OFW Families Not Happy: Balikbayan Box Items Destroyed While in BoC Care

I remember talking to some foreigner friends a few months ago who were opening a business with some of their Filipino friends here in the Philippines. They seemed to have some trouble importing some items as it often got stuck in customs. This problem isn’t new. These foreigners among others have actually been warned about the difficulty in sending items to the Philippines. It saddened me to know that they have this image of the Philippines, unfortunately, they were right.

With all the rage the Bureau of Customs is causing OFWs now, some families can’t help but share their experiences with packages that were left in the BoC’s care for several months. They were “stuck” there for inspection and sadly, did not get to its rightful owners in the proper condition.

Lee C. shares these photos of his experience…

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“Ganyan ba ang sinasabi nyong inspeksyon ng mga balikbayan box naming mga OFW, na pagkatapos ay wasak wasak na at di na halos mapakinabangan ang mga laman?!


Ganyan poh ang nangyare sa box ko pagdating s bahay binuksan daw ng custom at basang basa pos ang loob ng box ko,
Ngayon mga taga custom cno mag babayad niyang lahat n nasira s mga pinadala ko pati n mga nawala, abay binalot namin ng ilang beses s tape ng d mabasa ang loob bigla kau mag bubukas at hindi ninyo isasara ng maayos, mga buwisit kau taga custom kau!”

Rough English Translation:

Is this the inspection on the balikbayan boxes from OFWs you were referring to, that after inspection, all items are ruined beyond repair and no longer usable?

Our OFW families worked hard for several months, this came from blood and sweat!

This is what happened to our balikbayan box when we received it. We were informed that it was opened by customs for inspection and everything inside got wet. Now, who will pay for everything that was ruined? We wrapped everything carefully in tape so as not to spill and you just opened it up without returning it properly!”





Jevi D. also turned to Facebook to share a similar experience which ended up in a box full of wet and ruined items. They were in such bad condition that they looked more like items salvaged from the flood then gifts from family overseas.

“Eto po ang patunay na ang Custom ay hindi na kasiya-siya ang ginagawa. Pinadala ng Mama ko last Feb 2015. Walang matinong nakuhang gamit sa pinadala. Nawa’y makarating sa nakakataas. Pinaghirapan sa ibang bansa ganto lang hahantungan. Yan po ay galing pang Israel. Hindi lang pla kame ang nakaranas ng ganito”

Rough English Translation:

This is proof that we are no longer happy with the way Customs is handling things. My mom sent this last Feb. 2015. We didn’t receive any item in good condition. I hope this reaches the proper authorities. They worked hard abroad to send this and this is what happened. These items came all the way from Israel. We are not the only ones who experienced something like this”


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We feel sorry for the sender and recipient of these items. Having family members working abroad, I too understand the importance of the Balikbayan box. To others, they may just seem like “expensive” or “imported” items, but honestly, the content itself isn’t really what we look forward to. A better term would be a “care” package. As someone living far from their family, one of the ways to show them we love and remember them is through gifts. Receiving gifts in this state because of something totally preventable really breaks our heart.

What do you guys think of this? Ever had a similar experience?