What would be in your dream outgoing alisbayan box if you resided abroad and relatives back home could send you one? I have posed the question before asking what was in your balikbayan box, so why donâ€™t we turn the tables aroundâ€¦ As I type, thousands and thousands of balikbayan boxes are working their way back to the Philippines, either just assembled and half filled, taking up space in the corner of oneâ€™s home in a foreign land, slowly filling up with miscellaneous pabilins or brilliant finds at neighborhood sales at the warehouse club or grocery. You are putting in gifts for peopleâ€™s birthdays, maybe graduation presents, and perhaps a special something for a godchild or two or three. Your momâ€™s favorite cold cream, pampers for an apo, or used magazinesâ€¦ You fill orders for shoes based on traced and cut-out pieces of paper send to you by snail mail or fax, the sender not realizing the fax may distort the size in transmission. You are stocking up on particular canned goods and some folks even load boxes up with Canadian rice, Argentinian corned beef, French mustards, Danish cookies, Swiss chocolates, English jams, etc. I am convinced that this whole balikbayan box thing is a uniquely Pinoy phenomenon, and thank goodness the government continues to allow what amounts to duty-free importation of just about anything you can think off (that isn’t electronic, in theory or contraband)â€¦
Whenever I was based abroad, I always had a hankering for something from home. Dried mangoes, sampalok candy, tuyo in oil, cow label beef, dried squid, guava jelly, etc. It was usually something to eat, though an occasional abaca placement, shell coaster or other handicraft doodad was much appreciated. So I am curious what 60-65% of Marketmanilaâ€™s readers based in countries around the globe would want their relatives to send them? Would it be dried mangoes? Banana chips? Chocnut? Tropical fruit jams? Sky flakes? Tuyo (dried fish) in olive oil? You name itâ€¦if the customs officers in your neck of the woods wouldnâ€™t go ballistic, and the items could stand a 2 month long sea journey, what would you ask for? And if you are part of the 30-35% of the readership that resides in the Philippines, what would you want to send your relatives who live abroad who have all these years sent you those balikbayan boxes that have such a great â€œsmellâ€ when you just open it up? Your comments are appreciated.