Moving to Philippines


Do you plan to move from Thailand or elsewhere to the Philippines? SIAM Relocation will be your best relocation comrade. Our expert teams have decades of experience in this domain and are here to handle all your logistic and relocation needs. This article presents relevant information about how to take care of your move and especially about customs, different freight modes and your future life in the Philippines.

flag philippines

1. Customs clearance in Philippines

Do you plan to move from Thailand or elsewhere to the Philippines? Siam Relocation will be your best relocation comrade. Our expert teams have decades of experience in this domain and are here to handle all your logistic and relocation needs. This article presents relevant information about how to take care of your move and especially about customs, different freight modes and your future life in the Philippines

1.1 Customs process

Customs procedures in the Philippines are quite simple in the case of a relocation.

Here are the documents required for shipments of household goods and personal effects to the Philippines:

  • Original Passport with a stamped visa (9g 9d 47a2 13G or 13A)
  • Bill of lading or airway bill
  • Packing list
  • Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) (for returning residents)
  • Contract and certificate of employment

Info SIAM: It is the Bureau of Customs that collects taxes and duties in the Philippines. They apply the rules quite strictly.

The Philippines Customs system is based on the SITC (Standard International Trade Classification) of the UN. All duties are calculated ad valorem. You can find it all in the Philippines Customs Code.

You will have to fill an entry form at the Customs Office in the 30 days following your belongings’ unloading. If you don’t, your goods can be confiscated from you.

1.2 Taxes exemption

As is mentioned above, all household goods and personal effects are duty/tax free at importation for non-residents.

For returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), there are some conditions to respect so that no taxes nor duties are applied to the shipment:

  • First, the personal effects must not arrive more than 60 days after the OFW.
  • If you have stayed abroad between five and ten years, the maximum allowed amount covered is PhP 250,000.000
  • OFW are allowed to bring in, tax and duty-free, home appliances and other durables limited to one of a kind.
  • If there is an excess in the amount, taxes and duties will be applied
  • Duty and Tax Free Exemption Indorsement must be filed at Revenue Office of the Department of Finance.

1.3 Vehicle importation

Bringing a car into the Philippines is an extremely inconvenient process.

First, in order to do so, you have either to be a former/returning Filipino citizen who was abroad for more than one year, or an immigrant, owner of a 13G visa.

SIAM Warning: Every car I subject to an about 40% custom duty, 10 to 12% VAT tax and an ad valorem tax from 15% to 100%. Thus, it is never profitable to import your car in the Philippines. If you add shipping, potential storage and adapting to local regulations, the total cost will be huge. Selling your car and buying a new one in the Philippines is a better option.

Of course, if you try to send your car in spare parts, you will be taxed as much as for the whole car. The Philippines government just wants you to buy a new local car.

More, the administrative procedure is kind of a burden too. For instance, the owner of the car has to be present during the arrival of the vehicle, you need to furnish proofs that you will stay for over one year in the country, that you obtained the car legally, …

SIAM Advice: If you still want to import your car in the Philippines, please make your enquiry directly to the Bureau of Import Service.

1.4 What duties and taxes will I pay for my personal effects?

Warning SIAM: Normally, you should not pay any duty or tax for your personal effects due to Philippines customs policy. Please refer to part 1.1 if you haven’t read it.

This part of your move is still vague ? Feel free to contact our SIAM moving consultant. Fill our online form in 1 min and get an answer within 24h !


Sample of a declaration for personal effect importation (this one is for Singapore but could work for Philippines as well)

personal effects declaration singapore

SIAM Plus: In logistics, administrative tasks are often quite complex and hard to understand when we are not used to it. That’s why SIAM Relocation’s consultants are here to guide you during your process. Their experience is a guarantee !

Customs contact in Thailand

thai customs

Official name: Thai Customs Department

Official Website: Thai Customs Website

Customs contact in Philippines

customs in philippines

Official name: Bureau of Customs

Official Website: Philippines Customs Website

Customs process

customs clearance process

Our customs broker inform you

Prohibited & restricted items

Remark SIAM: If you have one of the following item, you should check directly with our SIAM Moving consultant. Some of those items are restricted or even totally prohibited, it is important to anticipate such shipment to avoid any problem.

Drug contraband

prohibited drug


prohibited ivory


prohibited poison


prohibited explosive


prohibited batteries


prohibited porno


prohibited biohazard


prohibited combustible


prohibited knife


prohibited chemical


prohibited firearms


prohibited cigarette


prohibited corrosive


prohibited prescription drugs


prohibited gambler


prohibited counterfeit

Counterfeit notes

prohibited notes


prohibited hazardous items

Siam Relocation - Best price moving company in Bangkok !

Due to our attractive pricing, many customers trust our services and we thanks them.

Stop to overpay the services and save money with our tailored package matching will all type of removals, from small volume to full house, let us find the best and cost-effective option.


Complete our online form and get your free quote within 48h!


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2. Method of transportation

The Philippines are an archipelago located between the Philippines Sea and South China Sea. Consequently, there are no other options than air or sea freight to reach the country.


ship icon


Ocean freight will be the best deal for you if:

  • You have a big move (full house/condo)
  • The goods you need to ship are greater than 3 CBM
  • You’re not in a hurry to receive them


SIAM Advice: To have precise rates and transit times for your Sea freight from Thailand to Philippines, don’t hesitate to contact our SIAM Experts.




Remark SIAM: Surrounded by waters, the Philippines have always done the biggest part of their commerce by sea.

Today, the country’s top sea import partners are China, Japan, Korea, the United States, and Thailand.

Sea freight time is longer than air freight but presents other advantages like its price as soon as the volume shipped exceeds 3 cubic meters.

Philippines main ports

Due to the country’s geography, Manila almost is the only container port. It is the biggest by far and transports more than 4 million twenty-foot equivalent unit every year since 2015.

In the southern island of Mindanao, the Port of General Santos also deals with container transportation on a daily basis but in much smaller volumes.

Info SIAM: You want further information about Philippines’s port ? Feel free to check the official website: Philippines Ports Authority

Transit time

The pure transit time from Bangkok or Pattaya to Manilla is about 5-6 days maximum by sea. It is of a dozen of days for joining the other islands of the archipelago and even more for isolated islands.

*Yet, this is only the freight time. It does not include the picking up, delivery, handling time, etc.

Remark SIAM: From Bangkok port or Pattaya’s (Laem Chabang), you should count 5 – 6 days of freight and add a few days of transit in docks and warehouses.

Storage fees at Philippines port

Storage shall be charged on cargoes that remain in any government-owned port beyond the “free- storage period“. The said period is defined for all types of cargoes as follows:

For Imported Cargoes
Five (5) calendar days after the day that the last item of cargo is discharged from the carrying vessel
For Export Cargoes
Four (4) calendar days from the day that the cargo is received at the port
For Foreign Transhipment
A total of fifteen (15) calendar days from the day of arrival to the day of departure
For Domestic Cargoes Entering any port
Two (2) calendar daysafter the date of cargo entry into the port
For Domestic Cargoes Discharged at any port
Two (2) calendar days after the day that the last item of cargo is unloaded from the carrying vessel
For Domestic Cargoes that are “Shutout”(not loaded on their scheduled vessel)
Two (2) calendar days after vessel’s departure

*To check further information about storage fees at port, check directly with our SIAM expert

Sea freight rates

Sea freight rates will vary according to many factors. First, the loading and unloading ports have different handling charges. During a year, due to oil prices variation, the freight can be much more expensive (up to twice more). But the most important factor may still be the volume that you want to ship. It is the most important thing that you want to know before requesting a quote to a freight forwarder.

The volume shipped will impact your container choice (FCL, 20ft or 40ft, etc… or LCL if you can’t fill one full container). To be sure to make the good call, our consultants are here to guide you through your thinking.

*According to your needs, we can provide you with a packaging and/or loading service which also has consequences on the total price. 

Remark SIAM: You want further information about our packing service ? Contact our SIAM moving consultant or check our dedicated page: Packing service

Why choose us?

Relocations are our expertise domain. The experience of our moving consultants gives us credit for taking care of your moving projects. We always try to do our best for you and provide you with a suitable solution.

Remark SIAM: As proof, if you transport small volumes, you should note that SIAM Relocation is the only moving company to have a rate for the first cubic meter. If you want to ship 1 cubic meter of your goods, other companies will charge you 4 cubic meter as it is their starting rate, SIAM Relocation will charge you 1 cubic meter because we seek for a fair service and relation.


airplane icon

Air freight will be the most efficient solution if:

  • Your goods are smaller than 3 CBM and 200 kg
  • You’re in a hurry to receive/send the goods

SIAM Advice: To have precise rates and transit times for your Air freight from Thailand to Philippines, don’t hesitate to contact our SIAM Experts.


Flying to the Philippines is of course an ordinary choice as it is one of the two only options available to reach the archipelago.

SIAM Advice: We advise you to choose air freight for less than 3 cubic meters shipments to the Philippines. It will be much quicker than sea freight and until this volume, the price should not be exorbitant.

Main Airports in the Philippines

As for sea ports in the Philippines, there are not so many big commercial airports in the Philippines but the few that exist are well located and performant.

Ninoy Aquino International Airport is the largest airport in the country. It is the gate to Manila, the country’s capital.

Mactan-Cebu International Airport serves the city and the province of Cebu, the second most populated area after Manila.

In General Santos, the International Airport (with the city’s port) connects the South of the country.

Remark SIAM: You want further information about airports in Philippines, check the official website: Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines

Transit time

Here are some raw transit times from Bangkok to the Philippines biggest airports. They only include the flight time.

  • Bangkok – Manila : 3h20min
  • Bangkok – Cebu : 3 hours but uncommon without a halt
  • Bangkok – General Santos : 4 hours but uncommon without a halt

Remark SIAM: Counting the pick-up, terminal handling, custom clearance and delivery charges, you can count 3-4 days for such a shipment.

*Note that the flight does not include the whole logistics process, some parcel could be stuck in customs for X or Y reason.

Air freight rates

Like sea freight rates, air freight rates are linked to many factors that influence them: terminals, volume, weight, kerosene prices, …

Yet, one advantage with the Philippines is that you should not pay import duties or taxes for your goods so that’s one non-variable factor.

Why choose us?

The experience of our teams in air freight has placed us as a leader of the freight forwarding sector. We have agents in every country to coordinate your shipment proceedings. Please feel free to contact them for any request.

Let’s see together how air freight are calculated. The most important aspect that you have to understand is the difference between actual weight and volumetric weight. Once you get it, you can understand your air freight quotations.

calculate gross weight
classic air freight volumetric weight

*If the volumetric weight is higher than the actual weight of your box, the carrier will quote based on this weight. You can use online chargeable weight calculators to make it easier, now that you understand how it works.  

3. Additional moving services

Since we deal with relocations, we always have placed the client first when it comes to our services definition. We try to understand your needs as much as possible in order to provide you with the offer that best fits them.

3.1 Moving insurance

*No transportation mode comes without a risk, nor do air and sea freights.

Remark SIAM: Our insurance program is charged 3% of your declared value.

There will always be a risk of big delay, damage, loss or theft of your goods during the transit.

To prevent such a disaster to be a complete disaster, insurances exist. A freight insurance/marine insurance/cargo insurance permits to insure your shipment against common risks like those related to weather, bad storage or fumigation services. But some also propose more complete service like covering piracy acts for instance.

You can go and see your bank, your general insurance company, a specialist insurance broker or us, SIAM Relocation, to subscribe to an insurance.

Info SIAM: You want further information about our Insurance program? Feel free to contact our SIAM moving consultant or check our dedicated page: Moving Insurance

3.2 Moving with your pet to Philippines

Before leaving Thailand, all animals have to go through a government’s vet check. Exactly three days before your departure, you must go to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, at the Custom and Animal Quarantine Office and ask for this inspection. During it, the vet will check if your pet is up to date about its vaccinations and you will need some documents:

  • A rabies certificate, with the vet contact details in English. The pet must also have undergone a blood serology test to check for rabies antibody levels at least 30 days afterthe rabies vaccination. The test result must be at least 0.5 IU/mL.
  • A copy of your own passport
  • Your flight details
  • Your pet’s micro-chip number it your animal is microchipped.

Then, you will fill in an export request form. And the vet will hand you the documents needed for traveling and charge you 50 Baht per animal. Do not forget to have it all when you travel three days later : the original pet health certificate, the one made by the airport vet and the export permit.

*Now, let’s see how will the procedure happen regarding the Philippines.

SIAM Warning : Anyone who wants to bring pets into the Philippines must address a request to import to the Bureau of Animal Industry.

This request must contain the following information about your pet or pets:

  • Species and breed of the animal
  • Sex of the animal
  • Age of the animal
  • Country of origin
  • Expected date of arrival
  • Address, phone number, email address and other contact details (of the owner, of course)

After examining your file, the BAI will transmit you a Veterinary Quarantine Clearance and some instructions for the rest of the procedure.

The Philippines requires that a ticks and tapeworm treatment is performed within 48 hours of departure.

Your animal’s last rabies vaccination must have taken place at least 30 days before departure.

3.3 Packing service

Remark SIAM: A secured logistic process is a shipment in which goods are packed, and well packed.

A good packing of your goods will condition the safety of the transportation. The whole logistic process can be perfectly planned, but if you did not pack your goods or did it wrong, the result can be disastrous.

The cardboard packing boxes are the most used materials. And this is legitimate as they are quite resistant when made of good quality cardboard. More, they are foldable and easy to use and fill.

Bubble wrap will be used to take care of fragile items like glasses or any belonging that you want to treat with care and avoid all damages.

Wooden boxes are the most resistant packing materials. They can be moved with a high strength and will resist it. More, they can be used for a longer time than simple cardboard boxes, for instance fighting humidity in a warehouse.

SIAM Plus: We, at SIAM Relocation, propose you to take care of all of your packing needs. Our warehousing crew can pack whatever you want. Some items have rare dimensions? They will pack them for you! You don’t have packing furniture and so you can’t pack? They will pack for you!

Info SIAM: You want further information about our packing service, feel free to contact our SIAM Moving consultant or check our dedicated page: Packing service

3.4 Warehousing service

When you face a setback, an emergency or whatever mishap that could disturb your relocation scheduling, a warehousing service can save you. Example: you can stock your goods in our warehouses in Thailand, fly to the Philippines, stay there and then ship your goods once you are ready to receive them in the Philippines.

SIAM Plus: Our facilities are completely secured with alarm systems and guard presence 24/7.

3.5 Office moves

Remember that we also have a department dedicated to office moves.

4. Our moving packages

Thanks to our close experience with our customers through the years, we decided to create packaged offers to better fit your needs.

packages international move thailand

SIAM Plus: Please note that this information is for guidance only. It is based on our most up-to-date knowledge and experience. Anyway, you will discuss your case in detail with our SIAM moving consultants and then choose the appropriate service.

5. Life in Philippines

Despite that the archipelago is in Asia, the country can be very different from Southern Asia countries on some points.

5.1 Visa & Business


There are four working visas under which a foreigner can settle down in the Philippines:

  • The 9(g) visa also called Pre-Arranged Employee Visa Commercial is the most common. It is quite ordinary among foreigners living in the Philippines. It permits multiple entries.
  • The 9(d) visa is destined to foreign investor and traders.
  • The 13(g) visa is for returning former natural-born Filipino citizen.
  • The 13(A) visa is for any foreigner married to a Filipino citizen.

Remark SIAM: Many visas depend on your working status. If you want further information, feel free to check the official website: Department of foreign affairs Philippines


Nowadays, the Philippines have a 6% GDP growth which is huge, even in Asia. Actually, on a long term, only China does better in Asia. Experts say the country will be the 5th biggest economy in Asia by 2050.

The country’s economy is based mainly on agriculture, but some sectors are currently rising and full of hope for the future.

The online (mobile, online freelance services) and electronic sectors are currently booming with the progressive industrialization of the country.

5.2 Living in Philippines


The country is an archipelago of 11 big islands and a total of 7641 islands. It is a highly catholic (around 80%) country of 100 million of inhabitants. The two official languages are the Filipino and English.

Cost of life

Globally, consumer prices are 28% lower in Manila than in Bangkok. But the average purchasing power also is lower (by 11%).

  • Consumer Prices in Manila are 28.33% lower than in Bangkok
  • Consumer Prices Including Rent in Manila are 31.37% lower than in Bangkok
  • Rent Prices in Manila are 38.27% lower than in Bangkok
  • Restaurant Prices in Manila are 20.87% lower than in Bangkok
  • Groceries Prices in Manila are 40.86% lower than in Bangkok
  • Local Purchasing Power in Manila is 11.19% lower than in Bangkok

Further information on this link: Numbeo – Manila Vs Bangkok


For Filipinos, it is quite complicated to have a job when you’re not qualified. But for expats, there is no problem. Head hunters look for skills especially among foreigners.

Engineers are particularly valued in the job market.

5.3 Local contacts

Here are some precious contacts that you must know if you are to live in Philippines.

Fire Engine / Ambulance: 911

Non-Emergency Ambulance: 911

Police Emergency: 117

Here are the best real estate companies in Philippines. They can be of a great help to guide you through your relocation.

Marsh Real Estate Agency

KMC Savills

Colliers International

(632) 546-8623

(632) 403-5519

(632) 888 9988

On the website

On the website

Here are some visa agencies to help you with your administrative procedure.

Passport and visas

Fortrust International Pty Ltd


+61 2 9269 0933

E-mail on the website

You will find below four of the most famous international schools in Philippines.

International School Manila

Cebu International School

(632) 840.8400

(632) 261-0247