While I wish to help manong in putting the balikbayan boxes in his van, I can only watch from not-so-far distance. My balikbayan boxes are bound to go to the Philippines and leave the Canadian ground.
After all the time the boxes have been waiting to be filled, all I see now is the empty spot for the next batch of stuff.
It got me thinking if I should keep doing it.
No, I’m not turning from masinop to sobrang kuripot. Although I can be in different situations. Things have changed. I keep on changing that I no longer want to send balikbayan boxes from Canada as a routine, as part of the OFW culture.
As I look inside the boxes, I realized that I hardly buy any of those things since I became a vegetarian. Well there are few exceptions like jam, peanut butter, pasta, etc.
Most of the content are the usual salty canned good, sweet cookies, and anything that is on sale. I often asked myself do they really need all of these. (My sister would definitely consider Pringles and Oreo a necessity.)
Then lately, I had a conversation with a friend who sent small balikbayan box. She was happy and proud of what she did. It’s not just me thinking of buying only what is needed.
It’s not that I’m looking for approval (most of the time) but her story made me decide to finally choose smaller balikbayan boxes for the coming years.
My family welcomed the idea but asked me not to forget the essential things. I hear you mom. All noted.
Related Post: How I Pack Balikbayan Boxes
Totally Valid Reasons (According to Me)
Here are my top two reasons why I know it’s totally OK to use a small box. No shame. Only pure honesty.
1. More moola and time
Surprise. Surprise. Or not. Small box means lesser time to fill it with treats for my family. I don’t have to keep coming back to the store because something in the list on sale. (But most of the time, I buy things because it’s on sale anyway. I know, bad idea.)
I can save more moola for a house and lot down payment and vacation in the Philippines (with side trip to at least one Southeast Asian country with my sister. Yay!)
My family knows about my plans so it explained why they understand the frugal daughters become more frugal. Minimalist OFW loves minimalist balikbayan box.
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2. Less means quality
Everyone has an opinion with whatever is in the box. But they all agreed on one thing: the corned beef is too salty. I used to love the Hereford corned beef from opening it with a key to eating it with sauteed cabbages or pechay.
Too much salt is not good for the health. I turned a new leaf and I wish my family will consider plant-based diet instead of joining me in vegetarianism.
My plan is to buy foods that I typically eat and include their favourite foods with the healthier version. (Did you know that there’s a pasta made of brown rice which takes longer to cook.)
I’ll give you a peek in my vegetarian grocery list for the small balikbayan box. Suggestions are welcome.
What’s in a Box
Nothing break or leak in all of the balikbayan boxes that I’ve sent so far. I’m positive that a smaller box would also be able to endure the long trip and violent handling.
- Olive oil (for my mom)
- Brown sugar
- Sriracha sauce (for my brother who can’t eat without sili)
- Hellmann’s vegan mayonnaise
- Dates (my current favourite dessert)
- Whole grain flour
- Vegan shoes (for my sister)
- Himalayan salt for pickles
- Arm & Hammer toothpaste with baking soda (works fine with me)
- Clothes from Joe (it’s on sale and with good quality)
This is not the final list. I’ll add more whenever necessary (or requested/insisted) but so far these are the things that I have in mind.
Where to Find Small Balikbayan Box
I’ll be using a small balikbayan box from Jenrich Cargo (only in Calgary). From Calgary to Manila, the shipping cost is C$50.00 which is not bad for a seemingly small box yet packed with well-chosen stuff. (Mom’s tea. Check!)
In Canada, you can choose from forwarding companies the different sizes of balikbayan box. The shipping rate is higher for provinces.
- Forex Alberta (Calgary and Edmonton)
- Jenrich Fast Cargo (Calgary)
- Forex Toronto
- LBC Express
- Star Cargo Express
My other post has a list of forwarding companies in Canada but I’m not sure if they offer smaller sizes of box other than the companies I mentioned above. I still need to verify.
More Posts About Balikbayan Boxes
Do you want to dive in to other posts about pasalubong and boxes? I have more for you.
- Sending Balikbayan Box in Time of Pandemic
- I Need a Break: Balikbayan Box Shopping Ban. Should You Too?
- Balikbayan Box Shipping Review: Forex Alberta
- How I Pack Balikbayan Boxes in Canada
- Move Stuff Across Canada with Greyhound Package Express
- Why I’m Switching to Small Balikbayan Box
I still have a lot of ideas when it comes to giving back so make sure to drop by.
Do you have a must-send items in mind? What are the favourite Canadian foods of Filipinos?