Souvenir of the Philippines: Five ideas for gifts worth taking home with you

souvenir Philippines
A selection of fridge magnets on offer at the E Mall Shopping Center in Boracay.

The Swiss have cuckoo clocks, the Scots have shortbread… but what could be considered a classic souvenir to take home from the Philippines?

Of course, there is some wonderful hand-made artisanal craftsmanship out there, everything from embroidery to wood carvings. But these take time and taste to select, and could be considered as investments more than souvenirs. 

So, you’re coming to the end of your stay, and there are folks back home that expect at least a token of your visit. What to chose? 

Here are our five top suggestions for easy-to- souvenirs in the Philippines:

5) Filipino Wine

Yes, you read that right, the Philippines makes wine! This is mainly to be found around the wonderful Summer Capital of Baguio, or in the mountainous area of Sagada (both worth a visit).  It tends to be rather sweet and not exactly a classic vintage, but it is certainly unique.

4) Tacky t-shirts

Capitalism is in full swing in the Philippines and you will not too many places without t-shirts for sale. Most follow the line of “I love the Philippines/Borcay/Angeles” (the last one does not exist, by the way). However, in some places you can create your own. I made one with a map of Palawan and the word “bobo”. A search through local markets can also turn up t-shirts with hilariously misprinted, misspelt or simply bizarre slogans.

3) Pearls

One of the main things hawkers will try and sell you is fake pearls. However, the Philippines has some great real pearls that are widely available. And what could be more memorable than giving someone a nice pearl necklace?

2) Fridge magnets

This is the classic, time-tested souvenir, and can be found pretty much no matter where you travel in the Philippines. The great advantage of these otherwise quite pointless items is that they don’t take up much room in your luggage.

1) Tanduay Rum

Tanduay claims to be the best rum in the world. Personally, I disagree, but it is unique to the Philippines and there are a few good vintages in posh bottles that would make a truly worthy souvenir.

Any other ideas?

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