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Thursday, 9 August 2007

Heading Home

After deciding you want to head home, there’ll still be a lot of things to do. You have to make travel arrangements, pack, and say your goodbyes, properly.

Packing Up
When you first arrived, you had two suitcases and a carryon at most. It’s likely you now have more than twice the amount. We suggest grouping your things into categories, items you want to send back to the Philippines (but don’t need immediately), items you want with you on your trip home, items that you don’t need anymore and can either sell or give away, and items that should just go into the trash.

Titchie:I really don’t like to throw things away. But when I started thinking of all the things I wanted to send home to Manila, I knew I had to consider each item carefully. I had to consider if the cost of shipping the item was worth it.
How do you determine between trash or treasure? We always think that a certain possession will come in handy some day. Other items have sentimental meanings attached to them so despite it being broken, tarnished or closer to being trash, you can’t quite bring yourself to get rid of it.

Ask yourself if you used it in the last three months? If you haven’t, you probably won’t use it again. Below, our recommended list:

Balikbayan Box Items. The best things to put in the box are the things you won’t need immediately. To maximize the use of the box, heavy items like books and bulky items like winter clothes and kitchen tools that you can’t throw away are the best things to pack.

One of the most popular services is Forex. They have a global network, covering the United States, Australia, Japan, France, Spain, United Kingdom, and Germany. To check if your country has service, go online to The fees may vary in different countries. The cost of sending a box to Manila from UK is almost twice the cost of sending a box from the East Coast.

Forex isn’t the only balikbayan box service. There are other companies that are cheaper and just as reliable. (Check out our City Guides section for other recommended companies.) Some students have tried mailing it via regular mail. Others have been more resourceful, finding contacts who might have access to a container, giving them more bulk and cheaper fees.

• Books
• Organizers
• Winter Clothes
• Shoes
• School-related Items – notes, binders, etc.
• Kitchen Items
• Comforter

Hand carried Items. Valuables and things that you will need right away should go with you in the plane.
• Laptop
• Important documents
• Clothes suitable for tropical weather
• Interview clothes

Items to be Thrown Away. Things we consider not worth dragging half around the world for—if it’s still in good condition, donate it. Same thing with other items like clothes, books, and furniture that you want to get rid of. If the amount of items you have are sizeable, it’s possible that the Salvation Army might pick it up from your home. And if you are in the US and are obliged to pay taxes, your donation could be a tax write-off.

• Clothes that didn’t fit anymore
• Worn-out shoes and clothes
• Broken Furniture
• Chipped plates
• Perishables

Items you can Give Away. You can either sell or give them away. If you have the time to sell your stuff, sell it. Otherwise you can continue the tradition of passing things on to the next group of arriving freshmen. Make sure though that what you give away is useful and not junk

• Furniture like your bed, tables, chairs, computer table, etc.
• Dry goods
• Television
• Phone Unit
Kitchen Tools (pots, pans, knives)

A checklist of things you have to arrange before you leave:
• Inform the post office of your new address. If you have a friend who is staying on, you can have the mail forwarded to his/her address.
• Pay all your bills (phone, credit card, utilities, rent) and discontinue services.
• If you have plans to return, it might be a good idea to maintain a bank account. This is also helpful if you want to do some online shopping and the site will only accept a US credit card.
• Say your goodbyes to family and friends.
• Shop for items that are expensive in the Philippines. Take advantage of the sales.
• Do the things you always meant to do but didn’t have the time and budget while you were in school.

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