My best friend Eunice and I are going to Jeju Island (Korea) and we’re really super excited! Because it’s still transitioning from winter to spring in Jeju island, we need warm winter clothes. However, there was one major problem… we are a tropical country and we can’t really relate to the Game of Thrones’ favorite line “WINTER IS COMING!”. So here in the Philippines, instead of shouting WINTER is coming, we can only shout SUMMER is coming! lol.That’s because we only have 2 seasons, summer and rainy seasons.
Our winter ensemble are basically the same. Here is a sample of my winter ensemble checklist. As you can see above, I’m only lacking 3 items on my list because most of them were given to me by my husband when he chanced upon some of the items in his trips abroad last year. As for the other items, I searched high and low and have basically worn my shoes scouring thru malls for what I need but since it’s nearing summer vacation, most of the items in the malls are, well, you guessed it, swim wear and appropriate garments for OUR type of weather. I’m pretty sure that this is a major inconvenience encountered not only by us but by most of our fellow Filipinos who want to visit countries that have colder climates. What’s funny is when I asked a few sales ladies where I could find winter clothes, they would smile and ask me if I’m an early shopper for the Christmas season. I always end up explaining that winter doesn’t end in December for most countries. The confusion was because most stores offer warm clothing during Christmas season here in the Philippines and pull them out once the holidays are over. I’m sure that looking for winter clothes and shoes is a difficult task to many people not just in the Philippines but also for our other Asian brothers who don’t get to enjoy all four seasons of winter, spring, summer and fall.
One of the items I was desperately looking for was UGG boots from Australia. I love the style and look of UGG but we can’t really use them here in the Philippines without looking like we’re fashion victims. These are occasionally worn in Baguio by some residents but not by tourists. Most people think it isn’t practical to buy UGG boots because we can’t wear them unless we’re going abroad but if you want to travel abroad during autumn and winter seasons, I really think this is an investment because it looks so comfortable to wear plus we plan to go abroad at least once per year so I really wanted to own even just a pair of UGG boots. UGG has different branches in other countries and rightfully so, Philippines isn’t one of them since we have a really warm climate here even during the Christmas season. I found it funny that when I searched for “UGG Philippines”, I saw so many other people trying to find UGG boots in the Philippines. Like me at that time, I was clueless and lost as to where I could buy a pair that’s new, original and authentic.
Even one of the Filipino celebrities I truly admire, Ms. Lea Salonga had trouble finding UGGs here in Manila. She has thousands of friends and followers and not one of them was able to answer her question properly. Some even suggested she buy the item by going to Australia or Canada and someone even offered her own pair of used boots. Some suggested she buy the UGG online or in Amazon but there’s a catch when buying online which I will dwell on later. Below is a screenshot grab of her post last Feb 2014.
Like Ms. Lea Salonga, I have the same predicament. It’s February and it’s just a few days before we officially enter the “Summer Season”. I could of course opt for a different brand but the quality might not be the same and I want to buy the original/authentic UGG boots because like I said earlier, I consider them an investment for our future travels to different countries plus I really love the style of these boots and of course they would keep my feet really warm.
Even if I googled for the whole weekend searching for places that offer UGG boots, I couldn’t even find a single store. I only found second hand UGGs in Facebook groups plus a couple of people who said they’ll get my order and import UGGs for me for a price. The problem with that setup is I don’t exactly consider them trustworthy enough because they might be a fly by night store or a scammer. And the second hand UGGs? Well, there’s really not much of it online plus I wanted to buy NEW ones so I won’t have to deal with nightmares about the former owners or what disease I might pick up since the cleaning and maintenance of UGG boots does not include washing it thoroughly and warm water is definitely out of the question since it would shrink the material and ruin the boots.
The same problem goes for wool jackets and long johns (thermal wear). Yes there are some international brands and boutiques who occasionally offer winter clothes but the selection wasn’t enough and some of their styles are not our thing. Also, I have checked different branches of Uniqlo and they only have SMALL and MEDIUM sized Uniqlo Heat Tech tops and bottoms available. Having a large frame, I was quite disappointed so I checked if they have an online store unfortunately, Uniqlo Philippines doesn’t currently offer online payment and delivery options. I tried other brands which previously offered thermal wear but they no longer sell them because it’s off season for those types of items as every store’s theme is now shifted towards the summer look.
So like most people like me trying to find winter clothes and other items not available in the Philippines, I found myself limited to the following options:
- Buy the item when you actually visit the country (or upon arrival).
- Ask relatives living abroad to buy and send items to us.
- Online Buying at E-commerce sites and online sellers.
- Buying items on GALLEON.PH.
Since we’re going to that country anyway, might as well buy the items you need from the said country. The good thing about this is we can pack light going to the said country.
- We don’t want to go over our budget by using our travel funds at the start of the trip.
- We might not have enough time to do the shopping because of strict itineraries especially if we’re going on a pre-scheduled tour.
- Worst of all, what would happen to us if we can’t immediately find the items we need?
- The chances of having an over-baggage is higher since it’s difficult to estimate the weight of the things you’ll end up buying. This option doesn’t suit me because I want to use my extra kilos of baggage & baggage space for my gifts and “pasalubong” to my family and friends
Ask our family members, friends and relatives abroad to buy the item and send it to us. Though I’ve mentioned this here since some readers may be desperate enough to consider this however, I don’t recommend doing this because of the problems mentioned below.
- If you don’t buy it personally online, you might get something you don’t need or want.
- They might too busy with their own lives and it’s actually really awkward to ask this from them except if the item is of extreme and utmost importance.
- Sometimes it takes them several months before they would send balikbayan boxes home and that’s the time when they usually include your items but the risks are higher since the recipient might mistake your packages as part of the balikbayan box or worse, your relative might forget to include your package when he sends the balikbayan box to his/her family.
- It’s really very awkward and takes a lot of guts to ask others to send items to the Philippines plus there’s the issue of how you would pay them since Paypal has fees and wiring has even larger fees.
- The delivery cost is okay since you might have included this in your budget, however, once the items have reached Philippine soil, there is a high probability you might encounter some of the horror stories I’ve read online about having to pay exorbitant amounts in the post office because they consider items sent from abroad “undeclared” items & you need to pay duties and taxes that’s computed on the spot (you won’t have an idea how much this would be) or you might even lose an item or two “in transit”.
I only recommend this option if you don’t mind paying an unknown “additional cost” because of duties and taxes since not all online stores can compute and take care of this (by adding it to the cost of the product) for you. Most online stores have disclaimers pertaining to not including taxes and duties imposed on items so be prepared to pay a certain additional amount other than the actual price of the item. For some, this is a shocker because not all of us are familiar that we need to pay duties and taxes for items that we import to the Philippines.
- Horror stories of claiming items at the post office. Not all experience the horror stories but after reading several of them, I really find them alarming. Some even mentioned that they just leave the item and don’t claim it anymore because the cost of the duties and taxes computed far exceeds the actual cost of the item.
- Need to file a vacation leave to personally claim the item from the post office because if an authorization letter was used, the person claiming the package on your behalf might encounter problems in terms of payment for the duties and taxes, etc.
- Losing/Breaking items in transit. Online stores differ in terms of insurance coverage and return/refund policies so make sure you read these thoroughly before doing your transactions online.
- Not enough Online support to answer your queries immediately. I’ve personally experienced this with most online stores and e-commerce sites and it’s a major hassle if the answer to queries are resolved so late that you can’t do anything about it anymore.
- There might be no cancellation, refunds, or return/replacement procedures available if the item received was defective.
- Some lead times are unpredictable and almost impossible to track.
- If you will buy different items from the same country, you will be charged a separate delivery fee, duties and taxes for each of the package even if the items are just small trinkets since there is a minimum cost involved.
- You need to create accounts at different websites like Ebay, Etsy, Amazon,etc. Unfortunately, I change passwords quite often and including these accounts when I change passwords is very tedious and sometimes I forget the passwords so I have to create another account just to buy something, which is counter productive.
I thought that all hopes are lost but I stumbled upon the HOLY GRAIL of online buying sites which can solve all our woes and problems when it comes to buying items not available in the Philippines…. may I present to you the 4th option which I think solves all the issues and problems in terms of buying things not available in the Philippines. Some may try to copy the concept of this site however, after having checked and researched online, I can honestly say that this is definitely one of the lowest in terms of cost if not the lowest cost (cost of delivering items to the Philippines + duties and taxes) there is out there. GALLEON.PH makes buying things not available in the Philippines so much easier and even those who are not tech-savvy would definitely love this site because of the very accommodating Live Chat support available in the site. Honestly, the first time I went to the site, I was amazed with the item list, most of which can only be found in the U.S. and other countries. Anyone can complete their OOTDs using GALLEON.PH!
The customer service was also so fast that I was able to get the international shipping cost as well as the item’s price (plus duties and taxes) so I know now how much to pay for the items I have been searching for so long. Remember the three items (UGG Boots, Wool Jacket/Coat, Thermal Wear) I wanted to buy? I found them all on GALLEON.PH!
- The first thing I found on GALLEON.PH was this really awesome and fashionable wool coat/jacket. I thought it only came in brown and size small, but when I clicked on the “See other options”, I was really happy to find it in BLACK and my size too! Yes, and I also #FoundItOnGalleonPH!
- The second item that I was happy to find in GALLEON.PH was this pair of Ultra Soft Black, large sized long johns set. Computing for the total cost of the item, it was even cheaper than when I would buy this locally. Amazing!
- Third & most importantly, I saw this wonderful pair of UGGs that is perfect for my OOTD’s. I’m pretty sure that I won’t be able to find this here in the Philippines so I’m quite delighted to find them at GALLEON.PH. I don’t have to go out of my way just to buy a pair, just a few clicks and these are basically delivered in my doorstep. I’m so lucky that I #FoundItOnGalleonPH!
Using the current exchange rate of $1 = PHP47.52, the price of the UGG boots in Amazon is PHP 7,127.78, deducting the declared cost of the item on Galleon.PH, which is PHP 10,263, we will get PHP3,135.22, which seems to be the cost of duties and taxes.
The price may seem steep (because the cost already includes the duties and taxes) & I checked online using a different service provider and decided to compare the two. The other provider provided this calculation to me:
Using this as a comparison, please see below for the computation I did to determine which one has the lower cost. As you can see in the computation below, buying items abroad using GALLEON.PH is cheaper by at least PHP1,134.26.
I am really amazed by my great finds on GALLEON.PH and I didn’t have to worry about duties and taxes as well as claiming things in the post office because everything can be delivered straight to my house. Now that’s what I call real convenience. With GALLEON.PH, we can buy autumn and winter garments and shoes all year round. 🙂
So now, I’m happy to say that my checklist for my Winter Ensemble is complete.
I would be able to use these items when I go to JEJU ISLAND as well as in JAPAN and HARBIN. 🙂 Thank goodness I #FoundItOnGalleonPH!
Now that I’ve mentioned the 4 different options when buying things that can’t be found in the Philippines, below is a short game. The number corresponds to its option number and since there’s a catch when using the first 3 options, it would be easier to remember and help you determine what would be the “catch” (cons) of using each of the first 3 options. So far, so good for Galleon.ph because I don’t see any catch even after I’ve done comparisons online,etc.
- Now for the QUESTION, which option ends up with the SHARK?
- Email your answer at firstname.lastname@example.org & if you got the answer correctly, you’ll get a 10% discount code you can use until March 5, 2016. This maze game runs until March 5, 2016.
- If you don’t want to play the game but still want to get the 10% discount, just share this blog post on any of your social media accounts then send me a message and the link to your social media account.
- For reference here are the 4 options again:
- Buy the item when you actually visit the country (or upon arrival).
- Ask relatives living abroad to buy and send items to us.
- Online Buying at E-commerce sites and online sellers.
- Buying items on GALLEON.PH.
The problem with some of those surfing online is that they reject new ways of doing things just because they fear that their learning curve and patience isn’t enough to use certain sites. I should know because whenever I recommend new sites to my relatives and friends, they immediately ask me, HOW DOES IT WORK? HOW DO I USE THE SITE? I completely understand them because with their busy schedules they don’t want to waste time by exploring sites just to be able to use their services so I decided to include this tutorial so I can just let them read my blog and show other site visitors and readers as well just how easy it is to use GALLEON.PH. In order to make it easier for everyone to remember the steps in using GALLEON.PH to buy items not found in the Philippines, I used the acronym, “GALLEON.PH”:
- G – GO TO GALLEON.PH.
- A – ASSESS THE ITEMS FOUND IN GALLEON.PH whether they are really the ones you are looking for. Make sure that the sizes you want are available. First search for the items using the search bar.
Then check all the important details as seen below:
- L – LIST DOWN ALL THE ITEMS YOU WANT TO BUY, including the details of items that you’re looking for that are NOT found in the website itself. This is to make it easier for you to just ask customer support. If you can copy-paste the links or web address of the item/s in a notepad or a word file, that would be easier.
- L – LOG ON TO GALLEON.PH. Now that you’re pretty sure you’re going to buy something it’s time to log on to the site, just don’t forget to log off once you’re done in order to protect your accounts.Once you’re logged in make sure you fill up the name email address and contact number so when you ask customer support about the prices of the products, it would be easier for them to send you the links and information.
- E – ENSURE YOUR CONTACT DETAILS ARE CORRECT (cellphone number, landline number, email address) so that you would really get the information you need. I’m emphasizing this because during the first time I asked Galleon.ph, I suddenly noticed that I mistyped my cellphone number. It’s critical that the contact details are correct most especially the email address because they send your chat log as well as information on your requested item via email.
- O – ORDER THE ITEMS. This is the most fun part of the process! 😀 Buying items at GALLEON.PH is like virtually teleporting to different countries because most of the items found there can’t be found easily in the Philippines. Please follow this rather simple guide found on the Galleon.ph site regarding BUYING ITEMS & CHECKOUT PROCESS. If the item you are looking for is not available within the site itself, email GALLEON.PH (email@example.com) or ask their customer chat support. Also, there are times when items do not have price yet, the fastest solution is to copy the url of the item you want and send it to customer support via chat. You’ll receive an email (if not right away) about the price of the item so you can check out your cart and continue with the payment processing.
- N – NOTE THE DETAILS CAREFULLY, especially the sizes, color, etc. Look for user/customer feedback within GALLEON.PH’s comments section or google it just to make sure that the item you are buying is exactly what you need. This is to avoid inconvenience on your part plus you won’t waste time returning or re-buying items.
- P – PAY FOR THE ITEM. GALLEON.PH has a wide array of ways to pay for the items you ordered. This ensures customers won’t be hassled when paying for the items. For more details, read this GUIDE to payment process by Galleon.PH.
- H – HOME. Relax and wait for the items to be delivered to the address you specified. Ensure that you have your ID with you and if you expect that you might not be there to accept the delivery, make sure you make an AUTHORIZATION LETTER and leave a government ID with the person/s you’ve appointed to receive the delivery.
A U T H O R I Z A T I O N L E T T E R
TO: GALLEON.PH DELIVERY TEAM
ALL HANDS ON DECK INC.
UG09 Upper Ground Level Tower 1
Pioneer Highlands, Corner Madison Street,
Baranka Ilaya, Mandaluyong City, 1552, Philippines
RE: RECEIVING OF ITEMS BOUGHT FROM GALLEON.PH
To whom it may concern,
I hereby authorize my (Mother/Father/Brother/Sister/or specify relationship), (FULL NAME OF PERSON WHO WILL RECEIVE THE PACKAGE), resident of (Address of person who will claim the items), and whose signature is attested below, to claim the item/s I bought from GALLEON.PH on my behalf due to my inability to do so personally. With this letter, kindly see my (Indicate type of VALID ID to be presented), which I have entrusted to the person I’ve authorized to receive the package/s.
In case of concerns or problems with the delivery, kindly notify me immediately at (Specify your contact number) or you may email me at (Indicate your email address) and I will respond to you at the soonest possible time.
Signature above printed name of owner of package
Name and Signature of Authorized Representative
Now that you know HOW to order stuff at GALLEON.PH, you might be thinking, what’s the difference between buying at GALLEON.PH and just buying the things you need online via other e-commerce sites? That’s what I thought of too! So to make things easier and simpler, I’m sharing what I found out with you by showing the comparative table below:
|GALLEON.PH||OTHER ONLINE SITES/ E-COMMERCE SITES|
|ORDERING||You can order everything you need that’s not found in the Philippines in just one site, regardless if you can find it on the site or not.||You will have numerous orders for multiple items|
|ACCOUNT AND PASSWORD||Remember just one account and password. (Note: For items which have no price, make sure to ask chat support found at the bottom right corner about the price of the item so you don’t have to go to Amazon just to get the pricing and delivery fee anymore)||When you experience a “Dory” moment, i.e. you forget things, it tends to be difficult to remember all the accounts and passwords. It’s harder if you have numerous accounts and you change passwords frequently since you might miss changing some passwords.|
|| GALLEON.PH has a “ship my item” feature where in Galleon.ph act as a PO box service but you don’t get charged shipping fee by the box but on the item itself. Check it out here: www.galleon.ph/shipmyitem
GALLEON.PH also offers the customers GIFT options wherein the item will be giftwrapped & dedication will be added for just 100 pesos.
|You will be paying for each package/delivery from each of the site you ordered from. If there is an option to accumulate items, this might cause delay because not all items arrive at the same scheduled date.
|CUSTOMER CARE & SUPPORT||You will need to contact just one support team and you’re assured that your concerns are immediately answered on time. Has efficient customer care. With that, buying and shipping of items not on their website can be requested. Tracking is also made simple via the site itself or if there are concerns, their customer service is definitely a great help.
||For delivery problems, you’ll need to contact each and every support team to track your items. You might not even be able to contact them and some might take days or even weeks before they could answer you.|
||The items will be delivered straight to your specified delivery address. You can also choose between shipping via AIR or by SEA depending if you prefer either speed (AIR) or lower shipping cost (SEA).||You would need to go to the local POST OFFICE just to claim the items. Shipping type depends on availability on the part of the seller/e-commerce site.|
|CLAIMING OF ITEMS||You can claim it yourself or ask someone else to claim it using an Authorization Letter plus a government ID. You can also arrange for pickup at an LBC branch nearest you or you can also do pickup at their headoffice in Mandaluyong.
||You can claim it yourself or ask someone else to claim it using an Authorization Letter plus a government ID.|
|DELIVERY OF ITEM||Shorter than usual. Ships nationwide and delivers via air (6-12 business days) and sea (35-40 business days).||Same or longer via sea (35-40 days) plus you need to wait for a letter coming from the post office to claim your item.|
|DUTIES AND TAXES||Prices are all-inclusive. The duties and taxes are already included in the price of the item and they take care of shipping, customs and taxes for you. Duties and Taxes seem to computed fairly because there is more than 1k difference between GALLEON.PH versus another e-commerce store in terms of computing for Duties and Taxes.||Post office people will be the ones to compute this so even if you have a specific amount in mind, chances are, there is a discrepancy with the amount you’ll actually end up paying. Worst of all, it’s not all the time but some unscrupulous people might take advantage of the duties and taxes computation. If duties and taxes are included or specified,the cost seems to be higher versus GALLEON.PH.|
|LOSING ITEMS IN TRANSIT||Lost items are taken care of, i.e. replaced or refunded.||Lost items are not the responsibility of the sites. It’s lucky if they have an escrow system (wherein you need to indicate you received the item before the payment is released) but not all sites have this feature.|
|CONVENIENCE||You can order items online anytime you are available. One thing that sets it apart from other sites is it acts as a MOTHER SHIP because you can buy things online from OTHER sites and have the order placed just at GALLEON.PH.||You can order items online anytime you are available.|
|PAYMENT MODES||Multiple payment modes. GALLEON.PH practically accepts any valid payment modes available.||Limited and sometimes you are required to have a credit card/debit card or a Paypal account in order to buy something.|
What makes GALLEON.PH unique to other e-commerce sites is that the other sites only offer items that are posted in their sites whereas GALLEON.PH can deliver any item to you not even found in their site as long as it delivers in the U.S. and it’s not part of their restricted items of course! That’s really very convenient because I’m 100% sure there’s not an e-commerce site in the whole world who has EVERYTHING you are looking for. For that reason alone, I think GALLEON.PH is a real treasure that must be shared with our family and friends so they too, can enjoy these benefits.
What’s great about GALLEON.PH is that they offer customers a wide array of modes of payment to choose from. This is an ultimate convenience because most online stores and e-commerce sites do not have this option. They most usually require customers to have a debit or credit card. Galleon.PH allows different payment modes to make it easier for people to make purchases on their site. For more details as well as a guide on how to fill-up bank forms, please feel free to visit GALLEON.ph’s payment guide found here: http://www.galleon.ph/document/payment
GALLEON.PH is no stranger in the world of showbiz. Bobby Andews, who became a household name when he played the role of Joaquin Torres III of the popular teen series, THANK GOD IT’S SABADO (T.G.I.S.), gave nice comments to GALLEON.PH and like a true celebrity role model, mentioned that the waiting time is understandable because items come from abroad. Like Bobby Andrews, if we’re going to buy something online that’s not available in the Philippines, we should take note that the leadtime is quite longer than when we buy things that are locally available. And like Bobby Andrews, I admire the customer service agents of GALLEON.PH because of their prompt replies and assistance. Not only that, they make sure that you really get what you want and need by double checking the size and color of the items you wish to buy and not just giving you the price of an item you are asking about. I should know because I mistakenly asked for the price of an item that was not my size so when the customer service clarified the size to me, I asked him/her to change the size of the item I requested for. When you have customer service people who have a true concern for customers, you can never go wrong that’s why I trust GALLEON.PH when it comes to buying items not available in the Philippines.
Disclaimer: This blog post is intended as an entry to the Blog contest sponsored by Nuffnang Philippines and Galleon.PH. The ideas and data here are based on personal experiences of the author and from researched items and reports online. The content of this blog post is intended to give an idea to the readers in order to facilitate their buying online of items not available in the Philippines. The blogger is by no means an expert in buying things online and there may be other ways that the blogger is not familiar with. However, the blogger, at the time of publishing this blog post does support Galleon.PH and honestly consider it the best option so far.