Souvenirs from the Philippines You Must Buy

Travel refreshes the soul. And when we find ourselves unable to get away, we often look back at memories through photos and souvenirs. Photos work great but more often than not, we’d like to take a little part of the place we visited when we get back to our normal lives.

There are as many souvenirs to take from the Philippines as there are islands. Each city or province has its own product or icon and it gets kind of hard to pick those that will really count. So to help you avoid hoarding and exceeding your baggage limits, I made a list of souvenirs from the Philippines that you can take home and hopefully someday lure you back to the islands.

Enjoy!

Keychains/ Ref Magnets/ Coin Purses

Assorted sourvenirs at an open market in the Philippines.

 

You’ll find these in every city and in different forms. The most popular are miniature bahay kubo (nipa house on stilts), bakya (wooden slip-on sandals), shells, colorful reef fish, and star fish designs. These items usually come printed with the name of the city where you got it from.

Malong/Sarong

Colorful sarongs.

 

Traditionally a royal garb of the Maranao tribe in Mindanao, malongs would be terrific souvenirs from the Philippines, especially if you’re going south. It is essentially a tubular garment made of cotton or similar material and usually comes in bright colors and ethnic patterns. A malong can be used in different ways: a blanket, a towel, a large sash, even a makeshift changing room!

A Sarong on the other hand is a piece of cloth made of lightweight material which can also be used the same way as a malong. They come in very bright colors and patterns too!

Mini Guitars

Mini guitars for sale in Cebu Philippines.

 

The best guitars I’ve bought so far are from Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu. Guitars manufactured in Cebu are of world-class quality. Now it is up to you if you’d like to buy a full-sized guitar but a miniature one will do just fine as a souvenir. You can also find mini guitars in other popular destinations like Boracay, Bohol and Davao City.

Miniature Jeepney

Mini jeepney from the Philippines.

CC-BY enerva on Flickr

 

If there’s an icon that will definitely remind of the Philippines, it would be the kings of the Manila thoroughfares. Jeepneys serve as transportation of the masses and a visit to the country is never quite complete without a ride in one. Remember how cramped it can get and how you had to pass your seatmate’s fare to the driver by getting a miniature jeepney model. It would be a wonderful topic of conversation when friends come for a visit.

Native Delicacies

Variety of food delicacies from the Philippines that make great souvenirs.

 

Well these may not be counted as a souvenir since chances are you will consume all the delicacies from the Philippines even before you reach home. But native delicacies are great take-home treats to give away to friends and loved ones. Give them something sweet or tasty as souvenirs from the Philippines and maybe they will be convinced to take the trip themselves in the near future. Here are some suggestions:

  • Peanut brittle from Baguio
  • Pinasugbo from Cebu City
  • Calamay from Bohol (pick those in plastic containers, the coconut shells just too heavy)
  • Durian candy from Davao City (airlines permit carrying them on board because they don’t smell)
  • Shamrock otap from Cebu City
  • Vjandep Pastel from Camiguin or Cagayan de Oro City
  • Hopia from Eng Bee Tin Chinese deli in Binondo
  • Peanut Kisses from Bohol
  • Barako coffee beans from Batangas
  • Buko Pie from Laguna

Just be extra careful when packing food for long flights. It would also help if make sure that your take-home treats are fresh and would not expire before you reach home.

There are other great souvenirs you can find all over the Philippines. There’s the barrel man from Baguio City, pinya cloth from Laguna, T’nalak from Lake Sebu, Capiz Shells from Capiz and a lot more. As you go around the Philippines, find something that strikes your fancy and take it home with you. Items you take home will make you remember your adventure more fondly than just staring at photos.

And here’s a piece of advice: don’t stick to souvenir shops, try the local market’s dry section; you’ll most likely find cheaper and more authentic souvenirs from there.

Philippines Travel Resources

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