20 Modern Souvenirs from the Philippines that Make Great Gifts
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
- 3. Dried mangoes
- 3. Coffee beans
- 4. Ube Halaya and Strawberry Jam
- 5. Calamay
- 6. Chicharon
- 7. Dried danggit and pusit
- 8. Gourmet tuyo
- 9. Tablea
- 10. Chocolate bars
- 11. Pearls
- 12. Capiz tableware
- 13. Wooden bowls and utensils
- 14. Artsy displays and home decor
- 15. Local bags
- 16. Liliw sandals
- 17. Inabel towels
- 18. Ponchos with Itneg embroidery
- 19. Graphic Tees
- 20. Patag desk mats
- Tips for buying pasalubongs
- What to read next:
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.
Dried mangoes can easily be found in groceries and souvenir shops.
Buy 7D dried mangoes.
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.
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.
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!
Buy Lapid’s chicharon.
7. Dried danggit and pusit
Dried danggit (a type of fish) and dried pusit (squid) 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.
Buy gourmet tuyo in olive oil.
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.
Buy premium pure tablea.
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.
Buy Auro Chocolate Heritage Collection.
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.
Buy capiz tableware.
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
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.
Buy Papelmeroti art and crafts.
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.
Buy abaca bags by Talulabell Handmade Crafts.
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.
Buy Ilocos inabel towel.
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.
Buy shirts from Linya-Linya or Team Manila.
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.
Buy Patag mouse pads.
Tips for buying pasalubongs
- 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!
What to read next:
Planning a trip to the Philippines? Check out these guides!
- First-Timers Guide to the Philippines
- Best Places to Visit in the Philippines
- Things You Need to Know Before Visiting the Philippines
- Is the Philippines Safe to Visit?
- Off-the-Beaten-Track Destinations in the Philippines
- Suggested 2 Weeks Itinerary in the Philippines
- Suggested 3 Weeks Itinerary in the Philippines
- Philippines Packing List
Katherine Cortes is a 30-something freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).