DUBAI: Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the UAE spend up to Dh4,000 for the Christmas balikbayan box they send to their loved ones back home.
Most would usually get their box as early as March and start filling them up every pay day and whenever there are sale events.
Allan Bautista, LBC Express Middle East sales and marketing senior manager told The Filipino Times that most Filipinos start sending balikbayan boxes for the Christmas holidays usually from mid-September to mid-December.
He said up to 7,000 boxes are being shipped every week to the Philippine during the Christmas peak season. “We know that sending balikbayan boxes is just one of the many ways OFWs express their love to their families during this season.
“Should OFWs choose to make padala, we recommend that they find the best value items to fill their balikbayan boxes and that they find a freight forwarder they can trust who will ensure that their boxes are safe and secure, handled with the utmost care, and are delivered safely to their families,” Bautista said.
Here are the most relevant answers to The Filipino Times online poll:
Melito Lappay, a quantity surveyor in Dubai, sends a care box full of love to his wife and two daughters in Caloocan every Christmas.
“Bandang first week of October ako nagpupuno. Approximately Dh3,000 ang total cost. Taun-taon ako nagpapadala at usually mga chocolates at pampasalubong ang laman ng box.
“Masaya ako kapag nakakapag-padala ako kasi alam kong nakakapagpasaya ako hindi lang sa aking immediate family kundi pati na rin sa mga taong nararapat na handugan ngayong pasko.”
Angel Gaddi, hotel manager, finds joy in knowing that her loved ones enjoy what she has sent.
“I am excited to see them open it to see if they like the items I got for them. I love getting the thank you message and photo of them wearing it. It makes me miss my family more.”
She says she start packing up her box at least two months before sending them, spending between Dh2,000 and Dh4,000 for usually clothes, shoes and groceries.
Rosaline Baylosis, HR and admin professional, usually does not join the Christmas rush. “I sent for the summer vacation. Mga January pa lang nagpupuno na ako,” Baylosis said.
She said total cost ranges from Dh3,500 to Dh5,000 spent on gadgets, groceries, bags, shoes, chocolates and the like.
Baylosis said it brings “a bit of self-fulfillment to share blessings.”
Arlene Pingol, sales associate, says she usually gets a wish list. “Minsan sapatos mga sizes, pabango, sinasabi nila kung ano gusto nilang brand,” she says.
“Mga September, start na ako mag-puno. Inaabot din ko ng mga Dh2000 para sa mga pabango, chocolate, sabon, cookies, palaman, sapatos, bag at damit,” says Pingol.
She says she’s happy when ever she’s able to send something to her loved ones for Christmas “kasi kahit malayo ka, ma-feel nilang mahal mo sila.”
Maria Anna Garcia, admin officer in Sharjah says she is “sobrang masaya” sending a care box to her loved ones. “Nagsisimula akong magpuno bandang September,” says Garcia, adding that contents would usually be “groceries, especially gatas ni tatay at nanay, at damit.”
She has a son to whom she sends cash instead because “pera gusto nun para makabili sya ng gusto nya.”
Engr. Fanessa Lanotes does stock up during the year. “I make sure I have enough money when I order a box and can fill it up in three days so I can send it by the weekend,” she says.
“Ayokong mag-ipon, mag-puno kasi space-consuming.”
What’s in her box? “Grocery, clothes, shoes, watch and some appliances,” she says, adding that she usually spends up to Dh6,000.
Abby Ognikob, who works at a public relations firm, says she is able to fill her care box by going to sale events.
“Kapag merong mga big sale, madami kasing murang offer at bultuhan kaya panalo,” she says.
She says she never sums-up how much she has spent “para di masiyadong nakakalula.”
Edelen Andrade, executive secretary at an international hospital says she starts stocking up around August, which is some three to four months, before she sends them in time for Christmas and for which she spends up to Dh1,500.
She says it “feels good and syempre happy that they received something from me during Christmas.”
Abigail Anne Navarro, HR professional says she starts filling up her box around July, spending between Dh2,500 and Dh4,000 “paunti-unti.”
“I am excited more than they are, thinking about their reactions when they finally receive what I have sent them. I am happy that I make my family feel loved at all times, especially on holidays,” she says.