Pasalubong Like A Pro: How To Give A Proper Welcome And Send-Off For Your Barkada
There have been specific experiences in my ‘Manila Life’ that struck me with awe at the learning of a new cultural concept; pasalubong was one of those for me. As I become more acquainted with this cultural practice I fall more and more in love with the Philippines. This is not purely because my love language is gifts (and food - duh! and baskets - duh!) but the intentions behind gifts which are so significant for pasalubong.
A popular pasalubong is food! these are longganisa and pilipit from Lucban
I read recently, the Filipino word ‘pasalubong’ has its roots in the word salubong, which means ‘meet’ or ‘welcome’. When you add pa, the act of salubong turns the meaning into, ‘to meet’, ‘to welcome’. A rough translation turns pasalubong into, something meant for you when you welcome me back. Often these gifts are given when overseas foreign workers return home, when one has a holiday abroad or even just returns from a local trip.
A Philippine jeepney shirt I plan to give to one of my sisters-in-law as pasalubong
Today I want to share two ways to welcome new friends to Manila with pasalubong and how to give a proper send off to your barkada.
Before I do, a word on sourcing pasalubong in the city. One of my absolute favorite places to get pasalubong, actually a favorite place in general, is Kultura. You needn’t go far because Kultura is all over the Metro and country! They source from all over the Philippines, have it neatly organized and don’t jack up the prices too high. It really is a one stop shop. I love it for most things beyond pasalubong, but they have all things pasalubong and beyond!
Welcome To Manila Pasalubong|
Expats in the Philippines come and go frequently. Some of them love it (ako) and some of them don't. I've deemed it my job to try and get every expat to love it here! There's so much to love. So when a new family moves into our neighborhood or congregation I try to make them a "Welcome To Manila" pasalubong kit with some of my favorite staples. I like to use the tetra pack as the basket/bag then place a fun souvenir, especially if there are kids. This time I added a jeepney and sungka. Of course a sweet treat like Philo and Theo won’t hurt. I love all things Acacia wood and want others to as well so a small set of bowls is a great starter. And to cap off the welcome basket, I added a Jeepney shirt to help them feel welcome and included. I also want them to feel a little pride for their new city..
What are your favorite staples? Anything I should add to the mix?
Farewell Barkada Pasalubong|
As mentioned previously expats come and go here, it is part of living life abroad. People become family for a few years and then we have to part our separate ways and life goes on. Why not send them off with a special "Farewell Barkada" pasalubong to always remember their time in Manila. Here are few pieces that carry an emotional sentiment so they never forget you or their time in Manila.
Here’s a simple DIY that adds a personal and sentimental touch, plus it only takes a few minutes and two items. For this project you will need a fine tip Sharpie and a fan from Kultura. Kultura has high end fans for around 700php and budget fans for as low as 149 php. Have your barkada each sign the fan with a personal message using the fine tip. It’s a perfect keepsake that will remind your kaibigan of the wonderful times in Manila.
After everyone writes their message you will have a fan full of love
One of the strongest ways to rekindle a memory is through smell. Smells take you back to your childhood, into college and so on. Kultura carries a plethora of different diffuser scents that are inspired by the the Philippines. You may not be in the islands anymore but at least your house can smell like it.
I have become full on obsessed with Inabel blankets. I am a textile girl and the textiles of the Philippines will always hold a special place in my heart. I love the idea of a friend sitting on her couch wrapped in an Inabel blanket feeling the warmth of her barkada back in Manila.