Living in the Philippines

Balik Bayan Boxes, Tickets and Visa

Balik Bayan should be a magic word for you, if you are married with a Filipino spouse. If you translate the words, it means something like "Back to Nation". We could also call it some special services for Filipinos who live abroad and want to come back to their country or send some gifts to their family or loved ones.
You, as the foreign spouse of a Filipino or a former Filipino can also use this services.

Most important for everybody who want to live or stay longer in the Philippines, is the Balik Bayan Visa. It is free of charge, doesn't need an application and is good for a stay in the Philippines for 1 Year.
You can get a Balik Bayan Visa from the Immigration Officer when you enter the Philippines. Together with your passport, you have to present an English version of your marriage certificate and your Filipino spouse must be together with you. Most important: You have to ask the Immigration Officer for it, it will not be given to you automatically. Please also read under Balik Bayan Visa for more information!

Beside the Balik Bayan Visa, a Balik Bayan Ticket might be also of interest for you. Many major Airlines offer special prices for flights to the Philippines, together with some other services like an increased amount of free luggage to carry with you. Instead of the normal 20 kg, you may bring 30, 35 or ever 40 Kg of free luggage with you on your flight to the Philippines.
Airlines that offer Balik Bayan Tickets from Europe are: Cathay Pacific, Malaysian Airlines, Gulf Air, Qatar Airways, KLM, Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, China Airlines and Emirates. It might be difficult to buy a Balik Bayan ticket from an ordinary travel office. Every country should have some agents who are specialized on this Balik Bayan Tickets and Philippine Travel. In Germany, we have at least three of them, you have to find the ones in your country. More Info under Fly cheaper to the Philippines!

Last not least, there are the Balik Bayan Boxes! This Balik Bayan Box Service is meant for Filipinos who want to send gifts and other "relief supplies" to their families back home in the Philippines. But you can also use it to send plenty of your household stuff, if you plan to move to the Philippines for ever. I know one of my German fellows who sent 35(!) Balik Bayan Boxes over the period of three years to the Philippines. Including the whole bathroom interior to rebuild a German style bathroom in the Philippines. I usually send one or two boxes every year, packed with electric tools, flour for German bread and some other toys for myself.
Balik Bayan Boxes is a door to door service. No need to deal with customs and other money soaking offices. This is how it works:
You call the company and ask for the boxes. They arrive the next day by a Parcel Service. Then you will have to pack the box and secure it with enough packaging tape. When you are ready, you call the company again and they will give you a date to pick up the boxes at your door. About four to six weeks later, they will arrive at the desired address in the Philippines. The boxes have dimensions of about 40 x 50 x 60 cm and no weight limit. The cost for the shipping from Europe should be between 80,- and 100,- Euros, depending on how many boxes you will send and where they have to go in the Philippines. Manila and Luzon area are the cheapest, Visayas, Mindanao and remote islands cost a little more.
Once again, you have to look for the shipping companies in your country, who handle this Balik Bayan Service. Just type "Balik Bayan Boxes" in Google in your country and you should find some addresses.