Hoy, noypi! Have you ever wanted something so bad from Amazon, but doubted whether you’ll ever see the products you paid for when shipped to the Philippines? Well, don’t despair. Due to a mixture of stupidity, curiosity and obsession on my part, I have successfully had a few items delivered to me. So it is possible to shop at Amazon and have the goods shipped to the Philippines, but with more than a few caveats. Two major ones, in fact.
1.) It takes forever. The shipping carrier was USPS on standard shipping speed. Yes, they have a tracker that sends you updates in your e-mail but that ends when the package arrives in the Philippines. I received about two updates. One informing me that the package has been sent and another one saying it has reached its destination (meaning the Philippines). This alone takes a while. But what’s even longer is the wait for that little piece of paper in your mail telling you to claim something from the post office. This takes months and months. I’ve already given up on receiving the package when I got the notice. It was that long. And after that, you still have to drive up to Parañaque City and wait in line among other people claiming their goods (again, for a long time…we actually just ate lunch in the car because it was a really long wait…and it was hot, too) in order to claim it.
2.) It’s costly. Notwithstanding the shipping cost included in your Amazon payment, you still have to pay the customs and taxes laid upon your shipment. The dues vary depending on your items. Any kind of jewelry (even costume jewelry or plastic ones) have really high fees. The Philippine customs and duties system is really speculative and unreliable. Mine doubled my initial payment for the items.
Luckily, the items were as ordered and no damage had been done. Thank the LORD! I guess that’s kudos to the Amazon merchant or supplier. Probably the only part in this whole system which is close to efficient.
VERDICT: Not worth it.
There is a workaround. I haven’t actually tried these yet, but some people have shopped at Amazon through these useful services: Johnny Air Cargo and My USMailbox. They work by providing a US postal address where the products are shipped and later forwarded to your address in the Philippines. Seems handy for online shoppers.
On another note, I just wanted to share with you this neat little money-making website called Amazon Mechanical Turk (by, you guessed it, Amazon). I haven’t actually received any money from it since you need to have an account at the Bank of America to have money wired to you. Although you could also use your earned money to buy things from Amazon which is pretty cool. Maybe you could use it to cover your shipping costs. That way you’ll only have to shell out a couple of thousands in the customs and duties charges.
P.S: The stuff I ordered were replicas (toys, if you must). Not your usual order, I admit, so perhaps this accounts for the less than stellar experience? From what I’ve gathered, shipping of certain items like books and the Kindle have gone just fine for other people.
Just to give you an idea of my unconventional selections, here’s what I ordered: Hermione’s Time-Turner, Elizabeth Swann’s Necklace, Hector Barbossa’s Pendant, Tia Dalma’s Necklace and a Gringotts Bank Coin Collection. I know, right?