Culture in a box
August 16, 2017 10:43pm CST
Fact, almost three million Filipinos work abroad, away from their families, in search of greener pastures, to give a better future to their loved ones. Most of these Overseas Filipino Workers scrimp and save their monthly stipend to fill a huge box with random assortments of everyday, household goods- canned meats, imported chocolates, toiletries, small electronics, gently used clothing and more, then send it to their families back home. This is called a ‘balikbayan’ box, ('balik’ means return and ‘bayan’ means country), which symbolizes Filipinos’ love and generosity to their families who are left behind. At least a corrugated box might somehow compensate for their absence. Then I saw this post on FB about two balikbayan boxes which got lost and can’t seem to return home. I feel sad for the senders. And the expectant sons and daughters or mothers and fathers waiting on the other end. I hope these boxes are found soon. Photo is from FB.
18 people like this
• Johannesburg, South Africa
That is sad, because, as you say, these boxes are a way for the person sending them to show their family they are still with them in a way. Even if it is a way to make their lives a little easier from miles away. I hope those that need to receive these "balikbayan" boxes do, @sol_cee .
• Delhi, India
It is interesting to hear about ‘balikbayan’ box. I think those who stay away from their countries try to save money and buy and accumulate goodies for their near and dear ones, when they are likely to return to their respective countries. It is good that box(es) have reached at the right destination. Do you also make ‘balikbayan’ box?
• Delhi, India
@sol_cee It is good to hear that you care about your near and dear ones and you in fact dispatched a ‘balikbayan’ box to you family last year. . I am sure that your family members would have appreciated your kind gesture. . Those Indians who are abroad keep sending goodies to their family members. They prefer to send it through a person who is returning to India from their place of stay. Otherwise, when they make a short visit to India, they bring goodies along with them for their near and dear ones.
@sol_cee some of the balikbayan boxes were stolen and the contains were sold in a certain shop in Manila or somewhere in Luzon. It was in the news when I was there in the Philippines a few months ago. I had experienced also that some of the contains of my balikbayan boxes I sent from Ireland before were stolen. I sent it from Ireland as we were living there at that time.
• Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Many years ago when my grandma was living she always sent packages of things to relatives in Poland. I think she sent cereal as they loved American cereals and it 'might have changed but Poland did not have cereal like that She sent then other things they could not get also
• Mangalore, India
I can relate to that because it is the same with many Indians working in the gulf and elsewhere mainly the labor class that works hard so that their families can live a relatively comfortable life back home. They live under terrible condition and I have seen some of them . I wish they bring in some labor laws which takes care of living conditions for these poor workers.