The use of the Paquebot marking was compliance with the Universal Postal Union or UPU agreements among member countries.. It was in 1891 UPU Congress that the first rules for the use of the marking was drafted. It will be interesting to note that the "Paquebot" cancel was first used in 1894, but the first UPU documented mention of the word "Paquebot" came only during its 1897 congress. The official French translation of the clause reads: 

The Post Office which receives correspondence posted on board, provides same with its common datestamp, adding handwritten or by a stamp the word paquebot.
In 1924 the rules governing the use of the Paquebot marking was refined by the UPU to:

Correspondence posted on the High Seas or between two ports of embarkation, and handed to officers of vessels carrying a mail......., postage may be paid by means of postage stamps and according to the postage rates of the country under whose flag the vessel sails. But if the mailing on board occurs during the stay of the vessel at one of the two terminal ports of the voyage or at one of the ports of call, prepayment is valid only if effected by means of postage stamps and according to the rates of the country in whose waters the vessel happens to be.

With respect to the Philippines, it is to our understanding that the Bureau of Post requested (others will argue that it was a directive and not a request) that shipping companies place a "Buzon" or a mail box on their vessels as an added service for their passengers. Although pursers were already accepting "on board" mail, only a few passengers knew that this was possible. 

By practice, the device used by one shipping company is distinct from the other. Likewise, a shipping company will use  for a period of time the same type of marking for all the ports that they serve. Whenever a change is required, which primarily is due to wear and tear, the shipping company will shift to another style for all its vessels. 

This small collection already shows a wide variety of Paquebot markings used in the Philippines from the early 1900s to 1941. What it lacks is the factual information on the name of the shipping companies that used the distinct styles of Paquebot marking. Somewhere out there is this information. Also, this collection is far from complete. If you have Paquebot markings not yet illustrated in this presentation, please provide us with an image of the cover. Needless to say, The Philippine Philatelist will forever be in debt to you.

The Philippine Philatelist can only hope that this collection will encourage someone to seriously do extensive research on this section of Philippine postal history.

Thank you very much.

Manila, Philippines
November 15, 2003

This Collection: 28 Pages and 109 Images
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