- The package was picked up on November 19
- It arrived on Philippine soil and was cleared by customs on November 23
- It arrived at pickup point on November 24
What was that even supposed to mean? What pick-up point? I did some research and found out International Express Mail sent through the USPS is sent through PhilPost's Express Mail Service (EMS) once it gets to the Philippines. I tried to track the package on PhilPost's website with no luck. Worse, I found a lot of horror stories on the web about packages sent to the Philippines through the USPS being tampered with or never getting to the recipient! As one blogger put it, everything is well documented until the package reaches the Philippines, where it essentially falls into a black hole. :|
BUT! There's a happy ending to this story!
I searched every page of PhilPost's website until I found an email link to customer service. They were, surprisingly, very efficient and polite and helpful. I sent them a message Friday night (around 10PM) and I got a reply on Monday morning, asking me for my tracking number. This morning, they emailed again saying my package was ready for pick-up at my local post office.
Apparently it has been sitting in the UPLB post office since November 24. They said they sent a notification card to my house which I obviously didn't receive, but never mind that because I got my package unopened (so much tape with USPS stamped all over it!) and in good condition! Now I'm feeling a little guilty about my cynicism!
For those with packages still lost in the system, be pro-active. Don't just wait and complain why it's taking so long. Track your package, inquire, send them an email, call your local post-office. Just don't overdo it because annoying the hell out of everyone is counterproductive. :P
My package was sent through international express mail and that's a lot faster than regular mail especially SURFACE MAIL meaning by land and sea! If your package/ mail was sent through regular mail it really takes a lot longer so be patient. :)