“Home is where the heart is.” Every Filipino living abroad has their own reason for leaving their beloved country. Like any other nationalities in general, most people move somewhere for a better quality of life. Some migrate due to better work opportunities; others want to follow a certain career path, while some want to live the American dream. And there are the certain few, who are lucky enough to be able to bring their loved ones with them. But no matter what reason they have, we cannot deny the fact that most of these Filipinos would rather stay in the Philippines if things were a lot better.
A Balikbayan is defined as a Filipino citizen who has continuously been out of the Philippines. This can be someone who is an overseas worker, or a former Filipino citizen whose family had been naturalized in a foreign country and returns to the Philippines from time to time.
The Philippines will always hold a special place in a Balikbayan’s heart. This was their former home, their first love, and their country. When you talk to Balikbayans, most of them would definitely tell you that they would always cherish all the life events they have experienced in the Philippines. They will never forget their families and friends who have been with them through thick and thin, as they share their dreams, learn from each other, and create their own paths in life. Every Balikbayan knows that familiar feeling of coming back home – the quintessence and sheer feeling of thrill, gladness, and relaxation would still be present every time they step on Philippine soil. The feeling would throb to their very core, as musings of the past would reemerge.
Sometimes for Balikbayans, the big things and the glamour are not the ones that stand out. Sometimes, it’s the small things that bring the most joy – coming back home, memories and moments from the past, and to see and spend time with old friends and relatives. All of these cannot be taken away from a Balikbayan’s heart. These will always stay with them and they would cherish these forever.
Every Filipino loves the scent of a Balikbayan box. It gives them interminable excitement to find out what’s inside the box. But what exactly is a Balikabyan box? One would define it as “pasalubongs” from the heart. But at large, this is a corrugated box comprising of items sent by Filipinos abroad to their families and friends in the Philippines. Usually the contents of this box are filled with imported goods or “pasalubongs” like food, shoes, clothes, beauty products, toys, jewelries, whatever you could think of. The Balikbayan box would always be prominent and it constantly plays a cultural significance amongst Filipinos, where Balikbayans are expected to bring home “pasalubongs” to their families and friends in the Philippines.
Why do Filipinos send Balikbayan Boxes? Essentially, the Balikbayan Box is a symbol of love and generosity from Filipinos abroad. Filipinos have always been known to be generous, thoughtful, and loving. Regardless of their situation abroad, they will always try to surprise their families and friends back home with their very own “pasalubongs” from the heart. And that is the Filipino way.