For years I’ve constantly blogged and reviewed different Balikbayan cargo sites. My favorite being Alas Cargo located in National City just a little south of San Diego. However the popular company most Filipino’s use here in the US would be LBC Express since they can easily remit money and pay bills through their onsite & online services.
I’ve been tempted since last year to try out their air mail service which boasted a 7-10 day delivery time to Manila. Up until now, I didn’t had any reason to use it until a friend of mine needed some quick buys from Old Navy to be shipped to her.
I suggested we use the LBC Air mail service and if everything goes well I can start shipping her books that she wanted from Amazon or Barnes and Noble
On the last week of March I went to my nearby LBC branch and asked about the fees. My friend Eli will be sending me the money for both her Old Navy items and shipping fees, and I wanted to give her an exact amount to transfer. So far this is what I found out in our Southern California branch for shipping parcels to Manila. Note that rates are subject to change by location so always check your nearest LBC branch for correct fees.
|Parcel Type||Size||Flat Rate|
|Document Envelope||8”x12” up to 10 pages/passports under 1 lbs||$ 8.00|
|Document packet||8” x 12” or small make up kit under 2 lbs||$14.00|
|Kilo Box Mini||12”x”12×6” 6 lbs Max||$27.50
Additional $4.00 on extra pounds
|Kilo Box Large||12”x12”X12” 10lbs Max||$35-45.00|
For my friends parcel, we opted for the Kilo Box Mini. I was told that delivery processing is between 7-10 business days from drop-off, sometimes even shorter. The delivery rate is $27.50 roughly around Php 1260.00 (as of April 2016 rates) – a way cheaper option than using UPS or FedEx.
To give you an idea what you can send with a 12″x12″x6″ mini box under 6 pounds, I was surprised we could fix quite a lot.
The contents we sent Eli are as follows – all in all weighed under 5.5Lbs
1 Sweater Mens, 1 pair of jeans, 2 shirts, One 6-pack Hanes underwear, 3 shirts, 4 packets of seeds and spices. The spices and seeds were sealed in a ziplock bag. The box was filled just exactly to the rim with said items. You cannot overbulk the capacity of the box.
I filled out the provided packing slip where I am to declare each content and was given strict instructions not to tape or seal the top portion of the box. LBC will be the one to do that upon drop off and payment.
Some items you cannot send are anything flammable, prescription meds, perishable goods and money. I did however slipped PhP 200 in the back pocket of the jeans (sorry LBC) Because I wanted my friend to mail the spice packets to my dad and that was my only way of paying her for the trouble.
I drop off the parcel on April 1st, Saturday and gave them all the shipping info that they needed plus payment. The box weighed under 5.5 pounds. The LBC rep did physically inspect the box contents by removing each item and “feeling” them to make sure no contraband slipped in. For a moment I was worried they would find the Php200 I hid. I also inserted small letter envelopes for Eli and my dad. I had to stop the LBC rep short of opening them to inform her that the envelopes only had letters and no cash- one had the spice samples. The LBC rep then sealed the box with a red custom LBC packing tape.
A tracking number was issued. LBC then informed me to start checking up on the online tracker starting Monday April 4th. Timetable of how the my parcel was delivered are as follows
Saturday April 1 LBC Branch Drop Off in San Diego/National City
Monday April 4 Package Arrives in Los Angeles Facility
Wednesday April 6 Package shows to be en route to Manila via air
Thursday April 7 Arrives in Manila around 9:00 PM
Friday April 8 package delivered to recipient in Las Pinas around early afternoon.
My friend Eli took photos of the contents and verified everything was intact. I have to say, we are highly impressed, both with the speed of delivery and security of our mini Balikbayan box.
We are now making plans on sending out the next batch of pasalubongs, this time they will be books. Eli was also considering having some headphones that she wanted from Amazon to be shipped next. Currently Eli is trying out LBC’s Shopping Cart program where she can buy items online from Amazon or Walmart and have LBC shipped them to her directly. Hopefully we can do a review on that one day.
There are tax & handling fees you need to pay with LBC for some electronic items such as laptops, cameras and consoles. However I believe for earphones and headphones there are none. I will be posting the rates of the Electronic Fees below as advertised from my LBC branch. If you need more info feel free to call the closest LBC branch near you if available.
Overall I am very happy with the LBC Air Mail service. And will be using it again in the near future which I will keep a documented update once that happens. We still need to test the service out for electronics and see if the fees are worth it.
Till the next article 🙂