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What You Can Send in a Balikbayan Box, Part 2

Let’s continue with the topic of what you can send in a balikbayan box. Previously, we discussed items that the Philippine government deems generally acceptable and special items, aka special provisions

On this segment, we’ll tackle items that are regulated and prohibited. As stated in our previous blog, if you have specific questions or need clarification, feel free to contact us either at our Hayward or Santa Fe Springs offices.

Regulated Items

According to the joint memorandum from the Philippine Department of Health (DOH), Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) dated June 22, 2015, the importation of the following products shall have the following guidelines:

  • FDA-DOH regulated products that do not need clearance from the FDA and have the following criteria:

  • Products are for personal use

  • Products do not exceed the limits of the quantities shown below, per category/item

  • Products are brought into the Philippines via:

  • Personal baggage, both accompanied and unaccompanied

  • Balikbayan boxes

  • Parcels sent through the mail or by delivery services (LBC, FedEx, DHL)

Category/ItemTotal Quantity AllowedChildcare articles5 kilogramsToys10 piecesCosmetics

  • Perfumes

  • Lipstick

  • Shampoo

  • Lotion

  • Bar Soap

  • Assorted makeup (e.g. mascara, eyeshadow, foundation in liquid and powder form)

  • 5 pieces

  • 10 pieces

  • 2 kilograms

  • 2 kilograms

  • 2 kilograms

  • 1 kilogram

Furthermore, the memorandum goes on to say that if any of the described products above exceed the specified limits, these products will be confiscated and seized by the government whether they were declared or not declared on the declaration forms and/or other documentation. Products whose quantities are below or equal to the specified limits will be subject to custom duty payments when necessary.

Prohibited Items

When we ship your balikbayan box, we adhere to the rules and regulations of both the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Philippine BOC and, accordingly, we abide by the provided list of prohibited and restricted items as described on the CBP’s website and the BOC.

The Philippine Embassy in Singapore’s website provides a comprehensive summary in its FAQ page which you may find very helpful. Please note on chapter 7: Balikbayan Boxes section that the website hasn’t updated the information pertaining to the new Balikbayan Box law that was just implemented in December last year.

Among the highlights listed on the Prohibited Items include, and as stated in Chapter 6 of the Philippine Embassy of Singapore’s FAQ page:

  • “Dynamite gunpowder, ammunitions and other explosives, firearms and weapons of war and their parts

  • Written or printed articles in any form that advocates for inciting treason, rebellion, insurrection, subversion, and/or sedition against the government of the Philippines, or containing any threat to take the life of, or inflict bodily harm upon any person in the Philippines

  • Written or printed articles, negatives or cinematographic film, photographs, engravings, lithographs, objects, paintings, drawing or other representations of an obscene or immoral character

  • Articles, instruments, drugs and substances designed, intended or adapted for producing unlawful abortion, or any printed matter which advertises or describes or gives directly or indirectly information where, how and by whom unlawful abortion is produced.”

  • Specific to balikbayan boxes, “completely knocked down (CKD) motorcycles or parts of motor vehicles” are not allowed.

In addition, highlights from the US CBP list of prohibited items include:

  • Drug paraphernalia

  • Dog and cat fur

  • Merchandise from embargoed countries

  • Fish and Wildlife

Wrapping things up, we hope we’ve covered the list of both regulated and prohibited items that you can or cannot send in a balikbayan box, and appreciate the extensiveness of the rules and regulations we abide by in order for your shipment gets to your loved ones in the Philippines.

To reiterate, if anything else, when in doubt, contact us for any questions even if you think they’re silly or mundane. It’s better to be sure than the alternative.

Mabuhay sa inyong lahat!

Metro Box Cargo is a freight forwarding services company established in 2013 with two main offices/warehouses in the United States – in Hayward (northern California) and in Santa Fe Springs (southern CA), and one office/warehouse in Teachers Village in Quezon City in the Philippines.

Founded by Egay Tajonera, and his wife Mabelle, they are passionate in providing exceptional service to the Filipino community. Our company provides personalized, reliable, on-time customized door to door service for balikbayan boxes, container shipments, loose cargo, and odd-sizes shipments. We also offer vehicle shipping services for cars and motorcycles.

Our friendly and helpful staff, as well as our authorized agents, are available to assist you and answer questions you may have. Feel free to call or stop by our two main offices/warehouses, or at our six drop-off locations which can be found inside Island Pacific stores. Visit our website at for more details.

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