FAQ -order and shipment

how is delivery done?

your item is airmailed directly from the abaca maker to you via public mail services. within a few days of your order, your item is delivered to the public mail office, and a tracking number is passed to you. 

when do i get my delivery?

count on 3-5 weeks for delivery; but we have many examples of arrival across the globe within less than 2 weeks!

how to follow-up on delivery?

2-3 days after your order, your item is delivered to the local post office in Central Philippines, and in return we email you a tracking number. follow shipping progress on http://tnt.phlpost.gov.ph/index/

tracking is not always updated accurately and timely by Philippines Postal Corporation, however, we have only good experiences with deliveries arriving in good order, even the tracking updates are behind!

why are product and shipping prices so low?

product costs are low costs because your item is deriving directly from a rural area in a low-cost 3rd world country. no costs for building up product stocks in an overseas warehouse, and of course no costs for expensive retail outlets other than online presence. shipping costs are according to local postal authorities pricing scheme, which is lower than costs for private international couriers (as well as lower than domestic mailing costs in 1st world countries!)

what about import duties and VAT/ sales tax?

the order value is below the duties and VAT/ sales tax threshold, hence no further costs are due, and the shipment is delivered to you without any formalities or paperwork.

why can I only order one of each item per shipment?

partly in order to stay under the minimum threshold for import duties, VAT/ sales tax, and also to minimise the airmail costs (costs of light envelopes and boxes are relatively cheap compared to heavier shipments). 

what if the item is received in bad condition?

it doesn't happen often! keep in mind that abaca by nature is a durable and strong material. even the packaging box is damaged, dented or wet, the contents is usually fine. if you experience issues, please email us on support@philabaca.com and we will do our best to handle the situation!

who is producing the items?

all items are fully handmade by makers in the Philippines' Bicol region. the makers are family-style; filipino families are usually larger than western families, with abaca maker traditions staying in the family across generations. if a maker receive many orders, they will call in friends, neighbours and extended family to assist in completing items as soon as possible. the makers either produce the raw abaca in their own -or other family member's- plantation, or they purchase raw abaca fibres from local Bicol plantations.

no items are coming out of a factory! each and every item is made by hand, with love and care!

will my item look exactly as the photos?

by nature of hand crafting, the items may differ slightly; likewise the abaca fibres raw material may differ slightly from harvest to harvest, due to weather conditions. additionally we try to sign-up alternate makers for popular items, in order to accommodate many parallel orders beyond the capacity of individual crafters; each maker may have small process variations reflecting generations of experience and tradition.

is the local abaca plantation and handicraft workers exploited?

even the prices are low, the abaca plantation and the team handcrafting your abaca item are happy for your orders -their standard prices have not been negotiated; the per item revenue is much higher than exporting abaca in bulk, and your order is hence contributing to the rural economy positively.