1.    Clara UyBico and AmparoServando loaded on board a vessel of Philippine Steam Navigation Co. for carriage from Manila to Negros Occidental 1,528 cavans of rice and 44 cartons of colored paper, toys and general merchandise.

2.    The contract of carriage of cargo was evidenced by a Bill of Lading (B/L). There was a stipulation limiting the responsibility of the carrier for loss or damage that may be caused to the shipment
      a.    “carrier shall not be responsible for loss or damage to shipments billed ‘owner’s risk’ unless such loss or damage is due to the negligence of the carrier. Nor shall the      carrier be responsible for loss or damage caused by force majeure, dangers or accidents of the sea, war, public enemies, fire”.

3.    Upon arrival of the vessel at its destination, the cargoes were discharged in good condition and placed inside the warehouse of the Bureau of Customs.

4.    UyBico was able to take delivery of 907 cavans of rice.

5.    Unfortunately, the warehouse was razed by fire of unknown origin later that same day destroying the remaining cargoes.

6.    UyBico and Servando filed a claim for the value of the goods against the carrier.

7.    The lower court ruled in their favor. It held that the delivery of the shipment to the warehouse is not the delivery contemplated by Art. 1736 of the CC. And since the burning of the warehouse occurred prior to the actual or constructive delivery of the goods, the loss is chargeable against the vessel.
Issue:Whether or not the carrier is liable for the loss of the goods.


1.    Article 1736 of the CC imposes upon common carriers the duty to observe extraordinary diligence from the moment the goods are unconditionally placed in their possession "until the same are delivered, actually or constructively, by the carrier to the consignee or to the person who has a right to receive them, without prejudice to the provisions of Article 1738.” The court a quo held that the delivery of the shipment in question to the warehouse of the Bureau of Customs is not the delivery contemplated by Article 1736; and since the burning of the warehouse occurred before actual or constructive delivery of the goods to the appellees, the loss is chargeable against the appellant.

2.    It should be pointed out, however, that in the bills of lading issued for the cargoes in question, the parties agreed to limit the responsibility of the carrier. The stipulation is valid not being contrary to law, morals or public policy.

3.    The petitioners however, contend that the stipulation does not bind them since it was printed at the back of the B/L and that they did not sign the same. However, as the Court held in OngYiu vs. CA, while it may be true that a passenger had not signed the plane ticket, he is nevertheless bound by the provisions thereof. Such provisions have been held to be a part of the contract of carriage, and valid and binding upon the passenger regardless of the latter's lack of knowledge or assent to the regulation.

4.    Also, where fortuitous event is the immediate and proximate cause of the loss, the obligor is exempt from liability for non-performance.In the case at bar, the burning of the customs warehouse was an extraordinary event which happened independently of the will of the appellant. The latter could not have foreseen the event.

5.    There is nothing in the record to show that the carrier incurred in delay in the performance of its obligation. It appears that it had not only notified UyBico and Servando of the arrival of their shipment, but had demanded that the same be withdrawn. In fact, pursuant to such demand, UyBico had taken delivery of 907 cavans of rice before the burning of the warehouse.

6.    Nor can the carrier or its employees be charged with negligence. The storage of the goods in the Customs warehouse pending withdrawal thereof by UyBico and Servando was undoubtedly made with their knowledge and consent. Since the warehouse belonged to and was maintained by the government, it would be unfair to impute negligence to the carrier, the latter having no control whatsoever over the same.