Sending a balikbayan box is a cherished Filipino tradition, a heartfelt gesture that connects overseas Filipinos with their loved ones back home.
These boxes are more than just packages; they are filled with love, memories, and the warmth of family ties.
If you are a Balikbayan or an OFW, we have prepared this guide to help you plan ahead and make the right decisions to pack a balikbayan box carefully and thoughtfully.
Step-by-Step process on how to pack a Balikbayan Box
Step 1: Choose the Right Box
Start by selecting a sturdy and durable box. LBC’s Balikbayan boxes come in various sizes, so choose one that suits your needs. Make sure the box is in good condition and can withstand the rigors of international shipping. Reinforce the seams with strong packing tape to prevent any mishaps during transit.
LBC Express has multiple options for their box sizes (please refer to the image below taken at LBC’s Los Angeles Branch):
After you have chosen the right box, it is time to tape it carefully. If you don’t have good tape, there is a likelihood that the items in your balikbayan box are not secured and may get damaged while shipping.
For securing the bottom of your balikbayan box, we recommend getting Scotch Heavy Duty packing tape.
- Six pack
- Industrial strength
- Clear adhesive for presents
- Sticks on all box types
Once you have secured the box, you can proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Create an Inventory
Before packing, create a detailed inventory of the items you plan to include in the balikbayan box. This not only helps you keep track of what you’re sending but can also be useful for insurance purposes in case of unforeseen circumstances.
Please check the what to pack section for more information and/or inspiration on items you may want to include in your inventory.
Step 3: Prioritize Essential Items
Consider the needs and preferences of your recipients. Pack essential items first, such as non-perishable goods, toiletries, and clothing.
Don’t forget to include local favorites and specialties that may not be readily available in the Philippines. Balikbayan boxes are an excellent opportunity to share a taste of life abroad with your loved ones.
Step 4: Secure Fragile Items
If you’re including fragile items, like glassware or delicate souvenirs, take extra precautions to ensure they arrive intact.
Wrap each item individually with bubble wrap or newspaper and place them in the center of the box, surrounded by soft materials like clothing or towels for added protection.
Tip: If your box is very big, it is recommended that you use a Balikbayan Box cover to place inside the box to secure items.
This especially comes in handy for fragile items.
Step 5: Seal Items in Plastic Bags
To protect your items from moisture during transit, seal toiletries, and liquid items in plastic bags. This simple step can prevent leaks and potential damage to other contents.
Step 6: Maximize Space and Distribute Weight
Efficiently use the space in the balikbayan box by strategically placing items. Distribute the weight evenly to avoid overloading one side, which could lead to damage during shipping.
Place heavier items at the bottom and fill gaps with lighter items.
Step 7: Document and Secure Electronics
If you’re sending electronic devices, such as smartphones or laptops, document their serial numbers and take photos for reference.
Pack these items in their original boxes if available, and use bubble wrap or foam for added protection.
Step 8: Secure with Packing Materials
Fill any remaining gaps in the box with packing materials like crumpled newspaper or bubble wrap to prevent items from shifting during transit.
The goal is to ensure that everything stays in place and arrives in the same condition as when it was packed.
Step 9: Seal the Box and Label Clearly
Once everything is securely in place, seal the box with strong packing tape. Clearly label the box with your recipient’s name, address, and contact information.
Include your own contact details as well, in case any issues arise during shipping.
Finally, add a personal message to your loved ones (or if it is too personal, you can always put a letter in the box).
Step 10: Document and Track
Take note of the box’s tracking number and keep a copy for your records. LBC Tracking provides online tracking and tracing, allowing you to monitor the progress of your balikbayan box until it reaches its destination.
What to Pack in a Balikbayan box – ideas and tips
Now that you know how to pack a Balikbayan box, here are some ideas to inspire you on what you can pack for your loved ones
Food & local delights
Start your Balikbayan box with a selection of non-perishable goodies that reflect the flavors of your current location. Consider including:
- Local snacks and chocolates
- Specialty teas or coffees
- Dried fruits and nuts
- Gourmet spreads and sauces
These treats not only add a delightful surprise but also offer a taste of your life abroad.
Help your loved ones feel pampered with essential toiletries that may not be readily available in the Philippines. Include:
- High-quality skincare products
- Perfumes or colognes
- Dental care items
- Shampoos and conditioners
Opt for travel-sized items to maximize space and prevent spills.
Infuse a touch of your personal style into the box by including fashionable and practical items such as:
- Scarves, hats, or accessories
- Trendy clothing items
- Stylish sunglasses
- Fashionable bags or wallets
These items not only showcase your thoughtfulness but also add a dash of flair to your loved ones’ wardrobes.
Personal Care and Wellness
Consider your loved ones’ well-being by including items that promote self-care and relaxation, such as:
- Aromatherapy oils or candles
- Bath salts or bath bombs
- Comfortable sleepwear
- Personalized wellness items
These thoughtful additions encourage your loved ones to take a moment for themselves.
Infuse a personal touch by adding customized mementos that carry sentimental value:
- family photos
- Handwritten letters or cards
- Personalized trinkets or souvenirs
These items serve as tangible reminders of your love and connection.
Gadgets and Accessories:
Enhance the convenience and enjoyment of everyday life by including useful gadgets and accessories like:
- Portable chargers
- Headphones or earbuds
- Stylish phone cases
- Practical kitchen gadgets
These tech-savvy additions cater to modern lifestyles and provide practical utility.
If your loved ones have children, consider adding items that bring joy to the little ones:
- Educational toys and games
- Children’s books
- Cute clothing or accessories
- Sweet treats and snacks
These thoughtful additions ensure that the entire family feels the warmth of your gesture.t your loved ones to your roots and heritage.
Practical Household Goods
Include practical household items that make everyday tasks a little easier:
- Kitchen utensils or gadgets
- High-quality linens or towels
- Durable containers or storage solutions
- Multi-purpose tools
These additions contribute to the comfort and functionality of your loved ones’ homes.
End your Balikbayan box on a sweet note by including indulgent treats that bring joy:
- Chocolates or candies
- Gourmet desserts or pastries
- Sweet spreads or jams
- Specialty beverages
These treats serve as a delightful finale to your thoughtfully packed box.
Packing a balikbayan box is an art that combines practicality with sentimentality. By following these steps, you can ensure that your package arrives safely, bringing joy and connection to your loved ones in the Philippines.
Remember that it’s not just about the contents of the box but the love and care you’ve put into every item, making it a true expression of your connection to home.