Little Lessons On Becoming Filipino: Pasalubong Pa More!
Define Pasalubong: souvenir. For such a simple definition it carries much more significance than a token from recent travel. Pasalubong is one of my favorite elements of Filipino culture. They love to give! They share food, conversation, hugs, mano (blessing of small children to elders) and small gifts from travels for those they love. Pasalubong is an offering you bring to the relationship to show gratitude and affection. No wonder I love this culture so much, gift giving has always been my love language.
The first time I remember receiving pasalubong was when I had a playdate at my house with new Filipino craft friends. As sweet Nica entered my home she gifted me a hand painted framed postcard that I immediately hung on my children's favorite play corner, which still hangs there today. Since then I have received numerous pasalubong, mostly in the forms of kakanin because friends know I am a #kakaninaddict. In love with the concept of offering a small gift, I have adopted the culture on my quest of Becoming Filipino.
When we travel home to The States I enjoy bringing small gifts back for family and friends that are uniquely Filipino. I kid you not, one year I had an entire luggage full of wooden dish ware for my aunties and cousins. I often bring back coco sugar, inabel blankets, bayongs and this year a shoe box of fresh espasol and alpombras. And of course, upon my return to Manila I bring back pasalubong from The States for Ate Chanda and friends.
Here are some ideas for how to pasalubong like a pro!
Elements To Include:
Here I use a basic 'chicken basket' also known properly as a qubi (which is actually used to cage chickens) as my base. Side note: I actually use them all over the house for decor and storage as well. Next, add a layer of crinkled paper, a blanket or something else to give height to the items you will add. In this basket I used Kilus tetra pack bags, woven Inabel blankets, a lokal clutch from Kultura, tsokolate tablea, dried mango and dried mango balls. This gift basket shipped really well in a box because it compressed and keept its shape! This was more pasalubong than I usually give but it was for a special occasion. Traditionally, pasalubong can be as simple as a plate of suman or as small as a key chain.
You can find many of these items just at Kultura, Market Market, Greenhills. You can find these baskets at almost any public or check Market Market's flower section for some other variations.
Expats come and go here. Some of them love it (🙋ako) some of them don't. I've deemed it my job to try and get every expat (and maybe even Filipinos too) 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 each a little "Welcome To Manila" pasalubong kit with some of my favorite staples. These are some of our favorite treats, staples and facts about The Philippines.
Items I like to include:
- Dried mangoes of course!
- Pineapple juice, 100% juice means no added sugar
- Snacks we love: individual peanut butter sachets, Tong Garden sunflower seeds and rice crackers not pictured
- Cusina dish soap because it smells and looks lovely (I am a sucker for packaging)
- Fantastic Philippines deck of wonderful facts about the wonderful people and places in the Philippines, note pad and a welcome postcard all from Papelmelroti. If they are out of stock, you can order as many Fantastic Philippines boxes as you'd like and pick up in a weeks time. They are around 60php each.
And that my friends, is another easy way to embrace the warm and friendly culture of the Philippines.