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5 “Hassle-to-bring-Home” Pinoy Pasalubong

September 8, 2011

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?

25 Comments leave one →
  1. September 8, 2011 8:50 am

    This is very useful I’ve been to GenSan, Cebu, Baguio, Davao and my mom asked me to bring home said known ‘pasalubongs’ I was only to bring home – of all things a broom from Baguio. I regret not buying sashimi at GenSan last February since its like 250 per kilo. Cheap considering if you bought it here in Manila😦

    • September 8, 2011 8:57 am

      Hey Marky. Brooms talaga nakakatawa to carry around. The sashimi and tuna belly was worth bringing home🙂 Ang sarap!

  2. September 8, 2011 9:42 am

    Nice post! My mom used to ask her friends to take home a Baguio Broom as pasalubong instead of strawberries and vegetables when we were still living in Dagupan. I don’t usually buy durian in Davao as pasalubong her in Manila, but the smell is too contagious that even my luggage smells like durian na LOL.

    • September 8, 2011 9:48 am

      Was in an aircon bus recently where the conductor said durian wasn’t allowed, but someone obviously brought one, because in 5 minutes the whole bus smelled like durian!

  3. September 8, 2011 10:18 am

    lahat ng may amoy (bagoong, danggit) at mabigat (isang kahong pomelo – totally worth it though, at maraming makikinabang).

    by the way, sa bagoong din daw, kahit sa ibang lugar ginawa kung minsan nilalagyan ng pangasinan label para mas mabenta. diumano.

    • September 8, 2011 12:08 pm

      At least bagoong comes packaged in jars (though yung nasa malaking bottle, medyo hassle nga). Didn’t know they relabeled bagoong. Thanks for trivia. Haven’t tried taking home pomelo yet. Another Davao favorite!

  4. September 8, 2011 11:14 am

    Oh wow.. how relatable!
    I totally think ditto on all of them!!! Especially the durian and the tuna.
    although ngayon, mom ko has only specific papasalubongs na nakikita lag sa domestic airports. lol. certain brand of barquillos. LOL

    • September 8, 2011 12:12 pm

      Mmm. Love barquillos! Naalala ko yung huge cans of Rebisco biscuits that were very popular pasalubong for people going home to provinces. They also doubled as extra seats for kids in the aisles of buses🙂

      • September 9, 2011 1:55 am

        Yes, mga ganun na lng pasalubong ko sa nanay ko. Natutuwa naman sya. Yun sisi pa ren ako dun sa sashimi sa Gensan haha

  5. September 8, 2011 1:23 pm

    haha, hndi ko maikakaila na talgang hassle bitbitin yang mga yan.. haha lalo na yung walis at durian..

    • September 8, 2011 2:42 pm

      I had another friend who had to bring home 3 brooms all the way from Baguio to Bicol. Land trip yun the whole way :p He was not pleased🙂

  6. September 8, 2011 2:04 pm

    Yung tuna (sashimi), bihod (fish roe) and smoked malasigue from gensan and davao……di ko pinalalampas!

    Tuna as is, sashimi– wasabe and toyo lang kulang. Bihod good for sinigang, grilled or sauteed in lots garlic, malasigue ok din as sashimi. *drooling*

    • September 8, 2011 2:45 pm

      Sarap! Sashimi the best. Haven’t tried the sauteed bihod in garlic but it sounds delicious!

  7. September 8, 2011 2:54 pm

    walis? hehehe!!! ako, i don’t buy pasalubong.. pag bumili ako, dapat kasya sa backpack ko… ayoko kc magbitbit ng kahit ano aside from my pack…🙂

    • September 9, 2011 12:14 am

      Hi Mervz. Ako rin, I prefer to just buy token souvenirs (keychains, magnets) so it’s still easy to move around.

  8. September 9, 2011 1:17 am

    all time favorite talaga ang walis tambo from Baguio!:)

  9. benz permalink
    September 9, 2011 8:38 am

    I’m from Baguio and is asked almost everytime I visit Baguio to bring back that “oh so famous, geez” walis tambo. Seldom did however…

    Tuna is great but I say, it’s less than 300/kg at the farmers market!

    • September 10, 2011 2:38 am

      Hi Benz, thanks for the tip on prices of tuna. Next time will just drop by farmers market and say it came from GenSan😉 JK. I don’t mind buying strawberries and ube jam because they’re easy to pack, but Baguio brooms…these are also available in some markets in Manila.

  10. September 9, 2011 10:23 am

    This post reminds me of my studies in Baguio. My mom used to tell me to bring her home walis tambo! I never brought home one! Hindi bagay sa school-boy image ko back then. LOL.

    • September 10, 2011 2:55 am

      I haven’t been to Baguio in a while, but I’ve never brought a broom home from there either. Ok lang if you drove there, but if you’re commuting, hassle talaga.

  11. September 9, 2011 4:13 pm

    i would use the walis as head dress with matching sash. kunyare contingent from a foreign country for a pageant, a preview of my national costume!

    lurve this post! i can smell the raw Pinoy-ness through the article!

    • September 10, 2011 2:45 am

      Haha. That’s a great idea! Thanks for dropping by and for the comment Ron.

  12. Roger Cohn permalink
    November 29, 2011 5:08 pm

    A hassle to bring back guitars from Cebu? Well all the airlines at Cebu airport are used to passengers carrying guitars. SO, they won’t let you carry them on the plane. Once you are in Manilla or a foreign airport, no problem. But believe me they won’t budge at Cebu airport. My advice is op for a good case so when you check it , the guitar won’t get smashed

    • November 30, 2011 3:15 am

      Thanks for the tip Roger. I’ve had boxes and bags damaged because of improper handling and generally don’t like checking in items if not necessary.

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