A Hard Look at the Balikbayan Box: The Philippine Diaspora’s Exported Hospitality

  • Karina Hof
Part of the Anthropology, Change, and Development book series (ACD)


The cardboard containers that Filipinos in the diaspora send and carry to the Philippines are intended to enhance life for loved ones there. But a hard look at the balikbayan box—its contents and processes surrounding its preparation—reveals that senders and receivers value these in-kind remittances expressly because they come from a place that is Other. This chapter examines how the reiteration of this particular transnational kinwork practice—by individuals and the Filipino state, which encourages and regulates it—produces an exported hospitality. That has negative implications for the socio-economic self-sustenance of a postcolonial nation and its people. Data are drawn from academic and popular literature and in-depth interviews with nine senders, all but one of whom were migrant workers in the Netherlands.


Hospitality Balikbayan Otherness Philippines 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karina Hof
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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