Thursday, September 4, 2014

Philippine Post Office

The Philippine Post Office is still alive.  Even with the onslaught of text messaging especially at the turn of the millennium, then email and more recently social networking such as facebook and twitter, there are still people who send actual mail and packages through the post office.   We ourselves still get letters and cards through the mail.  Mom and Ate Connie are regular senders of birthday and Christmas cards, which we are always thankful for.  The kids have received cards on all their birthdays, excited when they see their names on the envelope and open up the special message that is contained within.

Due mostly to practical reasons, people nowadays have foregone the sending of letters and cards.  It costs 80 pesos to send a card to the US for example, while sending an email is free.  It takes anywhere from 1 week to 2 weeks for my relatives abroad to receive their letter/card through regular postal mail.  It may only take seconds for them to receive their message through email or facebook posts.  Another reason for not sending through mail is to reduce the use of paper/cardboard, to help save trees.

But still, receiving and sending something that is tangible such as a card or handwritten message, has its magic.  You feel a little closer to the one you’re sending or receiving the letter to.  It is more personal and you know that the person who sent it took the time, energy and money making it more precious and meaningful.

This is a statue of the friendly neighborhood postman.
Actually most mailmen in the Philippines are not dressed
this way but are in very informal ware with a bimpo or towel
wrapped around his neck to wipe off sweat
I took a trip to the Philippine Post Office just this morning with my cousin to send my mom and aunt’s medication.  We took a jeepney to Lawton stopping right in front of the colossal building with its tall columns.  This was my first time to enter this building which we had passed by countless other times.  Upon entering you see several windows with numbers and different signs depending on your postal needs… domestic, international, regular, express, metered, stamped, etc…  I think 50 windows in all, and only one window had a customer.  The first window we went to was for International express, which would have cost us P1100+ in postal fees to get our package to the US in 3 days.  We asked for the regular, non-express shipment and we were directed to window #43.  The personnel were friendly, helping us with packing our material.  My cousin had sent packages before and was aware that they check the contents of the packages so it is best to leave them open and just do the packing at the post office.  Remember too that when sending medication, it must be sent with the prescription.  Our package ended up costing P500 (International, registered mail to the US) + P30 for the envelope with bubble-wrap, which the post office sells.

Another reason why I went with my cousin (I usually let her send the package) was to see the commemorative stamps.  There is an e-post shop on the left side of the building which sells stamps and other memorabilia and even snacks.  I asked for Cory Aquino’s painting stamps (pictured on the left) which I saw on TV were made especially scented.  A booklet of 8 costs P200 so I bought 2, one for me and another for my cousin.  


I asked for Pope Francis’ stamps too, which I also heard were available in preparation for his visit in January next year, but unfortunately they were sold out.  My mom collected stamps when we were young. Actually they were meant for me and my brother, with each of us having our own stamp album, so we could catch on the hobby.  But we never did get interested although the stamp albums are still here and on occasion (when dusting the bookshelf) I take a look at the collection.




Why did I buy the commemorative stamps?  Partly as an investment, they do tell a part of our history and maybe someday these stamps will become rare and valuable, partly because I wanted to support our postal system.  There is a proposed postal museum, which I would love to see if it materializes.  The post office is large and its customers are few.  But even if it’s a non-profitable, even a losing “business”, I heard it said that it’s a system or a service that will not go away at least not in the near future, because it reaches even the most remote places in the Philippines, places in the provinces especially which the modern and internet age has not yet reached.


For more info on the Philippine postal office, go to their official website: http://www.philpost.gov.ph
Phone numbers:
     Main Office (Manila) +63 (2) 525-7028
     Main Office (Quezon City) +63 (2) 928-6443 or +63 (2) 928-1667


Reminders when sending packages:  
  • Do not pack the materials beforehand or else pack them loosely so the material(s) can be checked by the post office personnel;
  • When packing medication, make sure to enclose the prescription

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