philippines, shopping

International Online shopping FAQ’s (Philpost, taxes, Paypal, etc.)


I’ve been getting a few questions mostly about shipping/delivery, taxes, addresses,etc. I’ve been away for a holiday and I tried replying to every question I’ve seen. However, I do believe I missed a few so I’ll try to address the questions commonly asked. If you came here from my Colourpop post, please note that this is not solely about Colourpop but rather general international shipping/online shopping queries.

DISCLAIMER: I am not in any way affiliated with the Bureau of Customs, Food and Drug Administration, PhilPost or Paypal. Contact numbers are listed below for concerns/disputes/complaints, etc.


  1. What do you use to pay for your purchases? Paypal mostly.
  2. Do you think it’s good?/Do you recommend it? Yes, I’ve been using it for years and their system is secure and I can easily monitor my purchases via their app/website. Also, there are less chances for your account/credit cards to be compromised if ever the website you bought from will have/has security issues.
  3. I can’t use Paypal! Why? Waeee? If you will be using a forwarder (with a US address and all) then most likely, the website will need you to have a US Paypal account which you might have guessed- needs a US credit card.
  4. I have no US credit card! They won’t accept my credit card! Does the billing address and shipping address have to be the same? No. However, they have to be in the SAME COUNTRY. (For those using forwarders.)
  5. What should I do then huhu? Try this:
    1. Use the site’s check out, and choose to pay by credit card.
    2. Enter the necessary details: input the shipping address the forwarder gave you
    3. For the billing address: Choose the US as your country.
    4. Input your street number, barangay and other parts of your address as written in your bill.
    5. Now for your city. Look for a state that closely resembles the city/province in your billing address. I chose Illinois (IL) as it closely resembles my city, Iloilo (ILO)
    6. Same with the zip code. Choose one that closely resembles your zip code. I chose 60020 because my zip code is similar to that.
    7. Recheck. Make sure everything (other than the zip code, state and country) is the same as in your billing address.
    8. Pray. (Seriously, good luck. Some of my purchases came through, but they probably caught on and cancelled my order)
  6. It’s too difficult! Is there any other way? Some forwarders have this “concierge” service where they will order your stuff for you with a fee. Do check with your forwarder of choice. Also, Amazon and accept non-US Paypal accounts.


  1. TAX? How much tax will I pay? Mangkano babayaran ko? Pila bayran ko nga tax?  It depends on your items. For it to be tax-free, your package has to be: valued at less than 10,000Php, Non-electronic, for personal use and in non-commercial quantity. For more questions about how much tax/custom duties you’ll have to pay, please contact the Bureau of Customs and it might help if you explain in detail what you plan to buy or what you bought. Please refer to the last part of this post for contact numbers/details.
  2. You said it’s tax-free, then what is the Php112 for? PTCC aka Presentation to customs charge which, if the BOC’s twitter answer is to be believed, it’s actually a post office charge rather than a customs charge.
  3. What is considered as commercial quantity? 13 or more of the same item. (Only source I have for this is LBC Shipping cart tbh, lol.)  In short, you can only order 12 pieces of the same item. More than that is considered “commercial quantity”.                                                                                                                                                                 HOWEVER. IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ: Regarding cosmetics, toys, perfumes, etc.: As it is regulated by the FDA-DOH, they have imposed a different limit on these items.Refer to picture, this and this for more info. This is something new to me too but I haven’t tried ordering more than 10 lipsticks at one time so I also have a few questions I wanted to ask.
    Grabbed from source
  4. Does that include liquid lipsticks or glosses of different color/variety? To be honest, I don’t know. I don’t know if they consider “matte lipsticks” or “lip gloss” or “lip pencils” as belonging to the “lipstick” category. I sent a tweet to the Bureau of Customs but I haven’t received a reply yet. I’ll try my luck with the FDA.
  5. What if I really want to buy more than 10 lipsticks? How much do I need to pay in taxes? In the FDA memorandum, it was mentioned that they may still be subject to customs duties but they didn’t mention anything other than that. Also, I don’t think tax is the only issue. The excess might be confiscated. Anyway, someone asked about it on twitter and this was their response:customs.PNGTheir twitter account if you want to ask them a question.


  1. It’s been a week/more than a week/something like that! Where’s my package? / I haven’t gotten my package/notice yet. Please be patient. Parcels normally arrive in the Philippines in a month or 2. It can sometimes take longer during Christmas time/other holidays. They have to go through multiple channels and our system is severely behind when it comes to technology. Our post offices still use log books! LOG.BOOKS. At this day and age, imagine that. Employees manually sort the packages, manually enter every parcel’s details, manually write the notice you will receive, store the packages, manually look for it wherever they store it and manually write your receipt. (Did I say manually? LOL.) I know it sucks and we have to complain but I believe we should complain appropriately and to the right people. With that being said, GOVERNMENT, PHILPOST, WHEN WILL YOU MODERNIZE THE SYSTEM?
  2. When do parcels from (insert country) usually arrive? I wrote in my other entry some average delivery dates for packages arriving from different countries. Do check it out.
  3. I ordered from Colourpop! When will it arrive? (Read below. I screengrabbed this from the Colourpop FAQ page lol. And take note: business days exclude holidays and weekends.)  colourpop
  4. How long did your order from Colourpop arrive? I mentioned it in my other entry, please read it thoroughly 🙂
  5. It’s been nearly 2 months! My package isn’t here yet! Immediately contact the seller and tell them you haven’t received your stuff yet. They might offer you either a refund or a replacement. If they don’t reply, ask for a refund or file a dispute if you paid via Paypal. But please, if they do send you a refund but you still got your items in the end, pay them back. It hurts our reputation as buyers and we might be blocked from buying from some sites.  Also, be aware of the site’s buyer protection policies.
  6. My notice isn’t here yet? As I mentioned, try going to your local post office personally. You don’t have to wait for it. Or give them a call. Either way, be ready with your tracking number, tell them you’ve been waiting for a month or beyond the estimated shipping date.


  1. Are you from Manila? No.
  2. What address should I use? Your home address. If you have 2 home addresses, it might be better to use one that is within the city. If both are within the city, use either. This is only my opinion based from my experience. The last time I used my “provincial” address, I lost 1-3 parcels (I forgot exactly how many) and the others took more than 2 months to arrive. In my case, it had to go through Philpost Iloilo City for sorting and then it will be out for distribution to different “provincial or municipal” post office branches. After it has arrived in the provincial post office, it had to be sorted again and finally, they can make my notice.
  3. Can I use my office address? I think you can. Just recently, I used my mom’s office address complete with the name of the business and they were able to send my notices there. Just make sure to include all the details so they will be able to find it and that someone from the receiving area or maybe the security guard knows you and can take it for you.
  4. Which post office branch do you get your stuff from? Iloilo Post Office, Main branch. (Near Freedom Grandstand)
  5. Should I use Manila post office or ______ post office? I’m sorry, I am not from Manila so I don’t know which one is better.
  6. Should I use my post office’s address? / Which post office should I use as my address? DON’T USE YOUR POST OFFICE’S ADDRESS. This baffles me a little. I’m not sure if my post misled people into thinking they should use their post offices’ addresses but seriously, and I don’t mean this in a condescending manner… Why… would you put your post office’s address?  TL;DR: USE YOUR HOME ADDRESS.

 Other tips/info:

  1. Be patient. Always check the website/sellers processing time and estimated date of delivery. If it falls beyond that, do complain.
  2. Read seller reviews/feedback.
  3. Don’t readily give your credit card information. Make sure the mode of payment is reliable (Alipay/Paypal).
  4. Read company/website FAQs (Frequently asked questions).
  5. Once again, be patient. 
  6. Read everything thoroughly. Don’t skim read, you might miss a few important details.
  7. Contact the agency concerned if your order has encountered some problems. Some contact details are listed below.


BUREAU OF CUSTOMS: (Information below copied from their website)
Customer Assistance & Response Service (BOC-Cares)
   Telephone (02) 705-6000
   Directory: Click here
   Twitter @CustomsPH
   Facebook Bureau of Customs PH
Electronic-to-Mobile Customs (e2m)
   Telephone (02) 705-6000

For Express Mail: | Contact no (02)854-5467 (02)854-4613 | SMS ONLY +639225333283

For Air Mail: | Contact no (02)854-5257 (02)854-0086 Local 1706 to 1710

Instagram: @phlpostofficial

Youtube: PHLPost (Yes, they have a youtube account LOL)



I’m sorry to say that FDA’S social media accounts don’t seem useful at all. No interaction with commenters, doesn’t answer tweets and not very informative. I’ll shoot them an email, hopefully they’ll reply to our greatest curiosity: Can we buy more than 10 lipsticks online? Lol.

I’m sorry but I won’t answer questions about how much tax you’ll pay because I am not authorized nor do I have the knowledge to do so. Please contact the Bureau of Customs, their twitter account is kind of active and I see them replying to some tweets so take your chance, or better yet: call them.

However, if you do have questions that I haven’t addressed, complaints, grievances about our system , violent reactions, etc… don’t hesitate to leave a comment down below.

I wrote this at 1-2 am so I apologize for any typographical, grammatical, structural or mortal error that I may have committed. Anyway, I’ll be updating this once I get more information.

Have a nice weekend!