materials to protect fragile items, and packing items tightly to prevent shifting. Label fragile items, so they are handled with care, and consider adding extra protection, such as bubble wrap, for added security.
Customs regulations, both in the sending and receiving countries, can also pose a challenge. Research and familiarize yourself with the customs laws of both countries, ensuring that you comply with all regulations and restrictions. Seek guidance from customs authorities or a customs broker, if necessary, to ensure a smooth customs clearance process.
In conclusion, sending a Balikbayan Box is not just about the physical items being sent. It is a way for Filipinos abroad to reconnect with their roots and show their love and care for their families back home. Understanding the cultural significance and purpose behind Balikbayan Boxes is important to fully appreciate this tradition. From choosing the right box and packing it properly to finding a reliable cargo company and understanding customs regulations, there are many steps involved in sending a Balikbayan Box. By following the guidelines and being aware of the challenges that may arise, you can ensure a smooth and successful shipment. So, embrace this heartfelt tradition and bring joy to your loved ones in the Philippines with a Balikbayan Box.