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Pasalubong: Popular gift ideas for Filipinos

Filipinos are known for their hospitality and appreciation when receiving gifts, tokens, and freebies.

When coming from abroad, or even when traveling from a local place outside a person’s residence, it is customary for Filipinos to bring souvenir items when meeting friends and relatives (traditionally called “pasalubong” in Filipino) in the Philippines. Even new acquaintances can get that much-loved “pasalubong” as well.

This guide is primarily for foreigners intending to buy gifts for Filipinos. When looking for popular gift ideas, these don’t necessarily have to be grand or expensive, as even a simple keychain or any small souvenir can make Filipinos feel happy and remembered. When sending personalized gifts, it further makes the gift-giving endeavor a more special experience.

Figurines, Accessories, and Books Related to Culture and Traditions

The trademark of Philippine culture is its evolution into a distinctive mixture of native Filipino traditions and influences of various Eastern and Western customs. A good number of figurines, accessories, and books reflect these including: figurines or images of Roman Catholic Saints and the Holy Cross; bracelets and other charm items featuring either the Western Zodiac referring to the person’s birth month or the Chinese Zodiac referring to a person’s year of birth; and even books about religion, self-enhancement, culture, and literature.

During major Filipino celebrations including Christmas, New Year, and Chinese New Year, figurines of angels, saints, fairies, animals referring to the Chinese Zodiac, mystical creatures, charms and crystals, incense, and scented candles are bestsellers in the Philippines.

Print-designed Items

Print-designed items (with personalized drawings, messages or photos) in plates, keychains, mugs, pens, bags, pillows, and photo frames are typical gift ideas for those in the Philippines.

Filipinos often receive souvenir items for various occasions like weddings, birthdays, family reunions, and other special events. Corporate giveaways are also usually sent out to workers, guests, and clients during holidays and company celebrations. Gifts with prints of various places around the world are commonly given to Filipinos as well.

People give their appreciation by really using these personalized items and showcasing souvenir items on display areas of their homes, shops, and offices.

Many local shops and online stores make it easy for people to buy personalized gifts like these. People can use pre-customized designs, then tweak them to make the gifts personalized. Of course, others prefer to use their own designs entirely.

Personalized Shirts and Jewelry

Personally designed and tie-dyed shirts and even engraved markings in jewelries are favorite gift ideas in the Philippines. People can choose the recipient’s name, favorite design or trademark, preferred celebrity icon, a smart, funny, or catchy phrase, punchline, or shoutout, or just about anything the person specifically likes for these personally designed gifts.

Personally Made Art and Craft Items

Those who are into arts and crafts can come up with their own gift ideas like paintings and sketches, framed cross stitch designs, painted bottles, customized jewelry boxes, photo magnets, eco bags, home ornaments, and paper crafts. Scrapbooks filled with good memories and fun designs are good gift ideas for Filipinos as well.

Local Food Items and Rare Treats

Filipinos love food. Trying out delicacies from other places are generally great options for their “pasalubong.” Healthy options are always great, but rare finds that are not necessarily the healthiest typically get the stamp of approval from Filipinos, too. After all, they won’t have too much of them, since they won’t have easy access to such rare treats from other places.

Rianne Hill Soriano
Rianne is a director, writer, educator, and consultant in film and commercial productions. From mainstream essentials to independent flair, she knows the drill in making entertaining and well-meaning productions. She can lead a pack passionate about extreme action and technological edge; she can breathe an endearing and sentimental style for a team with a sweet disposition.

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