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Vlogger Alexis Vines unboxes an ``unclaimed`` care package.

PHOTO BY ALEXIS VINES


Viral video: ‘Unclaimed’ balikbayan box sold for $99

An “unclaimed” balikbayan box or care box that was sold for P5,500 ($99) in a Philippine warehouse triggered mixed reactions on social media.

On Friday (December 29), vlogger Alexis Vines posted a video of the balikbayan box that the content creator said he bought from an undisclosed warehouse in the Philippines. Vines said he managed to track down an online seller after finding out about cases of unclaimed balikbayan boxes being auctioned.

“I feel somewhat sad opening this balikbayan box,” said Vines, who has four million followers on Facebook. He noted that the box weighed around 80 to 100 kilos, and was marked for shipping to Negros Occidental. He said the box did not have details about the sender or receiver.

As of Saturday (December 30), Vines’ video has gotten 3.9 million views and more than 15,000 comments on Facebook, with many netizens criticizing the incident as “deplorable”. Others said the video served as a “wake up call”.

Echoing similar sentiments from netizens in the comment section, Zenaida Escarez said in Filipino that the incident was “no laughing matter”. “As a former Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), I feel very sad to see this. Everything inside is a labour of love for the family in the Philippines,” Escarez said.

Vines replied that he can empathize, saying that his parents are also OFWS. “I know the feeling, that is why I feel very sad when I learned that there are unclaimed packages,” he said.

The vlogger unboxed dozens of clothing, as well as shoes and homeware that were packed inside the box. During the unboxing, it was revealed that the box carried the branding of cargo company Golden Express International based in Farwaniyah, Kuwait. Expat Media contacted the company, whose representative said they are launching an investigation.

“We will investigate this case [to see] if the box was sent from our side or if someone purchased our box from the local market,” Golden Express International told Expat Media.

Last year, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in the Philippines said it expedited the release of numerous unpaid and abandoned balikbayan boxes after local deconsolidators “failed to deliver them to the intended recipients.” The BOC said auctioning off unclaimed boxes is the “only legal option” to dispose of them. Under Philippine law, packages left unclaimed for a considerable period will be deemed abandoned and placed under auction. ICA/Expat Media

ALSO READ: Abandoned balikbayan boxes of 200 Filipinos in UAE to be auctioned off


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