Balikbayan Boxes

Matt Wilkie PhilippinesA very common thing that is sent to the Philippines is literally thousands of boxes of goods each month from all over the world. Mainly from OFWs or people married to foreigners. Basically its a box filled with gifts from abroad. So what are the best things to fill them with from the UK and where to get the stuff?

Soaps and gels – Best place to buy these are supermarkets as every week there is always at least one brand on sale. a BOGOF (Buy One Get One Free) or a similar offer. Another good source might be a £ shop although the quality may not be as good (since a lot of that stock is bankrupt sales).

Cadbury’s – Chocolates are always a good gift and the best places to get these from are the Cadbury’s factory shops which are located in various places around the country. One is in Swindon another Birmingham your best bet to finding your nearest one is using the Cadbury’s site. What I normally do is buy 1 large box of Quality Street and another one of another similar kind and empty the boxes into a carrier bag. Be aware they are heavy! ive had up to 18kg of Chocolates in my luggage before.

Store brand – Things like store brand After eight mints and Turkish delight make good gifts as they are flavours not too commonly tasted in the Philippines so not only are they cheap at around £1 a box they are something that can be split into smaller quantities of mixed flavours.

Electronics – Most things in the Philippines electronics wise is overpriced and inferior quality mainly due to being surplus or second-hand repairs. So sending things such as DVD players, grills etc. from somewhere like Tescos own brands (which are very cheap) will be greatly appreciated.

Mobile Phones – Every year at my parents nearly everyone gets a new free mobile phone with renewal of contracts. So what do you do with the old ones? Well generally ill mail them or bring them in my luggage as here in the Philippines even the oldest of phones has a value.

Hand Tools – Hand tools and power tools are available in two stages here generally they are cheap chinese goods or copies.. e.g. a fake dewalt drill. The point is unless you want to pay well over the top for tools best thing to do is shop around something like the bargain pages then mail the tools out. You can find some very handy equipment at rock bottom prices in the bargain pages or Loot which could be very useful to someone out in the Philippines if you have relatives who are mainly trades workers.

Whatever you send it will be greatly appreciated and people will be thankful for receiving it.

Personally I use Nettrex who have a few locations in the UK for drop off agents. Either way happy shopping and please add any other suggestions you can think of.