POBox PH Updated Review 2016 and 2017

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My previous review was back in 2014 so I'm updating it with my recent box with them.

POBox.ph

Even though The Bureau of Customs has increased the de minimis for imported goods to 10000 php, there is still a lot of demand for forwarders. If you are planning on buying from different online stores, forwarders consolidate all your parcels for you and deliver them straight to your doorstep instead of waiting on the items individually and going back and forth the post office to pick up your package (and paying 100php for the storage fee), 

The forwarder I use the most is POBox PH. Almost all of my transactions with them went smoothly (except during the time there was a truck ban in Metro Manila that resulted in cargo ships getting stranded in the port, which isn't POBox's fault). Since the first time I used their services last 2013, they have revamped their website and they are now offering air shipping which I haven't tried yet (at $6.50 per lb, with a 3 lbs minimum package weight and a clearing fee consisting of the 10% of declared value of the items; please note certain items like electronics also has additional charges). 

If you don't have a credit card or if you want to shop on online shops that don't allow using credit cards with a billing address outside the U.S., you can also request POBox to shop on your behalf (they charge a 5% service charge for your total purchase price). You have to fill up a request form first, then they'll give you a quote and wait for your payment before they purchase the items. I asked for a price quote before and it took them more than 1 working day to respond so it might not be best to request for sale items because the sale might be over before they even process this.

Anyway, I shopped on some websites for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2016 and had some last minute Amazon purchases on late November. I requested them to bill me for the box sometime December because I wanted to have my box shipped before they go on a break (not entirely sure, but I think they go on a break on Christmas-New Year).

They billed me on the second week of January but they told me that they loaded my box on the cargo ship last December. According to the tracking number they gave, here is the timeline of the shipment

December 24 - loaded items into the cargo ship
December 29 - received/loaded at the port Long Beach - CA
January 2 - ship sailed from port
January 31 - unloaded to warehouse here in the Cainta Rizal - PH
February 1 - loaded to truck
February 2 - out for delivery / delivered at my home

On average it takes about 5-6 weeks after it has been loaded to the truck before it gets delivered. It's not that long to be honest, as even air shipped items takes an average of two weeks (might even take 3 if the parcel gets held at the post office). You'll save a lot on shipping by just having to wait a little bit more for your items.

They have insurance available, but the insurance only covers lost boxes (individual items that are lost are not covered by the insurance).

One more reason why I keep using their service is their response rate. Every time I have a question, I just send them an email and they respond promptly and satisfactorily. I hope this level of service will remain consistent.

Kiko Mizuhara on I Feel It Coming Music Video - The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk

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Kiko Mizuhara on The Weeknd I Feel It Coming ft. Daft Punk
Kiko Mizuhara is on the new music video for I Feel It Coming by The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk! The music video is directed by Warren Fu.



I Feel It Coming is a song by The Weeknd from his third studio album Starboy (2016). The song also features Daft Punk. This single was released on November 2016 and as of February 25 2017, it has sold a total of 352,373 copies and has spent 14 weeks on the charts.



The song gained even more popularity, gaining a boost of 154% in sales after it has been performed on the 59th Grammy Awards last February.



You can watch the music video below:


Kiko Mizuhara Plastic Surgery

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Personally, I don’t think she has but if she did I want the doctor’s contact information. Thanks.

By the way this is a long ass post, so grab a drink and make yourself comfy.

Anyway, when people say that Kiko had plastic surgery done, they always show the same photos. Which is weird because Kiko has been modelling since she was 13. She’s got to have a lot of photos to choose from but we always see the same ones. It seems that people have been posting/choosing bad photos on purpose to prove their point.

We’ll take a look at what this websites says (because it’s the top result when you search for Kiko Mizuhara plastic surgery)

http://plasticsurgeryexamples.blogspot.com/2013/08/kiko-mizuhara-plastic-surgery.html

Jaw Line / Chin Bone Line


Exhibit A


This picture says that she has jaw line / chin bone surgery because her jaw is now more defined.

While Kiko has always been on the skinny side; her weight has actually been fluctuating when she was younger (I remember her mentioning that she doesn't like working out when she was younger, and she still doesn't like it but she sees the need to so she is somewhat working out now). See a photo of her in ViVi June 2010, plus a photo of her in 2016 for the NOVA Borderless campaign. She is skinnier nowadays.


Here is a picture of her when she just won the Seventeen JP magazine’s modelling contest (13 years old); she is really skinny here so you can see her jaw is really prominent.


The example in the plastic surgery blog is from ViVi September 2008 issue, so let’s compare other photos from LITERALLY the same issue. In the other shots her jaw line looks pretty defined to me. It’s just a matter of choosing an angle where it looks obvious.


Double Eyelid


Exhibit A


The plastic surgery blog says that Kiko has now got a clearer double eyelid. The first photo is from ViVi September 2008 (AGAIN LOL). Some sources say middle photo is from Maquia February 2012 (I don’t have a copy so I can’t verify that), but the last photo (the grey one) is shot for Nicola Formichetti’s Fantasia Project in 2012 and shown in Dazed magazine.

Here’s the scan for the whole page so y’all know I’m not just making up the ViVi issue month/year


Now here’s an older photo of Kiko from November 2007  ViVi where she got a really clear and prominent eyelid


Now, here are random pictures of Kiko with small eyelid shape/size AFTER 2012 (the evidence of a clearer double eyelid on the plastic surgery website was shot in 2012, hence I’m placing pictures after 2012)


Either Kiko goes to surgery back and forth so sometimes her eyelids are big and sometimes they look small or she uses eyelid glue like Koji Eye Talk. Well, she might not be using eyelid glue but I believe that make-up and posing/angles contribute to that.

For those who don't know what eyelid glue is

Also, eyelid crease shape can change temporarily; hence Kiko’s eyelid shape sometimes looking really big and sometimes looking small. Just research for your self on what factors causes temporary eyelid crease shape change, but I recommend reading below:

https://www.quora.com/Why-do-some-single-fold-eyelid-people-get-double-folded-eyelids-when-they-are-tired

Nose Job


Exhibit A


The first picture is the headshot used on TGC (Tokyo Girls Collection) 2008 model line up. Second is again from ViVi September 2008. Third photo from Nicola Formichetti’s Fantasia Project featured on Dazed back in 2012 and the last photo, allegedly also from 2012, February issue of Maquia.

Since the first two photos from above are from 2008, let’s look at a photo of Kiko in 2007 (ViVi November 2007). Her nose appears sharper when viewed from the side.


Let me just say that I’ve always noticed that Kiko’s nose doesn’t look defined when looking at front view. Cue in one of her well recognized photos taken in 2010, specifically when they had an interview for the the movie I’M FLASH. I’ve placed in other pictures of her in the interview wearing the same sleeveless turtleneck so y’all know I’m not just pulling the info regarding where the pics are from out of my ass.


Point is, you wouldn’t really guess that her nose looks sharp when viewed at the side just by looking at the front view or if the angle is not right. Here are some of her pictures between 2015-2016 where her nose looks roundish (Outtake from High Cut Korea 2015 shoot, Emoda SS16 official photo and screenshot from promo video, then selfie from Panasonic Beauty released 2017 but most likely shot late 2016).


To wrap everything up, we can’t really know for certain if Kiko had plastic surgery. Does it matter? Not to me. If it does to you, I hope everything I placed here helped you draw conclusion.

I’ll just leave you with photos from Kiko’s unfortunate eyebrow teenage years (credits to little希子), along with more recent photos so you can see side by side that apart from the eyebrows she looks a lot similar to her younger pictures. Everyone goes through an awkward phase and peoples appearances change all the time. And styling, make up and eyebrows can make a lot of difference.

R.A. 10863 Customs Modernization & Tariff Act and AliExpress to Philippines

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I will be talking about my past experience with PHLPost and customs, so if you want to go straight to AliExpress, just scroll down below.

For the past several years, I avoided having items shipped through PHLPost whenever I can to avoid customs inspection.

Customs here in the Philippines is notoriously corrupt and there are a lot of horror stories of people getting charged absurd tax rates. Just google it and you'll see there are no shortage of angry anecdotes online. I do have my own unpleasant experience myself.

Some years ago, I bought eyeglasses at some website based outside the Philippines. The price was cheaper than what I would usually get here (that includes getting the thin lenses and having it multi-coated). At the time, I previously purchased a few items internationally. I did get taxed but it was was somewhat reasonable (I can't remember exactly, but it was less than half the parcel price) so I expected I the taxes I have to pay would be about half the total purchase price at the most. When the package arrived, the tax I got charged with was even higher than what I originally paid for. I ended up not getting the item so it was sent back and the seller kindly issued a refund.

Since then I just use forwarders like Pobox.ph that will deliver the items straight to my door. Not only this saves me the trouble of picking up my parcel, but more importantly I know the fees that I have to pay beforehand and I won't get charged for additional anything once it arrives. Air shipping with forwarders can get expensive, while the sea freight option is a lot cheaper but also slower. 

That excludes books though. Books aren't charged tax (due to the Florence Agreement, as long as you are buying 6 or less of the same book), so I just have them shipped normally. I'm not sure if magazines are included in this, but I also purchased a magazine together with two books at YesAsia last year and it was also delivered straight to me. But if you must know, there are people who still gets charged "tax" on books.  There was even a case that got viral last 2015, wherein someone got charged tax for the Harry Potter book set (since it has a total of 7 books and the customs employee insisted that all the books in her set are just the same). 

Submitted in 2015 but finally implemented last October 2016, The Bureau of Customs has increased the de minimis for imported goods from 10php (around $0.200 dollars LOL) to 10000php (around $200). That means imported goods under 10000php are not subject to duties and taxes. Products like tobacco, wines and spirits are still subject to excise tax even if they are under the de minimis.

You can read it here:
http://www.sra.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/RA-10863_Customs-Tariff_Modernization_act.pdf

It seems The Bureau of Customs are trying really hard to shed their corrupt image as have been changing their policies over the past few months. That's great but why it has taken them ages to fix the most common complaints (like Balikbayan boxes getting raided, custom officers charging unreasonable tax etc.)

ONTO ALIEXPRESS

I decided to give this a whirl by buying items from AliExpress and from international eBay sellers last month. I've always wanted to buy items from AliExpress because there are a lot of cheap items. Before someone lectures me on the effects of fast fashion, please keep in mind I live in a country where the wages are one of the lowest in the world and while buying dirt-cheap goods just help perpetuate low wages, its not something that can be fixed overnight so it's not like I'm gonna walk around naked or stop buying stuff in the meantime.

Anyway, I bought three items on AliExpress and two items on eBay (all different sellers) last 23rd December 2016; and I got a notice from the post office last 11th January and 16th January. One of the items purchased through eBay was delivered straight to my house. All of them were posted out with the (supposedly slow) free shipping option but they all came in less than a month so it wasn't that long.

The cards that I received from the post office had an instruction on it saying that I should bring copies of the invoice of my purchases although I wasn't asked for it when I picked up my items. You need to bring a valid I.D. though.

While the items aren't charged tax, all items held in the post office are still subject to a storage fee. I've read somewhere that the storage fee is 100. I was indeed charged 100 php per parcel, but there was an additional VAT charge so for four parcels the total was 448 php.

I asked them what is their basis for holding items at the post office. It probably isn't the parcel weight or price, as the parcel delivered directly to me was heavier and higher in price than some of my other purchases. All they said was it was the custom officer's discretion on which parcels gets delivered directly and which ones gets held.

While it still bums me that I have to pick up parcels at the post office as the one located nearest to me is still out of the way (and there is always a chance that you have to pick it up at the main PHLPost office at Pasay) I am somewhat more confident in making small purchases online since I don't have to worry about paying additional duties and taxes anymore.

Thoughts on my purchases

The wig was slightly better than expected. I've bought cheap wigs before and they were thin, made out of shiny synthetic hair and shed a lot. This one is somewhat thick and the hair texture looks natural. My only complaint is the hairline looks unnatural and obvious but nothing that can't be fixed by using a cap or by lowering your standards. If you've got sewing skills perhaps you can tweak the hairline.

The black coin purse is just a regular coin purse. Nothing much to say really.

I almost didn't went through buying the radio bag. Counterfeit items are all over AliExpress, and they don't place in the brand name (to avoid getting caught maybe? or maybe to not discourage buyers) so if you don't know the design you might be unknowingly buying counterfeit. I tried searching if this radio bag is a counterfeit of some other bag but I can't really find another one similar (apart from other sellers selling on AliExpress and some standalone online fashion stores selling stuff sourced from AliExpress/Taobao). The bag itself was great and the size is perfect.

In case you want to try out AliExpress, you can sign up on the link below to get a $4.00 coupon:
http://s.aliexpress.com/qYf6BbQF


Kiko Mizuhara for Sailor Moon x Shiseido MAQuillAGE

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Well, not 100% sure but seems like it. The lips and the arms looks like Kiko’s but we’ll see
The Dramatic Powdery UV Foundation (the one in the compact case) is priced at 3500 yen while the Dramatic Skin Sensor Base UV makeup base is priced at 2500 yen (and it seems to be bundled with a refill? or just a non compact version of the Dramatic Powdery UV Foundation).



They are only available in two shades though, Ocher 10 and Ocher 20
There was a special set that comes with a pouch and sticker that was available for pre-order on Premium Bandai but you can’t pre-order them anymore.
Guess everyone else just has to wait for it to hit stores on April 21 on stores in Japan or on Shiseido’s online shop.
Doesn’t it look gorgeous? Go visit the website so you can rotate the items
I remember the Sailor Moon Crystal Powder Compact released for the 20th anniversary, I wanted it so bad but the prices were insane. Since this doesn’t really look like Usagi’s brooch prices probably won’t inflate (that much).

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