It’s ingrain in the culture of Filipinos to bring home ‘pasalubong” for those left back home. It’s the tradition of offering gifts and tokens brought from one’s travel regardless if its a trip to a domestic destination or an overseas travel. You do this too right?, like the rest of Pinoys who goes to an out of town trip to visit one of the Philippines top tourist destinations.
The bringing home of pasalubongs and souvenir items from the place one visits signifies that even when you are away on leisure or business trips, you are thinking of your love ones who are waiting for your return and the pasalubong giving is a way to make them part of your travel and adventure too.
No wonder why Filipino tourists, OFWs and balikbayans are seen lugging in large boxes and bags full of whathaveyous at airports around the world. It’s the same scenario at our domestic airports where we local travelers carry boxes or packages of things that are famous in a particular city or province like for example stuffing your handcarry bags with Kalamay sa Bohol if you are coming from Bohol or Danggit if your trip is from Cebu even though you can find these products in the big supermarkets near you. Cebu
The contention is always “nothing beats x product bought from x province’ example: nothing beats dried mango bought from Cebu (Cebu is famous for the said product). And then someone will roll their eyes because the same product by the same manufacturer can be found on the local grocery shelves heheh
Most region, province and cities in the Philippines have that special item(s) that has morphed to become the ‘must have pasalubong and souvenirs’ products of the place. I bet you can recall in a flash some products and connect it with a province in an instant. If you can’t, my only question is Are you Filipino?
Where to buy pasalubong?
The best and most convenient place to buy your pasalubong are of course those designated one stop shop pasalubong centers. Each major city has this place, sometimes it’s the local market that is your go to place to buy all sorts of local delicacies and native products. If the pasalubong shopping center is out of the way, you can always turn to the biggest mall in the area and they probably have a pasalubong section in their supermarkets.
What is Pasalubong in English?
I am grinning while typing the above question, because for the life of me I don’t know if pasalubong has a direct translation in the English langague. Would you know? Hmm is it ‘bring home gift’? or ‘back from trip gift’? or ‘travel present’ or ‘token from travel? Those strings of words does not really capture the essence of the Filipino’s concept of Pasalubong. If you know its English equivalent, please share it to us
Expectations of Pasalubong: A burden?
Unfortunately, this very Filipino trait can become a burden at times. Because of our ‘pasalubong culture’, our friends and family, and yes even our co-workers are expecting that each and every-time we are on a trip or an out of town getaway, we’ll be bringing them all something hehehehe. Some would even extend as far as suggesting what to give them or those who are modest would say ‘kahit ano basta galing dun’. You can relate? Hehehhehe
I was away from my home province Cebu for awhile and each year I make an average of 3 trips to get home to Cebu. On the first few years of being away, I do that on every single trip. Since I’ll be coming from Laguna, I used to bring the famous Original Buko Pie from Los Banos or my favorite espasol from Nagcarlan or pairs of Liliw sandals and slippers to Cebu. And then when I am about to leave Cebu to go back to work in Laguna, I always make my way to Taboan Market to buy Cebu dried mangoes, danggit and pusit. Mind you pasalubong shopping is fun but it bores a an ultra mega hole in your pocket especially if you are doing this quiet frequently. It got to a point for me that I got tired of the expectation of pasalubong coupled with trying to save as much moolah as I can, that I stopped altogether and surprisingly those around me did not really react negatively for not bringing some souvenirs and pasalubongs. It makes me think, is it just on our mind that pasalubong shopping is a must? What say you?
Anyway if money is not an issue I always say to buy something special to give to friends and family when you get back. Giving and sharing is something that warms the spirit and foster bonding too!
And if you are only here to visit the country, buy Philippine gifts and pasalubongs that are uniquely Pinoy like miniature jeepneys or bahay kubo :) para talagang only in the Philippines ang dating!
Hmm actually this post is supposed to be about the best pasalubong items per province. I was planning on writing a list of the popular pasalubong and souvenir products from the provinces like Ilocos, Baguio, Pampanga, Bulacan, Bicol, Palawan, Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu, Leyte, Dumaguete, CDO, Davao and more provinces but alas, I got sidetracked, the story of this blog hehhehe Penfires apologizes.. heheh *wide grin*
Back on track, back on track….
How to Select or Choose the Perfect Pasalubong
This section attempts to answer the question how to select the top rated pasalubong from a certain place or famous tourist destination in the Philippines.
I think anyone’s best bet would be to find that something special, that something that can only be found on that place you are visiting. This is easier said than done in the light of the fact that things have changed compared to decades ago. An example of this change is that years ago we can’t buy CDO’s Pastel in Manila and you really have to make that trip to Cagayan de Oro to buy your boxes of Pastel and now SM carries this famous item from Cagayan de Oro hehehe.
Anyhow if you can’t find anything that fits the criteria, you go next for what is a local delicacy or a native product special to the place. Or pick the most famous brand of a local delicacy like choosing to buy Original Buko Pie versus other buko pie brands when pasalubong shopping in Laguna.
If you have all the time in the world, you can even go as far as selecting the souvenir item that fits the personality of the recipient like you are shopping for a Christmas gift. (I hope you really do take time to match your Christmas gift to the one you’ll be giving it to, okay sidetracked again.)
If all else fails, we have these popular ‘default’ souvenir items, 1. keychains of all sorts and sizes with the name of the place painted, stenciled, stamped, emblazoned on it; 2. the uber famous souvenir t-shirts with the name of the place; 3. refrigerator magnets again with the name of the place proudly written on the surface
Best Pasalubong and Souvenirs from the Philippines Top Tourist Havens
You can look at the list of popular pasalubong from provinces and key cities below to have an idea or see some of the souvenir pictures. These are my personal choices, hope you can suggest more! And sana this list can guide you in picking the best pasalubong, you can also share your ideas of pasalubong by commenting after the post.
LUZON POPULAR DESTINATIONS AND THEIR PASALUBONG
- Baguio Top Pasalubong and Souvenir
These are the very famous ‘must buy’ items from the City of Pines, Baguio: Fresh strawberries, Strawberry preserve, Pink Sister’s Ube Jam, tapuy, Sundo’t Kulangot, Romana’s Peanut Brittle (made in Pangasinan), knitted shits and blouses, Ukay-ukay (yes this too!), walis, barrel man (?), fudge bars, crinkles, Mikasan choco flakes and more.
For a detailed post on Baguio selections and to see more pics, please CLICK HERE.
Click picture to get to the post about Sundot Kulangot:
- Popular Pasalubong from Bicol
Who wouldn’t want to bring home Bicol’s native abaca bags that you can buy at super duper bargain prices?! For those traveling short distances Laing and Pinangat are favorite pasalubongs too! Pili nuts based products are also favorites!
- Famous Pangasinan Pasalubong
Bring home native delicacies and kakanins of Pangasinan like binungey and tupig, Bonoan Boneless Bangus, Puto Calasiao, Alaminos Longganisa.
- Pasalubong Shopping in Puerto Princesa and Palawan
- Favorite Pasalubong items from Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte
- Laguna and Quezon Province Special Pasalubong Items
- Batangas Popular Pasalubong
- Best Pasalubong from Cebu
What pasalubong items are famous in Cebu? There are many! To name a few Cebu’s Danggit, pusit, palad flakes and other dried fish, Cebu dried mango, Cebu guitar, bead necklace and accessories, Otap, Cebu chorizo, Cebu Lechon, masareal, tagaktak and other kakanins. Get these products and more when you are pasalubong shopping in Cebu! And the best place in Cebu City to fullfill your long list of pasalubong is to head to Taboan Market for dried fish and mangoes and to the Mactan Shrine pasalubong center for pearls, beaded jewelries and knickknacks as they are cheapest there.
- Favorite Pasalubong Product from Dumaguete
Dumaguete’s sansrival bars and silvanas are a must have for your friends and family waiting for you back home! You can also buy in Dumaguete kabog, a special yellow grain variety to make bubdbud kabog (budbod = suman). My great grandpa who hails from Valencia in Negros Oriental use to plant kabog and very harvest we make those special budbod kabog.
- Yummy Treats and Pasalubong from Iloilo and Bacolod
- Samar and Leyte Pasalubong Treats
Ever been to Western Visayas? If not yet,plan a trip there and when you get back don’t miss these special pasalubong products of native delicacies like binagol, sagmani, chocolate moron (suman laced with cocoa), handmade woven mats and bags of Basey in Samar.
- Bohol Pasalubong
MINDANAO TOP PLACES AND THEIR PASALUBONG
- Popular Cagayan de Oro Pasalubong Items
Pastel from Cagayan! even if product is really made in Camiguin hehehe. And yes the original Jamon de Cagayan! We tasted this first time last December and CDO’s hamon is a big thumbs up!
- Favorite Item from Bukidnon to bring home
- Davao’s Best Pasalubong and Souvenir Products
- Iligan’s Pride and Pasalubong
- Zamboanga’s Famous Items for Pasalubong
Favorite souvenirs from Zamboanga are malong, batiks, miniature vintas, seafoods especially curacha and yes dried fishes too!
If you notice with the list of the best pasalubongs above, the souvenir items are mostly local delicacies and native kakanins while the best non-food souvenirs are usually those products inspired by the local popular destination or tourism symbol.
It is not uncommon for Filipinos to really set aside funds for pasalubong while planning a trip. Actually pasalubong shopping is part and parcel of your travel especially if its your first time to a visit and explore a destination. Agree?
Share your thoughts and ideas on this pasalubong and souvenirs list per major tourist destinations in the Philippines.
On your next travel adventure, don’t miss to bring home pasalubongs and see smiles light up the faces of your family and friends as you give them souvenirs and yummy treats from your trip! Go Travel!