12.11.2016 IMPORTANT! PLEASE READ THIS AFTER READING THIS ENTIRE POST.
I’ve read guides about getting packages from Philpost but they’re mostly in Metro Manila so here is the “provincial version” more specifically, the “Iloilo version” lol. (This has been updated with photos for reference)
(NOTE/DISCLAIMER: This post seem to be getting some views and I am getting more questions than usual but if you do have questions after reading the entirety of this post, please do so here, on this blog or on this post. I will no longer entertain direct/private messages on my social media accounts. I am not a personal shopper, a customs agent nor a postal employee, just a person with a blog. To be clear: I am not in any way associated with Philpost, the Bureau of Customs or other government agencies I mentioned in this post. I am only sharing my experiences. Also, read the comments and my replies on here because I might have already addressed your concern/question. And once again, Google is your friend.)
If you ordered something from another country and it was shipped through the country’s postal service i.e. Royal Mail (UK), China Post, USPS, etc. then you might be wondering if and when you’ll be getting it from your doorstep.
Here’s a short answer: most of the time, NO. YOU HAVE TO PICK THEM UP.
(First time shipping via a postal service? Check out this video to have an idea about how the postal system works.)
When I first started online shopping, I was clueless about how this worked so I had them shipped to our address in the countryside outside the city. At first I thought it will be a door-to-door delivery service. And it kind of was. I waited for a long time, nearly 2 months. After waiting for so long, one day, the mailman brought my parcels to me and collected Php 40 for each package which then I was told was for tax. He gave me a receipt for them. Then after that, my other stuff never came. So I went to the post office myself and asked about it. They told me that there was really nothing there for me; I guess they got lost in transit. I then asked why it would take so long because the tracking on my previous order said the stuff reached the Philippines 4 days after it was shipped by the seller. They told me it had to pass the customs and then they still have to wait for the delivery from the city post office.
Then I decided to change my address to the one we have in the city. Currently, this is how you can claim your parcels in the post office:
- Wait for the notice (pictured below) to be delivered by the local postman. **Update: In Iloilo, postal employees are now calling (to those who have telephones) or sending text messages to recipients of packages as long as their numbers are written on the shipping label. I don’t know if they do this for every package but the person who usually texts me says that they do send a message/call when a contact number is written on the shipping label. In line with that, don’t forget to include your phone number when ordering or request the shipper to include your phone number on the shipping label.
- Go to the parcels section (in my post office, window 8 is designated for regular parcels and window 5 for registered packages) and present your notice.
- Show your ID card (any valid ID card not necessarily a postal ID) if asked.
- When prompted, sign in the logbook where your tracking number or package number is logged. (Yes, they still use a logbook.)
- Pay the necessary fees. Php 112.00 per parcel and/or customs tax if your item is taxable. (I’ve heard so many complaints about being overtaxed but so far, I haven’t experienced it.) GOOD NEWS! The de minimis threshold is now increased to Php 10,000. Please click this link to learn more
- Get your stuff and receipt.
What’s the Php112.00 for?
- P 100 – Some might say this is the storage fee or tax. It’s actually formally called the Presentation to Customs Charge
- P 12 – VAT (Yes, even the storage fee has VAT. Ridiculous, isn’t it? Thanks to whoever in the PNoy admin is responsible for this.)
You might wonder why I mentioned having paid only Php 40– well, that was in 2012. A LOT has changed since then. I am not sure how much they were charging before that.
However, in 2013 they increased the rates to Php 50.00 / a parcel.
Then in September 2014, it increased to Php 100 a parcel.
Finally, in 2015, they added the 12% VAT which makes it Php 112.00 a parcel.
To be honest, I find it ridiculous to have us pay for our non-taxable packages that we/the sellers paid shipping for and that are not even being delivered door-to-door.
Anyway, I will try to answer some questions I usually get and those that I randomly found online:
★Do they deliver? Most of the time no. You have to pick them up. (Sa mga Ilonggo, kita ko nga damo gareklamo sa Philpost nga page nga wala kuno nadeliver ila package. Miss/Sir, kilanlan kadtuan sa post office or try niyo sila tawgan kung may ara kA package. Kilanlan ikaw ma pick up especially kung dako ang ginpadala… Mas better kadtuan niyo na lang sa post office kay basi wala sila kasulat notice. Not very convenient, I know.)
★Do I always have to pick up my package? In my experience, not always. When a different mailman was assigned to our area, he delivered my stuff along with the letters for my mom. He had with him the receipts so I can directly pay the fees to him. Nice chap, that one. After a few months, our area was assigned a different mailman and I had to pick stuff up again in the post office. Take note though, our place in the city is near the post office so if you live in the city but not near the main branch, don’t expect to have it delivered to your doorstep.
★Do I have to wait for the notice? You don’t have to. If you have time, you can go to the post office directly and ask them if you have some packages, just keep your tracking number on hand. One time I had 2 notices sent to me at the same time but one was at a later date than the other. Maybe they have a schedule when to send these out but surely in my case, they didn’t send the notice as soon as the parcel reached their office.
★Where is my post office? Check here
★What is the Php 112 for? PTCC + VAT. See above.
★Do I have to pay the fees for every package? YES. 1 package = Php 112. 2 packages = Php 224. You do the math lol.
*Even if they are from the same seller and the same order? That’s why I would advise you to tell the seller to combine the items in one package only. Even if you paid for your stuff together, always remind them you want your stuff in one package. I can’t stress this out enough as I have experienced paying Php 336 for three $1 items because they were shipped in 3 different parcels *insert crying emoji* (Tip: When dealing with non-English speaking sellers, combine is the magic word. Example: Please combine my items/stuff in one package only.)
★What about taxes? I usually buy small items and aren’t worth much. The most expensive order I had received through the post was cosmetics worth less than $200. However, if you were to ship/order (thru the post) some electronics, really big parcels intended for business/commercial use and an item/or package with a value of more than Php10,000 then maybe customs taxes will be imposed on those. Here is the tax calculator for your reference.
★What if I order a big thing but it’s for personal use? I asked the people at the post office the same thing and they told me that as long as it’s below Php10,000 and for your own use then you won’t have to pay taxes for it. Just Php112.
★Is using the post reliable? Sometimes, yes, sometimes no. I’m sure you’ve heard about the “crocs/crocodiles” in the customs or in other government offices that open parcels and sometimes take valuable stuff. This is not always the case though. The guys at my post office are a very helpful and friendly bunch, I’ve never experienced having lost any parcel after switching my municipal address to the current one I am using in the city. Also, keep in mind that some sellers aren’t always so honest or some might have just forgot to send you one of your orders/items if you had multiple transactions with them. (The latter happened to me a few times.)
★So what should I do to prevent my stuff from being stolen? There is usually an option for registered mail or you can have your package insured for loss and damage. Ask the merchant if they offer that.
★Tracking? So far, I was able to track a few of my items using their track and trace. In the past, I was able to track my items from the country of origin only until it enters the PH. After that, I pray. (Note: Not all parcels are tracked so it’s futile trying to track that kind of parcel. But if it can be tracked you can try using the courier’s tracking service or third party trackers. I personally prefer Packageradar I can sign up for email alerts that notifies me when there’s an update/progress on my package.)
- For Express Mail/EMS: Email firstname.lastname@example.org | Contact no (02)854-5467 (02)854-4613 | SMS ONLY +639225333283
- For Air Mail: Email email@example.com | Contact no (02)854-5257 (02)854-0086 Local 1706 to 1710 (I copied this from their website)
- If you know the contact number of your local post office then go give them a call.
★Delivery time? It depends on the country of origin and your location. If you’re in the city, you’ll get it earlier of course.
Here’s a list of average delivery time from my experience. (These are all the countries I have had packages sent from. I’ll continue to update this):
- China (Mainland)- 1 to 2 months
- Hong Kong – 3weeks to a month and a half
- UK- 2-3 weeks. 4 weeks at times.
- Sweden – 2-4 weeks. 5 weeks at times.
- S. Korea- 2-5 weeks.
- USA – 2-4 weeks.
- Singapore – 3-5 weeks.
- Malaysia – 7-8 weeks.
- Netherlands – 3-4 weeks.
*Note: From those countries to Iloilo. Those from Metro Manila might receive theirs earlier and those from smaller towns/municipalities might have a week or so of delay.
(You can stop reading here the latter part is just a rant lol)
I seriously want our system to be better so here are my suggestions which hopefully reaches Philpost (in my dreams, yeah.)
*Remove the PTCC. Or at least make it less, like maybe Php10. Too low? Maybe… back to Php40? Because, why? Why are we being charged of this in the first place? Shouldn’t this have already been covered by the postage fees the sender paid on the other end and we, the buyers, have paid to the sender/seller? Lucky if the shipping is free but imagine buying something from the US and paying $25 for shipping it through USPS only to have to pay AGAIN because the post office is holding/storing it. HOLDING, not even delivering it. Idk, it feels like I am paying Php 112 (or more) to pick up an item myself.
*Remove the VAT for the customs charge too. It’s a charge. Why is the government even taxing it?
*Modernize the system. A logbook at this day and age? Parcels nowadays have scannable (is that a word? lol) bar codes. Having a computer would make registration, tracking and sorting possible, easier, and more convenient, doesn’t it? This makes it easier for the employees too.
*Attach CCTVs in the Central Mail Exchange office or wherever they sort out the parcels coming in. To lessen corruption and incidence of “lost” packages.
*Make door-to-door delivery an option. I understand some people like picking up the parcels rather than having it delivered but being given an option is nice.
Have an electronic messaging system. Sometimes the notices come late. A week or so. It’s like waiting for a letter from another province. If there was a computer system in place, I’m sure an automatic messaging system can also be implemented as the parcels usually come with a contact number or an email address. Or people can sign up to have notifications regarding their parcel sent via SMS or email. USPS has this and it is often functional. I would take this opportunity to give a shout out to a good employee of our local post who has been sending me messages whenever I have a parcel. He’s been doing it since last year when the notice thing was still the norm. Thank you Sir, I really appreciate it. (I think they have already started doing this as I mentioned in my update above. They have been sending SMS or calls to recipients as long as their contact number is indicated on the parcel. IDK with other branches though. Kudos to the people at Iloilo Post Office!)
This took a lot of time to write so I would appreciate it if you read this post and the comments below thoroughly before asking questions as I might have already addressed your query in my post above or replies below. Don’t hesitate to air your grievances or complaints here. However, complaints about an ongoing issue should be made to the government agency/ merchant concerned as they have the power to take care of the matter.
Have you ordered anything from another country lately? How did it go? Do share it below.
Have a wonderful day!