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​20 Modern Souvenirs from the Philippines that Make Great Gifts

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Bringing pasalubong (or souvenir) from a trip is a common custom in the Philippines. It can be anything from local food, art and craft, or even your usual tourist knickknack. If you’re thinking of bringing souvenirs from the Philippines to give to your family or friends visiting – especially those who are from or living abroad, we’ve got you! Here’s a list of the best pasalubongs in the Philippines you can buy.

1. Buko pie

Is there anything better than a box of warm buko pie with crusty flakes and delicious filling? Buko pie is commonly bought as a pasalubong in Laguna, but other places such as Tagaytay also serve these. Some bakery names you should look for are Colette’s Buko Pie, The Original Buko Pie, and Cecilia’s Buco Pie.

3. Dried mangoes

The Philippines is a huge exporter of sweet mangoes. As such, it’s no wonder that dried mangoes is one of the top pasalubongs you can find here. This sweet snack is delicious, addicting, and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. The most popular dried mango packs are made in Cebu, but other brands are good options as well.

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Dried mangoes can easily be found in groceries and souvenir shops.

3. Coffee beans

Aside from rice and grains, the Philippines also has a number of coffee-growing regions that produce high-quality coffee beans, including Batangas, Benguet, Kalinga, and Sagada. Liberica coffee, which is most commonly known as kapeng barako, is one of the most common ones you can find. Other variants include Arabica, Robusta, and Excelsa.

Coffee beans are a great option for your caffeine-addicted friends, but for those who want to lessen their caffeine intake, alternative such as rice coffee and corn coffee can be found as well.

4. Ube Halaya and Strawberry Jam

The sisters at the Good Shepherd Convent in Baguio created these delicious spreads in 1976, and these have been popular ever since. These are some of the must-buys when visiting Baguio, but you don’t necessarily have to travel there to satisfy your cravings – nowadays, there are select retailers selling these in Manila and elsewhere.

5. Calamay

Calamay is a kakanin (local snack) made from glutinous rice, coconut milk, sugar, and peanuts. It can be found in a lot of places in the Philippines including local markets. Bohol’s version of calamay is especially unique, as it is stored inside a coconut shell.

6. Chicharon

Crunchy and salty, chicharon (deep-friend pork rinds) is a delicious snack that everyone loves. Best dipped in vinegar, you can enjoy it alone or as pulutan during social drinks. Just watch out for your blood pressure while enjoying this sinful treat!

7. Dried danggit and dried squid

Dried danggit (a type of fish) and dried fish are popular pasalubongs from Cebu. Dried danggit is a popular breakfast item paired with rice, while dried squid can be eaten as part of a meal or a snack of its own.

8. Gourmet Tuyo

Gourmet tuyo takes this Filipino breakfast staple into another level. Preserved with olive oil and seasonings, gourmet tuyo is great not only for rice meals but also as main ingredient in pasta and fillings for crackers.

9. Tablea

Forget chocolate powdered drink! Tablea is a game-changer and a must-give to someone who loves chocolates. Tablea is essentially cocoa that is roasted and ground into tablets or balls, which is then dissolved in hot water along with sugar and/or milk to make a cup or rich, hot chocolate. A perfect drink in the morning or during cold seasons.

10. Chocolate bars

Aside from tablea, the Philippines also produces high-quality chocolate bars. Some of the brands you should look out for are Auro Chocolate, which is good artisanal chocolate; Theo and Philo, which creates unique chocolate infused with local flavors such as mangoes; and Malagos, which specializes in dark, unsweetened chocolate.

11. Pearls

Pearls are simply, classy, and beautiful – and they come in different shapes and color, from plain white to gold. In the Philippines, pearls are plentiful and can easily be found in jewelry sections in malls and souvenir shops. Pearl jewelry is also sold by local vendors in tourist coastal areas.

12. Capiz tableware

These iridescent mother-of-pearl products are a great addition to a stylish kitchen. Although they are often on the high-end price, capiz tableware and utensils are worth the purchase for their uniqueness and aesthetics. Some of the capiz items you can find include coasters, placemats, and various plates.

13. Wooden bowls and utensils

If you want to go for a homey or bohemian aesthetic, go for wooden bowls and utensils. You can easily find rice bowls, calabash bowls, and even condiment sets for reasonable prices. These are commonly made from acacia, but there are others available like the coconut bowl, which is perfect for oatmeal and smoothies.

14. Artsy displays and home decor

Papemelroti - art souvenirs from the Philippines
(Photo by Papemelroti)

Spruce up your home with artistic Filipino-style displays and home decor. Papemelroti sells a variety of wall displays, calendars, and stickers, as well as practical household items such as eco-friendly boxes, organizers, mugs, and more.

15. Local bags

The Philippines produces various types of local bags, so you can choose whatever suites your style! There are bags created with handwoven fabrics that represent the culture and history of the indigenous people, bags made from abaca or other study materials, and modern bayongs that you can use wherever you want to go.

One of the most common ones you’ll see are the Ifugao bags. Basically, these bags are made in Cordillera and can be anything from sling bags and pouches to backpacks. Other great brands for local bags include Hiraya at Sinag, which makes modern bayongs; Akaba Bags, which are modern-style bags that incorporate fabrics from Mindanao; BidiBidi, which are uniquely embroidered bags produced by locals in Bicol.

16. Liliw sandals

You can’t go wrong with a pair of sandals made in Liliw, Laguna. Sturdy and chic, you can browse through different designs of heels, flat sandals, and slip-ons made from abaca. Head over to Liliw to get the best prices on these products, but for convenience, you can also buy them from stores online.

17. Inabel towels

Inabel towels are a practical gift that anyone can use and is an upgrade over boring, regular towels. Unique and stylish, inabel is a handwoven fabric created by Ilocanos. It is easy to buy these in Ilocos or online. You can also find other inabel products such as hand towels, blankets, bed covers, and pillowcases.

18. Ponchos with Itneg embroidery

Add color to your wardrobe with a poncho with a hand-embroidered Itneg embroidery, which is characterized by its whimsical patterns and uniqueness in every design. Abra Indigo sells these clothing items along with other handwoven crafts and clothing, such as face masks.

19. Graphic Tees

Graphic t-shirts will never go out of style. You can buy your usual tourist shirts from souvenir shops and stalls. Kultura also sells shirts that showcase the culture of the Philippines. Upgrade your street style by heading over to Linya-Linya, which sells shirts created by local artists. TeamManila and Strange Mercy are also great local brands for tees.

20. Patag desk mats

Originally designed for geeks and gamers, Patag mouse pads and desk mats are great additions to a workstation. Each piece features a design from the Ifugao tribe along with phrases in Baybayin (a pre-colonial written language in the Philippines). Patag works with local communities so each purchase helps the locals.

Tips for buying pasalubongs (souvenirs)

  • You can easily find food pasalubongs in the local product aisle of large groceries. Most have dried mangoes, pastries, and other food bites.
  • Kultura is a one-stop shop for souvenirs. They have everything from clothes and apparels to food, body and skin products, jewelry, and more. Greenhills Shopping Center, Landmark, and Rustans are also convenient places to buy items. If you prefer online shopping, worry not! A lot of souvenirs — even handwoven arts and crafts, clothes, etc. — are already available online, although a bit pricier than those sold directly by physical stores.
  • If you’re bringing local food products abroad, make sure to check your country of destination’s regulations about imported goods.

Has this post on souvenirs from the Philippines been helpful to you? If you have other suggestions, let us know in the comments section below!

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