Sending Balikbayan Boxes To The Philippines - All About Forex

Sending Balikbayan Boxes To The Philippines

Sending Balikbayan Boxes To The Philippines – Sending balikbayan boxes is a common practice for Filipinos all over the world, including the United States, a major shipping service that ships these boxes is headquartered in Springfield, Virginia.

A forex cargo employee at the company’s Springfield, Virginia, headquarters balikbayan waits for their shipment to arrive. (Courtesy: Forex)

Sending Balikbayan Boxes To The Philippines

Sending Balikbayan Boxes To The Philippines

Nita Matheson, of Springfield, shops year-round for items to send to family and friends in the Philippines. (/Abigail Constantino)

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Stuffed animals, clothes, hangers, towels, decorations — even bird feeders — were quickly collected in Nita Matheson’s Springfield, Virginia home last Wednesday. In his garage, flat jumbo boxes hold even more items that he plans to send to far-flung family and friends.

This is part of a Filipino tradition known as the balikbayan box – a box sent to the Philippines by Filipinos living or working abroad. It can be a variety of things, but in general, people send anything from groceries to personal care items (even toilet paper), shoes, cute clothes, or small appliances.

Balikbayan comes from two words in the Tagalog language – balik, which means “to return”, and bayan, which means “place” (country, city, town or village). A balikbayan is a Filipino who returned to the Philippines after living or working abroad.

It is customary for Balinese to give their relatives a box of goodies from America when they travel But if they can’t join the box, they send it It is a way of showing their love and respect to people they have not seen for a long time

How To Pack And Send A Balikbayan Box To The Philippines

According to the Pew Research Center, more than 4 million Filipinos lived in the United States in 2019. Most Filipino Americans who were not born in the United States have lived here for more than 20 years; 71% are US citizens

The Philippine Statistics Authority estimates that from April to September 2020, there are 1.77 million overseas Filipino workers, or OFWs – those who do not work in places where they do not live. This is down 18.6% from 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic

Authorities found that 26.6% worked in Saudi Arabia, followed by the United Arab Emirates at 14.6%; 5.2% worked in North and South America OFWs remitted more than $2.5 billion to the Philippines in 2020.

Sending Balikbayan Boxes To The Philippines

Forex Cargo, a Philippine-owned cargo and freight forwarding company with East Coast headquarters in Springfield, Virginia, ships balikbayan boxes from the Philippines to the Philippines. They started as a payments company in the 1980s

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“Keeping money is good, but it’s no substitute for thoughtful packaging of a physical item,” says CEO Mike Claudio.

Matheson prefers to send cash to the Balikbayan box He averages 10 to 12 boxes a year from relatives, students from his old school and people he knows in need.

“The money will be gone in a day or two. They spend it on something else But if you are sending the product – how long will the BlueJeans I sent last? Or those shoes – at least their broken sandals will be replaced “And they will remember me,” said Matheson, adding that the accolade is reward enough for him.

Generally, Claudio said, Filipinos express love by asking cumin ka na ba? did you eat Sending balikbayan boxes to Filipinos abroad has become its love language, he said.

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“To be able to think and let our loved ones in the Philippines know we care and send them balikbayan boxes,” Claudio said.

A balikbayan box is related to the concept of “pasalubung” – a gift that you give after visiting a place, going somewhere or staying away – and “padala” – something you give back.

“When a balikbayan comes home and brings a box with him, the box is pasalubong,” said Michelle Magalong, a postdoctoral associate in the historic preservation program at the University of Maryland, Maryland. But when the box is sent, there is “this feeling of the return of the person”.

Sending Balikbayan Boxes To The Philippines

Average monthly shipments to the Philippines are 30,000 boxes of forks; This number can triple between September and December, as Filipinos around the world send balikbayan boxes for Christmas.

Who We Are

“He says, ‘I want you to have something… I was thinking about you or I was taking care of you,'” Claudio said. Furthermore, he says: “Here I am I am the one who wins and makes us money. “

According to the Philippine Statistics Agency’s 2018 National Migration Survey, employment is the main reason for international migration for Filipinos, with 89% citing it as the main reason for moving abroad. More than a third said their families had difficulty meeting basic needs before moving abroad, and more than seven in 10 said their financial resources were sufficient upon return.

“We’re very lucky in America, because Phil-Ames is very philanthropic; They give And so when families and loved ones in the Philippines need it, they send more packages,” Claudio said.

That generosity was evident during the pandemic and Forex positioned itself as a frontline service because the Philippines would not survive without imports, Claudio said.

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When the company resumed operations after a brief shutdown at the start of the pandemic, requests for pickups began to pour in, especially in countries where there were also large numbers of Filipino expatriates.

Forex claims to specialize in door-to-door services The balikbayan box’s journey begins at the sender’s home and ends when it reaches the recipient’s home in the Philippines. (Courtesy: Forex)

Filipinos refer to their sense of civic unity and cooperation as “bayanihan”. It’s the same spirit that brings Matheson back with Balikbayan boxes to people he needs clothes, food or anything else that makes their lives a little happier and easier, and which costs him thousands of dollars. Computer equipment for his old school

Sending Balikbayan Boxes To The Philippines

Claudio said that Bayanihan is the center of forex value and being a Filipino-owned company raises the level of trust for Filipinos around the world.

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“You more or less need what I call indigenous or local knowledge, reliable, safe, without pilferage,” said Claudio, adding that other non-Filipino-owned freight and transportation companies may not have such a deep distribution infrastructure.

Matheson said one of the balikbayan boxes he sent using Forex a few years ago was washed away during a typhoon, but although it was a little worse for wear, everything was still inside and the box was delivered.

Everyone has their own way of packing balikbayan boxes, but the main thing is to get maximum space For shipping by sea, Forex does not have a specific weight limit

“Many people are smart. “Instead of using packaging materials, they will use old clothes that (someone else) can use when they get there,” Claudio said.

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But good packers have one thing in common: the contents or packing list they put inside the box A sender should at least make a list, part of the documentation when the box is shipped, and knowing what’s inside will protect everyone — the sender, the recipient and the shipping company — Claudio said.

Another good way to pack is to separate personal care items from food Finally, it is important to be aware of what is legal to send and what is not

“Fortunately, our customers are very good about that again. No guns, no bullets – you know that kind of thing “There are no drugs,” Claudio said.

Sending Balikbayan Boxes To The Philippines

Often, senders will say who the item is for, or instructions on what to do with an item. Matheson includes things to plant in her parents’ memorial garden and notes where to put the decorations she planted.

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Nita Matheson of Springfield writes instructions on what to do with this item she keeps in a balikbayan box. (/Abigail Constantino)

When everything is packed and taped, Forex will pick up the box It takes up to eight weeks for a box to arrive using ocean freight originating from a port in Virginia, if it goes from California. There is an air freight option, which costs a bit more; It will take seven to 10 days to reach Manila, said Forex.

When the box arrives at the recipient’s home, the person delivering the box will take a photo of the balikbin box and the recipient.

“We review these photos as part of our quality process And that has become the most rewarding part of our job because you can see their faces They are very happy. They are shouting. “Christmas morning is the best way to describe it,” Claudio said.

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Sometimes Forex will send pictures to the sender, who can get a glimpse of how things looked back home or how big someone got.

Claudio said, “It’s very impressive, what started as a need to send items to the Philippines has become a symbol or a tradition of sentiment and love.”

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