Philippine souvenirs you can buy in bulk—and impress everyone with
Pasalubong or souvenirs are a big deal in Filipino culture. It’s one of the many Filipino traditions and practices that still endure even if you move away from the motherland. After traveling to another place (or in this case, going back to the Philippines), you may want to bring a few souvenirs to give to the people you’re going back to.
Some people may enjoy shopping for souvenirs, but others, not so much. The point of going on vacation is to have fun, but again, that’s subjective. It can be a little taxing and time consuming to think of what to buy and actually go out and buy it.
If you don’t want to think too hard about what to bring home to friends and family (and we’re assuming since you’re Filipino, that’s a lot of friends and family), here are some easy-to-buy pasalubongs you can probably get in bulk.
If you really don’t want to think about what you can get people as a souvenir, dried mangoes are your best option. Philippine mangoes are different from all the mangoes around the world. They’re sweeter, less pulpy, and often smaller. The downside is that you’re not allowed to cross the fresh fruit between borders.
The dried version isn’t the same, but it still delivers when it comes to the flavor department. Many dried mango brands also sell these in smaller packs or in different variations.
There are dried mango candies (for your co-workers), standard dried mango pouches (for your closest friends and family), and even chocolate-covered dried mangoes (for your significant other or your boss in charge of your promotion).
In my experience, the most requested item I’ve gotten from balikbayans when I visit them abroad is an assortment of local snacks—the type you usually buy at open-air markets or in sari-sari stores.
For balikbayans shopping for pasalubong, you should go for snacks that come in small packets and are light enough so it won’t take up too much space and weight in your luggage. Some possible options include cornick, sweetcorn chips, and cracker nuts.
While polvoron technically falls under the “local snacks” category, it deserves its own spotlight. It’s a unique sweet treat made with powdered milk, roasted flour, butter, and sugar. It also comes in single-serve packs so you can keep it at your desk at work and just distribute it to your favorite co-workers.
If you have the time (or inclination for some fun), you can also introduce the people you give it to the common party games people usually play using polvoron—like whistling after finishing one.
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For the people in your life, a fan could be a lifesaver. An abaniko is a traditional Filipino fan made with dried leaves woven together into a spade-like shape. For people living in cooler climates, it can still make a pretty gift by way of home decor. But for the people living in warmer climates, it’s a practical gift.
Buying jewelry for people as a pasalubong can sound a little too extra, but who doesn’t love a string of pearls? Freshwater pearls are different from their deep sea counterparts because they’re cultured in fresh water and are a little softer, which means you have to be careful with them. They’re also much cheaper while still looking beautiful, which is an added benefit.
You can usually buy freshwater pearls at stalls in malls, or if you’re by the beach, there are many small shops, boutiques, and even just people hawking them by the shore.