Ok, this got even stranger
Like I said previously, all the friends I sent crates where in the US, so I begged my brother to play the game so I can send him some crates.
He starts a new village (same console, his PSN account), builds the first two buildings (just before the workshop).
I then ask him to setup a totem for me, to make sure I can access him (since I don't know how the village upload works exactly)
After assigning me a totem I ask him to visit my village and... ping, he unlocks Philanthropist.
He has no post office, hasn't sent any crates.
He just created his village, played for less than 10 minutes, visited me and bingo.
I just loaded my game. At first I couldn't see him, but now I can.
Same thing all over again, built a crate, put 300 resources in it (paper), took it to the totem and... NOTHING !
I wish I could take a video...
If this can help you track the issue, maybe put up a patch...