The borders have finally unlocked, inviting you to embark on a magnificent journey to the enchanting Philippines! An essential aspect to acquaint yourself with prior to your travel to this captivating land is the cherished custom of procuring pasalubong, a delightful array of Philippine mementos, to present to your loved ones upon your return. And naturally, don’t forget to indulge in the joyous act of selecting a souvenir or two for yourself as well!
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Discover an exquisite collection of Philippine treasures that will leave you awestruck. Embark on a captivating journey as you explore the vibrant markets, charming souvenir shops, and bustling malls scattered across the nation. Before long, you won’t be able to resist the temptation of carrying these delightful mementos in your travel luggage, ensuring an unforgettable experience in the Philippines.
1. Dried mangoes
Grocery stores in the Philippines offer an array of delightful souvenirs, and among them, dried mangoes reign supreme. These slender slices of tangy-ripe goodness are packed with vitamins, making them not only a nutritious choice but also a pleasure to munch on throughout the day. However, we must caution you: their addictive nature is undeniable! Our suggestion? Stock up on as many packs of dried mangoes as possible, for you will be astounded by how rapidly they vanish once you arrive home!
2. Buko pie, polvoron, and other Filipino delicacies
From delightful sweetness to mind-blowing sweetness, these local delicacies serve as the perfect Philippine keepsakes to bring home for your beloved ones. Among our top picks are pastillas de leche (soft and creamy milk treats coated in sugar), otap (a flaky and crispy puff pastry), polvoron (crumbly shortbread crafted from toasted flour and powdered milk), Choc Nut (a petite peanut-chocolate bar), and buko pie (coconut custard pie). Rest assured, that’s just scratching the surface! If we were to attempt listing all the delectable treasures you could bring back from our country, we’d be here endlessly.
3. Coffee beans
Not many travelers are aware of this hidden gem, but the Philippines is home to numerous regions that cultivate coffee, producing a wide range of flavors including Arabica, Robusta, Excelsa, and the famous Liberica, also known as barako. The rapidly expanding specialty coffee industry in the Philippines is a testament to the delectable taste found in every cup. So, why not bring a bag of these rich beans back home as a cherished souvenir from your time in the Philippines? Allow the bold and invigorating aroma of barako coffee beans from Batangas to awaken your senses each morning. It will serve as a delightful memento of your unforgettable vacation.
Also check out: 10 Essential Places in the Philippines for Specialty Coffee.
4. Philippine pearls
In addition to its abundant marine ecosystem, the Philippines is a treasure trove of sea jewels. Ranging from pristine white to exquisite golden variations, one can discover the most exquisite South Sea pearls at budget-friendly prices – provided they possess the knowledge of where to seek! It would be an understatement to suggest that only curious backpackers visit the Greenhills Shopping Center in pursuit of valuable pearl accessories such as earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings. While we shall refrain from revealing any identities (ahem, Rihanna, ahem), it is worth mentioning that numerous renowned celebrities have been spotted hunting for these precious Philippine mementos.
5. Mother-of-pearl plates, capiz shell boxes, and other tableware
Glistening from all perspectives, the mother-of-pearl creations from the Philippines will surely captivate the visual admiration of every gathering you grace. Whether you elegantly scoop your rice with a mesmerizing spoon or embellish your table with exquisite capiz shell placemats, unveiling these dining essentials from your storage exudes a discreet showcase of opulence to your companions. “Indeed, behold my possession of radiant treasures.” If they align with your financial means, these shimmering keepsakes unquestionably deserve the delightful investment!
6. Native bags, pouches, and accessories
Who could possibly resist the allure of bags, pouches, laptop cases, bandanas, and embroidered garments? With impeccable craftsmanship and a touch of Filipino authenticity, these souvenirs effortlessly blend comfort and Instagram-worthy aesthetics.
When embarking on a conscious shopping journey, be sure to seek out ethical Filipino brands that foster deep connections with diverse ethnic groups and cultural communities within the Philippines. These brands not only produce exquisite works of art that we can cherish, but also play a significant role in supporting the livelihoods of those individuals who pour their time and ancestral wisdom into crafting these remarkable products.
7. Patterned mats, baskets, and home décor
Filipino handicrafts exemplify the rich tapestry of traditions and artistry woven by skilled indigenous artisans across the nation. To acquire a unique pasalubong from the Philippines, we recommend exploring the enchanting realm of cotton tapestries, rustic pillowcases, and intricately handwoven mats, imbuing every space with vibrant hues and the essence of tropical charm.
Whether you’re a believer in their power to ward off nightmares or simply a lover of wall decor, these dreamcatchers exude a captivating tranquility. Delicate hoops adorned with enchanting beads and gracefully draping feathers. Once you suspend these enchanting trinkets in your sleeping sanctuary, a blissful slumber seems within reach. Undeniably, these ethereal wonders are the stuff dreams are made of, wouldn’t you concur?
9. Graphic t-shirts
Looking to enhance your fashion game in the Philippines? Well, you’ve landed in just the perfect spot! When it comes to souvenir t-shirts, you’ll find a plethora of options from renowned brands such as TeamManila, Linya Linya, and Strange Mercy. These brands offer an extensive range of minimalist designs and location-specific prints that draw inspiration from popular vacation destinations across the country. Wearing these clothes will instantly fill you with positivity and good vibes, as if you’re basking in the glorious sunshine all day long. And once you find yourself reaching for their vibrant tie-dyed shirts, you’ll know you’ve fully embraced the beach life!
10. Toy jeepney
The toy jeepney is an essential item among Filipino pasalubong and souvenirs, as it beautifully encapsulates the essence of Manila. Initially constructed from spare parts of military Jeeps abandoned after World War II, the jeepney transformed into a popular mode of public transportation for Filipinos by the 1950s. Serving as both a miniature travel keepsake and a symbolic representation of Filipino culture, the jeepney figurine intricately mirrors the captivating design and rich history of its real-life counterpart.
11. Baro’t saya and barong Tagalog
Looking to showcase your “Pinoy pride” in a unique way? Step into the world of traditional Filipino clothing, where the barong Tagalog and baro’t saya reign supreme. Crafted from piña cloth, made from the finest pineapple fibers, these garments embody the essence of Filipino culture. Although traditionally reserved for formal events and ceremonies, modern interpretations of these designs allow you to incorporate them into your everyday wardrobe. From intricately embroidered silks to stylish shirts, pants, skirts, shawls, and neck scarves, each piece exudes a refined and elegant charm, perfect for any occasion.
12. Hand-held fans
Listen up, folks! Brace yourselves for the scorching heat of Metro Manila that will make you yearn for an icy bucket shower. Don’t underestimate the sweltering embrace of these summer islands, but fear not, for we have a magical solution that will whisk away your worries. Enter the Abaniko, a majestic fan in the shape of a paddle, designed to help you (or your fabulous lady friends) conquer the heat with utmost elegance. These vibrant and mesmerizing fans will bid adieu to those perspiration-filled moments, leaving you feeling refreshed and cool as a cucumber!
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Display your whimsical vacation mementos by acquiring an authentic Filipino pastime! Sungka, an ancient board game, involves two players who alternate throwing pebbles or shells into seven cavities on a wooden surface. The objective is to amass the greatest quantity of game pieces in your collection. Presently, it is nearly impossible to encounter a Filipino individual, regardless of age, who does not yearn for the nostalgia of sungka. It possesses the uncanny ability to unveil the innate competitiveness within every soul.
14. Ube jam, strawberry jam, and other sweet preserves
Experience a timeless Filipino pasalubong that deserves a coveted spot on every wanderer’s must-have list: the delectable ube halaya! Not just any ordinary ube treat, but the exquisite purple-hued jam hailing from the esteemed Good Shepherd Convent nestled in the enchanting city of Baguio. Prepare to be captivated by its irresistible allure, as you find yourself unknowingly enthralled, spoon in hand, until the last delightful clink against the jar’s bottom. Crafted by the devoted sisters of the convent since 1976, this velvety delight’s recipe has remained shrouded in secrecy, adding to its mystique.
Try out the peanut brittle, chocolate flakes, butter cookies, and strawberry jams while exploring the flavors of Baguio. Even if you can’t make it to the City of Pines, you can still indulge in these delightful treats at K&L Cafe on Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City. Karen and Loren, the owners, have a deep connection with Baguio and are passionate about sharing the taste of their hometown with the city dwellers of Metro Manila.
Also read: Where to Stay in Baguio: 10 Airbnb Residences For All Budgets.
15. Salt and pepper shakers
Elevate your dining experience with salt and pepper shakers that not only enhance the flavor of your food but also exude tremendous charm! Crafted from exquisite porcelain or bone china, these captivating table accessories take the form of delightful jeepneys, pineapples, carabaos, roosters, or nipa huts. The mere opportunity to pass the salt and pepper at the table will excite everyone!
The salt and pepper shakers inspired by the bulul, a sacred carving symbolizing the rice deity of Ifugao, make for remarkable keepsakes. These unique Filipino mementos can be obtained from Liwayway, a philanthropic organization dedicated to showcasing the craftsmanship of indigenous communities.
16. Philippine tsokolate
Embarking on a delightful dessert adventure? Remember to savor the exquisite taste of Philippine chocolates, renowned globally as among the finest! With talented chocolatiers consistently earning prestigious accolades, this nation is swiftly emerging as a sought-after haven for top-notch cacao.
Discover the exquisite offerings of Auro Chocolate, an exceptional bean-to-bar enterprise renowned for their delectable chocolate bars. Immerse yourself in the world of Theo and Philo, a local brand that delights in crafting unconventional chocolates infused with enticing flavors like green mango, chili, coconut, toasted glutinous rice, banana pieces, and crispy caramel. And don’t forget Malagos Chocolate, whose rich and unsweetened cocoa delights have firmly placed the southern island of Davao on the coveted map of every chocolate enthusiast.
Besides producing exceptional chocolate, these brands come together in their effort to promote the welfare of cocoa farmers.
Also read: The Ultimate Pasalubong Guide: Must-Purchase Food Items From Every Region in the Philippines.
17. Colourful guitars
Adding handmade guitars and ukuleles to your collection of Philippine souvenirs will infuse it with a delightful tropical allure! Strumming these instruments will transport you to serene beachside afternoons and blissful sun-drenched escapades.
Amidst the musical tapestry of the Philippines, where the melodious kubing and the harmonious kulintang gong ensemble reign supreme, these vibrant guitars offer a convenient travel companion. Discover their presence in the bustling local airports and charming souvenir boutiques scattered across the nation.
18. Sun hats
Image attribution: Therese Sta. Maria.
In the Philippines, the sun blazes overhead, emitting scorching heat. While the locals may not always shield themselves with hats or caps outdoors, it is a popular trend to sport a stylish sun hat when venturing to the stunning beaches or exploring the historical landmarks under the radiant sun. Remember to acquire your very own affordable sun hat that proudly displays the word “Philippines” or the name of any of the captivating Philippine destinations where you have created cherished memories. These picturesque Philippine mementos can be easily found at various tourist attractions, ranging from the majestic Intramuros fortress in Manila to the pristine shores of the White Beach in Boracay!
19. Traditional Philippine salakots
If you’re searching for a more authentic and traditional Philippine hat, then your search ends here with the salakot. This unique cone-shaped headdress, crafted by skilled hands, can be found throughout Southeast Asia, but the salakot stands proudly as the Philippines’ own rendition. Throughout history, these hats graced the heads of Tagalogs and Kapampangans, the locals residing in the fertile plains of Central Luzon. Over time, the salakot has transformed and evolved, adapting to the changing times. It once symbolized social status and even served as a formidable war helmet during the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine-American War. Now, you have the opportunity to own your very own salakot, available for purchase through local online stores in the Philippines or at heritage shops nestled near popular tourist destinations.
20. Modern bayongs
In the enchanting land of the Philippines, a bayong symbolizes the embodiment of resilience and artistry, meticulously woven with the finest palm leaves. Once an indispensable companion of vendors in bustling wet markets, these magnificent treasures have now undergone a breathtaking metamorphosis. Local visionaries and entrepreneurs have ingeniously transformed bayongs into exquisite fashion statements, designed to effortlessly complement any occasion. Immerse yourself in the realm of endless possibilities as you embark on a journey to acquire these contemporary marvels, available at your fingertips through virtual retail therapy. Seek out the virtual haven of Hiraya at Sinag on Instagram, where your heart’s desire awaits, or venture into the vibrant tapestry of heritage stores nestled within majestic malls, such as the renowned Kultura, where the beauty of local artistry and craftsmanship is unveiled. Discover a kaleidoscope of hues, each bayong a canvas awaiting your artistic touch. Unleash your imagination and create a masterpiece that is uniquely yours, a cherished memento of the Philippines’ boundless charm.
Keychain vendors are ubiquitous across the Philippines, offering an array of delightful trinkets. From enchanting dolphins and majestic sea turtles to fearsome crocodiles and delicate starfish, these vendors showcase a captivating selection of island-themed mementos. Why not adorn your bag with a charming tarsier or personalize your apartment keys with a wooden keepsake bearing the name of your beloved island?
Explore Lakbay Museo’s treasure trove of imaginative creations! Discover keychain replicas of beloved Filipino delicacies such as succulent lechon, crispy chicharon, flavorful isaw, indulgent crispy pata, aromatic daing, delightful fish ball and squid ball, tantalizing longganisa, and mouthwatering pork barbecue.
22. Stickers, artworks, pins, and postcards
Exploring the world of Filipino souvenirs can be an adventure that doesn’t break the bank. In addition to the trendy stores found in malls, venture into local arts and crafts shops to uncover a treasure trove of vibrant stickers, captivating art prints, exquisite enamel pins, mesmerizing illustrations, and captivating postcards crafted by talented artists hailing from the Philippines.
In the bustling city of Manila, there are captivating establishments like Papemelroti and Common Room PH, housing an array of exquisite artwork that effortlessly complements your planner, laptop, phone, or even the bare walls of your sanctuary. Beyond aesthetics, these stores proudly exhibit the vibrant creativity and delightful wit of the Filipino culture. From quirky phrases like “Silence, I’m savoring my meal” to the ever-relatable cry for “EXTRA RICE?” – These expressions resonate with our daily experiences.
23. Refrigerator magnets
Indulge in the nostalgic summer aura of your Philippine adventure with these charming magnets! Choose from a captivating assortment of sailboats, electrifying guitars, enchanting seahorses, vibrant fish, majestic whale sharks, cozy slippers, iconic jeepneys, and other delightful mementos that pay homage to the stunning Philippine Islands. Undoubtedly, these fridge magnets will uplift your spirits every morning as you make your way to the kitchen to whip up breakfast or savor a steaming cup of coffee.
24. Philippine literature
Image credit: Penguin Random House (left); Anvil Publishing (right).
While it may be common for individuals to only pack consumables, wearables, or ornamental items as souvenirs, we propose a more unconventional choice – bringing along a book for your return journey. Allow us to suggest Tikim: Essays on Philippine Food and Culture, a literary masterpiece that beautifully captures the essence of Filipino cuisine. Penned by the esteemed Doreen G. Fernandez, this treasure trove not only imparts knowledge about Philippine gastronomy and its rich past but also serves as a heartfelt homage to the country’s culinary heritage.
Immerse yourself in captivating literary masterpieces that will transport you back to your cherished moments in the Philippines, while simultaneously unveiling hidden realities that eluded you during your journey. Embark on a thrilling expedition through the revolutionary classics penned by the legendary hero José Rizal. Alternatively, indulge in the enchanting tales crafted by Nick Joaquin, hailed as one of the most exceptional Filipino fiction writers in history. These indigenous literary gems can be found at Fully Booked, Biblio, Power Books, National Bookstore, Booksale, and various university presses scattered across the nation.
25. Merchandise from the Philippine Eagle Foundation
Lastly, among these captivating mementos from the Philippines, when exploring Mindanao, it is imperative to experience the awe-inspiring Philippine Eagle firsthand at the Philippine Eagle Foundation in Davao! This organization, committed to reviving the dwindling population of the majestic Philippine Eagle, which holds the claim of being the largest eagle on the planet, operates as a non-profit. To contribute to their cause, you can pay a visit, make a donation, or purchase from their store. Within their souvenir emporium, you will find endearing stuffed toys emulating the Philippine Eagle, an exquisite plushie collection, as well as trendy shirts and caps.
TAKE ME TO MORE FUN.Output: BRING ME TO A MORE ENJOYABLE EXPERIENCE.
With their impeccable gift-giving skills, the homeland that has mastered this art offers a plethora of fashionable gifts and mementos that will evoke a sense of nostalgia. Regardless of the province that captivates your heart during your visit, these souvenirs from the Philippines will serve as ideal keepsakes to commemorate your journey.