Partially-opened mail from the Philippine Post Office

Today, my aunt handed over to me a letter for Dana from her friend in the United States.  Since it's been so long since I actually received a letter, and though I know that this one isn't exactly mine, it still made me wax nostalgic for a moment.  Until I saw that most irreverent stamp from the Philippine Post Office - Received Partially Open  ...

Now, there's been a lot of noise recently about the Bureau of Customs opening balikbayan boxes and rummaging through them, seemingly to investigate smuggled items.  I've also seen videos on FB about packages being opened at the Philippine Post Office branches.  This may seem trivial since it's just a small letter, a small envelope but still, the privacy of the contents seems violated.  I've experienced this numerous times when a letter, particularly an envelope that seems thicker and heavier than usual, becomes partially opened.  My feeling is that someone suspects that cash is embedded in the envelope and just couldn't help it.

It pains me to think that this is still happening. Dana's friend's letter is a bit on the heavy side because there was a piece of DIY art in it.  It was custom-made for Dana and it traveled all the way from across the ocean.  This is such a milestone because this was the first snail mail that Dana ever received personally and it was a piece of art made specially for her.  I'm just glad that it didn't get lost in the mail.

Another problem I had with this situation was the time frame.  Let me focus on the details:

- The letter was mailed in Charleston, WV on July 30.    
- The letter arrived at the Central Post Office in Manila on August 6.  (One week later)
-  It was stamped with the "partially-opened" condition on August 7.
-  It arrived at our doorstep on August 25. (2 weeks and 5 days later)

 It took a week for it to travel from the US but it took almost 3 weeks to travel within the Philippines, within Manila even!!! WTF!! and someone may have even tampered with it!!!

Let's face it. e-mail has certainly changed the way we communicate but receiving a letter or a package in the mail is so much more fun, except when it arrives in this condition.  It ruins the moment.  But, on the bright side, Dana's custom-made art piece is intact.  Probably because it didn't seem valuable to the person who "checked" the envelope.  But it was.  It was IMPORTANT.  It was HERS.

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