Pasalubong is a term in the Philippines which means giving gifts to family or friends after being away abroad or in some other location of the Philippines. I always have great joy in giving pasalubong to the people I love and like. Even to those who are not on my favorites list! I enjoy giving to others.
When we visit the homes of Filipinos, we never arrive empty handed. We always take something with us to give to the host and or hostess. It does not cost a lot of money to spread so much joy in the Philippines.
What Should I Give As Pasalubong?
While the Filipino Culture is similar all over the Philippines, there are many regional differences.
I can’t say all but a number of Filipinas do not want to receive flowers because they are symbolic with a funeral in the Philippine culture. “I’m not dead yet,” may be the response you receive if you indeed give flowers to someone you are courting or married to.
Stuffed animals, chocolates and a gift basket of food goodies seem to be more readily accepted and happily received by everyone. Young and old alike. Be sure to throw in a few imported items!
Among some of the small gifts I brought back to my wife when I returned to the Philippines from my trip to Florida in 2014: a large designer leather handbag from Belk (she loves it), Cruz Chocolates made in Miami, several bottles of perfume, Nescafe Coffee (her favorite), Folgers Coffee (for something new), Orange Pekoe Tea and Panda Green Tea. Of course, I knew in advance the things my wife enjoys, the things she does not like and I also asked her for a more personal list of things she wanted me to bring back. Well, that is personal!
Of course, you should not give others what you give to your wife, girlfriend, fiance or a fine lady you are courting. No Victoria’s Secret or Triumph, di ba?
Some very popular items. Always chocolates! Stuffed animals. Corned Beef, Spam, sardines, tuna, canned ham, instant noodles, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, wine, liquor, craft or imported beer, coffee, tea, sandwich spreads for bread, pastries, doughnuts, hard candies and what else? The sky’s the limit! Give what they need and want, not what you want them to have. Some imported food items will never be eaten, so think about what Filipinos eat, di ba? Grits? Forget about that!
It’s the Culture
Giving pasalubong strengthens the bond between family and friends in the Philippines. It shows you love them and care about them. Handing out gifts also spreads happiness and gladness that *you* are back home safe and sound. You were missed! No need to wrap pasalubong but give it as it is. The receivers will be more excited when they see it. Guess what? The receivers of your pasalubong will even share it with you! When they crack open that Dak canned ham, you will be eating some! Right here and right now! Filipinos are among the most hospitable people on the face of the planet!
Next time, you visit Filipinos, please don’t forget the Pasalubong. You will be as blessed as they are. You can believe that!
I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod.
Your Amigo, always,
~ Gary McMurrain ~