Packing a balikbayan box? Leave these items out

Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 01 2015 06:28 PM | Updated as of Oct 02 2015 08:09 PM

MANILA - The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has released an advisory to give the public tips on shipping balikbayan boxes.

Based on their records, most of the complaints on balikbayan boxes involve non-delivery, loss, pilfered and damaged boxes. Most of the balikbayan boxes come from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Europe, USA and Singapore.

Trade and Industry Undersecretary Vic Dimagiba said balikbayans can check the list of foreign freight forwarders and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-accredited Philippine counterparts in the DTI website.

He warns those who will be sending balikbayan boxes to be wary of exceptionally very low rates and persons posing as representatives of freight forwarding companies.

DTI advises the public to secure shipping documents and get the name and contact details of the consolidator's Philippine counterpart agent.

According to the DTI, the following items are not allowed to be sent through balikbayan boxes:

  • Currencies
  • Checks
  • Money orders and traveller's checks
  • Jewelry
  • Firearms, ammunitions and explosives
  • Prohibited drugs and other substances
  • Pornographic materials
  • Gambling cards
  • Toy guns
  • Pirated products
  • Items of commercial quantity
  • Plant seeds and plant materials
  • Food not contained in cans, sealed packages or in bottles.

DTI also said that all contents of the balikbayan box should be declared.

Complainants should file written complaints together with supporting documents through e-mail at or call DTI direct (02)751-3330 or 09178343330.

In August, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said it will no longer randomly open balikbayan boxes for inspection.