Tips on Dealing with Customs and Duties on Japanese Import Toys and DVDs in Manila

by • 21 May 2009 • Exclusives, Geekery, Guides and How-To's, Toys and CollectiblesComments (395)

Customs and duties are some of the most hotly contested topics on local blogs recently, and I can’t help but relate it to my (our?) hobby of amassing toys and CDs produced in Japan. I’ve been hit by the tax man pretty hard too, so of course I’d do everything legitimate in my power to save a buck or two.

Tips on Dealing with Customs and Duties on Japanese Import Toys and DVDs in Manila

If you’re wary of your parcels from online stores getting taxed, there are two ways to avoid them — however keep in mind that this isn’t guaranteed to work 100% of the time. One way is to keep your shipments small, at just under USD 50. These are considered low-value shipments and are less likely to be taxed. Another way is to have the parcel shipped via SAL — which is much slower and not trackable, but is also more likely to fly under the radar and reach your doorstep without getting taxed.

So how do you know if your parcel is being held for customs? If your parcel was sent via EMS and has not reached you three days after it was mailed out, then it was probably flagged for inspection. You can confirm this via three methods: 1) you can check the JAPAN POST or USPS website to check on your parcel via its tracking number; 2) you can wait for your claim voucher to arrive via snail mail; or 3) you can call the EMS call center at (+632) 854-3580 and give them your parcel tracking number for confirmation.

If your parcel is detained at the Bureau of Customs, you have to trek all the way to their office at the EMS Sorting Facility on MIA Road, Pasay City (MAP). Don’t forget to bring your claim voucher, or a printout of the page on the tracking website, and two valid IDs. Once there, you will be asked to open your parcel to determine the value, and then taxes and fees will be levied on the contents.

Generally, the calculations run like this:

[total USD value of parcel * 10% customs dues] + [total USD value of parcel * 12% VAT] + [PhP 750 customs miscellaneous fees] + [PhP 35 Philpost releasing fee]

So if your item is valued at USD 100, and assuming that the conversion rate is PhP 50 to USD 1, you have to pay: [USD 10] + [USD 12] + [PhP 750] + [PhP 35] = PhP1885. Good luck trying to fish that out of your wallet without weeping silently.

I know that it’s my duty as a citizen to pay taxes and dues, and it really wouldn’t be such a big deal if they weren’t so high. Also, I could live with myself better if I knew that the money was going to good use, like building schools or shoring up local businesses. Instead, they go to the pockets of corrupt government officials and greedy politicians.

It’s a lose-lose situation for regular folks like you and me :(

Starting 31st December 2010, I may no longer be able to regularly reply to queries posted on this thread. However, most cases have already been tackled previously, so I suggest you read through the comments log to find your answers, instead of posting a new question. Thank you very much!

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395 Responses to Tips on Dealing with Customs and Duties on Japanese Import Toys and DVDs in Manila

  1. I will never go with EMS. I’d rather take the risk with SAL or even better, registered airmail. It also helps if the seller is willing to under declare the value of the item.

  2. lol i prefer EMS for the security and peace of mind it offers me, but the taxes really have been a bitch lately and i have resorted to the more nerve-wracking SAL shipment method.

    stupid “fundraising” for the stupid 2010 elections <.<

  3. Mai says:

    I got sorely burned with EMS once, and I’m not going to do it again. Actually, my 20-dollar package from HLJ was taxed an extra 1,500 pesos thanks to awesome Customs numeral and monetary acrobatics…

    In any case, I’ve taken the liberty to link to your blog (for quite some time now, actually). Incredibly relevant to my interests. This is the girl who bought both Yoshiko and Suu Space Invaders, btw. :)

  4. hi there mai :D thanks so much for dropping by :D i hope you’re enjoying yoshiko and suu <3

    anyway -- i feel your pain when it comes to the customs office :( anything that comes in an HLJ, AMAZON, or MANDARAKE box gets them salivating.

    i think i can only count on the fingers in one hand i got away with a parcel that wasn't taxed. it's so so frustrating XP

  5. Donna says:

    I regularly buy @ YesAsia and always use the free shipping option. It never gets delivered straight to my home though. I always pick it up at Manila CPO.

    I’m actually having problems with one of my packages, my 2nd order arrived here but the 1st one is missing T_T.
    It’s been 5 weeks now. You think its time to report it? My kartero just keeps on telling me to wait for the white card (which I didnt get cause someone stole our house number!).

    Its funny they were being rude to me at first but when they saw the package they were looking at it so intently. Salivating! Yes :D

    I did a little arte though..and said that I didn’t need the receipt. And all I had with me was 500php. Haha. I got away with 700php ^^

  6. hmm give it one more week, and then e-mail YES ASIA to report a lost parcel. they should be able to assist you with recovering or resending your parcel. good luck! :D

  7. Miko says:

    Im due to receive an item as well its a portable atomiser. Its around 20 usd includiny shipping. You think they’ll tax me for it? I used Ems. If so how much am I looking at?

    • it depends first if the customs office deems your item taxable or not. if it is then the calculations start. it also sounds like you’re trying to import agricultural or medical equipment — if so then a different table of taxes will be applied. if it’s hobby-related (like an airbrush kit) the the usual taxes as calculated above will apply.

  8. Jenno says:

    so if i would like to buy multiple items from ebay…(the thing is i don’t have paypal)…then would it be more practical to buy one at a time?

  9. ah EBAY is actually less of a problem than online stores. if you are purchasing multiple items from the same seller, you can simply ask them to under-declare the value of your parcel (say USD 20 instead of the actual USD 60) and mark it as a gift. most sellers agree if you ask nicely. if they do both there is a huge chance that your parcel gets sent to you directly without having to go through the customs office :) good luck!

  10. Ryan says:

    I ordered an item two weeks ago from china and it was sent through EMS… up to now my parcel didnt arrived… im from davao city and im just worried with my package. I used to purchase items from ebay using registered mail and im having no problems dealing with custom fees as they’ll charge me only Php 35.00. and all my items arrived less than 3 weeks, fastest was 8 days. I chose EMS shipping with my last order because i thought it will arrived within 3-5days… this is my first experience with EMS. 15 days have passed and still nothing. i used the tracking number on EMS website but it only stated the day it left china. I inquired with our local post office here in davao and they said they have not received my item yet. if all EMS shipment will be stocked at EMS office in Pasay, what should i do? im from mindanao.I dont know what to do now? help me pls….

    • i think there is a different EMS depot for the visayas and mindanao regions, and i have no information on them so i’m afraid i won’t be much help. what i can give you though is the phone number for the metro manila depot (in pasay), so perhaps you can phone them to ask for additional information on the status of your davao-bound parcel? their trunk line is (0632) 8543580. good luck!

  11. JET says:

    Hi magnetic rose, My friend from japan sent me a parcel via EMS, I checked the tracking number and says departure from inward office of exchange (manila) since sept. 15, does it mean that it is already left pasay EMS depot and in transit to my address in laguna? I’m a bit concerned, why is it taking a long time to be delivered?


    • EMS shouldn’t take more than seven working days tops; if the parcel is still not there please try calling the pasay depot to confirm that it has left there and is on its way to laguna. good luck!

  12. JET says:

    Update on my package
    Received a notice from EMS brought by the kartero yesterday and I was told to claim it in pasay depot.

    I called EMS pasay today (without telling that I received a notice) and followed-up the status of my package and was told it took a long time in customs and probably will be delivered tomorrow. I asked if I need to pay anything, replied not sure maybe upon delivery of the package I might pay some dues.

    This people in EMS are really unbelievable, they really don’t know what is happening in their office.

    Oh well I decided to wait until friday, if it will be delivered, if not no choice but to go to pasay and claim my package and hoping they will not charge me with a sky rocketing custom charge.

    I will update this until my package is in my hand and I will share my misadventures with Philpost.

    BTW: sorry for the rant.

  13. abiel says:

    hi there magnetic rose, i recently bought an item at ebay which is around $90 including shipping expense and i used ems. do you think i’ll get taxed? the last thing i saw in my tracking number was it already “arrive at inward office of manila”. thanks

  14. i can’t really say — but it is a rule of thumb that that larger the parcel the more you should be worried. the customs office is more likely to keep an eye larger boxes and tax them than smaller ones (which does not mean that they don’t tax them — small parcels also get taxed, just not all the time).

    for now all you need to do is sit tight. if the status of your parcel doesn’t change in the next day or two, go ahead and call up the pasay EMS facility to check if your box has been detained by customs. if they confirm that it is there, you can go ahead and claim it by presenting them a print out of the tracking website instead of waiting for the official notice via snail mail.

  15. abiel says:

    thanks very much. its only a small box though, a box a figma. ^^ so i’ll be doing what you said.

  16. Zak B. Elep says:

    Hey, thanks for the informative post!

    I recently took advantage of HLJ’s sale with free EMS shipping, and that map you have was of great use in finding the PhilPost CMEC for picking up the package. Also, that formula also proved helpful; the postage for the package I received was 3500 yen and I had to pay around 2000 pesos for customs and storage :(

    It is “interesting”, to say the least, seeing how they compute the customs charge… manually. When there’s a computer right in front of them :P

  17. ouch — PhP 2000 for a JPY 3500 parcel?! hngh it’s christmas time and they must really be milking it for all it’s worth :/

  18. Zak B. Elep says:

    I guess I’m luckier though… the person who got to customs before me had to face a 17,000-peso fee for what seems to be a package of construction materials :(

    Also, since the EMS shipping was free, my budget for that simply just transferred to the customs tax. It would be a long while for me to order and ship through EMS again though lol, at least until my other shipment of Gundam markers and sandpaper come via SAL.

  19. Clair says:

    Argh, wish me luck. I am going there later Orz *sigh* It’s a 76 USD package and it would cost me roughly 1,561PhP. I dunno, I might end up stocking up in someone’s house in Japan or Singapore until I know someone who’s going home to the Philippines to bring home everything.

  20. Kel says:

    it’s really pain in the ass to ship here in the Philippines

  21. glaine says:

    hello.i also used ems to my package from china.dec 10 when my supplier send the package.So 8 days na now, di pa nmn updated ung website ng ems everytime i’ll track the package. But my supplier from china said it’s already left to their country,What will I do?

    • try to call the EMS office in pasay at 02-8543580 to ask for a status check on your parcel. have the tracking number ready when you call. parcels are probably delayed because it’s christmas and there is a huge volume of incoming packages from overseas, so the EMS sorting facility is taking longer to process them.

  22. GekiDan says:

    I just ordered a toy from Play-Asia and it is scheduled to arrive yesterday via Fed-Ex but it didn’t. According to the site, it have CLEARANCE DELAY. And it’s worth $30.

    How can I deal with taxes?

    • your shipment is probably under inspection at the fed-ex facility; all parcels have to be inspected regardless of the declared value. now, if your fed-ex parcel has been held up by customs, fed-ex will take care of all the arrangements — all you have to do is pay them the appropriate tax so they’ll release your parcel to you.

  23. glaine says:

    sis 27 na la pa rin dumrting pckge skin.10 days delay na. bkit kya? cnsgot nmn nung supplier ko despatch na from china nung tumtwg nmn ako sa pasay main office,everytime bnbgy ko ung trcking no. snsbi nila no info dw.hai. bkit kya?

  24. hi — china’s postal system is notoriously unreliable so this is probably not the local EMS office’s fault.

  25. glaine says:

    wat do u mean sis?

  26. Lilith says:

    Hi, as far as I know this is just a personal blog and I am certain that the owner is not working for the post office nor an affiliate.

    Anyway, it would be much better if you type out your words more clearly. You are using a full keyboard, all the letter are there, please use them.

  27. sorry glaine but i’ve done all i can to help you. i really don’t have all the answers to your questions so i’m afraid you’ll have to figure this one out for yourself.

  28. glaine says:


  29. GekiDan says:

    I’m wondering if it’s ok to get my item shipped now? I got some free toys via HLJ and I will send it through Air Mail. Less fees, right?

    • should be better now compared to the christmas season — but no guarantees of course because you never know what those customs guys are thinking on any given day >.>

  30. NOEL MORATA says:


  31. hi there. unfortunately if the post office cannot help you, neither can i. i can give tips on how to claim your parcel, but tracking down one is impossible as i do not have access to the EMS computer system.

    lastly, please refrain from using all-caps when commenting; it is bad netiquette and is the equivalent of screaming at someone offline.

  32. sky says:

    I have a package arriving using air mail and it’s probably going to be a bit big because it has posters (total value is around 6000 JPY). I am really worried I might get taxed.

  33. myra says:

    hi..i have a package from Thailand via EMS and I’ve been waiting for it for two weeks now, when I called up our local post office they referred me to EMS Pasay so I called them up, I gave them the tracking number and they said that it’s ready for pick-up but needs to go through inspection’s just a bunch of binoculars and headwear with you think they’ll charge me for it? costs 54USD or 1550Baht..and also do you think I should tell them the amount in USD or Baht?..or there won’t be any difference at all..many thanks..I’m glad I found this site, really helpful..

  34. hi there — just declare the amount in baht first since the parcel was from thailand. in case they don’t have the daily conversion, they’ll ask you if you’re okay with the USD conversion instead.

  35. Jaz says:

    Hi, I just had my parcel shipped from China, and also just got a notice from EMS to claim my parcel at the Pasay Office. Would anybody know how much tax would they charge on a pair of shoes? The value of the shoes was $42 originally (Adidas) I don’t want to arrive there unaware.


  36. Jaz says:

    Thanks Magnetic Rose

  37. april says:

    hi, I have a very big problem now. I am from La Union and I am expecting a packgae from thailand thru EMS. now, the package costs about 10000, how much will I pay then? oh noh! please someone help me.

  38. april says:

    do I have to go over to Pasay? to get the package then?
    or they can deliver it in my house?

  39. if the parcel has been flagged for taxes, you have to claim it from the pasay depot. if not, then philpost will deliver it directly to the address indicated.

  40. diane says:

    Thank you for the info. I was planning to buy something @yesasia too but now, I’ll think twice. I’ve mailed some very important docs through EMS.It’s been 22 days now. My docs has not yet arrived to its destination. I’ve inquired @ my local postoffice as well as ‘that office’ in Pasay but they both can’t give me a valid response. I asked for a refund saying that it’s passed the supposed date of arrival but they said “Hindi sa amin may problema.Nasa ‘groundhandler’…” In short, don’t trust them.

    • like i suggested in the main post (i hope you read all of it) you can go ahead and pick it up without the notice as long as you have the tracking number.

      the calculation given above is for the tax bracket [TOYS and COLLECTIBLES], but it also applies to [CDs and DVDs].

      as far as i know, personal electronics belong to a different class so although you have to pay the same amount for VAT (12%) and processing fees (PhP 750), the percentage for customs dues will be different.

    • twenty two days is unusual. i used to receive EMS parcels in tokyo three days after they have been sent from manila. you should bring your concerns to the the PHILPOST main office, they may be able to help you there.

  41. chris says:

    Hi. I ordered a cellphone from china which costs $138. Its been over a month now so i called the EMS hotline and gave them the tracking number. They said the package is already there and i can pick it up. I told them i will wait for the notice. Should i wait for the notice or should i pick it up? How much should i pay them for tax etc. Is it the same as the computation above? Please help… I don’t want to be scammed by the people from the EMS office. Thank you.

  42. Pat Francisco says:

    when reading through the comments, it seems we ALL have a problem buying stuff abroad. haay, sana naman kasi may nakasulat somewhere na madaling mabasa sa protocol nila noh…

    i’m planning to order a toy camera from japan (shipped accdg to the seller thru EMS) BUT before i go through that, i have to clarify something. Not all packages get delayed and have to be picked up at the EMS office at pasay ‘di ba? Meron bang tinatransfer to the local post office? and are there instances where it would be delivered directly to your doorstep?

    haay… pasensya na kung naririndi ka na sa dami ng nagtatanong :D thanks!

    • yup — not all parcels are taxed. it’s like playing russian roulette with the customs people — sometimes you get hit, sometimes you don’t :)

  43. Laika says:

    I just wanted to share how incredibly helpful this is (I searched the net for the specific location of that Pasay office to no avail) :)

    So far with my EMS experience, everything was delivered to my doorstep within 3 days from Japan (they were one light doujinshi at a time from ebay, declared at Y500 and I didn’t even have to pay P35). Even small things using airmail got delivered to me without tax (even when one was declared Y2190), but when I had multiple small items via airmail I had to pick them up (for only P140 tax though). It really is important to declare them as gifts and keep them small.

  44. Laika says:

    I stumbled upon your website because of fear for my next shipment though. The items are really small, but pricey (because they are two limited figures and two limited doujinshi, all Y10100 combined). I used a Japan shopping service this time, which is why they refuse to under-declare items. So, I’m in a pickle in deciding to opt for EMS or airmail, and to which items to lump together as a strategy to combine shipping.

    Sigh the troubles of collecting DX

  45. hi laika — i’m so glad you found the post helpful. and i hope that your next parcel doesn’t get taxed, given how expensive it is >.> it’s so hard to be a collector in this country :/

  46. Rhane26 says:

    Hello po..

    I have been receiving parcels since March this year from my aunt and fiancée from US and Australia, the custom’s office at Novaliches City charged us a fee of more than 1000 plus each for the parcels.. My aunt send me a box of medicine last two weeks and they were asking for another 2,500 pesos charge for that.. is it the normal process? I have some relatives from Tarlac City and they only pay 35 pesos for the same parcel sent by my aunt. Thank you so much for your help.

    • there’s no hard and fast rule — sometimes they tax you, sometimes they don’t. if you’re having trouble with your shipments why not have all your parcels shipped to your tarlac relatives, and pick them up from there? at the very least you’ll save yourself two, maybe three thousand pesos…

  47. candice says:


    this blog has been helpful. now i understand about all those tax.
    is it better then to use fed-ex? cause if i have a tax to pay fed ex would pay for it, and i would pay it to them.
    pasay is far from baguio.
    my package was declared with a 26 usd will i get taxed?


    • as a rule, all parcels course through fed-ex that are sent from online retailers are taxed automatically, regardless of the declared value.

  48. Daniel.b says:

    This was really very helpful information. I ordered computer items from the US amounting to $300 including shipping via USPS. its been two weeks now and from their tracking website it only says it left the US april 1st. So i assumed that its already here and is being held by customs, called customs and was said to call the central post office, called them talked to a girl named catherine (who was really polite) and told me their really behind schedule since they manually search for each package (which got a huge laugh out of me). They would contact me once they locate it on monday. I’ll let everyone know what turns out and how much i would pay for taxes..cheers

  49. tammiii says:

    hi, as i read all the comments, i was so afraid for the tax. i don’t know how much i will pay once the items arrive. and also, i used ems as a shipping courier, baka maya ang tagal tagal dumating nun :(

  50. Steef says:

    Hi, Just found your site today due to my frustration as to why my EMS package still hasn’t arrived. Last time my order of Pinkys arrived at my door step without any hassle. I called them up and they said if it hade “held by customs” as the status you’d have to pick it up at their office. Tomorrow I’m on a march to a hostage negotiation to get my new Pinkys at that dreaded facility. The commute will be long and difficult, to top that all I still have work by 10am, good luck much indeed -_-;
    Failippine postal system truly sux, does HLJ have FedEx? I’d be willing to pay those outrageous fees, given they deliver it to my house. If not they should at least be open on Saturday, even if only for half a day.
    Is there a difference between SAL and airmail? I also order a lot of stuff from Play-Asia and I don’t have to go through this insane process at customs when using their free shipping method.

    • lol i feel your pain >.> okay, let’s take your concerns one by one: 1) yes, HLJ now offers fedex; 2) the EMS sorting facility is, like all government offices, closed on saturdays; 3) SAL goes by ship so it takes much longer, about two or three weeks more; 4) PLAY-ASIA uses the hong kong postal system and ships in small packets which is why they are usually not caught :D

      i wish you all the luck in the world!

  51. Steef says:

    So I just got my Pinkys earlier and have them with me in the office, I just left the box heh. The tax man seemed to be much better compared to the one I was talking to over the phone yesterday. The computation of taxes are indeed painful ._. tho he gave me some discount… He also gave me some tips on how to avoid having the item “supected” or something so that EMS would just send it to your door. Total Price of everthing more or less amounts to the same if I were to purchase the items locally, at least I was able to get a rare artbook that I haven’t seen anywhere ^_^ so that alone is already worth the trouble of trekking to that lonely facility by the airport.
    I guess I’d just order my anime figures from play-asia, how I wish play-asia had Pinkys in stock too.

    Oh btw, question on HLJ’s FedEx, how come I don’t see it listed as a shipping method when I view an item? I want to see the extimated freight charges if I were to ship with FedEx. I’m awaiting the May Pinky releases, I wish they’d be available locally so that I wouldn’t have to hassle myself again >_>

    *Off topic:
    Any one with a white yukata Pinky that I could borrow or buy?

  52. skylight says:

    Hi, I have a question, for example that my order shipped through EMS doesn’t get taxed, do they deliver it to my home or do I still have to go and pick it up?

  53. cindy marie says:

    thank GOD I found your site!!!

    I was looking for information about EMS…

    I’am planning to buy from EBAY and the seller is from JAPAN..

    I want to buy a camera worth $169, most probably i would get taxed right?

    packages lost during shipment are rare right? please help.

    • if it’s shipped via EMS no matter how expensive the parcel it is it never gets lost. and yes, based on the declared price of the item it will most likely be taxed. you can ask your ebay seller to lower the declared price of the item to save on customs fees, but that will also reduce its insurance value — so if the item is broken during transit you can’t reclaim its full value.

  54. skylight says:

    What are the chances that I will get taxed? Is it safe to assume that if I just keep the package under $50 I won’t get taxed? Will it always work? Thanks.

  55. keeping the parcel under USD 50 works most of the time, but not all of the time.

  56. Jake says:


    I am from Iloilo, I ordered 14 pairs of shoes from China. The packages were sent on the 26th and 29th of April. They were sent through EMS. My questions are:

    1. How many days would it take for the package to arrive here in the Philippines?

    2. Where should I claim my package? The local post office or the Customs House?

    3. If it wont arrive here in Iloilo, should I go to the EMS office at Pasay?

    Thank You!

    • EMS should take about 3-7 business days, however since the parcel was sent from china (and they are notorious for delays) you’ll need to wait up to ten days or so.

      as far as i know, visayas and mindanao parcels are cleared through a local customs depot in cebu — you’ll have to wait for the notice from them before proceeding with the claiming.

      the pasay clearing office is mostly for parcels for manila and luzon, but occasionally they also get large parcels meant for vis-min. it’s best to consult with your local post office by giving them a call.

  57. cindy Marie says:

    help! my package was send to my house but i wasnt home and they said that i should go to the post office and just pick it up there, will my package be ok? you think they would tax me?

  58. i think not since your parcel was already sent to you, you just weren’t around to receive it. you just have to pay the php 35 phil post fee and you’re free to take your parcel home~

  59. skylight says:

    should be I the one accepting the package or can someone else (for example, the guard at my building) do it for me?

    • the addressee has to receive the parcel. if you need someone else to sign for it, you need to make out a letter of authority stating that the bearer has been authorized by you to receive the parcel for you. then both he and you need to supply two IDs each for verification purposes, plus photocopies of all of them since the post office sometimes asks for those too. hope that helps~

  60. kim de guzman says:

    hi magnetic rose,
    good day, i find your qas very helpful in enlightening people with EMS, honestly, i also experienced this hell day with them.
    i bought 2 louis vuitton from ebay, the items are from japan, the seller declared less than the priginal price i bought, but apparnetly the old custom lady shark officer with her aweful angry face charged me with a jaw dropping P4, 000.00, it was really a big amount.
    well, i got my lv bags and went home with a broke wallet.
    i would not suggest EMS, because it was a very horryfying experience.
    more power to you and godbless.
    warm regards,

    • wow that is pricey — but think of it this way: you still saved some money by buying luxury goods on ebay instead of from a store :) enjoy your new handbags :D

  61. fatale says:

    ordered some stuff from korea amounting $200. :/ It’s a bunch of shoes, cds and nail polishes. <3

    Going to customs tomorrow. Will update you on what happens.

    I'm bringing a lawyer with me just in case. Hope they won't harass me then. :D

    • bringing a lawyer might be a bit much ^^;; just act cool and don’t be too confrontational so that they don’t notice you and overcharge your parcel. good luck!

  62. Moe says:

    i ordered 3 shoes and 1 bag from this seller from china. $180 in total including shipping fee, but he said that he declared it $10 each item and as gift.

    i also ordered 13pcs of clothes from china but from a different seller, worth $109 including shipping fee.i’m not sure if it was declared as gift but the seller said it will be declared in lower value.

    both are paid same day and shipped same day.
    both packages’ status on ems tracking is “despatched from sorting center” and it’s been like that since may 16, 2010, and it’s not yet delivered. i talked to them (May 20)and said that it’s on its way to manila.

    will i receive both packages on the same day?
    will i be charged for tax?
    and is there other way for me to track my packages?
    thank you:)

  63. Moe says:

    i already have the tracking number, and the status is still the same, “Despatch from Sorting Center ” it’s been like that since may 16. how will i know if my items already arrived here in manila? it’s hard to contact the PO..they’re also not answering

    • i believe your parcels are still in china. if the tracking site says “arrival at central post office” it’s already in manila and is either on its way to you or being held by customs for taxation. as for the EMS office, they accept calls from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM from monday to friday — just keep hitting redial until you manage to get someone since the trunkline is always busy and there are only two or three people in their call center.

  64. Alex says:

    A parcel containing two tennis rackets were sent to me from China through EMS, the actual cost plus shipping was $112. The address indicated was Los Banos, Laguna. Three weeks after the parcel was sent a notice from the local post office came telling me that I had to pay taxes of P 3000. I learned that customs valued the items at $300 and computed the taxes based on that value. Is there any way that the taxes could still be reduced or should I just treat this as one of the many sad stories of EMS?

    • ouch — it looks like someone from the office knows how much tennis rackets are worth and jacked the prices up accordingly :( anyway, once customs officers have made the initial calculations there’s pretty much nothing you can do but pay up :(

      P.S. what model rackets were they? :) just curious, you don’t have to answer if it makes you feel uncomfortable :)

  65. Moe says:

    1 week in china? darn! i need the items this week :( last may 21 i asked where’s the package because the status is still in “DESPATCH” status, he said that its on its way to manila and he said that he also checked it to ems, it’s already sent “daw” here in philippines. how long does it take ba dapat para dumating dito sa pinas?

  66. Alex says:

    That’s the sad part these rackets from China are the knockoffs of the real ones, or clones. Their playability is not the same as the real one but they are made in the same factory. The actual value is only $84 plus $28 shipping. The rackets are the current BLX models from Wilson, K-Tour 90 and K Six One 95. The form from the customs was attached to the parcel when it was sent from Pasay to Laguna, in fairness the calculation was itemized (same as the formula you shred with us) and written on a Standard form (BC Form No. 116, Statement and Receipts of Duties Collected on Informal Entry). I was hoping to make an appeal to them but going by your experience maybe this will be a futile exercise.

  67. Alex says:

    @ Moe

    Just to share, basically we had the same problem, my item was dispatched from China May 1 (It read “despatch from sorting center”), after that the the tracking information was not updated anymore. I also tried calling EMS here but to no avail. Then on May 18 I received the claim note from out local post office informing me of the taxes I had to pay. It seems that even though item are declared gifts the customs people still open them up and have their own valuation scheme. Most probably your items were held for inspection just like mine. Most probably it is already in the country. I just hope they don’t tax you excessively.

  68. Alex says:

    Correction the rackets are BLX Tour 90 and BLX Six one 95.

  69. @ alex ah original k-sixs are expensive, especially in the local market. i understand why you’d like to settle on a cheaper version, so its doubly sad that the customs office are eliminating your savings by taxing you.

    also, friends and i used to play on yonex rackets, because coming from japan the prices and the shipping cost less even if they were original :)

    @ moe unfortunately the chinese ems office is not as reliable in sending out parcels as the japanese (3-7 business days) or the americans (7-10 business days).

    if the parcel has not been delivered after fourteen days, chances are your local customs already has it and are just waiting for you to pick them up (they do sent a written notice) and pay for the dues.

  70. Kenneth says:

    My package is marked at tracking as “In Customs”. Does it mean I’m supposed to expect a claim voucher soon? The gundams I ordered only total to about 7600yen. I’m guessing I would have to pay taxes? If so I’m dead, i’m just a kid who asked his dad to buy online since I promised it was cheaper.

  71. Moe says:

    oh my…kailangan panaman ng customer ko ung dress before 29th. hahaaaay.may nabasa din ako in some forums na, talagang pinapatagal nila yung items sa customs so they can charge you ng malaki sa storage fee? is that true? i also read that some receives their package within 4days lang daw from china also. :( customs, customs, customs, mga buhaya talaga..

  72. Alex says:

    @ magnetic_rose, with the tax I still had a relatively good price..really Yonex rackets are less expensive coming from Japan, Yonex are some of the best quality rackets in my opinion

  73. Moe says:

    if inaddress ko ba yung package to UST post office, dadaan pa ba sa Pasay yun? or mas mapapadali ko makukuha yung item?

  74. Alex says:

    @ Moe

    I think the problem begins by choosing EMS, usually ito offer ng Chinese sellers because of the big discounts they get, kaso pag dating dito sa Pinas it is sadly unreliable. The people at the local post told me everything passes through customs so it might be very difficult to get these items without such problems. Even with DHL, Fedex etc. the items will still pass customs, except that the couriers pay the tax in advance and charge it to you. One option is that if you have a friend in China who has a forwarder you can request him to ship the item through that forwarder, that way yung charge nung forwarder sa kanya all in na wala ng sakit ng ulo, but you have to have that contact in China.

  75. Moe says:

    ow, yun ang prob, i don’t know any friends/relatives in china..i’m going back to school na, nakadorm ako, eh i’m still planning to continue selling online. okay ba kung sa UST post office ko nalang i-address then pick it up there? kasi kung iaaddress ko pa sa dorm ko, malamang hhold pa ulit un, then baka ipapick up pa sa lawton post office okaya sa pasay…so hassle. eh kung papapick up rin lng naman, naisip ko UST post office nalang, is that a good idea?

    kasi tingin ko (correct me if i’m wrong)
    pag private couriers ang pinili ko, malaki din bbyarang tax, then di kapa makakahaggle, kasi diba you’ll pay kung magkano man ang chinarge sakanila..but faster and reliable and door to door..
    pag EMS naman, you can haggle the tax, un nga lang you have to pick it up. and matagal.

  76. all parcels held up by customs for taxation need to be picked up at the pasay sorting facility regardless of where in metro manila it was addressed, so i don’t think it will make much difference if you choose to address it to your permanent residence or your dorm facility…

  77. skylight says:

    I’m thinking it’s less likely that they’ll jack up the taxes if I buy from online sites right like HMV, CDJapan? There’s no way they’re going to say it was undervalued.

    Has anyone ever tried using EMS from CDJapan? I’ve tried HMV’s and I wasn’t taxed so I’m kinda hoping the same happens for my parcel from CDJapan.

    • actually, the customs office is just as likely to tax purchases from online stores, especially if the store logos are emblazoned on the shipping boxes. the taxation depends on whether it was a large shipment , and not from the store that shipped it. i’ve had parcels from both HMV and CDJapan taxed as well as untaxed, and the larger the shipment the higher chance of it being caught in the customs drag net and charged with the appropriate taxes.

  78. skylight says:

    What I mean is, should I be worried that they suddenly overvalue my parcel even if it came from online shops? I’ve read cases (like the one above) that they charge a lot for tax because they claim the parcel was undervalued.

    • @skylight online stores usually include a shipping invoice so there’s no danger of the item being overvalued during the tax calculation, unlike — say, EBAY purchases.

      @moe sorry but that is an addressing concern and not a taxation problem, and i’ve had no experience tackling those kinds of situations so your guess is as good as mine.

  79. Moe says:

    i mean, sa Post office ng UST ko nalang iaddress? like have P.O. box there. or kung pwede kahit hindi na P.O. box, basta naka address sa UST post office..?

    anyway this is my update regarding my package

    tumawag ako sa post office para tanungin kung andun na ung package ko.
    sabi OO, pwede na ung package ko. ung isa ha ung puro damit.
    ready napala ipick up (as of May 21 pa!) pero wala pang pinapadalang claim stub, anu bayan!

    tapos tinanong ko narin ung isang package na puro Replica boots, at isang bag na regalo ko sa mama ko.

    me: “ha? eh pano yan? asan na ba?”
    cs: “wala po nakasulat, kaya po nakahold”
    me: “nasa Philippines naba?”
    cs: “yes ma’am, kaso hindi maideliver kasi walang address”
    me: “kahit ano walang nakasulat? kahit Manila? paranaque?Philippines?”
    cs: “wala po talaga ma’am, tracking number lang talaga”
    me: “okay teka ha tanong ko sender ko”

    me to sender: “there’s a problem with the package you sent”
    sender: “what?”
    me: “the post said, there is no name and address written, just the tracking number”
    sender: “post there in philippines?”
    me: “yes”
    sender: “that’s amazing, how they do that! i wrote your name and address by myself”
    me: “i don’t know, that’s what they told me”
    (oo nga ano! chaka diba, kung walang address, irereturn to sender yun?di makakalabas ng bansa yun)
    me: “wait, i’ll talk to the customer service again”

    me to customer service ng Philpost:

    me: Ms, sabi ng supplier ko..pano daw nakarating dyan kung walang name and address”
    cs: “di ko nga po alam eh, baka po nagkaproblema lang sa something” (she really used the word something)
    me: eh pano ngayon yan?
    cs: sbhin nyo po sa sender nyo na iemail samin ung Name and Address pati Tracking number para malamn w/c package un, pati po yung name ng sender
    me: okay, ano email?

    me to sender:

    me: they told me to ask you to send my whole name, address, tracking number and your name too as a sender.
    sender: okay, what’s the email?
    sender: okay, i’ll send it now. i’ll also send it to you
    me: thank you so much
    sender: okay, check your mail!
    eto yung email:

    Dear You:
    Good day for you.
    I am so sorry about my friend Monique Sison checked all over,the parcel of tracking number of EE285017910CN now is in your post and without name or address.that you cannot send the parcel to the can refer to the attachment that the scan of the bill.the parcel noted”GIFT 10$”
    Here is my friend name and address detail.
    First Name : Monique
    Last Name : Sison
    Country : Philippines
    Shipping Address : (sorry, can’t post my address here)
    Paranaque City, Metro Manila
    Postal Code / Zip : 1700
    Email Address:

    Phone Number: 0916*******

    My name is Zhuangli(my chinese name) from phone is 86-0136669*****,you can freely to call me any time to check all.
    . Looking forwards to handle all the things,and let my friend get the parcel soon,
    Thanks very much
    Best regards

    me to customer sercive ng philpost:

    me: hello eto yung kanina, ung sa package na walang name and address
    cs: yes ma’am
    me: diba hindi masesend yung package kung wlang name and address?? pano nakarating yan dito? diba return to sender dapat yan?
    cs: ma’am di ko po kasi nakikita ung package mo mismo, pero sa record mo no name and address, eh may name and address po dapat yan sa record.
    me: eh pano nga nakaratin yan dito?
    cs: baka po accidente natanggal
    me: ano bayan, pakiayos nalang ha kailangan ko kasi yan ngayon na sana.
    cs: di napo kasi makukuha today 5pm napo kasi
    me: bukas pwede na?
    cs: yes ma’am isabay nyo nadin sa pagkuha ng isa, pakifollow up nalang ng email.
    me: nasend na ngayon, pakicheck, sinama pa ng sender ko yung resibo ng EMS sa email ha! baka pa ano pa idahilan nyo
    cs: sige po ayusin po namin yan bukas
    me: sige. pakiayos na ha!thank you
    cs: you’re welcome ma’am kinausap ko rin kuya ko regarding this..sabi nya, baka daw kasi gusto kunin talaga ng post office since branded boots yun.(replica nga lang) medyo may alam kuya ko ssa customs kasi balak din non mag customs eh HAHA kaya ano tingin nyo? bakit nga ba walang name and address? eh pinadala sakin ung resibo nung EMS package ko sa email.. sooooo?

  80. skylight says:

    I hope you don’t mind me asking, what did you order from CDJapan and HMV that got you taxed? How much was parcel value?

  81. i’ve had a lot of parcels sent to me, but the two latest were a photobook from HMV (untaxed, JPY 8000 value), and two DVDs from CDJapan (taxed, JPY 10000 value).

  82. skylight says:

    I’ve only had 2 orders from HMV and both weren’t taxed and I’m thinking maybe it’s the way they packed my items using only an envelope?

    CDJapan on the other hand usually puts them in a box so I’m quite hesistant to use EMS whenever I buy from them. Also there are items which have free posters and they get shipped in a larger box so I’m afraid it might catch the eye of customs.

  83. Alex says:

    @magnetic rose

    Due to my experience with China sellers I am planning to buy this time from Singapore. If the seller ships through Singapore Speedpost will this still pass through the dreaded customs crocs? Or will this just go straight to the local post?

    • uh all parcels have to go through customs unfortunately, it’s up to them if they’re releasing it without charging you or not…

  84. Alex says:

    So its really like Russian roullette with customs….

  85. ruri says:

    hlo. how many days do i expect for may package to be staying at the customs? i tracked it and it says its been with customs for three days now :-(

    • if it’s been with them for the past three days, you can go ahead and pick it up without waiting for the notice by making a print-out of the tracking page plus bringing two valid IDS (and the cash for the taxes >.> ) with you to the pasay EMS sorting facility.

  86. ruri says:

    tnx so much magnetic_rose.

    my seller declared that the bag is worth %100 and she emailed me a custom form declaring that it is a gift worth $100 for a used bag. will i still be taxed? and the computation is same as above: [total USD value of parcel * 10% customs dues] + [total USD value of parcel * 12% VAT] + [PhP 750 customs miscellaneous fees] + [PhP 35 Philpost releasing fee]

    i called EMS and they told me to email them whick they will forward to customs to release/clear my package and an authorization for the package to be delivered thru the local post office.

    what will be the best thing for me to do? go to MIA road or just email EMS…

    i think this will be my first and last online shopping…

  87. unfortunately if the customs office get a hold of it you will be taxed the full cost of your purchase :( to claim it, you will have to go to the pasay office and pay the customs dues. please bring a print out of the tracking page plus two IDs, and the cash you need to pay for the fees.

  88. ThRiSzHa says:

    grabe ang customs d2 sa Pinas…masyadong CORRUPT!! I got a package from US actually its just my prize for a nail art contest that I joined.. the parcel value is 60$.. I am so surprised when they computed the total parcel value including shipping & insurance of $100.58!!!! ganun ba tlga ang computation pati shipping & insurance sinasama sa total value of parcel??? theyre asking me to pay 1,540 for the package that I won for a nail art contest which only consist of 4 nail polish, 2 mary kay mini eye shadow, 2 mary kay lip gloss!!!grabe!! sa laki ng babayaran kong tax parang binili kona rin ung prize ko!!!!!ok lang sana magbayad ng tax tama lang sana ung computation saka kung may nakikitang improvement sa office nila… ang abgal na nga ng proseso nila sobrang init pa & mga mukhang pera!! i couldnt image na ung computation nila na pinakita sakin eh nasa scratch paper lang!!!! lahat ba ng registered mail sa ems exchange center bumabagsak???

    • so sorry to hear about what happened. however, if i remember correctly medical goods and equipment, personal electronics, and luxury items like apparel, handbags, accessories, and yes — cosmetics, are given a higher tax charge than the 10% given to CDs, books, DVDs, and toys :(

  89. ruri says:

    hi… this is still concerning my package from hongkong via ems.

    i checked the tracking and it says IN TRANSIT after 7 days in customs for inspection. doest it mean they will deliver it to me at home here in pampanga? and does it mean i will not be taxed? :-)

    ive been calling ems office to no avail…

    this is my first international transaction and much of the info that i have are purely from the internet.

    tnx so much

    • @ruri — yup, it’s on its way to you and you will not be taxed. congratulations!

      @sig — ouch, that sucks for you and your friend both :(

  90. Sig says:

    A few months ago, I ordered a kendo gi online from a shop in Los Angeles. The product cost US$40 and the customs bureau didn’t charge me a peso for the shipment.

    However, with the Bogu i ordered online, it was a different story.

    I bought bogu online from a shop based in Korea. When DHL delivered my ordered product, I got charged Php3,800 for the parcel with declared value of US$130 (the true price of the bogu is US$450. Cr@p! That’s quite a fortune! But I guess I’m still lucky. A batchmate of mine in Kendo purchased his bogu online as well and when dhl delivered his ordered product, he was charged Php6000 by the customs bureau.

  91. Edward says:

    After reading all the posts above, I really worry the amount of tax these customs crocs will charge me. My parcel was declared USD 344.26 or JP Yen 31,500.00 from Niiza Japan and was sent thru japan post EMS. Based on the computation, I’ll have to pay Php 4,344.62. That’s about 27% plus the value of my parcel.

    All the more praying that a 7.2 x 3.1 x 11.9 inches (W) x (H) x (D) size box would just be invisible and passby the eyes of these customs people.

    Keep you posted.

  92. dealer says:

    i had a package from china sent thru ups last may 31 and it arrived june 5 delivered to my home, i had to shell out P2,423 for taxes for a package worth only 150$, 37% of the package already.

    my new package from china was sent thru ems unfortunately, i don’t have any idea reagarding its services,(good thing i read this blog, thanks miss magnetic_rose), the package was shipped last june 7, based on the online tracking,it left china on the 10th (despatch from sorting center,beijing), so assuming that it reached phil. by the 11th or 12th, it hasn’t been taken care of the phil. ems due to the long weekend,(i was already talking to my supplier in china, i was upset because the package was taking too long and since i paid for a UPS shipment,i was expecting it to be shipped by UPS and not by EMS,because if it was shipped thru UPS, i would’ve gotten the package last june 11/12) i went to my local post office and they advised me to call the pasay office, and damn! i wasn’t able to get thru the busy line,hoping to be able get thru their busy line,i’m bracing myself for the taxes, the value is only 100$, hopefully, within p1k only.

  93. ren says:

    =_= I find the computation strange. I bought a book from Amazon UK ( 18Pounds) and only paid 35Php for the Customs fee. Then, I bought 2 volumes of Manga from AmazonJP (390*2 +3,000 Yen Shipping Fee) and I must pay custom charges amounting to 2,000 Php.

  94. Dion says:


    I ordered a cd in a dvd case in cdjapan. It costs 3619yen plus 1200 shipping. The total is 4,519 yen or $49.05. Do you think i will be taxed?? And in case i will , there is always an ems delivery in our post office, and there is also a customs personel inside the parcel office (before walang ganun), do you think i dont need to go to Pasay and just pay my tax here in Marikina City? Thanks.

  95. Dion says:

    After reading all you thoughts and experiences towards EMS, I hurriedly email cdjapan to change my shipping method. from EMS to Registered Airmail. I will never get my orders delivered thru EMS. I am very scared trying their service. Thank you all peeps for all your posts especially to magnetic-rose. Thanks!!

  96. Jedd says:

    hey magnetic_rose

    I just had a package from japan sent to me last June 10. While tracking it, the page says it arrived in the Philippines on the 14th and is now “In Customs”. A couple of days later, on the 16th, it says “retention”. what gives? does that mean they suddenly became interested in my gundam model?

    • @dion sometimes parcels worth less that USD 50 sent via EMS are not taxed. but if you don’t feel comfortable with EMS then registered mail is a good alternative.

      @jedd the package has been retained by the customs office, and you have to pay taxes for it to be released.

  97. Jedd says:

    @magnetic_rose no seriously? oh well, thanks for the help. It didn’t help I guess that the seller marked it as a “gift”.

  98. Dion says:

    Thanks magnetic-rose. I will never use EMS ay my shipping method after i read the things about ems in this forum. Thank You all!

  99. icemarle says:

    My package arrived here last June 2. It’s a seiyuu magazine and a shoujo manga magazine (with a 付録ストラップ) I ordered through Amazon JP and asked a friend to resend. I still haven’t received it or gotten a notice and according to the tracking site, there was no one to receive it and they brought it back.

    6月2日 ご不在のため持ち戻り

    Still no update on whether it’s in customs or not, but I have a huge feeling it’s in the Pasay office. I haven’t called them up yet because it’s really hard for me to call here. (I’ve got no landline at home)

    Think I should just head straight to the Pasay office armed with my tracking number and IDs?

    I seriously don’t want to lose this package… That mag’s out of stock everywhere and the next issue’s already gonna be out soon. :|

    • since the parcel was returned to the sender according to the tracking site, it’s possible that the package is not with customs, but rather — it was wrongly addressed and therefore sent back to your friend in japan. check with your friend in japan if he or she has received the returned parcel, and have it sent to you again — double checking the address this time.

  100. icemarle says:

    No, no… It says the addressee is not around. And checked in the English tracking site which has funky English, it says something that doesn’t even serve as a translation to 不在–“Attempted delivery”. I doubt they’ll send it all the way back to Japan just because the addressee wasn’t around.

  101. icemarle says:

    …Sorry for the double post.

    Forgive my mistake in the previous post. Checked the English site again and it said:

    Jun 2 Absence. Attempted delivery.

    So ご不在 is correct. 持ち戻り probably just meant they sent it back to the office.

    Am I right to assume they sent it back to the center in Pasay? In a few weeks, my package should be celebrating its “monthsary” rotting in their storage. I’m also a bit concerned about that since they might charge me for storage charge… Why don’t they just send out notices faster in the first place? =_=; This country’s procrastination system is really driving me nuts.

    P.S. Your blog’s really helpful :) Thanks for putting up tips for dodging the customs.

  102. sorry — i misread 在 (不在 — not present)as 住 (不住 — no address). anyway, if you’re absolutely sure that your parcel is with the pasay ems sorting facility and not sent back to the sender, you can simply drop by their office with a print out of the tracking page and two valid ids.

    it does take a long time for the post office to send out EMS notices (about a week or so) so they will process the releasing of your parcel even without the notice — as long as your IDs are in order.

  103. paula says:

    hi. iLL be ordering a dozen of CDs from Korea. I’m undecided whether to ship them via EMS, air parcel or balikbayan box. According to my seller, it will be cheaper if i choose balikbayan box for bulk orders, it will cost around 60 USD. But since I only have a few orders, what do you think will be the best option? will shipment via air parcel also be taxed by custom? thanks.

    • if the customs offices tags your parcel, then yes — you will be taxed. as a rule of thumb — the bigger the box or the more expensive looking the item, the customs office is more likely to hold it for taxation. if you want to be inconspicuous, go for the balikbayan box — but ask your shipper if they can go for a smaller box and not opt for the giant boxes we’re more familiar with :)

  104. Reinier says:

    Hi everyone,

    it’s been a frustrating week for now. I’ve been waiting for my parcel for almost a month now. my friend send me a Guitar from UK. He go with Courier “Parcelforce”. it’s a express delivery, so it should be a 3-5 days delivery. everything has been okay, all documents have been paid , even with they so called “import duty” my friend paid it for £260 (shit). i’ve been tracking it online, and it’s doing good for the 1st week. after that, it’s just stock in customs clearance.
    what should i do now? i’ve been contacting the parcelforce, and they say said they have here an agent that will investigate for my parcel. and still nothing is moving. Damn Philippine Customs. it’s really frustrating cause my friend paid for huge amount of money just to send here my guitar. and it’s not just a Guitar. it’s a special one…

    hope someone could help me…

    • hi reinier. the thing with taxation is sometimes it occurs at both ends of a shipment — both the shipper and the recipient have to pay certain fees. to claim your parcel, print out the tracking page and bring it with you to the ems sorting facility in pasay along with two ids. hopefully you’ll find out why it hasn’t been released yet, and you can sort out the taxation problem with the shipper in the UK.

  105. paula says:

    thanks magnetic_rose. =)

  106. jp_1stTimer says:

    hi magnetic_rose.

    this was actually the first time that i made an international purchase, an old school Nokia 8910 from hongkong. it was $80.
    if i had earlier read this thread, i might have probably opted not to ship it through EMS. anyway it’s done.

    my question is, it says on my tracking that the package was “handed over to the customs”. what does this mean? do i already have to pay additional taxes? if yes, how much would that cost me?

    another scenario is that, in case they decided to forego and rather send me the package here in Malate, what will happen if no one is around at home? all of us living in the house are students so no one is left behind.

    Thank you very much in advance!

    • hi jp! if your parcel has already been handed off to customs according to the tracking site, you’re pretty much out of luck and you have to pay the taxes to get the parcel released. the amount will be close to the calculation matrix shown above, give or take a few hundred since your item falls under the category “electronics” rather than “toys”.

      if you’re lucky enough to have the package sent directly to your home without having to pay for taxes, but unfortunately no one is home when the mailman gets there, you will receive a claim voucher with instructions on how to claim your parcel. you either have to claim it from your local post office — or, in a worst case scenario, get it from the pasay EMS office. good luck!

  107. jp_1stTimer says:

    so should i call the pasay EMS office and ask if they do have my package in custody? or wait for a few days more (a possibility that the status from the tracking will change)?

    is the office only open between 8AM-5PM? Or is it possible to ask for a transaction within the time frame? that’s because I’m a med student and is pretty much busy everyday.

    thank you very much! you’re really a big help! ;)

  108. you should make arrangements to claim your package ASAP because they will charge you a storage fee if you take too long.

    also, because the customs office is a government agency, they only entertain transactions during business hours (8AM to 5PM). sorry but that’s the way it is :(

  109. jp_1stTimer says:

    that was a fast reply! haha.

    anyway, i already saw the map of the location posted above, is there a way for a commuter like me to reach the place without taking a taxi? that would really help a lot in minimizing the milking process of my wallet.

    and yeah, if i do call the office, will i be given the tax that needs to be paid or will it be computed right there and there? thanks!

  110. if you want to commute there, take a bus headed to MIA BACLARAN, tell the bus driver that you want to get off at 611, and they will drop you off at PARK & RIDE. you can walk to the EMS office from there.

    the tax will be calculated by the customs officer when they open the parcel, so the call center has no idea how much it will be worth — it’ll be no use to ask them how much it’s worth via phone.

  111. janice says:

    Hi, I saw this post while I was searching for links about EMS Phils.

    I had my friend in Japan to send me some cosmetics that’s about 1500 yen only. I am currently in Davao. I checked the ems website and saw that my packaged arrived on July 2,Friday in Manila. I received my package right on my doorstep, July 6, Tuesday.

    I was charged 40 pesos for my package and since I have been reading a lot of posts that they were charged for taxes etc., I felt a little generous and gave the delivery guy 70 pesos hehe. At least I got my package and my peace of mind. What’s 30 pesos anyway. The guy gave me a receipt too.

  112. jp_1stTimer says:

    ok. thank you very much for the info, i really appreciate it.

    i just got a mail from the seller that she just placed $40 as the price of the parcel and was labeled as an electronic (gift) and was placed in a really small box..
    but still, my packaged was withheld. :(

  113. they says:

    my friend send me a package through USPC via register mail..Im from Bulacan Philippines and its 1 month now but i havent receive it..Im wondering where does it go?Do u think its lost? I went to our post office already and they told me it should be on my hand now because 1 month is too long to wait.

    • registered mail takes far longer than EMS — sometimes up to two months. and since you can’t track it unlike EMS, all you can do is wait. good luck with your parcel!

  114. jp_1stTimer says:

    i just got my parcel without any additional taxes, that’s after 1.5hrs of waiting for those irresponsible customs officers not tending the people waiting in line. they’ed rather talk, talk and more talking to their fellow officers.
    and i shouldn’t forget to mention that i did CUT my morning class just to get the package.

    **sigh** only in the philippines talaga!

  115. true — only in the philippines >.> anyway, just count your blessings — at least you didn’t get taxed an extortionate amount, right?

  116. jayce_s2000 says:

    My package from HLJ just arrived here in the Phils. It says on the EMS tracking website, “In Customs”. Should I wait for the claim voucher to arrive here or just pick it up from Pasay office without the claim voucher?

    • you can go ahead and claim it without the voucher if you have a print out of the tracking page made out in your name, plus two valid IDs.

  117. jayce_s2000 says:

    Okay. Thank you for your immediate response.

  118. Al says:

    Quote from Ragna The Bloodedge (

    People with packages coming from Japan can now breathe easily. Starting July 1 the J-ASEAN FTA has been implemented. One of the major things in that thing is that anything under “Category A” will have Customs Duties eliminated from it, so all You have to pay is the 12% eVAT that is still applicable on your Orders.

    The link below tells of the FTA coming into force last July 1, 2010.

    The link below says that (a)

    “Customs Duties on originating goods classified with “A” shall be eliminated as from the date of entry into force of this Agreement;”

    Which means anything that falls under Category “A” wouldn’t be subjected to Customs Duties and will just be charged the regular 12% eVAT.

    And the link below is the guideline on which items are classified under Category “A”.

    hope this help. I hope it will help me showing these to the EMS Pasay this week.

    • thanks al and best of luck to you! i remember when the book blockade was lifted several months back, the customs office at EMS did not immediately implement it and there was another row between them and the book buyers on who had whose authority on their side.

      another concern would be the the classification of the toys you have imported. i checked the list you provided, and toys like action figures and gunpla models fall under category B10. only toys under category A are exempted from being charged customs fees, and these are mostly educational toys and scale models of real things like trains, tanks, and battleships.

  119. Al says:

    Went to EMS Pasay this PM. Boy, they were so slow! took me almost two hours to get my stuff from that place.

    Regarding the J-ASEAN FTA as expected they won’t recognize it. I just came back from EMS pasay and as the customs officer finished computing my 8,000 peso watch from Japan, I told her: wasn’t it suppose to be that my watch be exempted from duties? Wasn’t it Phils and Japan had signed an FTA agreement and effective July 1 all under category A goods from japan exempted from duties and just 12% VAT will do?

    She asked me, are you a japanese national? I said no. She said that only japanese nationals are exempted. I was about to argue more because it is not how it is but I refrained myself and I know that they will not admit it. No need to confront her more and besides I’m happy with her computation on my taxes which is only 1,900+ pesos for an 8K watch. Very reasonable. Based on my own computation its more than 2,500.00. Siguro tsambahan lang din sa customs officer na titingin sa gamit mo.

    As for me Im not going to use EMS to ship my things anymore! that place sucks! I saw two frustrated korean nationals who shout at the customs officers, for being so slow and maybe they were charged big too.

    Grabe sa loob ang dami nang taong nakapila at naghihintay makikita mo nagkukuwentuhan ang mga officers at naninigarilyo pa sa loob.

    Habang chinecheck ng customs police yung mga papers ko sinabihan ko na, Ang bilis nga ng parating ang tagal naman ng proseso.

    • ugh — i was expecting the customs people to play dumb or invent loopholes about the new j-asean agreement, and i am so disappointed that i was right >.>

  120. Ariane says:

    I am about to get my parcel amounting to 90usd tomorrow from China. Does the physical appearance of the adressee affects the taxes given? I mean, pupunta ako dun ng naka-shorts lang..

  121. john says:

    i’m here in taiwan and sell basketball shoes in the phils through my brother. i sent my first set of sneakers through registered airmail and it arrived in 10 business days as advised to me by the local post office here. but then i used ems for my next parcel since the price difference weren’t that much and transit time is really fast. when i got home from the post office and read some forums about ems, my BP of 120 rocketed to 220(just an exaggeration)i was so afraid that my parcel worth 600USD might be taxed since i was so dumb to declare the actual value for insurance reasons in case it gets lost(theft was my fear before not tax). i immediately called my 65 yr old dad to expect a significant amount from customs since i don’t want to give him the 220 blood pressure. i didn’t tell him it was because of phil customs corruption. but luckily he called me 4 days after asking me y he was only asked 35 pesos. i felt so relieved that i dated my wife to a 100USD dinner and she was surprised(i always date my wife but i don’t spend that much all the time). sent another parcel again thru ems only 2 pairs this time and declared the value at 30USD and labeled gift like before. i have been using the LBC which takes 3 weeks but safer since they advice that only 12 pcs of the same item is considered commercial. my question is, i don’t hav any worries about registered airmail security but is it as scary as EMS in terms of customs tax? or is it safe to consider ems to provincial addresses are safe (i sent a 30x20x12 inches box) since it’s too far for a recipient to travel. i can go with registered airmail all the time since the post office is only a block from where i live and only takes 10 days to arrive. this forum is the best of all the ones i’ve read. more power to you and God bless!!!

    • the main difference with EMS and registered mail is speed; security and taxes are about the same. the local post office is woefully inconsistent so you may get taxed one time but not the other.

  122. john says:

    this thing is seriously bad for business. i’m actually planning to shutdown my online business because it’s difficult to rely on these inconsistencies. too bad most of us pinoys can only afford the cheap good stuff sold online but only to be charged more by the customs people. anyways keep up the good work!!!

  123. so sorry to hear that — i wish you the very best of luck with your shop~

  124. nissy001 says:

    I bought a CD and a Book from CDJapan.The Customs taxed me 2901.75 pesos.. my order was only 2475 YEN.. and that’s in YEN.. it’s like 150% tax for me.. VERY CORRUPT

  125. nissy001 says:

    The item I bought is like 1200+ if converted to pesos and they expected me to pay 2901.75 as tax

  126. kimlandicho says:

    :( just wanna ask some sorta frequently asked questions. last july 26, my friend sent me a parcel from japan via EMS (including ipad, ipad case & chocs) 1.8 kilos that cost 3240 yen ($37). july 29, i tracked that it already arrived at Philippines and the status says that it is on customs but no zip code. my friend told me that it will be delivered at my door, i kno its not yet time to panic bout the “delayed” of the parcel. i just wanna kno if this parcel will be taxed & still be delivered at my door.?.. naaahh.. hope to hear from you.

    • like i keep saying over and over again (next time please read all posts before asking a question — it may already have been answered), if the parcel is in customs according to your tracking page you have to claim it at their pasay facility by paying for the calculated taxes.

  127. magikero says:

    is it possible they will tax me for some magic cards and a playmat? i am planning kasi…. to buy and shipped it here using ems….

    • if the value of the parcel is less than USD 50 the parcel will very likely not be taxed. anything higher than USD 50 and you will be in dodgy territory.

  128. denver says:

    Hi…I would like to know if they accept credit cards as payment?

  129. GundamEnthusiast says:

    last time i bought an item i got taxed for a 30$ item with a 60$ shipping and it was about 1200 php. the only thought passed trough my mind that i told the truth and said i bought it online..

    My items are covered at 45$ plus 73$ shipping :( when i calculated it, its around 1700 php :((

    Would it help if i just said “i do not know that i am going to be taxed, and this is the only i have in my pocket.”
    its only a gift? How can i say? could i have less tax and no reciept? XD LOL i dont wanna get taxed that much.

    • unfortunately, the fact that you have been asked to claim your parcel at the EMS office means that you have to pay taxes — ignorance will not be taken as an excuse especially by the customs officers. if you attempt to claim the parcel without sufficient funds, the customs officer will tell you to come back another day with the complete amount. claiming that the parcel is a gift will also not work since gifts are also taxed. as for paying less taxes with no receipt, that is tantamount to bribery, and bribery is against the law.

  130. GundamEnthusiast says:

    just got backed from EMS, sadly i got charged 2k php tax.

    The item declared was 45$, and she insisted that it was more than that. sadly i under declared the value of the item and had no proof that it was only 45$.

    For 3 gundam models

    She charged me the following:
    10% duty
    12 VAT
    265 CDS
    250 IBF

    God thing that i she bought that it was only worth 60$, or else i have paid for 105$ of goods.XD

  131. Jared says:


    i’m planning to buy an ipad from ebay costing $675. the seller is willing to declare it $20 and as a gift. I’m using USPS EMS shipping company. question: would i be tax so high like others? will my item be at risk (stolen)? thanks for the reply.

    • if you get flagged by customs you will be taxed the full value of the item purchased (USD 675) because it is glaringly obvious that an iPad is not worth just USD 20.

      all parcels are at risk of being stolen unless they are sent by courier like DHL or FEDEX, and even then some parcels are still lost.

      if you declare your item as having just a USD 20 value and it gets stolen, EMS insurance will only refund you USD 20 as declared on the shipping manifesto and not the actual value of the item at USD 675.

      in the end, it’s up to you if you want to dodge taxes but risk losing your parcel, or getting the parcel delivered but have to pay customs fees.

  132. Jared says:

    so should i declare it $675 but declare it as a gift?

  133. JR says:

    I saw this site when searching for info about customs. This is very informative regarding EMS.

    But regarding SAL, are there any instances you might get taxed when used the said shipping? Because my October pre-orders seems to be the most expensive and all (OK, just two PVCs) of them might fit inside a SAL package.

  134. Algester says:

    s for i stimbled on this site looking for a way if a parcel from EMS is in customs status
    in anycase i ordered 2 artbooks thats ef-the fairy tale of the 2 master visual works and MGS4 master art collection.
    if the calculation above applies i calculated the value at actually 127.10 USD 10,900 JPY
    calculated customs value is 2017 php do i need to bring more or just what i assumed to have calculated… im assuming i would probably bring 2500 in anycase… and also i need to know the exact address of ems pasay after all im in QC <_<

  135. GundamEnthusiast says:

    It doesnt matter if it is declared as a gift, because they would still tax you anyway.. you are better of buying it here. or make someone come home and buy it for you.

  136. @jared gifts are also taxable.

    @jr based on anecdotes, SAL shipments are less likely to be taxed compared to EMS, but that’s not to say that they are not taxed 100%.

    @algester the address is already up there, plus a map. good luck!

  137. Algester says:

    ouch… its actually quite far from la salle-csb @_@… hmm so i can only go there on workdays and assuming i only have a school ID with me so yeah this is hard…

  138. cherrystar says:

    Hi Rose! Google led me to your blog again! ;)
    I recently preordered a concert DVD (230g) from CDJapan and it will be shipped this September 15 (its release date). It’s 5,071 yen including the shipping fee via EMS (3971 yen subtotal + 1100 yen shipping fee). I’ve been reading horror stories about EMS and the monsters behind it. And now I’m very worried. It is my first time ever to purchase online.

    How much do you usually pay when you order DVDs from Japan? Would you suggest to just change my shipping method to SAL?

    Thanks a bunch again, Rose!

    • since your parcel is under USD 50 it’s highly possible it’ll fly below the radar and get to you without being taxed. the taxes for DVDs is the same as toys. please see sample calculation above.

      the disadvantage of SAL shipments are the lengthy waiting times and the lack of insurance — if your parcel gets lost, it’s gone for good.

      it’s really up to if you’d rather get taxed but get your parcel 100%, or try to dodge taxes but stand the chance of losing your parcel in transit.

      good luck!

  139. nikki_is_pissed says:

    i sent my mom a textbook for college (she is currently trying to get a degree in respiratory therapy) along with some baby clothes for my cousin and a couple school supplies and the BOC is holding it hostage until she pays Php 1900… corrupt motherfuckers! i hate the corruption. they all need to GO to hell.

  140. ivans says:

    oh no…im worried about my package from China. EMS tracking says as of 8/17/10, it was handed over to customs. Worth is $181(including shipment cost) contains 2 items, replica of gucci bag & shoes. do you think customs will tax it based on the price of the original products? i think i need to pray a lot…

    • well, if they tag it as original and not faux, they will tax you at full amount. now if they declare it as faux, there are two things they can do: they can either tax you at the value they place on your items, or they can confiscate it since it is in violation of intellectual property and branding rights…

  141. Mickey says:

    Hey, so, if the seller declares it as a gift…
    The item wont end up in customs & I won’t be charged for tax?
    [sorry if this question has been asked & answered before,
    but, come on, there are One Hundred and Ninety One comments already ~_~;]

  142. patience is a virtue.

  143. Mickey says:

    I have another question! :D

    Do you think it’s a good idea to ask a seller to under-declare a $150 item to $40?

    Thanks ^_^

  144. you can ask the seller to under-declare your parcel, but if your parcel gets lost the insurance will only cover the declared USD 40 amount and not the actual USD 150 value.

  145. Mickey says:

    Sumimasen! More questions ^_^

    “May 25th, 2009at 23:48(#)

    lol i prefer EMS for the security and peace of mind it offers me, but the taxes really have been a bitch lately and i have resorted to the more nerve-wracking SAL shipment method.

    stupid “fundraising” for the stupid 2010 elections <.<"

    If i asked the item to be delivered via SAL?
    Will I avoid being taxed?

    Shitsurei Shimasu ^_^

  146. Mickey says:

    「you can ask the seller to under-declare your parcel, but if your parcel gets lost the insurance will only cover the declared USD 40 amount and not the actual USD 150 value.」
    Hooo! Quite risky ~_~;
    But, based on your experience and from your friends’s experience, have you lost a package [when delivered via EMS]?

  147. 1) SAL parcels are less likely to be taxed because they do not go through the EMS sorting facility (which handles mostly air freight).

    2) EMS parcels are tagged so they are very rarely lost in transit. SAL parcels do not have a tracking number.

  148. Mickey says:

    Items sent via EMS are safe, no doubt,
    but with SAL
    [despite the risk of losing your precious model
    & have to wait a wee bit longer for it to be in your longing arms]
    one could save a bit on the shipping fee & could avoid being imposed with tax.
    Man, I’m really considering a SAL shipment.

    So, I’m just curious, on your experience with SAL shipments,
    have you avoided being imposed with tax every time?

  149. yes, i have. but i also have friends whose SAL shipments were taxed on arrival.

  150. Mickey says:

    Lucky you :P Your friend, not so much ~_~;

    Ei, so, can you count how many times have you relied on SAL shipments?

  151. of the top of my head less than ten, i think; i rely on EMS shipments more.

  152. Mr_Dawson says:

    Hi there magnetic rose,

    i have this problem i purchased some goods from malaysia and the seller used a what they called Local Priority Service, well at first i don’t know about that. when i looked at the courier’s website it says there that it is a private courier company i dont know if its EMS or what.. and i need to pay the insurance fee for the package to be released.where can i pay this insurance thing? sabi ng courier, yung customs agents daw ang humihingi ng payment. after the payment has been done they will deliver it to my doorstep using our local courier company like air21.

    thanks! i hope you can help me on this..

    • hi mr_dawson. unfortunately i’ve never had anything shipped from malaysia, nor have i experienced having something shipped via “local priority service” :( i’m afraid i won’t be able to provide much help — sorry :(

  153. Mr_Dawson says:

    its okay! thanks for your prompt response btw..

  154. no worries — i hope you will be able to find someone who can answer your question :)

  155. dr says:


    I would like to know which would be the better option – to go to Pasay or to wait for the package to arrive in our local post office? I shipped through EMS last Saturday and it arrived after 4 days. I live here in San Mateo, Rizal though and it’s too much of a hassle to go to the EMS office. I would appreciate any suggestion. Thanks!

    • if your parcel has been tagged by the customs office in pasay and retained for taxation, there is not getting around it and you will have to pick it up there; only untaxed parcels will be forwarded to your shipping address in rizal.

  156. yua_paolo says:

    Hi magnetic_rose,

    Just want to ask, my item when tracked shows, released by custom yesterday and today shows “phone7” – attempted delivery, do you think this will be delivered direcxtly to my adress here in pampanga? or something else happened that i need to go to ems in pasay?.. thanks..

    • attempted delivery means that the postman tried to deliver it to your doorstep but was unable to — either because nobody was home, or somebody was home but had no ID of your to show so they can claim your parcel. they may try to deliver it again on another day, but if it is not claimed immediately they will send it back to the sorting facility in pasay and you will have to go there and claim it yourself.

  157. Mickey says:

    Local shops that sells imported items from Japan has to pay the custom for taxes on the items they sell too, right?

    How come they seem to sell items much cheaper than when you buy an item from Japan yourself?

    Like, for example,
    GreattoysOnline sells a figure for 4250php.

    When I buy that same figure that they are selling from a shop online that is based on Japan,
    I would spend a bit less
    [but almost the same price as how much they are selling it].
    I would get the item online for 8016yen (4248.50php) That includes the shipping fee.

    8016yen is approximately $95.00.

    So…I would be taxed 1730php.
    Add that to the item I bought,
    I’d be spending 5980php T_T

    I don’t get how they could sell an item for a cheaper price when they have to pay for tax too…
    Them buying the item for a cheaper price is possible
    but seem unlikely, unless their shop is friends the item manufacturer or something…

    Have some thoughts on this?

  158. sorry, i don’t work for the customs office so your guess is as good as mine…

  159. Mickey says:

    ~_~; I hear ya.

  160. TheHarbinger says:


    I ordered from Play-asia last Sunday a PS3 Game (ACE R worth 4k Php). Aug 24 it got shipped. I chose the Free Airmail and Economy Bubble. Will this still go through customs? Or will it be delivered straight to my address? Has anyone experienced the same thing? How many weeks did it take?

    • i alway choose the fed-ex option with play-asia so i don’t have any opinions on their free ship option — sorry, you’ll be better off asking somebody else.

  161. Mickey says:

    Have you ever bought from Hobby Search?
    If yes, did your purchase ended up on the customs?


  162. sorry — i have never purchased items from hobbysearch; i prefer HLJ.

  163. Anea.chiii says:

    The first time I planned to order Manga or figures from
    Japan or the US, I checked how much would customs charge you.

    After reading blog after blog that says
    “They charge too much”
    I just started ordering from someone that lives here
    in the Philippines, and has a contact in both Japan and US,
    so they can ask them to order there, then send it here.

    Saves a lot more cash that way.

    How come customs tax so much?

  164. justme says:

    Hi, I’m sending a gift (clothes) to a friend in Manila from Sweden, and of course I’ll mark the package as “Gift” package, but the thing is that I need to put a value on the customs declaration form, which is about $140, wondering if my friend will be paying any tax on the package when it comes to her? Thank you!

  165. CandyLove says:

    Hi magnetic_rose,

    I have a question regarding EMS packages. I have read that regardless of where you are, when customs flagged your package for inspection, you’d have to go to Pasay to claim it. The thing is, I live in Pangasinan, do you think they’d still charge me for taxes knowing that I live far away from Manila?

    Or just send the parcel to our post office here and put the taxes I have to pay in the white paper notice?

    I had an experience buying from Amazon for a perfume in the past and I had to claim it in the post office here in our town with a minimal tax value. But this time I’m expecting a parcel from China declared at $35.

    Thank u for your kind response!

  166. @justme — if the customs office sees it fit to charge duties on your parcel, whether it was declared as a gift or not the recipient will have to pay to get it released.

    @candylove — all parcels tagged by the pasay office have to be claimed there (unless they are addressed to visayas or mindanao). the distance you have to travel to go and claim the parcel does not affect the amount you have to pay — whatever amount the calculations come up to, it will have to be paid for the parcel to be released.

  167. perseus30 says:

    I never had any problem with my parcels from abroad coursed through cebu city post office while I was in Cebu. As in nothing, the value may be less than 50 US or more than 200US. The person in charge just handed me the parcel, asked me to pay the 35pesos and signed the logbook. The last time I claimed a parcel while in Cebu was last year 2009.

    I had my terrible encounter with corrupt post office personnel here in novaliches just recently, twice to be exact. In both incidents, the personnel, asked me to pay customs tariff and dues. But of course I never did, I just gave the most, 200pesos for the first incident, the second incident I just handed her 50 pesos.

    I’m just wondering why, novaliches post office ask to pay me tariff while in cebu city , i was never asked although the parcels contain typically same things…

    are post office personnel in manila more corrupt than in cebu city? hahahaha… go republic of Cebu!!!

  168. aizhrodes says:

    just wanna ask po…are you given official receipts when you pay the taxes in customs?

    • yes, you will be given an official government receipt plus a customs manifesto with a breakdown of all the charges (it looks like a contract printed on NSO paper).

  169. jehzlau says:

    wooww.. yun pala calculation ng tax. O__o parang 22%+ ng item at 750 na pang meriend ng mga taga customs, at 35 pesos para sa pamasahe nila. O__o. waaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh! I received an item via UPS kasi, yung item valued around $900 USD lng. Ang tax na binayaran ko is PHP8,100.00! Damn!

    • lol i wouldn’t say that about the PhP 750 miscellaneous fee and PhP 35 philpost fee — but if you went “under the table” with the same amounts, then yeah those definitely went into their pockets and stomachs >.>

  170. aizhrodes says:

    the tracking site said my package is with cmec ems mla yesterday. then one of my friends who is also an online seller said i call them up na to inquire about my package. i called them and said its with the customs daw for examination. its a 6.5kg package with 8packs of socks. declared value is $48 dollars even though i purchased it for $160.5. my friend also told me to bring a proof of payment.(mine shows the $160.5) but i have an invoice from my supplier with a declared value of $48. will i be taxed so much? my friend said the computation will be based on info given to them like the proof of payment and the like…

  171. aizhrodes says:

    got my package. they taxed 2504.00 out of me. they’re scary…and the officer said its 15% tax and 12% vat then there are insurance and more…she didnt give me a discount or even the chance to ask for it properly..i mean she was cutting me off when i voiced out something…and the post charge is not 35php anymore, its 40php now, people…ugh!

  172. dandel says:

    morning po ask ko po sana pano kuha yung ems ko sa inyo? pwede po send nyo na lang d2 sa pguagua pampanga d2 ko na lang po bayaran use items namn po yung mga yun. emi yokokawa po yung sender sagot namn po pls busy po kasi me d po me makapunta ng pasay. nung sept14 pa po nasa inyo yung e.m.s ko amf…

    • morning po ask ko po sana pano kuha yung ems ko sa inyo? pwede po send nyo na lang dto sa guagua pampanga dito ko na lang po bayaran use items naman po yung mga yun. emi yokokawa po yung sender sagot namn po pls busy po kasi me di po me makapunta ng pasay. nung sept 14 pa po nasa inyo yung e.m.s ko amf…

      hi dandel. una sa lahat, wag pong magspam ng comments please. nakasulat na po sa comment box na UNDER MODERATION ang lahat ng first comments kaya pag di po lumitaw agad magtuto po tayong mag-antay. pinagkabitkabit ko na din po lahat ng sinabi mo dito sa apat na comment na napost mo para masagutan ko. inayos ko na din po yung salita kasi hindi ako marunong umintindi ng WER NA U D2 NA ME EWOW POH — kasi hindi ako magaling tagalog.

      pangalawa, pag ang package po e nasa customs, kahit na magpumilit po kayo hindi nila ipapadala sa yo yun hanggat di po nagbabayad ng tax. kaya nga po kelangan sunduin sa pasay yung package — para mabayaran yung tax. pag bayad na, ibibigay din nila yun sa yo at pwede mo na pong iuwi. hindi po dahilan na busy kayo para ipadala agad ng custom sa yo yung package nyo — e di sana lahat tayo nakukuha natin agad yung package natin kasi lahat naman tayo busy. meron nge e galing pa ng abra nagpupunta ng pasay para lang makakuha ng package, kaya wag po tayong magpa-importante.

      pangatlo, kung nagbasa po kayo ng post at lahat ng comments e malalaman niyo po na hindi ako ang customs office ng pasay. ni hindi nga po ako empleyado ng customs. kaya kahit na magpumilit po kayo wala akong magagawa para marelease yung package nyo. hindi ko rin po kilala si emi yokokawa kaya kahit na ipaglandakan niya po ang pangalan niya hindi ko po kayo matutulungan.

      huli sa lahat, wag po tayong magmura sa blog ng ibang tao. buti sana kung facebook account nyo to at pwede kayong magmura hanggang mamula mukha nyo. onting respeto lang po. ikaw na nga po yung nagtatanong ikaw pa po yung galit. at sa totoo lang po nakakainis nang sumagot sa mga taong tulad nyo na hindi na nga marunong magbasa ng post (kasi sa totoo lang lahat ng tanong nyo po nasagutan na e), nagmumura pa po pag hindi nasagutan agad ang tanong.

      if you need further assistance, i’m afraid i can no longer help you; please go ask somebody else.

  173. waybill says:

    Hi magnetic rose,
    I purchased cosmetic items from ebay for 70usd including USPS.
    I believe USPS would land at EMS’ yard,yes?
    It is in a small box, how do you know what taxes apply to my package?
    Ad valorem things give me worry.


    • i’ve had one parcel worth USD 120 shipped via USPS priority that made it to me without getting taxed. if your parcel does not catch the eye of the inspectors at the customs office, there is a chance your parcel will reach you without getting taxed. just sit tight and keep your fingers crossed. good luck!

  174. michaella says:

    @magnetic_rose: i’ve bought also from Ebay shipped via USPS, I hope it will arrived without getting taxed. :)

  175. Shiela says:

    Hello po,

    Im thankful i was able to visit this site… same reason sa ibang naka post dito.

    I have a package na darating ang it’s only worth around USD63.76 (including shipment).

    2.1kg lang naman po, at mga 12items of blouses for my personal consumption.

    The items were shipped from China through UPS.

    Mga ano po ang probability na ma tax sya? parang kinakabahan din kc ako, di masyadong malaki ang nagastos ko, baka lolobo because of customs tax. tnx

  176. Charles says:

    Hello, I have read that you once had a parcel delivered via USPS priority.May I know how long did it take before you received your parcelfrom the date it was shiiped put from the US? Does the mailman delivered it to your shipping address or did you picked it up at the post office?? Are tshirts taxed “heavily” too? Thank you very much and God bless.

    • it took approximately six working days. i received it directly because the parcel was not taxed. apparel are taxed a different rate to toys, so i have no idea how much you will be charged. good luck!

  177. Charles says:

    Thank you again!!!

  178. Mickey says:

    The “Total USD Value of Parcel” doesn’t include the shipping fee that the seller charged, right?

  179. Maia says:

    I’ve had my nightmarish experience na rin with the BOC(Bureau of Customs). I have to pay over 3,000 pesos for a pair of Demonia boots and a cloak my uncle sent me from Vanc.Canada. I’m really amazed on how they compute all those numbers manually when they have computers around them. This was my 3rd time to receive a package from my uncle and my first time to claim it in the BOC area of Post Office. If I remember it correctly, yung first two packages eh dumaan po sa PhilPost and the 3rd one sa EMS. Magkaiba po ba yung dalawa kaya yung first two package were delivered straight to my residence?

    I hope authorities from the Customs read this post and all the comments. Nakakahilo at nakakalula talaga dealing with the BOC system. I think dapat matagal nang nareview yung sobrang kumplikadong sistema ng pagtanggap at pagpapadala ng mga parcels and packages dito sa atin. Ang gulo kasi kaya madalas madali din makalusot yung mga empleyado na illegal ang gawain.

    Just my two cents.

  180. Maia says:

    And oh, may I add that the BOC website is not working. Its so frustrating when you don’t know where to address your grievances properly. Anyhoo, after a thorough research, I got hold of the BOC Commissioner’s contact details. I’m not sure if he is still the commissioner in the current administration though.

    Angelito A. Alvarez
    Address : Bureau of Customs Building, Port Area, South Harbor, Manila
    Telephone : (632) 526-6355
    Fax : (632) 527-4511

  181. Mao says:

    I’ve had two different experience about this.

    First was last September 24 where me and my friends had to claim at Customs our goods from HMV Japan. Sadly, HMV doesn’t underdeclare the value of the item so we paid Php2300 for 2 concert DVDs and two CD singles which is kind of okay anyway, since the actual value in Yen was Y15000. Though when I checked the receipt, I was seriously battling with my mind where’d they got all the figures they used for computing. They also took the invoice.

    As for the second one, which was actually just a while ago, I received my package as it was delivered directly on our doorstep. My friend from Suginami sent me some concert goods this Monday and I have already established in my mind that I’d troop to Customs if it won’t arrive by Thursday.

    The mailman charged me Php40.00 for the Philpost fee, which I poutingly questioned in silence. Apparently, the price now hiked up from Php35.00. I didn’t mind though, as I happily marched back inside the house and opened my package :)

    It’s not that bad. Like what you’ve said, It’s just a hit and miss. Having it marked as gift and have the value declared lower helps, but I also think that if it isn’t obvious that you made some online shopping, they’d let the small stuff pass. Thanks for this article :)

  182. tsinelas says:


    Are the customs miscellaneous fees fixed regardless of the quantity of items shipped at the same time?


    From what I read from other importers, yes they’ve hiked up the philpost fee from 35 to 40 pesos.

    • yes, the miscellaneous fees are fixed as PhP 750 — unless they increased those too like the philpost releasing fee (PhP 40 from PhP 35 at the time this post was written).

  183. kenryoku says:

    Here’s my own horror story:

    I took advantage of Paypal’s free shipping promo and ordered 2 cds from CDJapan. Value is at 5300Y.

    3 days after CDJapan informed me that the packaged was shipped, I received a Debit Memo from FEDEx demanding that I pay 2,800Php. I find the amount ridiculously high. I requested for the breakdown of the duties and taxes which they promptly gave to me.

    What’s pulled the price up was an entry labelled Freight and it cost 101.85. Where did this come from? How come I am being charged for freight when I am not the one who sent the package?

    I called FedEx to inquire, telling them that I just want to understand the breakdown. They kept passing my inquiry around. That happened last Friday. Come Monday I called them 3 times and they still have yet to give me answer. They keep on telling me to wait for their call.

    I am still waiting. In the meantime, my package is somewhere out there accumulating storage fees.

  184. laika says:

    Hi again~ I just have a couple of questions before purchasing from AmiAmi:

    1. How was SAL for you? Have you ever lost items and were you taxed a lot through it?

    2. How long did your SAL shipments took?

    3. Were your SAL shipments delivered in your house or did you have to get them in your local post office?

    Sorry for the questions. AmiAmi does not undervalue their prices and indicates the shipping price for their items that’s why I’m a bit worried. They do offer registered SAL that’s trackable, though. Thanks in advance :D

  185. 1) i’ve lost only one item, and the store (YESASIA) replaced it for me. as far as i can remember i was never taxed for a SAL shipment, although a friend was already taxed twice for using SAL.

    2) two weeks to a month.

    3) all of them were picked up at the local post office. SAL is technically “registered mail” and all registered mail must be picked up by the owner at the post office with the notification and a couple of IDs in tow.

    good luck with your parcel!

  186. laika says:

    Whew, good for you and that keeps me at ease (shipments too scary in this country ^^). Thanks again for answering (and so fast too :D )

  187. d00fus says:

    checking ems tracking
    26-Oct-2010 Philippines Arrived and is beingprocessed.
    27-Oct-2010 Philippines Pending customs inspection.

    does this mean im facing horror of taxation

  188. mika says:

    hello! i just bought from CDJapan and i chose SAL as my shipping method because of it’s cheapness, of course.
    i was reading through the comments here and found out that most buyers who choose SAL usually pick up their items in the post office. aren’t the items delivered directly to the buyer’s house?
    and if ever my items would be in the post office already, how would i know when to pick them up? do they send me a letter or something?

    • SAL is technically registered mail, and all registered mail must be picked up at the local post office — no exceptions. the owner will need to present a government ID to the post office for them to release the letter or parcel to him. the local post office will send a notification letter to your address (residential or work) to inform you that your parcel is ready for pick-up.

  189. mika says:

    oh i see! thank you for answering! i was wondering how i’d know if my parcel is with them na eh. buti nlng at nkita ko tong site na to.
    ay! nga pala, i’m planning to order po sa YesAsia and it totals to $46.47. sa tingin niyo po, may babayaran kaya akong tax?
    and also po, in your experience, mga ilang days bago dumating yung parcel na bibilhin ko from yesasia? thanks!

    • under USD 50 should be fine :) SAL from YES ASIA takes anywhere from two to four weeks; if your parcel still not with you after one month, it’s time to email YES ASIA to help track your package down. good luck!

  190. mika says:

    oooh. thanks again!
    one more pa po! hahaha. :D

    uhmm. i’m currently considering to cancel my orders in CDJapan and order the same items in YesAsia. do you think i should do it?
    what i mean is, does SAL shipping from YesAsia arrive faster than that of CDJapan? and is it much safer to order from YesAsia than from CDJapan?’cause i’ve read comments that their parcels form CDJapan got lost and they never got it back. but you said you have a friend who lost her parcel but YesAsia replaced it right?

    • i always have my parcels from CDJAPAN sent via EMS and they always arrive sooner than SAL from YES ASIA, so i have no idea how reliable SAL shipping from CDJAPAN is — sorry :(

  191. mika says:

    ooooh. okay. thanks anyway! your site has been of big help to me, a fangirl who’s a newbie at online shopping. :)

  192. mika says:

    hello again! i’m considering changing the shipping method of the items i bought from CDJapan. i’m planning to change it from SAL to EMS. the total amount of my order does not exceed $50. would i still be paying taxes for that? thanks! looking forward to your reply. :D

  193. all EMS parcels have to go through the philpost sorting and customs inspection facility — it’s up to them if they choose to tax your parcel or not.

  194. kidd says:

    Hi I find this post very helpful. I usually have no problems with EMS shipping since most of the items I order online are small. But now I have an idea why my package has not arrived, 4 days after the seller has sent it. It is currently in “retention” status, so I guess I’m fated to experience the hell most people here have gone through -ouch!- I did ask the ebay seller to declare a $50 price on my parcel, but i guess the size of the package doesn’t excuse it from getting taxed. I order an LD box set and it comes with freebies, I’m estimating the size of the box is 15″x15″x4″. Anybody here have any idea how much I have to shelve out if they won’t buy the $50 price? Thanks a bunch. Makarma na sana ang mga corrupt customs officials!

    • if the customs officials don’t buy your story that the item is only valued at 50 USD, they will usually impose an arbitrary amount that they have determined. sometimes they check online to see what the prices are (shocking, i know — some of these old coots actually know how to use GOOGLE), convert that to peso, and declare that as the item’s value. however, if you’re lucky and they don’t spare the item a second glance, you may get away with paying taxes for just USD 50 + miscellaneous fees.

  195. arlaine18 says:

    hi to all,

    guys pls help me my friend kasi ako sa japan,pnadalan nya ko ng laptop, kaso i dont have the tracking number, bumalik yung friend ko dun sa pinuntahan nyang office ayw na ibigay sakanya kxe raw,wla na maipakita document friend ko o yung mismong resibo nun its been 2 weeks wla prin yung pacage mag hihintay b ako ng kartero? pra ipadala sakin yung sulat

    hope to here from you guyz thankz..


    • guys, please help me. may friend kasi ako sa japan, pinadalhan nya ko ng laptop. kaso i don’t have the tracking number. bumalik yung friend ko dun sa pinuntahan nyang office, ayaw na ibigay sa kanya kasi raw wala na maipakita document friend ko o yung mismong resibo nun. it’s been 2 weeks wala parin yung package. maghihintay ba ako ng kartero para ipadala sakin yung sulat?

      if the package was returned to the original sender because it was sent to the wrong address or person, the post office will not release any parcel back to the sender until he or she presents the tracking number OR a government ID, for security reasons. if your friend really sent you a parcel, and if it really was sent back to japan, the local post office should be able to track his parcel down with just his name and address — although having the tracking number is the most convenient.

      EMS parcels usually arrive in three to five business days. if it’s been two weeks and you have not even received a claiming voucher from the post office so you can pick up your parcel and pay for the taxes, it was probably sent back to the sender because of the reasons i stated above. or, it was not sent in the first place since you do not even have a tracking number. EMS parcels DO NOT get lost, and if they do the post office will have to pay you the amount of the parcel’s declared value as reparations for the loss.

      lastly please refrain from using SMS shortcuts when commenting — you have a full-sized keyboard in front of you so please use it. also, please use punctuation marks as it is very difficult to understand run on sentences. thanks!

  196. arlaine18 says:

    nung, oct.24, pa kasi yun, nung pinadala, tumawag naman po ako sa pasay, ang sabi dun puro holiday, daw kaya ganun tlaga katagal, so kaya ngayon nag hihintay parin ako.
    sabi nila mag hntay daw po ako ng sulat galing sa knila if ready to pic up ndaw yung item ko.bumalik kasi yung friend ko dun sa mismong pinag padalahan nya. ayaw ibigay sakanya yung trac. number, kasi wla ndaw yung resibo, na binigay sakanya dati. na guguluhan tuloy ako.

  197. since you don’t have the tracking number (which will really speed things up for you if you had it), i’m afraid the only solution is to wait for the claim voucher or notice to arrive at your address and claim your item at the pasay city sorting center. good luck!

  198. arlaine18 says:

    ok thank you verry much..
    wait ko nlang po.. salamat ^_^ v

  199. kidd says:

    (shocking, i know — some of these old coots actually know how to use GOOGLE) -LOL!!!

    Thanks so much for this info. But thank God, I didn’t have to go through all of this. Hours after I post my question, our local postman notified me to claim my parcel at the post office, he couldn’t bring it with him because it was big. Man it was a lot bigger than I expected, and I didn’t have to pay for anything other than the P40 postal fee, whew!

    I do feel for those who went through the hell of claiming their parcels at the customs though. The high tax is one thing, the waiting time and the trouble of going there is another. I do agree with you that it’s perfectly fine to pay tax as long as I know it’ll go to a good cause, but sadly, it goes straight to the pockets of corrupt officials.

    I really learned a lot from this post, at least I know what to do and what to avoid next. Thanks again.

  200. pinkeedots says:

    sir do i have to pay tax for a gift which came from china?
    yes, it has a value but i did not buy it, so what are the consequences?

  201. cherrys says:

    i’m from cebu and i bought some accessories online.. mga total is less than 200$ including shipping.. my package was stuck in manila customs and i was called by the courier informing me of the ridiculous tax! 6,500pesos for the tax T_T and if they said i wait one more day.. another 500 pesos will be added to the bill:(

    • the additional 500 pesos per day is “storage fee” for unclaimed packages. as for the duties being imposed on your parcel, ask for a detailed calculation from the customs office so you can lodge a complaint, if you wish.

  202. mika says:

    Hello! I ordered an item in CDJapan and used EMS as my shipping method. I tracked my item just this afternoon and it’s status is “retention”. I’ve read a comment about this already. And I guess I have to pay taxes for this. (>.<)
    But I can't possibly claim it in the customs office since I live in Iloilo. Do you have any idea how I can claim my parcel? Thank you so much!

  203. you can ask the customs office in pasay via phone if they can forward the item to the visayas pick-up point (i assume they have one) so you can retrieve your parcel and pay for your taxes there.

  204. ivy says:

    hello I ordered an item from china and that status of my package is REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES MNL CMEC EMS Handed over to Customs . it was handed to customs since nov 4. the seller from which I bought the items told me that it will be delivered to my home. but its almost 6 days. im still waiting but theres nothing. I dont know what to do. pls help.

    • if the item is with customs then you have to go to their office to claim it and pay for the taxes. even if your seller assures you that your item will be delivered directly to you, they cannot guarantee it since the local customs office can and will detain parcels at their own discretion.

  205. Sunshine says:

    hi magnetic rose,

    my friend in US sent a package for me via USPS last Oct 19 and after 3 days, he checked the status and said it arrived in manila already. I was expecting for the package to reach me before my birthday(nov.5)but sadly, until now, di pa rin dumarating. what do you think should i do sis? please give me some pieces of advice.thanks in advance and more power to you:)

    • kindly ask your friend who sent you the parcel for the tracking number, then phone the local EMS sorting facility in pasay to check if they have the package in their custody. if they have confirmed that the parcel is with them, you can pick it up and pay for your taxes at their pasay office. good luck!

  206. Claudine says:

    hey, my sister sent me an iPod touch from macau and I was wondering whether or not it will be taxed that much? i’m worried that I might pay too much, since the parcel is not that big anyway? problem is, I think she declared that it is an iPod touch. :(

    • it depends on the customs office if they decide to tax you for it. if they do, you’re looking at about ten percent taxes and duties, twelve percent VAT, plus PhP 790++ in various fees.

  207. Sunshine says:

    hi again magnetic rose,

    thanks for the super fast reply. i really appreciate it.
    here’s another question sis.
    my friend was the one who sent the parcel,i was phoning him yesterday to ask for the tracking number or details but his phone was off.
    sis can i still inquire regarding the whereabouts of the package in EMS Pasay even if i don’t have the tracking number?but just the name of the sender and the receiver?or can i claim it even without the tracking number??

    • the call center prefers that you have the tracking number on hand instead of the sender’s name and address because it is more reliable. you can try asking them with just the name and address, but i am unsure as to how successful your inquiry will be. good luck! :)

  208. Sunshine says:

    good evening magnetic rose,
    is it possible that a parcel has no tracking number? my friend told me that there was no tracking number given to him since the package weighed less than a kilo only(it’s only a canon digicam and an ipod) is it really possible?the only thing given to him was a customs form and he gave me the serials.can i use this customs form number in tracking down the package?
    thanks in advance again sis.

  209. if the parcel has no tracking number, it was probably not sent via EMS — which means that the EMS sorting facility here in pasay might not be able to help you. as for the customs form, i’m not sure if that will be helpful since the customs office keeps tabs on parcels via the tracking number and not anything else.

  210. rinku726 says:

    I ordered two mangas (they’re not so thick) from Japan (straight from the mangaka’s office) and it’s their first time accepting overseas orders, so they resorted to EMS (much to my horror especially after reading the foul evil that lurks behind the customs counters) to ‘avoid’ trouble. How ironic in our case.

    I was just wondering anong label siya normally? Books right? I’m really really worried kasi it’s already November, Christmas season… and like you guys said, they are on a taxing frenzy on this time of the year. Even though $31 lang siya all in all at maliit na package lang. D; Pwede kayang i-label siya as documents kasi they always deliver it on your doorstep?

    I actually paid in Euro, the mangaka’s preference, para di nila kagad maconvert. XD I don’t want to make a lot of requests like changing shipment methods, naaawa na kasi ako sa staff, today’s Comitia pa naman. XD Hayz… but maybe I’ll go bite the bullet and ask if there’s a possibility :<

    Mas mahal ba kung courier na lang like FedEx? O:

    • @rinku yes, books and magazines are labelled as “books”. and yes, courier fees are more expensive — plus, there is no chance of dodging customs fees because the courier service will prepay your taxes for you and then bill you for it, and if you do not pay up they will retain your parcel.

      @cris sorry but i do not understand your situation very well — why is the bureau of customs in the philippines charging you for customs fees for a parcel sent from the UK addressed to malaysia? please explain your situation clearly one more time — thanks.

  211. cris says:

    hello poh..
    there’s a package for me from London, and they told me that the Philippines customs is asking $200 as a sort of tax to the package. Coz what’s inside the package is a laptop,digicam, ipod, jewelries and a $10,000 cash. So is it really possible that i’ll be paying that kind of amount? Because I have already paid $220 to the customs there in Malaysia, but what i did now is i just pay the $220 in Malaysian customs, but never paid the $200 for the Philippine customs. Do i really need to pay that amount to them? Coz that package is never delivered to me until now. And if i’ll pay $200 for the Philippine Customs, is that the payment all in all? Coz the package there is more than a week already. And can i have the exact address for the office of the Philippine customs in Manila? I hope you can help me, thanks in advance.

  212. hello says:

    hello, finally my package from customs was already forwarded to the post office near my place. and I will claim it on monday butI just want to ask if im still going to pay for the taxes on the local post office here in my place if ever customs had charge taxes on my package? or just the 35 pesos? thanks!

  213. cris says:

    hi Magnetic_Rose. thank you for responding to my question. i’m sorry though if i wasn’t able to explain my situation very clearly yesterday as i was in a hurry when i messaged you that. my case is like this, i’m from here in Ozamiz City and i’m expecting 1 trunk box (containing a laptop, cellphone, jewelry, iPod, digicam, and $10,000USD cash) which was sent from the UK last 11 November 2010. on Saturday, 13 November, a certain girl from Malaysia called me up on my mobile and informed me that they are the courier that received my package from the UK. she said that i am to pay a delivery charge of $220 for them to forward my said package to me here in the Philippines. an email from them also came simultaneously with that particular call that same day. the following are excerpts from that said email: “…your parcel has arrived to our office here in Malaysia and for further delivery to you in Philippines, you are required to pay a delivery charges.The flight brought the items to KLIA airport here in Malaysia as its transit and checking point before proceeding to other destinations. Due to the valuable things inside the package as stated, you are hereby charged by the Malaysian customs before they released the items to us for delivery to you. The charges are also a little bit high because of the Hardcover insurance Policy we have undertaken in case of loss,Damage or Theft of your highly sensitive items. We assume all responsibilities in case of any eventualities and we don’t deliver on cash on delivery(C.O.D) because we don’t accept cash. The management has instructed that unless the charges are paid,your package will now be delivered to you. You are to make the payment of $220(USD) so as to enable us speedy up the process of delivery after indicating to us. You are to make the payment in Favour of our Accounts Officer Dani Reza Djamal with the Details Below *_ _ _ _ _*.
    You are to send a copy of the evidence of payment to our email address. A Confirmatory Email shall be sent to you Immediately we Confirm your Payment. As soon as we receive confirmation and evidence of payment of the above charges, we shall dispatch your package to you immediately. The date and time of departure and expected date of delivery will be sent to you. You will be required to sign for the package and to do this, you will need either your international passport as identification,your driver’s license or any valid identification card. All orders not delivered within five (3) working days from this communication will be withheld. Please ensure that you confirm your delivery address…”
    now i complied and completely paid that particular amount ($220 USD) last Monday, 15 November thru Western Union. but on Tuesday, 16 November, a certain Ms. Chua (said she’s from the courier company) texted me saying: “…hindi nrelease ng PPO ang package nyo. na-scan po kse yung $10,000 sa box nyo. kelangan nyo po bayaran ang Philippine customs ng $200. thanx…” and so i called Ms. Chua and she told me that i need to send the said $200 payment to the same account i sent the $220 to the day before. now i’m starting to worry whether or not these are really legit charges that i’m paying for and whether i’m actually transacting with legit persons. i didn’t yet pay the additional $200 as i don’t have any assurance about my above concerns plus the fact that the above-mentioned charges are quite high! first was already Php9,000 and now another Php8,000?! i don’t even know if my parcel is ever gonna get to me at all. i don’t know if they’re gonna charge me some new amounts again after should i pay this $200! when they first asked for that $220 on Saturday they assured me that that was the only amount i needed to pay and that i shall then receive the package. that’s why i was surprised to hear about this new $200 charge. please share your thoughts regarding this case. i badly need your expert advise regarding my situation. :( thank you.

  214. hi cris — i’m very sorry but i’m afraid that your case is more complicated than what most of us here on this thread have been dealing with, since: 1) your parcel was not sent directly to manila, but had to go through a clearing house in malaysia; 2) the parcel is of high value; and 3) the courier you are using is demanding an escrow fee before releasing your parcel to you.

    i think the best you can do is to speak with someone from the bureau of customs to sort this out — as this situation is really beyond my experience to try to figure out. and bring a lawyer or someone who knows the ins and outs of the import business when meetng with them so that you are not too confused. sorry again, and good luck.

  215. mye says:

    i thought only EMS incoming parcel has a problem here in the Philippines but also outgoing. I called USPS they say that my Foreign International Dispatch let MNL CTRL MAIL EXCHANGE Ph nov 17, 2010 but never reach USA.5 days already passed no parcel received by the recipient. since it is a gift maybe got interested on it. It is really disappointing how some Filipino works.

  216. mye says:

    Fortunately the recipient of my package is a USPS engineer so he knows what is teh problem. My incoming (DELL Inkcardridge) was almost about to lost but we call the Office of the Board for 5 times luckily her husband is american so after 3 weeks we got it but the noticed been stated 3 attempts but our receptionist is a witness that no notice receive so the postmaster’s fault.

  217. joan says:

    hi can anybody help me? i want to know where is PHMLB my package is from korea i check the tracking number and it states their that Handed over to Customs PHMNLB.where can i get my package? thank you

    • if your EMS parcel has been handed off to customs, it’s best to call the customs number shown above to confirm. just have your tracking number on hand when you call.

  218. joan says:

    will i get the package in custom? and where can i find it?

    may i know what is the custom number?

  219. please read through the entire post — the pick-up location and the EMS sorting facility’s phone number have already been indicated there.

  220. sankat says:

    Hi Magnetic_rose,

    I bought some phones in China and was sent last November 10, It posted in ems tracking site that November 16 was handed over to Customs. I called our local post here in Baguio and they said that they don’t have the package yet and advised me to wait until Customs compute the tax and send the item here. May I get some advise to some of my queries:

    1. do I have to call ems/customs Manila or trust the local personnel here and just wait?

    2. Baguio is far from Pasay…will they even dare to send the package to our local post?

    3. Is there issue on knockoff phones? since I bought a china phone…

    Thanks and Hope for your advice.

  221. Jay says:

    I’m also having trouble with an outgoing EMS package sent out last Sunday (21/11) to Hong Kong. An identical package was sent on 22/11 and it made it in 3 days. PhilPost says the earlier package was dispatched on the 23rd. It’s now the 28th and there is no sign of it and Hong Kong Post says it never arrived. :(

  222. @sankat — if the city post office suggests that you wait for your parcel to be forwarded to them, just follow their instructions.

    @jay — sorry but your question has nothing to do with customs releasing so i can’t help you; you’ll have to ask somebody else for advice.

  223. Jay says:

    magnetic_rose: Thanks. I got in touch with the EMS people today and everything should be fine. :)

  224. danijean says:

    i send the package to malaysia last nov.19 but the tracking number still saying departure from outward OE,..we call the poslaju office in malaysia they told us that the package is still here in the phil…

    can u help me what to do?…
    di ba ..if theres a problem in my package they will call me…

    pls…someone help me…

    • sorry danijean but this is the wrong place to ask for that sort of help. you’ll be better off talking to someone from PHILPOST about your concern. good luck!

      apologies again, jay — for not being able to help.

  225. danijean says:

    panu po magcommute papunta sa main office ng ems..
    grabe ung phone nila..puro busy…

    pls help me… huhuhuhuuhu :(

  226. em-em says:

    what if my items are handled by the customs for several day… how can i get it… do i have to call first… or just wait for my items to be sent here in our place… tnx

    • your items must be picked up at the sorting facility for customs calculation and payment. if the customs fees are not paid for, they will not be sent to you no matter how long you wait.

  227. em-em says:

    even i dont have any notification to go there and pick it up?….

  228. hakiru says:

    hi.. i ordered laptop that worth of 406usd and the company told me free shipping i checked my products online EMS tracking my product was received by sorting center(REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES MNL CMEC EMS) at 2010-12-09 09:03:00,how can i get it? can you help me? this is my first time.. tnx

  229. jody says:

    hi magnetic_rose… i bought 50 pcs of jelly watches online worth 130 USD it will be shipped via EMS.. reading all their experiences here i am quite nervous on how much they will tax me.. will jelly watches be taxed under jewelry- accessories?

    can you give me ideas on how to go about the importing business easily? im planning to put up small business kasi.. and cheap items online and from china are much interesting to sell.. thanks

  230. michael says:

    hi just checked ems for my package it was dispached from china 4 days ago..i looked at the ems tracking and says it was held by philippine customs…yesterday…but still no progress of what happens seller from china declared it as 25$ tattoo kit…do you think it will be held and i will be paying tax?

  231. em-em says:

    hi i just wanna ask how to go to ems office… i will be from alabang and i dont know how to get there… thanks..

  232. Leraaa says:

    good afternoon po, just wanna ask if puwede po ba magpadala ng cell phone through EMS from Japan po siya? Thanks in advance po, Godbless.

  233. sankat says:

    Hi Magnetic-rose,

    Thanks for you help here! was able to get my goods by calling the Customs in Pasay and calling also EMS in Pasay. They sent the package here in Baguio but charge me 100usd for tax…

    I just want to share how i manage to lower down the tax…when picking up my item they gave me the computation before releasing my items…so i decided to write a letter of contest to the customs who actually appraised my items which he decided to tax my items with a whooping price…. they sometimes assume the price of the items even if items have been declared…..after days they gave a go signal by recomputing my items according to the declared value :)
    this is a good thing if your far from Manila like me :) though I had to wait for the reply of Customs from my letter of contest.

  234. Gienah says:

    what does status of handed over to customs means? does it mean I have to go there and pay? huhuhu

  235. chad says:

    i track my ems package from thailand, then the status of my package is to customs?what does it means?

    do i need to pray now for not to be held by those greedy customs?

    how should i know it was held?? how should i know too that its my time to pick it up in pasay?

    hoping for faster response,, thanks in advance

  236. sol says:

    Gienah and Chad,
    when the status says Handed over to customs, you have to call Customs or EMS Pasay to check your items. Once you have confirmed arrival of your package, go to customs office in Pasay as this will not be delivered to your house.

    I have a package that has arrived last December 31. Due to the holiday, it’s taking them forever to process my package. I’ve been calling since Monday and all they is call again tomorrow for an update. Sigh.

    How long does it usually take for packages to be processed after the holidays?

    Thank you.

  237. Ela says:

    hay salamat at may ganitong site na pwedeng mapagtanongan!..^^,

    pag meron po bang “Certificate of Origin” yung package ko idi-deliver po ba yun mismo sa bahay namin kahit maliit o malaki man ang size ng package ko?

    alam ko po may tax, pero ano po ba ang ma-i su-sugest nyo po sa akin na walang hassle sa pag-padala ng mga binili galing sa China o Korea?

    taga Bicol po ako, ano po ang mas maganda EMS o FED-EX?

  238. Kezzie says:

    Hi Magnetic_rose!

    I’m new to this importing stuff and i’m really young and i’m worried about the taxes the philippine custom will charge me..

    I have a package arriving from china worth $200.00
    basically clothes and jewelry..
    How much will they charge if thats the case?

    p.s. my friend ordered something online from U.S worth $300.00 and the custom charged her 5000.00 pesos.. she had no choice but to pay because she needs it for her project..
    What to do?? Please help..

    how to compute for customs charge??

    Thanks soo much :))

  239. worried :( says:

    Hi, My mother is planning to send me a box containing old and new clothes,shoes,bags and a brand new DSLR camera which only cost about 300 pounds. They are not for reselling and they are from my mother for my personal use,will the customs still charge me?is it safe and reliable?thank you so much for your help

  240. onlineseller says:

    hi there..

    i just experienced having tax at first in dhl and dpex because they are private couriers. They first call me if I agree to pay the tax computed by customs. They left me with no choice but to pay the tax. DPEX tax was not that high, just paif 500 pesos in late 2009 for some pieces of clothes. DHL computed 3500pesos for 30-40pcs clothes.

    I thought EMS will give me a hassle-free 2010 but i was wrong. late november of last year, I tracked my package and was surprised to read that my packged was HANDED OVER CUSTOMS. Darn it. I’ve always used EMS ever since. DPEX and DHL were used for fast delivery (BEFORE!) That was my 1st time having such problem with EMS. I asked a friend, who is also an online seller, and gave me a number, The owner of the number is a customs police officer and can help me get my package in exchange for UNDER THE TABLE transaction.. (LAGAY!) i then asked him to get my 2 packages.

    He computed it for 2500 including the shipping fee from Manila to my place (a province nearby). 800 pesos was the computation by JRS for the delivery of my package so he got 1700 pesos from me. No receipts given. It’s alright because i needed to pay 4000 pesos if I made it legal. I thought that was my 1st and last time but I was wrong.

    Throughout December, I negotiated with this CUstoms Police Officer and we came up to an agreement that every box i get will just cost 1000 pesos. But i receive 6-8 packages in a month! :( Too bad. I stay calm for I know this matter is only every December since BOC (Bureau of Customs) just needed to target their quota for the year 2010. January 2011 came and was surprised that my package was hold in customs again! the nerve! I think this Customs Police Officer was making way to hold my package so he can get more money from me and worst, make it a lifetime transaction! GRR!

    I was so mad but I still contacted him to get my package and paid him again and again. I asked one of my friends if I can use their name as the receiver of the package since I was doubting on the customs police officer. I’m 90% sure that he’s finding way to get my package and have it hold it customs so he can be sure he can benefit from it. There are times when he’s very demanding on his text messages on me and even scaring me that he won’t get my package out of customs. My temper was running out.

    Until yesterday, I tracked my package and saw it was hold in customs. I called EMS yesterday and today and advised me to go there in Pasay to pick up the package and pay for the tax that will be computed by the examiner. I searched the net and found out this thread. This is very helpful though a really long thread to read! :) I plan to go to EMS Pasay tomorrow to get my package. I hope the tax will not be that high. I will never ask for receipt. I hope 500pesos will do on my package. Will update you then.

    To God be the Glory!

  241. onlineseller says:

    for those who don’t have the patience to read the threadm again, these are the #s of EMS..


    have patience on calling them! :)

  242. foxhunter says:

    Hi I’ve been into shipping items since 2003 and honestly when Pnoy became the President. all the packages is on hold for customs. I rather accept the late Head of customs who is corrupt but He gives consideration when they hold the item at pasay sometimes they let it go you just to pay the 40php fee. and If it was time for “qouta” every month if your item is hold thats when they get your taxes(weather weather). But now is different everything always HAVE Custom TAX. Even the other guy who got a playing cards got tax or 10%+12vat+ miscellaneous+trust liabilites= 1,+++php. Hayzzz
    I rest my case on EMS this time, Ill take SAL or any kind of shipping that include tracking number atleast to all those local corrupt officials you can get a discount. but on EMS you don’t! and still you even don’t know if there reciepts are legit.
    I have last package will coming next week. another 1.6-1.8k custom tax again. Hayz

    Anyway Tips on Recieving an ITEM
    -Always ask to Lower the Declaration of the item
    -make the declaration not that special like used toy etc.
    -Be friend the custom officer.

    Still this is not effective on EMS its effective on local postoffice when getting an item.

  243. foxhunter says:

    Just Remeber just always Pray that they will deliver the item to you. if not… shit happens.
    it always happnes to me when I’m getting the item like 2/3 1 is on hold or 2 is onhold at EMS. thats why EMS is good. but when they hold the item thats the problem. They should have a memo like FEDEX, atleast they have the TIME to Deliver to you the item and if you can’t pay the tax they will be back if you called them. and not going to pasay EMS. what if you live far? the time travel, gas and effort is a waste of time. atleast they should deliver the item to including the tax memo.. thats just stupid.

  244. maria christina olivar escalera says:

    hi i want to inform our package to send mrs.emma s. guevarra sender by carmelita santiago…go to canada from philippines..why until now not recieve to emma guevarra?…the tracking number is EE205619723PH,FLIGHT NUMBER PR 0106…date in manila philippines feb.17,2011..feb.20,2011 was there in canada post office..bill number ED-0039,bag number 1…please as soon as possible to send,because they nid and we pay expensive…i hope to understand…

    • this is not the correct place to lodge complaints about your items not reaching the recipients. please tell them to get in touch with the EMS office via the numbers provided. once again, i would like to warn everyone to refrain from posting personal information like package tracking numbers online. it’s very dangerous — your parcel may be claimed by complete strangers.

      i would also like to remind everyone that i am no longer responding to individual queries, especially if the topics have already tackled in previous comments. please take the time to read through the entire comment thread — your answer may already be there. thank you and err carry on!

  245. Dy says:

    Like some of the previous posters here, I’m a newbie when it comes to online shopping. Driven by my love for a certain manga title, and the length of time it takes for its English equivalent to be released here, I took the chance of ordering its latest volume from Japan, courtesy of BeNippon for JPY 490. I chose EMS, which they recommended due to being fast (and I wanted to read my manga as soon as possible. Heh.). Shipping cost was JPY 900, so that makes my purchase a total of JPY 1,390.

    I read from their site that imports from Japan may be subject to customs charges, so I started researching approximately how much they will charge me IF I will ever be taxed, and honestly, after reading all the posts in this thread I’m bracing myself for the worst. The depth of corruption in this country is appalling, no wonder BoC has such a tarnished rep for being one of the most corrupt agencies in the Philippines.

    So in closing, thank you very much for this very informative post. I’ll be crossing my fingers and pray to every god I know that my small package will be spared from the jaws of the BoC crocs. I hope they’re not so desperate as to charge 700+ for a single package that’s less than $20.

    And I agree with what one poster here said: it’s really hard being a collector in the Philippines. :(

  246. mikeramos2 says:

    i should have found this site BEFORE i made a purchase. paid Php1450 today for a kotobukiya statue worth JPY6900. i was lucky about 2 months back because it was not held up in customs.

  247. Dy says:

    Hello, just wanted to post the latest update regarding my purchase. Tracked my package today thru Japan Post and lo and behold – the latest update said “March 14: Attempted Delivery” right after “March 13: Arrival at inward office of exchange”! Seems that my prayers worked, ’cause Customs decided not to victimize…err, hold my item in their warehouse. Phew!

    After seeing that, I immediately called EMS to ask why it failed when I specifically wrote in the address that they deliver it to my office, and to my delight the lady told me that they’ll attempt to deliver it again today. She also asked that I call later in the morning so we could check if the package is really on its way. So if all goes well, I should receive my manga today! Yay!

    So in conclusion, the advice “keep your purchases small” really does work! Looks like this won’t be my last online purchase after all. I really learned a valuable lesson here, thanks to your post and the readers’ comments. Thanks, magnetic_rose! *hearts*

  248. Devastator001 says:

    Right now am also in a similar pickle with FEDEX over the shipment of an Artbook (which should exempt from taxes) and a a music CD. Although I’ve already paid for it am currently in battle mode with FEDEX billing dept to explain why a package with a 1kg weight is being charged $103 freight.

  249. Devastator001 says:

    Another follow up note on the Customs thing. It would seem that Customs is up to their old tricks like the stunt they tried back in 2009 with Florence agreement. Today I had to go to the NAIA to pick up a shipment of artbooks and was surprised they charged me 5% import and 12% VAT. (Before they were delivered to my house and only had to pay delivery fee)

    Naturally I argued the Florence Agreement to them and they furnished out a copy of the treaty for me to peruse and told me Japan is not a signatory of the treaty and thus books are not tax free. Grudgingly I paid the tax, but could not shake the feeling something was off and so I hit the UNESCO website later and looked up a list of countries that are part of the treaty. Lo and behold! Japan status is Accession 1970(did some dictionary search and means joined up to the treaty) and the list of countries that left and joined the treaty and was updated last 2010.

    So if you ever get the dreaded post card from customs for a books order be forewarned, they will try to bring out an outdated copy of the Treaty to settle your arguments with their billing.

  250. Yla says:

    Hi po~ Gusto ko sanang umorder sa Yesasia ng kpop albums mga 10+ albums ung standrad shipping ung gagamitin ko ^_^

    may possibility po ba na macustoms un or talagang sa Post Office lng ung bagsak nia?

  251. Hi po, december pa yung PACKAGE ko from INDONESIA
    nasend na daw nya pero nasira daw 11 hoodies kaya binalik nyo ulit meron po ba talaga? WILDA LESTARI po name nya
    im NANETTE JUCO…. from xevera mabalacat pampanga
    di nya pa kasi binibigay tracking number . please reply if my nareceive kayo package from WILDA LESTARI – indonesia…….

  252. ernest says:

    hi can any one help me with my air parcel?… i recently ordered inks from china.. its should be here right now when i checked online its say’s that is held by the custom? i dont know what to do coz i dont have any valid id’s all off my id’s are (im affaid) that they are not valid anymore…is there anyway that my family or any of my friends can claimed them?… buy the way im from tarlac…

    thanks guys

  253. Devastator001 says:


    If it’s EMS you can wait for the dreaded postcard customs will send you to notify you it’s for inspection and pickup(dunno how long it will take for tarlac, usually in Manila it’ll take 3 days for them to deliver the postcard). You need to bring it to them or someone you authorize to bring to them. Since they’ll track it base don the postcard.

  254. jess says:

    hi! i want to try ordering this (it’s my first time) but could you tell me what are the chances that this will get hostaged by customs??
    and if it ever gets held at cutsoms how am i gonna retrieve my parcel? do i have to go all the way to manila? (i live in capiz at the visayas region) thanks!

  255. ernest says:

    @ devastator thanks man,,,, so i can just assign someone to pick my package for as long as the have the notification?….

  256. ernest says:


    can i just authorized someone to pick up my inks or i have to do it my self coz like what ive mention i dont have a valid id no more….

  257. rixx says:

    Hi, I would like to ask if shipping through air-economy (it’s just posted air-economy) is the same with EMS??

    I’ve red all the posts above about EMS, so If air-economy is like EMS (going through with all the Customs crap and paying all those bills) then i would think twice in buying online..



  258. Johnmigz says:

    I do also have concerned i live here in davao if my parcel will be held by boc i do really should go to manila post office?thanks.

  259. Yla says:

    hello I would like to ask if ung gagamitin ko is Air Parcel may possibility ba na macustoms siya? please help

  260. Devastator001 says:


    Yup, all of the details you need for him to be authorized is written on the back of the notification post card.

  261. Devastator001 says:

    @rixx and Yla

    Air Economy and Air Parcel is I think similar to SAL (Surface Air Lift), though not too sure on that. So no tracking and I estimate at least 3 weeks before it arrives at your local post office. So no need to go to the customs office at NAIA to get it.

    Although it will go through the local customs official located there in your post office and you will get a notification post card, but it will be the one for your local post office.

    SAL shipments have a decent chance of getting “lost”. Although on a good note (well note sure if it’s good) SAL shipments can be easily be “Pakiusapan” by the local post office employees (in my case I would have had to pay 1500 for my shipment, but the local customs guy ditched work 15 minutes early and the post office employee released it to me in return for 500, good deal for me)

  262. leni says:

    just a warning it seems the ems customs are taxing people even if your parcel is below 50usd.

    my 12usd parcel got tax so i have to pay 800php of tax which is greater than value of my parcel

    • my 12usd parcel got tax so i have to pay 800php of tax which is greater than value of my parcel


  263. Devastator001 says:


    now that’s just plain wrong… even doing the basic math on the customs duties and taxes. It should not reach 800 esp if it’s EMS >:P

    The news people should really do another expose on the abuses of these customs clown :p

  264. Daria says:

    Went to their Pasay office to pick up a fairly large package from the US containing stuff I bought online and asked my hubby to send. Declared value was $100. I was getting paranoid coz of the 1TB storage device in there which amounted to $130 alone. Then there were other stuff too that would total a little over $200 when checked. But then I wasn’t taxed. Just had to pay Php40. I don’t know if it’s just a plain coincidence but I don’t get taxed whenever I wear my nurse uniform =p

  265. dei says:

    My packaged just arrived from china last saturday and I called the ems office yesterday and the customer service said that i have to pick them up and will have to pass through customs. Im scared!:(

  266. Richt says:

    I recently bought a doll from Hong Kong, delivery via EMS. In tracking (delivery status) it says:

    “Not delivered because no delivery service is avilable for this product or service at the specified delivery point. Addressee advised to pick up the item.”

    Does this mean I’ll be taxed too?

    • no, it means that the delivery service they are using does not send parcels to your address (country). you either have to pick up the item in HK, or select an alternative that delivers to your residence such as FED EX or DHL. having said that though, i have never heard of anyone not being able to receive a parcel from EMS HK — totally weird, this one :/

  267. gabi says:

    hi! this post is really helpful kahit 2 years old na. haha.
    i was wondering if the customs is as cruel with this kind of thing if the books are sent from a relative or friend? something more on the range of them being a gift…will that still be taxed? :/

  268. Devastator001 says:


    They WILL try to tax you for them regardless if it’s a gift or from a friend. So far the new modus operandi that I’ve encountered is they’ll show you an outdated/incomplete version of the Florence Agreement. My suggestion go to the UNESCO website and print out THEIR complete version and be sure to include the countries that have joined since the creation of the treaty. (UNESCO version was last updated Aug 2010) and get ready to go toe to toe with the assessor if they try to tax the books.

  269. stind says:

    i have the voucher to claim my parcel at pasay sorting center. problem eh mahal na araw ngayon. So i have to claim it by monday. its a 22USD item shipping and the actual cost. with this site im prepared to face those voltures! the valueof the item is more or less 1500php. if they’ll be asking me to pay more than 1k php i will leave it to them they’ll probably cant use it anyway. its a device used to measure water conductivity. id rather spend 2k php to buy a new one from a friend rather give my 1500php to those voltures.

  270. alancer says:

    hi guys, I will just share my experience buying online stuffs. I recently just bought some toy parts and lipo batteries for my rc toy at hongkong from an online store. value and declared value was around $75 and shipped via EMS, I’m from Ilocos Sur by the way.

    Had the following trace logs,

    08/04/2011 14:00 Delivered
    08/04/2011 06:07 Unsuccessful Delivery TRACED & ADDRESSEE RQTS CALLFOR AT PO
    07/04/2011 13:29 Departed from Destination Transit Centre
    01/04/2011 13:49 Held by Customs at Destination
    01/04/2011 09:34 Received at Destination Transit Centre

    You will see my package was held 1 week at customs, and so I just hope and prayed that it will cleared and be sent on it’s way here at local PO. After waiting, I got a call from my local PO that I have a package and that customs imposed a “collect” as what they call it or a payment of incorrectly declared item values. They showed me a letter from customs signed by a Customs appraiser. According to them/letter the actual value was $91.50 and that I have to pay a fee + taxes + etc = PHP 1498. And so I did pay the fee without questions and got my package, an officer on the local PO told me to open it and check if it indeed it was complete and good condition, and so I did, from checking I notice that some bubble wraps of items inside have small cuts and officer said it looks like customs opened it up and really did inspect it, overall the items is complete and thankfully still in good condition. Anyway, thinking that I’m still lucky that customs sent the package on my local PO, than letting me claim it in person at EMS in Manila + additional fee. Which is expensive and very time consuming especially if your from the province. I will try and use air-parcel next time.

  271. Richt says:

    Thanks magnetic_rose!

  272. magie says:

    Hi i have a package from china and was able to track it but it says handed over to customs last april 25, 2011. what should i do? thank you!!!

  273. ninjarixx says:

    hi, any idea if electronic parts like motors for rc cars will be charged for tax?

    recently, i ordered an rc toy straight from japan, my friends told me that it will be delivered in the local PO with no addt’l charges. Since i’m eager to get my package, i went to the EMS PO at pasay to get it my self. After waiting for an hour in the queue, i was only asked to pay for the P40 fee for the post office fee. I was very thankful because other people were charged for a whopping 1k – 2k for their packages..

    I’m planning to order again but i’m afraid that they will tax me if i order electronic stuff for my RC car.

  274. rowena says:

    registered mail doesn’t work either. It’s been 3 weeks and it hasn’t arrived yet :(

  275. berna says:

    my god….i found ur website. i want to ask about the tax cuz my husband send gift for my daughter’s birthday and they said i need to pay the taxes in ems customs. the package name to me and to my daughter and it address to us our house too. they really not supposed to tax a gift that is sent to a personal adress–only if my husband send it to business adress.right?

  276. Bevz says:

    Hi! I am planning to have an online shop and the items will be pre-ordered from china and korea. So, I just finished ordering an item like an hour ago and after I am looking for a blog or a site for the Customs Iloilo regarding the purchasing online via China registered mail. Are there somebody here from Iloilo City kasi I’m just wondering kung may bayad ba talaga pag kukunin mo na sa custom yung inorder mo. Plssss somebody answer me.

  277. gloria says:

    Good Day ! this site is really very helpful . Ask ko lang po how much kaya ang icharge sa akin ng custom if ever magcharge nga sila sa binili kong fetal doppler sa china amounting to 77USD including na po dyan yung shipping cost sa ems . Magiiba kaya computation nila since fetal doppler sya use for home lang naman

  278. ninjarixx says:

    Hi, i ordered some stuff a week back..

    it was delivered right at my doorstep, but no body was home.

    the mailman told our neighbor that they’ll be back today, but nobody went for my package..

    any idea where can i pick up my package?? will it be on our Local PO?


    • try your local PO first if they have your parcel — bring two IDs and a print out of the tracking info if you have it. if your local PO tells you that the EMS people have it, that’s the time you have to go to pasay to pick up your parcel. good luck!

  279. Trix says:

    hi! is “make your purchases small” still applicable? I bought items at an online seller amounting to $35 (shipment fee included). Will I be taxed? And, can you tell me how much will it be more or less? Tnx!

  280. tabs says:


    From what I have experienced, any package with 50 USD or less will not be taxed. Especially if it is small enough to be delivered to your mailbox. If not, you may need to pay the fee of 35-40 PHP. Of course, it still depends on the mood of the PO clerk.

  281. love says:

    do you know any reliable cargo company to send my package,i import fashion jewelries every 2 wks and im sick and tired of paying taxes that are so high.i used to have a contact in dpex but the problem is when i paid late for the said “tax” he suddenly changed his number and i got surprised when an agent called me to pay 5k worth of just so pissed ..haaay

  282. Mickey says:

    hi guys this is my first time to order gundam kit online from banzaihobby and i choosed EMS because it will only take 2days and will be deliver to my house and they gave me a tracking number. june 6 my order is already dispatached to there store, june 8 14:53 its already here in manila and the status is “Arrival at inward office of exchange” then june 8 18:46 the status is “In Customs” now its already june 10 but no update on the tracking and i haven’t received my parcel. what does it mean? do i need to go to the post office? (that i don’t know where it is) or do i need to call? (that i don’t even know there number) or i need to wait a little more? i live here in QC. i need help what to do guys thnx.

  283. sdboka says:


    Im planning on ordering PG Strike Freedom from HLJ in which the kit costs ~15000yen. anyone here has an experience with ordering PG kits from HLJ? how much do you think they’ll tax+lagay for it?


  284. tabs says:


    EMS are usually picked up at their office in Pasay (near domestic airport), at least that’s the case with my package. It took them 3 days, since the tracking page reported my package to be ‘at customs’ for the PO Notice to arrive at my place. I believe you should wait for your notice. If not, try to call EMS Pasay and give them your tracking number if it’s already there and ready for pickup.

  285. tabs says:


    Lets assume: 8k PHP for the kit and 2k PHP for FedEx shipping. I would estimate your tax to be 3800 PHP. I ordered something that cost around 6750 PHP and FedEx taxed me 2600 PHP. I’m no expert, I just base it on experience. FedEx usually have higher taxes than local post office.

  286. Mickey says:


    so it’s in Pasay, I thought the parcel is in North Harbor or South Harbor. Well anyway, may I know if I need to call the customs before going there eventhough I have seen the Detailed International Mail Search Results that it’s already in the customs? Do I need to wait for the notice since my sister and I are planning to go to the EMS Pasay early morning tomorrow? Because I have read in the other website that if the parcel will stay longer in that area the customs will charge the buyer mmore and I really would not like this to happen to me. This is my first time to order online so I am so oblivious to this kind of procedure. I should have declared the parcel as a gift so that the customs will just charged me a lower price and I learned this upon reading. May I know all the contact number of EMS Pasay. btw thnx for answering my question i really appriciate it.

  287. tabs says:


    USPS Express Mail International goes to Express Mail Service (?) in pasay. I do believe it takes around a week for the PO notice to arrive at your place, especially if you are far from Pasay. I am from Paranaque so I assume that’s the reason why it took them 3 days only. I’m sorry but I do not know the numbers of EMS pasay.

    Just a tip, they will charge you a high amount (depends on your package cost), please do negotiate and explain nicely that you do not have enough cash with you. I was able to save 1000 PHP from the tax they are initially charging me with. Good luck. =)

  288. Mickey says:


    thnx for the tips. we will go there tomorrow early in the morning at Pasay to claim my package i live at qc delmonte and i will not wait for my notice to arrive because im uber excited thats why i ordered online for fast delivery. btw my MG 00Raiser+shipping cost is 3400 PHP how much they going to tax me for my package price?

  289. tabs says:


    Just bring a proof of your order/tracking number, have it printed out or something. I’m no expert, but based on my receipt from EMS pasay just this month, I’ll estimate your tax to be at around 1433 pesos + 40 pesos fee. Good luck, and keep up posted. =)

  290. Mickey says:


    are you really sure the EMS should be claim at pasay? not in paranaque? check this pic and this

    sorry for covering the tracking number. even the tracking is expired and it stated its in customs does it means it already in customs even the tracking info expired?

  291. Mickey says:

    update on my EMS parcel. i already claimed my MG 00Raiser and i pay the tax. im so disapointed in our CUSTOMS because they’re careless when they inspect your parcel they don’t care if its fragile or not and look what did they do to the box and how they tape it back. its called “barabarabay”
    and here how much i payed for the damn tax

  292. tabs says:


    Where did you get your package? Sorry, I’m used to EMS by USPS only, and not packages from Japan. That is why I completed the description at post #377. Anyway, did you manage to negotiate with your package still? Despite all the corruption and headaches PO gives us, end of the day, what counts is that you are happy with your package. =)

  293. Mickey says:


    at EMS Pasay Customs. yah i manage abit the real tax is 1350+ PHP the lady said this DC is for today only,next time i won’t give DC. that what she said. im not really happy because i bought my package that japan so it will be more cheaper than here but it became worst because of tax. MG 00Raiser here is only 3750PHP but MG 00Raiser in Japan +shipping is only 3450PHP but with tax of 1107PHP it became 4557 PHP. now i learnt my lesson.

  294. tabs says:


    Oh I see, so I guess all EMS goes to pasay. It is usually cheaper to buy here if you add the tax to your estimate. I ordered my BJJ Gi in the US since with shipping, it is still cheaper by 500 Pesos. Then got taxed 2600 so yeah, lesson learned but I still order, I love it when I receive packages.

    By the way, that’s one really good kit. I only bought the whole Endless Waltz series and had to stop. Too expensive and too time consuming already. Lol.

  295. hi tabs and mickey! :D i haven’t purchased anything online in a while (i just fly in and buy the stuff retail LOL), so i have no idea if the way things are run in the customs office have changed :/ i really appreciate the exchange of comments you’ve done here — would you mind so much if i paraphrased it into a new customs-related post? :) cheers!

  296. tabs says:


    No problem. =) I could honestly say that compared to earlier online orders I’ve done (early 2000), it is much worse nowadays. Too bad that the sites I am ordering from are not using UPS. I’ve had nothing but good experiences with UPS.

  297. ^ ditto on USPS. the two times i used USPS for some fairly large shipments (upwards of USD 200), i was never taxed. maybe japan post parcels are more attractive to the taxman? :/

  298. Mickey says:


    sure. im happay to share my experience so that the other who will come and read in this site will have ideas.

  299. Aldrin says:

    Hi everyone!

    I read this late and ordered a lot. Although I was able to put down the price by cancelling some pre-orders and it went down to 4476 yen which is approx 56 US dollars.

    Does anyone have an experience of their parcel of around this amount getting taxed?

  300. hibs says:

    Hi, has anyone here in the Philippines tried ordering from They say that when you order $150 worth, there will be free express international shipping. I would like to know if i would be taxed when i order above $150 or will it be delivered straight to my house without tax? Would really appreciate anyone’s reply regarding this matter. Thanks much.

  301. tabs says:


    I don’t have any experience ordering a little over 50 USD. What kind of shipping are you going to use? As far as I know, any package and shipping combined that totals over 50 USD will get you taxed.

  302. tabs says:


    I don’t have any experience ordering at YesStyle. But as I checked the site, I noticed they are going to use FedEx (in which I had nothing but bad experiences with) for their international shipping. If I am not mistaken, and based on personal experience of ordering a package of around 150 USD (item and shipping combined), I got taxed around 2600-2800. You cannot negotiate with FedEx taxes (which is higher taxes than local PO) since they will claim that they already paid for it.

    The problem here, assuming you ordered 150 USD total of items, and they pay for the shipping, estimate of 49 USD, then that would total around 200 USD. Hence, you will get taxed higher. Remember, taxes are based on ITEM COST + SHIPPING COST, not just the items ordered. It would be a good idea to contact them and asked them if they will declare the shipping as FREE, or not. Hope this helps.

  303. kooka says:

    Hello, I believe this thread is still alive.

    I am planning to order CDs and DVDs from Yesasia, and it is my first time ordering something from the internet–please orient me with the basic procedure of international shipping. Sumakit na nga ang ulo ko kababasa ng mga unfortunate experiences ng ibang tao.

    Anyway, Yesasia offers free shipping for products greater than USD39. Does anyone know what courier Yesasia uses? They also said that you can specify FedEx, DHL and EMS as the courier, but you would shoulder the shipping fee if you do so.

    The total amount of the items I plan to buy summed up to USD200. Do you think it’s better if I ordered them separately (since it’s free shipping naman), so the declared value of each parcel would be lower (at hindi gaanong pag-initan ng customs if ever may mapunta sa kanila)? But then again, it’s harder to deal with numerous separate packages than just one.

  304. tabs says:


    I’ve ordered from YesAsia a few times way way back. Unfortunately, I cannot recall my experiences with them (taxes and shipping method). I do believe I didn’t have any problems though.

    Ordering from the net, Internationally is rather simple, you simply have to pay a high amount of shipping cost and tax. Since YesAsia offers free shipping, you just had to deal with the tax. Wait time varies, sometimes, the indicated time will not be followed. I am lucky enough to not have experience lost packages.

    Please do note that nowadays, taxes are getting more and more notorious. I would assume they will use FedEx. If given the choice between FedEx or EMS, here’s how I would break them down.

    .// FEDEX – Door to door, higher tax, cannot negotiate tax, shorter wait time since they have their own logistic
    .// EMS – Claim at Pasay PO, can negotiate tax, longer wait time since you will have to wait for the PO notice

    So if you prefer door to door service, and doesn’t really care about paying for more taxes, then get FedEx, otherwise EMS. I have no experience with DHL. If possible, get UPS, I had nothing but good experiences with UPS.

    For an order of 200 USD, assuming EMS, your tax will be on an estimate of 2985 PHP (I’m no expert, I just estimate it based on my recent EMS purchase receipt). BUT, if they declare the shipping cost, it would increase your tax more. I would clear it with the website if they will indicate the shipping as FREE or not.

    Splitting the products are okay, but some websites will not allow it since they will spend more on shipping that way. You can try e-mailing them and ask them if it is possible, or order your packages every week and split them to 50 USD and below only. =p

  305. eun says:

    uhm hi~ I just wanna ask.. Will a package from China to Philippines using SAL shipping method still be handed over to customs? I used EMS before and it was handed over to customs. I was charged 2000php for a package. If possible, I want to avoid paying “high” extra charges…

  306. comments are closed. for toys- and collectibles-related customs queries, please click here instead.