What does an expat need for the Philippines?


Balikbayan boxes are heading off home this week as things begin to start moving. I was a bit surprised how hard my wallet has been hit this week so much so I wont discuss it..lol But while packing stuff I thought what sort of items would people need if doing the same for the Philippines so I thought I would compile a little list also a new venture I will look to start shortly for those of you who are interested.

Firstly electronics I learned the hard way on my first trips because simply things breakdown way to often as a lot of the stuff sold in the Philippines unless paying in a major store is generally surplus or second hand. Either way the quality will let you down much better to send your own stuff aswell as the fact it can be cost affective. Especially at the moment as it seems with the prices a lot of excess stock in the UK which is lowering the cost of a lot of items aswell as getting “store” brands. A sandwich maker is a sandwich maker.. its the food you put in it that counts so spending £7 instead of £40 just makes sense. Also they make great gifts same as toasters, steamers and lots of other products. Big advantage being they don’t break the bank and you don’t really notice the cost when your in the UK. But you do when you buy it drive home to switch it on in the Philippines to find its broken or faulty, or that it broke after a week.


The next thing is food products because surprising enough or maybe not as the case maybe there is a shortage of things like Tea bags, Oxo cubes, sausages, curry sauces and most other products that we take for granted in the U.K. infact most things either taste different e.g. Cadburys chocolates are made in Malaysia to a more bland taste than we have in the U.K. or expensive if available. So shipping the stuff you need is important. But im also looking to open an expat online store where you can order goods for home delivery in Manila or Cebu as I will ship the goods myself in bulk and split them down for resale.

Power tools and electrical items for the home. If your a tradesman its worth sending your tools if you wont need them in the UK again simply because they are hard to find and/or replace in the Philippines much better to just bring them with you. Most tradesmen here have limited supply of tools as they are normally provided by the company owner etc. So if you want jobs doing they are likely expecting you to have the tools at hand for them to use. Also the voltage in the Philippines is 220v so your UK electrical contents work. I find the Philippines sockets are generally plastic and lose fitting so why not change the sockets over to a British 3 pin socket instead? Sturdy plug and you can plug your stuff straight in. Other things worth taking are light junction boxes, Electrical choc blocks and other electrical stuff that you think you might need (if you think you might need it you probably will).

Good kids toys I have found that getting stuff for kids is a bit of a nightmare in Cebu as most items aren’t available that I would normally get in the UK so best advice is just buy it and ship it. As your unlikely to get a lot of the things you would love the kids to have. Also things like XBOX originals as they have no value in the UK anymore they are on eBay etc. for around £25.00 each and games even in stores such as “game” are around £1.00 each! so want something cheap to keep teenagers happy there is the ideal item. Also it can be easily modded to use as a media centre to watch DVDs on. Things I find worth taking especially now im getting back into fitness mode is a badminton set from Argos for around £30 which includes the net and 4 x rackets etc., tennis rackets from Tesco which will no doubt be going in the sale as we are at the end of summer season. Scuba suits which you can find all over the place and so far I have bought on EBay, Sainsbury’s and Amazon. To get the 3 sizes and types I wanted for April me and Zoei. Footballs are next as I would like to start a small league at some point maybe 5 a side and see how it goes (mainly because of space).

So there is a quick breakdown on things recommended for sending. But also if you have the space start a box today and just fill it with things on offer. E.g. Superdrug are doing a special deal on men’s shower gels at the moment Lynx are £1.00 each. So I bought some and stuck them in a box and next time no doubt I will find something else like tonight Typhoo Tea large boxes have £1.50 off the box price in Tesco. Just fill the box as you find the offers and don’t go out your way to do it and you will be surprised how much you get in the box aswell as how much you save.

0 comments for “What does an expat need for the Philippines?

  1. Guest
    September 15, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    How much are the shipping costs from UK to Philippines?  Isn’t it horrendously expensive?

  2. Matt Wilkie
    September 15, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    The boxes in the photo cost £40 each. Which is very reasonable I think, that included pickup from Birmingham to be loaded in London.

  3. Guest
    September 18, 2009 at 3:54 am

    £40 is a lot better than I’d thought. 

    I too am married to a Filipina but we now live in Singapore.  It’s quite cheap to send balikbayan boxes from here (they charge by box size not weight) and there are lots of UK goods available here.  I wondered if there would be a business opportunity to supply expat goods to the Philippines from Singapore.

  4. Matt Wilkie
    September 18, 2009 at 6:57 am

    There is a business opportunity there..also other goods that “arent” just for expats as many things in the Philippines are hard to come by.