Balikbayan Box Sender’s Dilemma: To Send or Not to Send

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 To the US balikbayan boxes shipping industry, this is supposed to be its peak season. This is the time when the bosses would command their troops not to get sick because this is the only time they can make a decent income to compensate for the hardship the past nine months. ‘Bawal magkasakit!’ is the rallying cry.

Some cargo companies would actually operate on a negative income statement from January to September, because they know the high volume of boxes during the peak season would even let them eke out a net income, and cash reserves to tide them over the next nine months.

But October is almost gone, and the Filipinos are not sending balikbayan boxes to the Philippines, well, the way they used to be. Crisis after crisis, the cargo industry has relied on the close cultural ties and kinship of Filipinos, that, when it’s Christmas time, they send, even if they have to scrimp on their food on the table.

We can all blame the recession, of course. Thousands of Filipinos, legal and TNTs, have no jobs, they are on unemployment or welfare. Thousands have their homes foreclosed. Thousands more have filed for bankruptcy.

The only silver lining on this dark economic cloud is that those who saved money are given the opportunities to swoop in these bargains. As resilient as we are as a bamboo tree, the Filipinos will survive this crisis, now rich in experience to know that America is no land of milk and honey. That your American Dream can turn into a nightmare.