Shipping Goods Here: The How

There are products that are not available in this country. Of those that are available the quality often ranges from shoddy to Wal-Mart. And forget about finding shoes or clothing in Foreigner sizes except in Manila and Cebu. Thus people arrange to have goods shipped here from some country where it can be purchased. I’m only concerned with sending things from the states.

There are several ways to ship. My total experience with any of them equals zero so I’m passing on what I’ve learned from years of reading expat forums and talking to the dudes here. My Mileage May Vary.

The following on USPS, FedEx, DHL and UPS was copied from some expat forum. More of my stuff below.

Unites States Postal Service

Pros: Inexpensive and very convenient.
Cons: Mail is frequently lost or opened before reaching the recipient.

Delivery Time:
2 to 6 weeks for Air Mail Parcel Post
1 to 2 weeks for Global Priority Mail

Cost: Around $15 for Air Mail Parcel Post; around $20 for Global Priority Mail.
Ideal for: Unhurried love letters, postcards, photographs. Lightweight items of little or no monetary value that do not demand urgent delivery.

Federal Express

Pros: Very quick delivery. FedEx has a large facility in Subic (near Manila) and its own delivery team in the Philippines, which means your package never leaves FedEx’s custody until it reaches its recipient.

Cons: Expensive and inconvenient (you have to use FedEx labels and/or packaging and get it to a FedEx pick-up point).

Delivery Time: 2-3 days by Overnight Express (to Manila)


Pros: Very quick delivery, and DHL maintains control of the package until it reaches its recipient.
Cons: Expensive.
Delivery Time: 3 days standard delivery (to Manila).


Pros: Quick service at fair rates.
Cons: Not as expensive as DHL or FedEx, but much more expensive that the U.S. Postal Service.
Delivery Time: 3-4 days using UPS WorldWide Express (to Manila).
Cost: Determine the rate for your particular need at:

I wrote the rest of this.

Balikbayan Box

Many Filipinos who has left the country for long term legal work overseas. The amount of cash they wire home is a significant portion of the economy. When they return home they usually bring boxes and boxes of stuff. The Filipino government has special regulations for such boxes which, if I remember correctly, bypasses most customs regulations. Unless you’re a foreigner.

An industry has developed to ship this boxes. One can buy boxes from them, drop off the filled box or send it UPS and it gets loaded into a container which is place on a ship. Depending on when the last container was filled the box reaches Manila or Cebu in 3 weeks to 3 months. The price is under $100, the boxes are usually 18″ x 18″ x 24″ and the weight is limited only the strength of your box and your back.

One must go to Manila or Cebu to pick up the box or hope that the local delivery company isn’t interested in its contents.

Freight Forwarders

Between the two extremes of cost and delivery time are firms such as ForexWorld or Manila Forwarder. Boxes are shipped by air to one of the two international airports (Manila and Cebu) and again the option is theft — I mean delivery by a local firm or go to pick it up yourself.

Some of the Balikbayan and freight forwarder firms have optional services aimed at the foreigner who doesn’t want to impose on his friends and family back home. One can order goods on the net and have them delivered to the shipping firm. The shipping firm has been notified of how many separate incoming shipments to expect. When they have all arrived the boxes are opened and the contents are consolidated into a single shipping carton.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: