5 “Hassle-to-bring-Home” Pinoy Pasalubong
The other day I was at my desk at work when Arvin, an officemate arrived carrying a long bulky item wrapped in brown cardboard and masking tape.
“Ay naku, galing akong Baguio nung long weekend. So syempre may nagpabili ng walis.” (I just came from Baguio during the long weekend, so of course someone asked me to buy a broom).
This scenario got me thinking of items that are really such a hassle to take home as pasalubong (souvenirs), but we still buy for the sake of friends and family when we travel.
1) Baguio Brooms
Claim to fame: Said to be sturdier than regular brooms; useful cleaning tool you will find in most Filipino homes
A broom is not exactly the easiest (or most glamorous) thing to carry around and is impossible to stick in a backpack. But there must be something about Baguio brooms that make sweeping the house a breeze because people will ask you to buy them no matter how bulky or inconvenient it is for you to carry around. Baguio brooms are usually identified by the name “Baguio City” spelled out with plastic covering the wooden handle. Ironically, brooms are not even made in Baguio. According to AyaySalidummay, brooms are often made in Benguet and La Union. However, they remain one of the summer capital’s most popular souvenirs to the bane of many Baguio-bound tourists.
2) Durian from Davao
Claim to fame: Unique odor and soft texture of fruit which many people find extremely delicious
There’s a reason why durian is not allowed in hotels, aircon buses or as part of your check-in luggage aboard an aircraft. This “inconvenient fruit” can really stink up a place in no time and its distinctive smell will linger on your clothes and bags for a long time. While I am not a big fan of durian, I know some people who swear that it’s the most delicious fruit ever and take home boxes-full of durian whenever they visit Davao. You don’t even have to tell your taxi driver where you came from. One whiff and he’ll know.
3) GenSan Tuna
Claim to fame: As the source of majority of tuna in the country, you can get it fresh and cheap in GenSan
I really prefer to travel light with no check-in luggage. Unfortunately if people know you are going to a place like General Santos, their knee-jerk reaction is to immediately ask you to buy tuna, which makes me wonder, don’t markets here in Manila sell tuna too?
While tuna from GenSan may be fresher and cheaper, the airline’s check-in fees (if you happened not to pay for check in luggage when you bought your ticket) — not so cheap. I paid an extra 400+ to check in the small cooler of tuna sashimi and tuna belly. Fresh seafood like crabs and fish are generally a hassle to take home but are always a welcome treat and far more useful than a souvenir shirt. Hearing how people enjoyed eating it (you can enjoy it fried, grilled or sashimi style and in salpicao as pulutan) may make the extra hassle just worth your while.
4) Cebu-made Guitars
Claim to fame: Affordability, world-class quality and durability
If you have a neighbor or relative who is an aspiring musician, think twice before mentioning that you’re gong to Cebu, lest they ask you to take home a guitar for them. Cebu-made guitars are popular with local and Filipino expats, who like to buy them as gifts or souvenirs. According to EverythingCebu, Cebu-made guitars use a variety of soft and hard wood (jackfruit, narra, black wood ebony and imported woods) and some guitars have intricate designs or are inlaid with shell crafts. The excellent craftsmanship also results in Cebu-made guitars having a “unique melodious sound.”
Of course, if you are traveling alone, heading to the airport carrying a guitar (not to mention the boxes of CnT lechon, danggit and dried mango for other people) is not an easy feat. 🙂
5) Religious Statues
Claim to fame: Expression of faith; can bless your home and bring you good luck
A relative told me that Filipinos abroad often ask friends back home to bring them a statue of Mama Mary or Sto. Nino (Baby Jesus) when they visit. Made of a combination of fiberglass, wood and resin, with some statues measuring up to 26″ these aren’t the easiest things to pack. (Did you know that the red Sto. Nino is supposed to bring you good luck while the green one is said to bring financial success to your business?) At least that’s what groups selling the products claim.
I haven’t had to do this yet (thankfully) but I can imagine how bigger statues would take up most of the space in one’s bag. But how do you say no to a religious aunt living alone abroad, especially if you are crashing a few nights at her place?
No matter how bulky, inconvenient, smelly or heavy these Pinoy souvenirs may be to carry, a lot of Pinoys will forego the hassle just to bring some joy to loved ones back home. That’s the Pinoy way! What’s the most inconvenient pasalubong you’ve ever had to take home?