I am so sorry to hear that this has been such a logistical pain for you
I tried my best to make my instructions to be as clear as possible. If there was anything unclear, or if you have suggestions to make it better, please don't hesitate to let me know. It will go a long way in making things easier for future Santas.
With that out of the way, I realllyyyyy don't mind receiving gifts in January. After all, I was aware that ocean freight was going to be a (very) slow method. But given your crazy trouble with the elves, let me try to think what may be the best and least hassle option for you. Option #1: Send the gifts through Pobox anyway
If I understand your predicament correctly, there has been a bit of a mishap on where the games purchased from the store were supposed to go (such a bummer
). I would think if it was the store's fault, they should readily reverse the costs of shipping, but I leave that customer service mumbo jumbo charm to you Santa.
Nonetheless, if the games have already been purchased, but you're suggesting that you still buy me gifts here in the Philippines, won't that drive up your costs anyway? That would be like buying the games twice. Maybe that extra cost you might incur would be lower if you just re-routed shipping to Pobox instead of repurchasing games? Again, I don't mind having the gifts late. I can't exactly see the costs on your end, but if we're trying to lower it, maybe this would work out better? Option #2: Pick up games from Gaming Library
San Juan is a about an an hour and a half drive from where I am. We couuuld try the Paypal method. I can shoot you my Paypal account and see if this will work. And I can perhaps ask a friend to pick it up for me so I don't have to drive to the store. But as discussed above, I'm not sure if the overall costs would make sense to you. Games purchased here in Philippine stores will understandably be at a premium (to cover for the shipping costs). But if in your calculations, this makes more sense cost-wise and is more "value for money" instead of Option #1, I have no problems Option 3: Ballista Games Cebu
This is probably the lease viable of the options. Cebu is an hour plane ride from where I am. Maybe they have a courier system that will make more sense-cost wise? I really haven't explored. Let me know.
So those are the options off the top of my head Santa. Again I'm really sorry to hear about your troubles
I've had my turn sending games to Estonia and Brazil and those were quite a challenge as well.
Anyway, I'm not sweating it. I'm sure when your games do arrive here. They will be amazing
So let me know Santa, I look forward to hearing from you again. Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas! (Or as we say in local parlance, "Maligayang Pasko!")
The Christmas rush is here! Thanks for waiting! I hope I made it just in time to write to you my letter. I wanted to get things done before the deadline, but things have just been so busy recently. New job! New relationships! And now Secret Santa! My November has shaped up to be quite a month! Heck, my birthday is just around the corner (next week!)
This is my second year joining Secret Santa. Last year was a blast! The theme for me last year was one of "trepidation". I guess you've figured out by now that I live all the way out here in the tropical and sunny country of the Philippines! A land know for it's wonderful and friendly people and absolutely buzzing atmosphere. But being on the other side of the world meant figuring out logistical hoops on how to get games here, and how to get games to my target. But figure it out we did! Me and my Santa did a splendid job taking advantage of unique modes of delivery. We were able to thwart the most dastardly of taxes and customs fees that tend to be levied when games are couriered here. I will discuss that method in detail below.
I have been a good boy this year Santa. I'm 2 months in a new job and I'm having a fantastic time. I'm in a new relationship and that's been great too!
I continue to be busy in helping out the community. The Philippines for all its beauty, unfortunately tends to be on the receiving end of storms and earthquakes. This year, we helped in packing relief goods to be sent to areas in need. As you already know, camarederie and support is strong among Filipinos.
One also needs to take care of one's body Santa! And I've continued my good streak last year when I lost 20lbs. Though that weight loss has been tough to match, I've continued to jog and watch my diet. I'm aiming to lose 10 more lbs. Oh I know it's tough Santa. Specially for you when everybody's been giving you cookies and milk ALL the time!
This is my 4th year in the hobby and my 2nd year running a consistent weekly game group. It's a tough but fulfilling role. There's usually 3-5 of us on a given night. We tend to appreciate medium weight euros with variable set-ups and tons of replayability. We play a lot of Dominion, Suburbia and 7 Wonders. But we don't shy from heavy thematic games. Our best experiences as a group have come from our campaign of Risk Legacy and from our forays in space with Merchant of Venus. Oh my! Those were so much fun in a box! My favorite game is Small World as I love the interactions, variable set-ups and the comedy that ensure from each game!
As was last year, my wishlist is a combinination of games I've been FOREVER curious about. Games that I couldn't get myself to pull the trigger on, but should I receive them as a gift, I will most definitely be elated! While making the list, I kept imagining myself opening the box and thinking which games would elicit an -- OH BOY! YEE HA! WOOT! I even ranked them in terms of what I WILY WILY WILY WILY WANT! Last year I even put a description to each of the games. I don't know if I'll have time to do that but I'll do my best! Haha! I really look forward to your goodies Santa!
But then, there's the fact that I live all the way here in the Philippines. I will defer to your better judgment Santa on how you want to get your goodies to get here. After all, you are the king of logistics! I only request that you try not to go through a normal courier, since as I've said, taxes and customs fees levied on goods can be quite heavy Last year, Santa was kind enough to send games through the method I myself use when I order games: ocean freight. That means shipping games to a receiving station in the US, who will then ship it to the Philippines via freighter. This method has proven to be reliable and very cost-effective, as no taxes are levied on such deliveries. The only downside is... it's SLOOOOOW. It takes 1-2 months for the package to get here. Last year, I celebrated Secret Santa in January. No big deal! That just means still having something to look forward to in January!
But at the end of the day. I defer to your better judgment Santa on the methods you choose to pursue.
Merry Christmas Santa! May all your games be awesome and may your holidays be merry! And lastly, before I forget... did I mention it's also my birthday on the 18th of November?
(Oh I know... you don't do birthdays Santa. But hey! I'm just putting it out there )
Haha Maligayang Pasko Santa!
PS: And in case you're interested in the ocean freight thing.....
And now we interrupt this letter for an important newscast:
So what follow is a boring logistical step by step Santa. Bear with me. I'm sure you'd much rather be swooping through chimneys but unfortunately.. there are no chimneys in the Philippines :| If you're dumbfounded on how to get stuff here in the Philippines, I've outlined how to send packages through a US ocean freight forwarding service called: www.pobox.ph
1) Create a free account at the website! You may have to use my name (Jake Fernandez) when registering a name, and my home address when asked for a shipping address, but the rest of the details should be yours (such as email and username).
2) Send the items to their warehouse for receiving and consolidation!
Attn: "Your Name"*
1102 Arroyo St. Unit B
San Fernando, CA 91340
*"Your Name" -- should be my name (Ex. Attn: Jake Fernandez)
3) Once there's a tracking number for the items, log-on with your account at the Pobox website and click on the "My Items" tab. Input the items you have sent one by one/line by line with the corresponding details such as tracking number (Very important! If it's a bit tedious, you can have the elves do it!)
4) Once the courier has confirmed that the items have been received at the warehouse, go back to the website and then My Items again, which should now reflect a time stamp for the receipt of the items. (Sometimes it takes a day for them to update). Turn your attention then to the drop down box at the upper left corner, select SHIP ALL ITEMS IN THE WAREHOUSE then click SUBMIT.
5) In a few days, you will receive an invoice in your email with an option to pay for the shipping through credit card or Paypal.
THAT'S IT! Very hassle free and easy Here, have some of the Filipino version of cookies and milk: puto bumbong (gelatinous rice sweets) and gulaman (sugar cane juice)! *sheepish grin*
(Their pricing is based on the kind of box used to consolidate your items. To give you an idea of how big these boxes are, by experience, 2-4 games can comfortably fit in the smallest box: Black Box)