Filipino Icon: The Balikbayan Box
The balikbayan box is an expression of the Filipino tradition of pasalubong, or homecoming gifts. While the practice of bringing home souvenirs to give to friends and family after one has left home for a time is certainly not exclusive to the Philipines, Filipinos take it to a whole new level!
Sometimes even maxing out their baggage allowances on things meant for the folks back at home.
The Balikbayan box or care package – is the symbol of the Overseas Filipino’s generosity and love of family. It is usually a large corrugated box filled with anything from canned food, to electronics. Sometimes, they are shipped over to the Philippines by freight, but some overseas Filipinos will take balikbayan boxes home with them by air.
The balikbayan box isn’t necessarily just something that Filipinos living overseas bring home with them when they come back from a trip abroad. Some Filipinos living abroad send balikbayan boxes home to their families once a month, or every few weeks. It is a way for many Filipinos abroad to not only connect with their families, but continue contributing to them as well.
With so many Filipinos seeking their destiny in foreign shores, the balikbayan box has become a quintessential part of many Filipinos’ lives.
It’s such an iconic symbol of Filipino life, that its image has even been used as inspiration for a cake design!