At a quick glance, Guam and the Philippines look quite different: 

  • Geography: While Guam is a single island within the Mariana Island chain, the Philippines is an island nation consisting of 7,640 islands, 2,000 of which are inhabited.i  
  • Population: Guam is home to an estimated 168,801 people. In contrast, the Philippines population is around 110.8 million, making it the thirteenth-most-populated country in the world.ii 

That said, the two locations do share some significant similarities:  

  • History: Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan visited both Guam and the Philippines, one after another. Ultimately, this led to many years of Spanish rule for both islands.  
  • Settlement Patterns: In even more ancient history, it’s believed that the original inhabitants of Guam may have arrived after a stop in the Philippines. Navigation-wise, it’s easy to get from the Philippines to Guam by following the path of the sun.  
  • Population Trends: Fast forwarding to the present, Filipinos make up nearly a third of the island’s population, so you’ll find strong ties between the two areas.iii 

If you’re moving between these two destinations, we’ll show you everything you need to know to ensure that your relocation goes off without a hitch. But first… 

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aerial drone panorama of palaui lighthouse phillipines

Moving to the Philippines? Here’s the Scoop 

What makes the Philippines such an attractive destination? There are plenty of reasons: 

  • Low cost of living – Living in the Philippines means a lower cost of living than many global destinations. The Mercer 2020 Cost of Living survey living in Manila on par with living in Detroit, Michigan. Additionally, the website Expatistan estimates that living in Manila is 52% cheaper than living in Seattle, Washington.iv In fact, it’s such a popular place to retire that the country has its own Retirement Authority to process applications and offer assistance to potential retirees. 
  • English is widely-spoken – Along with Filipino, English is one of the official languages of the Philippines. Like Guam, the language is spoken throughout most areas, making it an attractive destination for English-speakers. 
  • Warm, tropical weather – If you loved the weather on Guam (and you never want to see another winter again!), you’ll love the Philippines. Temperatures rarely dip below 70° F, and you’ll enjoy sunny weather throughout most of the year.
  • Family connections – Finally, as we noted, Guam has a significant Filipino population, so we see a number of people returning to the Philippines to live among family.  

Here’s what you need to know if you’re relocating from Guam to the Philippines. 

Special Notes About Moves to the Philippines:

Customs Fees to Import Household Items: If you fall into one of the following categories, you can apply for duty-free treatment of your household goods: 

  • Holders of the following visas: 9G, 13G, 13A, 9D, 47A2, SRRV, and EO 226 
  • Diplomatic shipments 

Duty-Free Allowances: For each person over 18 years old, the following may be brought in duty-free over the course of a year: 

  • 400 pieces of cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 grams of pipe tobacco or 2 tins of tobacco 
  • 2 bottles, no larger than 1 L each 

Prohibited/Restricted Items: Customs will likely inspect 100% of your household goods shipment, which may include a scan. As such, you’ll want to be aware of the following items that are prohibited or restricted for import.  

  • Obscene literature, photographs, and films
  • Politically subversive literature
  • Narcotics and drugs
  • Gambling paraphernalia, including roulette wheels, pinball machines, lottery/sweepstakes tickets, or jackpot machines
  • Sharp or bladed weapons
  • Perishable items 
  • Ammunition, explosives, and firearms must be licensed and have Philippines National Police clearance. 
  • Drugs and medicines, including over-the-counter prescription drugs and medicines. These should be hand carried in minimal amounts.
  • Live plants require an international phytosanitary certificate and a Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance (SPSIC) from the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) before importation. 

For more information about customs rules and procedures, talk to your moving company or refer to the Philippine Customs website 

You’re also welcome to ask one of our experts! Along with our local partner in the Philippines, we’ve executed many safe and seamless moves for our customers. We can help you get any answers you need regarding your move to the Philippines. Now, if you’re headed the other way, let’s talk about moving to Guam from the Philippines. 

land scape of guam beach, hotel and buildings along seashore, panorama view of beach

Moving to Guam from the Philippines? Here’s Everything You Need to Know 

The beautiful island of Guam is waiting to welcome you! If you’re moving here from the Philippines, you might wonder what your life will be like once you arrive. Our Insider’s Guide to Living on Guam will give you some initial thoughts on where to live, where to shop, and how to spend your leisure time on the island. (And if you’re curious what kind of activities you’ll enjoy on Guam, check out our Guam beach guide and our list of 10 Things to Do, Activities, and Attractions on Guam.) Now, let’s talk about what you need to know about shipping all of your household items to Guam. 

Special Notes About Guam Moves:

Your Shipment Will Be Subject to Guam’s Customs Regulations- Although Guam is a U.S. territory, federal regulations have given Guam the responsibility of maintaining their own Customs and Quarantine Agency (CQA).

You May Pay a Small Fee to Send Your Household Goods to Guam- If you send it via ocean freight, there’s a flat fee of $125 for the first 4,000 pounds and $0.0012 for every pound thereafter. You’ll find more details below! 

Customs: Your household goods shipment will clear through Guam’s CQA 

Guam Customs Fees:  The fees charged by the Guam CQA differ, depending on whether you ship everything via ocean freight or some of your goods via air freight.  

  • For ocean freight: The first 4,000 lbs. are assessed a $125.00 for international shipments. A $0.0012 fee will be charged for every pound thereafter.  
  • For air freight: The first 100 lbs. of air cargo will be assessed a $125.00 fee. A $0.0012 fee will be charged for every pound thereafter.  

Documents Needed:

  • The original bill of lading (OBL), copy of telex release or air waybill (AWB)  
  • A clear copy of the owner’s passport, including the signature and picture page 
  • A detailed inventory, signed by the owner
  • Full contact information for the owner
  • Full employment information for the owner  

Additional Possible Fees:

  • Inspections: Shipments held for a physical exam may be charged a fee of $75/hour for loose-loaded shipments or $50/crate for liftvan-loaded shipments.  
  • FirearmsIf your shipment contains firearms, it will be held in a certified Container Freight Station for inspection prior to release. A fee of $1.00 per cubic foot will be assessed for the entire shipment.
  • Motorcycles / Scooters / Mopeds / ATVs / Trailers / Watercraft : These items must be held in a certified Container Freight Station for inspection prior to release. A fee of $1.00 per cubic foot will be assessed.  
  • All food items, including things like dried food, spices, perishables, meats, and liquids  
  • Narcotics and dangerous drugs  
  • Pornography
  • Misbranded articles
  • Hazardous articles, including fireworks
  • Toxic and poisonous substances
  • Endangered species and artifacts
  • Rooted plants, flowers, soil, and fruits
  • Non-DOT approved tires  
  • Guam law allows the import of up to four legally authorized firearms for personal use. Ammunition is strictly prohibited. Documentation is required.  
  • An individual 21 years and older can bring in one gallon (3.8 liters) of alcoholic beverages. Any amount in excess will result in a 4% duty based on the value of the alcohol and the cost of the ocean freight of the entire shipment.  
  • Only normal required quantities of medicines and narcotics are acceptable for import, provided they are supported by a prescription or statement from a personal physician. They must also be properly identified. Narcotics listed under Schedule I, II and III of the Controlled Substance Act are generally prohibited. Severe penalties will be imposed if these substances are improperly imported. 

Feeling uncertainAsk your moving company up front! That way, you’ll be able to eliminate any potential customs problems before they happen. We’d also be happy to helpJust reach out to us with any questions you have about moving to Guam.  And don’t forget to download your International Move Checklist to set the foundation for a simple and seamless move, no matter your destination.  

Making an Effortless Transition Between Guam and the Philippines 

Whether you’re moving from Guam to the Philippines or vice versa, a very different life is waiting for you. As you adjust to your new circumstances, the last thing you want to worry about is your household goods shipment. By following these guidelines, you’ll set yourself up for an easy move—and get yourself settled quickly into your new home. 

Moving between Guam and the Philippines? We’d love to help you make an easy transition. Just reach out to one of our international move experts for a complimentary quote. 

Tell us about your move!