What Can OFWs Put in a Balikbayan Box?

Sending a Balikbayan Box to family and loved ones has been an inherent tradition among Filipino migrant workers since time immemorial. Goodies like clothes, food, groceries, and appliances from other countries are typical contents for these boxes since extravagant products are highly regulated by the government.

In order to avoid breach of privacy and avoid being subjected to criminal liability, OFWs must take note of this list of items that are allowed for sending via Balikbayan boxes.


There’s a lot of ground to cover, but the following are the general personal items that can be included in your Balikbayan box:

  • Clothes
  • Shoes
  • Textiles
  • Small furniture like a jewelry box
  • Canned or vacuum-sealed non-perishable grocery items
  • Books, periodicals, magazines, and journals)
  • Documents that may or may not have commercial value
  • Toys with batteries packed separately
  • Stainless steel or cast iron cookware
  • Small household appliances like handheld mixers, blenders, irons, hair dryers
  • Vehicle accessories, including but not limited to visors, car organizers, car chargers, and cell phone holders

Aside from these generally acceptable items, there are special items that can be packed in Balikbayan boxes with special provisions. If packed appropriately and placed inside the box in a certain way, these items can also be sent via Balikbayan box without worrying about being delayed at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

The list of special items include:

  • Electronic items like televisions, cell phones, computers, tablets, gaming consoles, gaming controllers and two-way radios
  • For gadgets with removable batteries, the batteries must be kept together inside the product, which must be turned off
  • Devices with sealed batteries must be turned off
  • Spare batteries and portable chargers must be sealed, wrapped, and in their original packaging
  • Cosmetics, including makeup, creams, and lotions
  • Personal products such as shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, water-based colognes, and shaving gels/lotions
  • Liquid item, such as lotions, shampoos, and conditioners, must be sealed, with secure covers reinforced with tape
  • Shaving gels, deodorants, and colognes that are not in pressurized containers and canisters
  • Breakable items like mirrors, glassware, tableware, glass pitchers, vases, laboratory equipment, and ceramic cookware must be packed with bubble wrap and paper, sealed with tape, and declared as such so the freight forwarders can affix a FRAGILE label.

Medicines, Health Supplements, and food and other liquid items are also allowed.

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) medication with a proper label
  • Plant-based health supplements that are packed, sealed with tape, and labeled
  • Nonflammable and non-hazardous liquid
  • Regular or flavored water in non-pressurized containers or cans
  • Syrups
  • Viscous fluids like honey, soup and meals in cans, and soup concentrates
  • Pastes
  • Fruit jams, preserves, and marmalades
  • Peanut butter, hazelnut and other almond spreads
  • Liquid medicines, like Dayquil and Nyquil

There you have it. A complete list of items that can be sent via a Balikbayan box. Just a quick reminder: Make sure you pack each item in their original packaging securely, with the lids sealed.

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