Filipinos love bringing home souvenirs from their travels, and they don't keep them for themselves either. The concept of giving gifts from trips is known in the country as "pasalubong", quite similar to the Japanese custom of bringing home "omiyage" for friends and co-workers. If you want to adopt the tradition of giving "pasalubong", or simply bring home a memorable piece from your adventure in that part of Asia, check out these shops full of homegrown treasures.
Necklaces and toys from Balikbayan Handicrafts Why you should visit: For many years, this has been the go-to store for a dizzying selection of intricately made traditional handicrafts from all over the country. Its store in the business district of Makati is the customary stop of many visitors who want to find (from left to right) locally made accessories (necklaces made from mother of pearl), home décor, toys (trumpo or top), and more. (Photo courtesy of www.balikbayanhandicrafts.com) Address: 1010 A. Arnaiz Ave. (formerly Pasay Road), Makati City Local artisan chocolates and natural beauty products from Echo Store Why you should visit: Shopping with a conscience is alive and well in this eco-conscious store. It features a well-edited selection of different green and local brands. The Theo & Philo artisan chocolates are a must-try with its locally-inspired flavors infused in its dark or milk chocolates, like Labuyo (chili), Calamansi (Philippine lemon), Barako (the local coffee), and the popular street food snack, Green Mango and Salt. The beauty products with natural ingredients are a great gift for the female folks back home: body wash made from rice bran oil, honey milk lotion, etc. The handicrafts and other accessories are produced by different local communities. You get a dose of local retail therapy and help communities too. (Photo courtesy of Theo & Philo) Locations: Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; Centris Walk at ETON Mall (get down Quezon Avenue MRT Station), EDSA cor. Quezon Ave., Quezon City; The Podium, Ortigas Center, Pasig City. URL: www.echostore.ph Bags from Aranaz Why you should visit: This local designer bag brand popular among the stylish set in Manila uses indigenous materials like mother-of-pearl, coconut shell, wood and mixes it with other materials to create high-quality, stylish bags with a distinct Filipino aesthetic. In the recent Fashion Access in Hong Kong, which gathered fashion suppliers and buyers from around the globe, Aranaz won the award for Best in Fashion Accessories. (Photo courtesy of www.facebook.com/AranazPH) Address: 2/F Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati; 2/F Greenbelt 5, Makati; URL: www.aranaz.ph Tees from Team Manila Why you should visit: This is not your usual souvenir shirt. Team Manila's team of graphic designers puts a cool, fun spin on the country’s national heroes, landmarks and cultural icons that define the Philippines. Get your Manila shirt here! The shop also carries tote bags, coin purses and other accessories. (Photo courtesy of www.teammanila.com) Locations: 2/F Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati; G/F Market Market, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; 3/F Trinoma mall, Quezon City; 2/F SM Mall of Asia; Marquee Mall, Pampanga; SM Davao, Davao City. URL: www.teammanila.com Travel accessories from Regalong Pambahay Why you should visit: Regalong Pambahay is a must-visit for those looking for quaint and pretty decor with a handcraft feel. But if you can’t look at another rattan bag again, the store also carries lifestyle accessories for the traveler in you: vintage-looking suitcases, luggage tags, and journals with Philippine designs. Locations: 2/F Balikbayan Handicrafts, Pasay Road, Makati; Marquee Mall, Pampanga; 2/F Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; G/F SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City; 3/F SM Megamall, Mandaluyong. URL: www.regalongpambahay.com Crafts for a cause from Kultura Filipino Why you should visit: Kultura Filipino is home to locally-made products and gift items. What we love best is their “Crafts for a Cause" section where you can buy souvenirs made by local communities using recycled materials. And since it’s owned by SM, one of the biggest shopping mall chains in the country, you can find a branch in most of its malls spread across the country. (Photo courtesy of www.kulturafilipino.com) Locations: In most SM malls, including G/F SM Mall of Asia, Pasay; 2/F SM Makati Annex; Upper G/F Building A, SM Megamall; Upper G/F SM Cebu; G/F Annex, SM City Fairview; East Wing, Taal Vista Hotel, Tagaytay. URL: www.kulturafilipino.com