Philippine Souvenirs: 21 Trendy Gifts and Tokens to Take Home With You

Philippine Souvenirs: 21 Trendy Gifts and Tokens to Take Home With You [UPDATED 2020]

Even souvenirs are more fun in the Philippines!

It’s always a great time to visit the Philippines! One thing you should know before travelling to our country is the time-honoured tradition of bringing back pasalubong or Philippine souvenirs for your family and friends back home. And for yourself, too, of course! 

Ideally, you shouldn’t have to wait until the day of your departure to make a last-minute grab at the gift store. For a truly worthy stash of Philippine gifts, you can seek out these tokens and keepsakes listed below — all of which can be found in markets, souvenir shops, and malls around the country. Pretty soon, you won’t be able to visit the Philippines without packing these goodies in your suitcase! 

Also read: The Ultimate Pasalubong Guide: Must-Buy Food Items From Every Region in the Philippines

1. Dried mangoes

These slivers of tangy-ripe mangoes are easy to chew, vitamin-rich, and so delightful for snacking at any time of the day. More importantly, they are very addicting. Word of advice? Hoard as many packs of dried mangoes as you can. You’ll be surprised at how quickly they disappear once you get home! 

2.  Buko pie, polvoron, and other Philippine delicacies

Image credit: Krista

With flavours ranging from sweet to wow, that’s really sweet, these local delicacies are the ideal Philippine souvenirs to buy for your loved ones back home. Some of our favourites include pastillas de leche (soft and creamy milk confections rolled in sugar), otap (a flaky and crunchy puff pastry), polvoron (crumbly shortbread made of toasted flour and powdered milk), Choc Nut (a small peanut-chocolate bar), and buko pie (coconut custard pie). But believe us, that’s only the tip of the iceberg! If we tried listing all the scrumptious morsels you could take home from our country, we would be here all day.

3. Coffee beans

Little do many people know, the Philippines boasts many coffee-growing regions that yield varieties such as Arabica, Robusta, Excelsa, and finally, Liberica, which is known as barako. With delicious flavours across the board, it’s no wonder that specialty coffee is a growing industry in the Philippines. So, why not take a bag of beans back home with you? Let the bold and intense aroma of barako coffee beans from Batangas perk you up in the morning. It’ll be a delicious reminder of where you spent your last vacation. 

Also read: 10 Must-Visit Places in the Philippines for Specialty Coffee

4. Philippine Pearls

Along with its bountiful marine life, the Philippines is also teeming with jewels from the sea. From white to lovely gold varieties, the finest South Sea pearls can be found at affordable prices — that is, if you know where to look! 

Let’s just say that curious backpackers aren’t the only people who drop by Metro Manila in search of valuable pearl earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings. We don’t want to disclose any names (cough, Rihanna, cough), but many famous celebrities have been spotted at Greenhills Shopping Center looking for these Philippine souvenirs as well. 

5. Mother-of-pearl plates, capiz shell boxes, and other tableware

Lustrous from every angle, these mother-of-pearl objects will be the aesthetic envy of every party. Whether you are scooping your rice with a stunning spoon or setting capiz shell placemats on the table, taking these dinnerware items out of your drawer is like a subtle flex to all of your friends. “Yeah, that’s right. I own shiny things now.” If they fit within your budget, these iridescent souvenirs are very much worth the splash! 

6. Native bags, pouches, and accessories

Bags, pouches, laptop cases, bandanas, and embroidered garments — how could we ever resist? Beautifully and thoughtfully made, these authentic Philippine souvenirs are both comfortable and IG-ready at the same time! 

For mindful shoppers, there also ethical brands that work closely with different ethnic groups and cultural communities in the Philippines — crafting not just great art that we can hold, but also contributing substantially to the livelihoods of the people who dedicate so much of their time and ancestral heritage into these products. 

7. Patterned mats, baskets, and home décor

From rattan baskets to wooden carvings, Philippine handicrafts showcase the diverse traditions and craftsmanship of indigenous artisans. For your own souvenirs, we suggest looking into cotton tapestries, earthy pillowcases, and handwoven mats, which will add a splash of colour and tropical character to any room. 

8. Dreamcatchers

Whether you believe in the legend that they protect you from nightmares or you just want beautiful ornaments to adorn your walls, these dreamcatchers are so soothing to look at. Here, graceful hoops are embellished with beads and drooping feathers. When you hang these trinkets up in  your bedroom, you feel that a good night’s rest is close by. Sweet dreams are made of these, wouldn’t you agree? 

9. Graphic t-shirts

If you’re hoping to spruce up your style, then you’re in the right place! When it comes to Philippine souvenir t-shirts, many brands like TeamManila, Linya Linya, and Strange Mercy offer a generous selection of simple prints and location-specific imagery. Often inspired by popular vacation sites around the country, these clothes radiate positivity and good vibes — just like basking in warm sunshine. And you know you’re all about that beach life once you start reaching for tie-dyed shirts!

10. Toy jeepney

Image credit: Sonny Abesamis

Among Philippine souvenirs, this toy jeepney is a must-have because it captures the spirit of Metro Manila so well. Originally, the jeepney was built using leftover parts from military Jeeps that had been cast aside after World War II. But as early as the 1950s, it evolved into an indispensable mode of public transportation for many Filipinos. Both a travel memento and a cultural symbol in miniature, the jeepney figurine reflects the eye-catching design and history of the real thing. 

11. Baro’t saya and barong Tagalog

Philippine souvenirs: Barong Tagalog

Want to wear some “Pinoy pride” on your sleeves? Traditionally woven with piña cloth from pineapple fibres, the men’s barong Tagalog and the matching blouse and skirt of the women’s baro’t saya are the national costumes of Filipinos. While these are usually brought out for formal occasions and ceremonies, you can choose modern interpretations of their designs. Embroidered silks, shirts, pants, skirts, shawls, and neck scarves keep a genteel and elegant vibe, while remaining ideal for everyday use.

12. Hand-held fans

Take it from a local: The intense heat in Metro Manila can make you wish you brought an electric fan or a bucket to douse yourself in ice. Should you underestimate the warmth and humidity of these summer islands, we have an item that will banish your worries away. Abaniko is a paddle-shaped native fan that will help you (or your lady friends) beat the heat in style. Useful and pleasing to the eyes, these multi-hued fans will wave those sweaty moments goodbye!

13. Sungka

Philippine souvenirs: sunk

Image credit: dbgg1979

Show off the playful souvenirs from your vacation by bringing home an actual game! Sungka is an indigenous board game in which two players take turns tossing pebbles or shells into seven hollows on a wooden block. The goal of the game is to gather the largest number of game pebbles or shells in your pile. Today, you would be hard-pressed to find a Filipino citizen, young or old, who isn’t nostalgic for sungka. It has a way of revealing the competitive spirit in everyone.

14. Ube jam, strawberry jam, and other sweet preserves

Here’s a classic souvenir that should be part of every traveller’s wishlist: ube halaya! Not just any kind of ube dessert, but the purple-coloured jam from the Good Shepherd Convent in Baguio. It’s so good, you won’t notice you’re hooked until your spoon meets the bottom of the jar with a sad clink. The sisters at the convent began making this creamy treat in 1976, and its recipe has remained a secret ever since. 

As you eat your way through Baguio, you should also try peanut brittle, chocolate flakes, butter cookies, and strawberry jams. And if you can’t make the journey all the way to the City of Pines, you can still find the same biscuits and sweet preserves at K&L Cafe along Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City. The owners, Karen and Loren, grew up in Baguio and love to bring the taste of their hometown a little closer to city dwellers in Metro Manila. 

Also read: Where to Stay in Baguio: 10 Airbnb Homes For All Budgets

15. Salt and pepper shakers

Level up your dining table with salt and pepper shakers that don’t just season your food — they score points on charm, too! Made of porcelain or bone china, these table pieces resemble adorable jeepneys, pineapples, carabao, roosters, or nipa huts. Everyone will jump at the chance to pass the salt and pepper! 

Equally noteworthy are the salt and pepper shakers fashioned after the bulul, a carved sculpture that represents the Ifugao rice deity. You can get these Philippine souvenirs from Liwayway, a humanitarian foundation that promotes the work of local artisan communities. 

16. Philippine chocolate

Going for a dessert crawl? Don’t forget to take a bite out of Philippine chocolates, which are considered to be some of the best in the world! Thanks to local chocolatiers bagging awards left and right, the country is rapidly becoming a destination for high-quality cacao. 

Look for Auro Chocolate, a bean-to-bar company known for their sumptuous chocolate bars. Another homegrown brand is Theo and Philo, which specialises in novelty chocolates that infuse local flavours, such as green mango, chili, coconut, toasted glutinous rice, banana pieces, and crispy caramel. There’s also Malagos Chocolate, whose dark and unsweetened chocolates put the southern island of Davao on every chocoholic’s map. 

What do these brands have in common? Aside from producing superb chocolate, they share the same mission to nurture the livelihoods of cacao farmers, too. 

17. Colourful guitars

Handmade guitars and ukuleles will definitely add boho charm to your collection of Philippine souvenirs! Stringing together a tune with these instruments will remind you of laid-back afternoons at the beach and carefree days under the sun.

While traditional instruments in the Philippines include the harp-like kubing and the gong ensemble of kulintang,  these multi-coloured guitars are much easier to pack into your suitcase. They can be found at local airports and souvenir shops around the country. 

18. Keychains

Philippine souvenirs: keychains

Image credit: Constantine Augustin

Almost anywhere you go in the Philippines, you’ll encounter vendors selling keychains. You can find dolphins, sea turtles, crocodiles, starfishes, surfboards, palm trees, sea shells, and other tropical imagery. Hang a little tarsier on your bag, or attach your apartment keys to a souvenir that has the name of your favourite island engraved on the wood. 

Looking for more inventive designs? Head to Lakbay Museo for keychain replicas of popular Filipino food: lechon (roasted pig), chicharon (salted and deep-fried pork rinds), isaw (pig or chicken intestines), crispy pata (deep-fried pig knuckles), daing (dried fish), fish ball, squid ball, longganisa (Filipino-style sausages), and pork barbecue. 

19. Stickers, artworks, pins, and postcards

Shopping for Philippine souvenirs doesn’t have to be an expensive affair! Beyond the fashionable outlets in the malls, you can walk into any local arts and crafts store to discover colourful stickers, art prints, enamel pins, illustrations, and postcards made by artists in the Philippines. 

Manila-based stores like Papemelroti and Common Room PH have cool works of art that can easily go on your planner, laptop, phone, or the walls of your room. More importantly, they  showcase Pinoy creativity and humour. “Can’t talk, I’m eating.” “EXTRA RICE.” We feel this every day.

20. Refrigerator magnets

Relive the summer vibes from your trip with these endearing magnets. Take your pick from an exciting collection of sailboats, electric guitars, seahorses, fish, whale sharks, slippers, jeepneys, and other pocket-sized souvenirs that celebrate the Philippine Archipelago. Certainly, these refrigerator magnets cheer you up each morning, as you prepare breakfast or a cup of coffee before work.

21. Philippine books

Image credit: Penguin Random House (left); Anvil Publishing (right) 

Thinking of Philippine souvenirs, most people don’t imagine packing anything that isn’t consumable, wearable, or ornamental for their homes. However, we recommend having a book to keep you company on your journey back. Consider Tikim: Essays on Philippine Food and Culture, a book that reads like a love letter to Filipino food. Written by the late Doreen G. Fernandez, it holds everything you need to know about Philippine cuisine and its history.

Literary page-turners will allow you to revisit your memories of the Philippines, even as they open a window into truths that you may not have seen during your trip. Dive into the revolutionary classics of the hero José Rizal; or pick up a collection of stories by Nick Joaquin, one of the greatest Filipino fictionists of all time. These local books are available at Fully Booked, Biblio, Power Books, National Bookstore, Booksale, and university presses around the country. 

Also read: 12 Beautiful Libraries & Bookstores to Visit Around Asia

Naturally, the country that has perfected the art of gift-giving also has many novelty items to nurture your nostalgia! No matter which city or province you fall in love with during your stay, these Philippine souvenirs will be the perfect homecoming presents from your trip.

About Author

Tiffany Conde
Tiffany Conde

Tiffany is a writer based in Manila. When she was younger, she knew she wanted to write stories or go on adventures—now, she's learning to do both. She enjoys being swept up in books that spark her curiosity for new places, both real and imaginary.

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