A few weeks ago, I wrote about my experience with Lands' End and Johnny Air. Setting aside the expensive shipping fees imposed by Johnny Air and poor customer service experience from Lands' End, everything eventually ended well. I'm enjoying abusing my first monogrammed tote. :) Proof to this, I'm using the bag since it arrived. I never changed my bag since that week. Heehee

As promised in the previous post, I will be sharing another shopping and shipping experience. This time, the experience is about LL Bean and Pobox.Ph.

Warning : Long post ahead :)

LL Bean is an American based company founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean. Hence, the company name. LL Bean is known for producing apparel and reliable outdoor equipment. It started as a one-man business in Maine and later expanded with global operations. As of date, the company is still maintaining its main production site and corporate headquarters in Maine.

LL Bean also operates in Japan. I discovered this when I was searching for Instagram users with LL Bean bags. My search results were dominated by Japanese women sporting their own monogrammed tote. I actually thought of ordering online in Japan. Since the country is nearer, the bag will arrive sooner. Unfortunately, I cannot navigate the page that was presented in full Japanese characters.

Among the products offered by LL Bean, I was obviously attracted to their line of boat and tote bags. 

You can check their boat and tote bags here

I can't remember how I exactly discovered LL Bean. One thing sure, another blogger led me to this company. At that time, I was restless with the limited earnings stored in my Paypal account. If I transfer the funds to my local bank account, the Php 250 transaction fee will hurt. I later figured out that using my funds for online shopping is the better option. I initially wanted to shop at Zalora. However, I was surprised when the site doesn't anymore accept my US dollar funds as payments. So the optimal solution, look for other interesting sites that accept dollar payments. LL Bean appeared as the best option since it offers bags that fit my limited funds. :)

Ordering at LL Bean was so easy. It follows the typical procedure of shopping sites, add the item in your bag, check out and pay.  The process will consume additional steps if you prefer customisation such as monogramming, zippers and additional pockets.

I was quite fortunate when I purchased the bag because there was 10% price reduction on all items. Yay! During the online purchase, I encountered a minor problem that was immediately resolved by the very smart and reliable customer service officer. Turns out, LL Bean's system does not accept Philippine based Paypal accounts for orders to be delivered to a US address. Simply to say, orders paid using a Philippine based Paypal account should be directly shipped to the Philippines. This will therefore prevent me from availing the services of Pobox.Ph and other cargo forwarding companies. This further meant that I have to pay expensive shipping fees and questionable custom taxes. Fortunately, LL Bean's customer service officer offered a smart alternative. He suggested, I purchase an e-gift card using my Paypal account. With this, I was able to escape the system's restriction of shipping an item to a US address while paying using a Philippine based account. 

Thank you Sir! I forgot your name but you were so smart and efficient. Everything was resolved by a very convenient online chat mechanism. 

LL Bean offers free shipping in US, regardless of amount of purchased. This is something Lands' End doesn't offer. In addition to this, LL Bean maintains its own tracking facility. All orders, regardless of size, weight and price, are entitled for tracking. On the contrary, Lands' End tracking facility is redirected to UPS' site. 

After a few days, my first LL Bean tote arrived in Pobox.Ph's US address. I thought everything would run smoothly. It was my first time to try Pobox.Ph. They were able to deliver my bag with minor problems that were likewise eventually resolved.

Pobox.Ph's process is quite different from Johnny Air. Johnny Air only requires an email to inform them of the item that is yet to arrive in their US office. Pobox.Ph requires signing up for a personal account. At first, I felt that Pobox.Ph's system is more organised and secured. A personal account with login name and password is more secured than a notification email. 

Pobox.Ph claims that the status of my package will be posted in my personal account. Unfortunately, I have to send follow up emails for posted updates. The entire waiting period from Pobox.Ph entailed sending repeating follow up emails.  When I paid the shipping fees, it took them days and as always, a follow up email to confirm and update. 

Despite the slow response of Pobox.Ph, they were able to deliver my package. They claim that they deliver within 5 weeks. True enough, they fulfilled their promise. 

The box used by Pobox.Ph was of the same size with my Lands' End package. I paid Php 1,386 ($ 30) for this size. You can see Pobox.Ph's rates here

On the positive side, here's what I appreciate about Pobox.Ph

1. They have predetermined fees, dependent on the size of the box that will fit your package. Hence, no surprising fees when your package arrives. 

2. They charge cheaper as compared to Johnny Air. However, Pobox.Ph uses cargo shipping. In effect, the lower fees meant longer waiting period. In my case, 5 weeks. 

3. Since they ship via cargo, weight is not a major issue. Rate remains the same as long as your items fit the designated box. This gives me an idea that for heavy items, Pobox.Ph seem to be the better option. However,  please note that they have additional fees for special products such as electronic gadgets. You can check the terms and conditions here

4. The shipping fee is inclusive of door-to-door delivery. Package arrives to your doorstep, unlike Johnny Air where you have to pick up either in Makati or Megamall. 

5. All packages immediately come with an insurance provision. You can read about it here. Johnny Air claims to offer but when I checked my receipt, there was a written disclaimer that my item was not covered. 

6. It maybe a minor thing but my package was physically safe and secured with Pobox.Ph. As you can see from the photo, the box was enclosed in a plastic wrap. This was way better than my box from Johnny Air, which was half-way opened. 

Unboxing the most awaited

LL Bean placed my order in a sealed plastic. It was fine because the bag is too strong and hard to be deformed. Anyway, Pobox.Ph did their job in shipping and handling. 

Without the plastic and papers, look how tiny is my bag for the box. Some of you might be interested to know the actual size of the box. You can check the details here. But if I will personally describe it, the box can almost fit a double burner gas stove. 

Oh finally!

Even though the bag is made of canvas, it can stand on its own.. even the handles! Truth is the bag's fabric was so hard and strong. This is contrary to those soft canvas bags sold in supermarkets. This also made me understand why this blogger soaked her LL Bean to salt water. The bag needs some softening procedures.  (Sobrang tigas ng fabric, as in)

My friend told me that the bag looks too small. I said, not really. Let me prove it then :)

This smallest LL Bean tote can fit a 1.5 liter water bottle, huge paperback, foldable umbrella, big wallet and kikay kit. It still has spaces for my mobile phone and coin purse.  

One of the few reasons why I love LL Bean. This gave me a break from all the Made in China items. :) I learned from their website that all bags are still produced in Maine. 

My monogrammed canvas family is now complete :)

After the long, boring and probably confusing post, here's a summary of my review for LL Bean and Pobox.Ph

LL Bean

1. LL Bean is the best in Customer Service! They provide this online chat mechanism (like Yahoo Messenger) where you can be assisted by a Customer Service Office during your purchase. 

2. They have a very good tracking facility. Unlike Lands' End who is depending on UPS' services.

3. They offer FREE SHIPPING to US regardless of the amount purchased. If you have kind relatives residing in US, you can take advantage of this offer. If not, you can consider availing the services of cargo forwarding companies or pay the $ 20 direct shipping fee to the Philippines. 

4. Lands' End canvas bag may win the aesthetics but when originality is considered, LL Bean owns it.   LL Bean was the first to create this classic boat and tote bag. 


1. If you want cheaper shipping fees from cargo forwarding companies, Pobox.Ph can serve as your alternative to Johnny Air.

2. The waiting period is the main disadvantage of using Pobox.Ph. Since the company is using cargo shipping, expect a minimum waiting time of 5 weeks.

3. If you are buying heavy and bulky items, it might be best to use Pobox.Ph. You will end up paying cheaper fees because of the fixed and predetermined rates for boxes.

4. Pobox.Ph needs to improve the running of updates on the user's personal account facility. It takes them days to weeks to update details. This can really become a test of patience.  I actually checked my account before preparing this post. Up to this date, tracking details about my package is not yet posted. Hello! My package already arrived :)

PS Anyone interested to own an LL Bean Tote? Please email me :) maybe we can order together and share the shipping fees.