The Republic of Philippines
, situated in South East Asia, is made up of more than 7,000 islands. The capital of Manila is known as a megacity, although the most populous is actually Quezon City.
As an emerging economy the Philippines is one of the largest markets in South East Asia. In fact, HSBC has predicted that it could become the world's 16th largest economy by 2050. As a member of both the Universal Postal Union and Asian Pacific Postal Union, the country's postal service, Phil Post, has great connections with the rest of the world.
A comfortable familiarity with Western culture means English is widely spoken and Western goods are extremely popular, making trade with the Filipino people relatively easy.
For ex-pat Filipinos, a Balikbayan is an important item. These sturdy cardboard boxes will be packed full of gifts for relatives back home. Special packages such as these can be sent tax free once a year by Filipino citizens who have been living abroad for a year or more, as long as they fulfil certain criteria. This custom stems from the Filipino tradition of gift giving, known as Pasalubong.
Restrictions and prohibited items
According to the Universal Postal Union (UPU), there aren't a huge number of restrictions surrounding what can and can't be sent in the mail, particularly when compared with most other countries. Of course, this list still includes all the regular restrictions that are forbidden from UK post. You can see all the items here.
Lottery materials, for example tickets, are banned from being sent in the post to the Philippines. Another is replica weaponry, which the government has come down hard on in recent years following terror threats. This ban extends to toys that may resemble real weapons; including guns and hand grenades.
Customs regulations for parcels
When it comes to customs declarations, be sure to fill out forms carefully; the Filipino government are particularly strict. Unless you qualify for a Balikbayan box you will need to fill out either a CN22 or CN23 form. If your package is less than £270 in value, you'll need the CN22; anything over and it's the CN23. For more information on the Balikbayan box regulations visit the Philippine embassy website.
Remember to package your item carefully; use padding to prevent the contents from shifting and wrap any breakable items well with tissue or bubble wrap. Ensure you write the address clearly on the front, with PHILIPPINES in capital letters. Following these guidelines when sending your parcel to the Philippines will help it reach its intended island destination without a hitch.
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