can someone tell me why almost everyone who flies to the philippines has two large boxes with him/her?
this question was answered by a filipino friend of mine:
those boxes are called "balikbayan boxes." "balik" means "return" and "bayan" means country person. so, it's basically filipinos returning to the motherland.
in those boxes are full of goodies for the relatives back home. anything American really, like chocolates, dry goods, clothes, etc. they pack all those things in boxes. i think they are the size that they are because of some existing freight requirement or something like that.
the boxes typically feature a logo of a company called LBC, which is one of the main parcel companies in the philippines. think of FedEx or UPS, but in a much lower scale and without the guarantee of expedited shipping.
and, vice versa, filipinos returning to the U.S. also lug around those huge boxes full of treats from back home. although some of them are illegal (dried fish, fresh fruit, pirated material), they bring them back here anyway.