Friday, October 3, 2014

From Australia with Love: The Lure of the Balikbayan Boxes

Balikbayan boxes
One of the occasions that Filipino families look forward to, is the arrival of balikbayan boxes. These are boxes of around 3 x 3 x 3 feet and includes anything that anyone can ever imagine. When we were still kids, living in Southern Philippines, our mother was given a study grant to the University of Hawaii; and that's where I came to know about these boxes.

That was during the early 60's and the boxes were not yet called balikbayan boxes. Those were just boxes that came from abroad where we get to find toys, clothes, Avon soaps shaped like a baseball with an accompanying bat, bath oils, milk, spam, chocolates, books, and knickknacks that I no longer remember.

Those were the good old days, and we looked forward to getting those gifts. But what I remember, is that those boxes, can never replace the absence of our mother. Nonetheless, those were the fun stuff, and we enjoyed playing with the different scented soaps, and drinking the chocos and milk that came in big containers.

More recently, two of the siblings migrated abroad. The youngest is with her Canadian hubby, Gregory; and the only living brother stay in Australia with his Filipino wife, Julia. Both of the siblings send balikbayan boxes regularly, especially around Christmas time.

Flat screen television set

Our brother, Boyong, sent two boxes which arrived the other day--- one was filled with goodies, and the other one is a big television set (3 feet x 4 feet) for a sister and our mom. The television is a flat screen and is good for viewing CD tapes. Mom had the idea of dimming the dining area so we can convert it into a movie house. I said to her, that we should position ourselves far from the screen, so we don't get crossed eyed watching the films.

Kikay set for the 79 year old mother

The other box contained tons of chocolates. By the looks of it, it will take me a year to consume my share of the loot. Two laptops were given - one for me and the other one was for a sister. A samsung android cell phone was for my daughter; and three pairs of sturdy rubber shoes were again given to the sister. Mom got a nice looking jewelry kit consisting of a bracelet, watch, and a necklace. She also got a digital blood pressure machine that she can used by herself.

Tape deck and radio

Our sister was happy to get another Sony tape recorder and radio. Other knick knacks included: watches for the sister, daughter and myself; and several linens that were used to wrap all the things that were sent. I guessed the sister-in-law, may have done the packing since I don't remember my brother being that meticulous since time immemorial.

I got a Fuji digital camera that I can use for my journalistic endeavors. My daughter was happy with her new android cell phone, since the cp that she has now, was on the brink of splitting in the middle. We share this same predicament, having our techie stuffs splitting up --- just like that.

rubber shoes

As most Filipinos, we are happy to get gifts every once in a while from our siblings abroad. The sister is happy tinkering with the television set, dvd, tape recorder, and  new laptop. I am happy too tinkering with my new laptop and digicam. The daughter is arriving tomorrow to get her share of the loot.We cannot thank the brother enough who gave us an early Christmas gift. Nothing can be happier than us, the recipient of the mannah from the country down under.

Samsung phone

three sets of watches
Digital blood pressure monitor

Rubber shoes

DVD unit for the tv

Another laptop for a sister

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