Manila Shopping: 20 Filipino Goods To Bring Home
1. Capiz Items
Capiz shells are often flat, semi-transparent with a pearlescent appearance. It is often used to create lampshades or other luminescent objects, such as candle holders, because of its striking appearance when light shines through. However, it is just as common to see the bases of lamps crafted with capiz shell. Capiz is also frequently used as an accent to many household and fashion accessories and is generally considered to be elegant and formal. The decorative purposes of capiz are virtually limitless, and the look it gives depends largely on the quantity used and the accompanying materials, with silver or gold being the most formal and wood being a more casual material combined with capiz.
The price range of the Capiz shell products is from Php 119.75 to Php 1999.75. It is available for purchase at Kultura Filipino at the 2nd floor SM Ayala, Makati City. The shop is open from 10AM to 9PM daily. Alternatively, it can also be purchased at Jonats Handicrafts in Stall 32-34 Building 11, Tiendesitas, Pasig City.
2. Caviar Dish
Truth be told, Mother of pearl is essential for serving caviar because it does not affect the caviar's fragile flavor. Any other type of tableware would alter the taste of caviar and distract from its natural flavor.
The price range of the caviar dishes is from Php 899.00 to Php 3599.75. It is available for purchase at Kultura Filipino at the 2nd floor SM Ayala, Makati City. The shop is open from 10AM to 9PM daily.
So what do you expect for each custaroon? Expect a unique, great tasting dessert that could be eaten alone or with a beverage of their choice - they go very well with coffee and tea. The custaroons appeal to all kinds of tastes; even those who don't like macaroons enjoy my custaroons. Travelers should expect a Filipino tasting dessert that also appeals to the international market.
You can purchase these yummy treats at the Custaroonery parking lot of the St. Pio Chapel Compound, 188 E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave. Bagumbayan, Quezon City. The price of custaroons ranges from Php 180.00 (for a box of six) to Php 900.00 (for a box of 120 pcs). You can also visit their website at www.custaroons.com
4. Philippine Pearls
Pearls come in varied colors. In the Philippines you can take fancy in the various colored pearls, such as cream-roses, cream-whites, and assorted yellows and golds. There are cultured pearls and natural pearls. Just a bit of trivia when buying pearls. To know if the pearls that you are buying are real, attempt to scratch or bite the pearl. If the pearl leaves a mark, has a sandy feel and the mark disappears after wiping it, then the pearl is real.
The most comprehensive location to purchase cultured or natural pearls is the Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan City. The Shopping Center is open from 9AM to 9PM daily. The price range of pearls is from Php500.00 to Php1,000.00.
5. Shell-Made Napkin Ring Set
In addition, shell-made napkin ring sets are very impressive and expensive looking pieces for table settings. Often found in classy restaurants, these handicrafts are now accessible to those foreign travelers who are looking into impressing their guests at home. These rings sets come in various varieties of seashells.
Each shell is carefully polished to create that glossy shine. You can purchase these shell crafts napkin ring sets at Kultura Filipino. Kultura Filipino is the largest Filipino retail chain that offers authentic Philippine crafts. Kultura Filipino is located at the 2nd floor SM Ayala, Makati City. Alternatively, it is also available at the Jonats Crafts in Tiendesitas, Pasig City.
The price of these shell-made napkin ring sets is Php 999.75 for a set of 4 pieces.
6. Bamboo Baul
The Philippines exposure to bamboo products comes from its trade relations with China which extends back to the 1500s. Filipinos began using bamboo as an alternative construction material.
The word baul is a Spanish word referring to a chest or trunk. The Philippines has been a colony of Spain since the 1500s, hence the similarity in the language. The Bamboo Baul is actually a decorative chest, a local version of a treasure chest made out of bamboo shoots. Bamboo bauls come in various sizes. You can actually purchase this unique piece of furniture at Kultura Filipino at the 2nd floor SM Ayala, Makati City. The shop is open from 10AM to 9PM daily. The price of the smallest bamboo baul is Php 179.75.
7. Abaca Basket
Reflecting history and tradition, the abaca basket takes a craft indigenous to the tribes in the Philippines and gives it a clean, sophisticated shape. The dark woven basket's textured multi-colored weave takes the ancient basket shape and reinvents it with a modern twist.
Abaca baskets come in several forms and sizes. One practical application of this reliable weave is traditional container to be taken along whenever you go to public markets.
The price range of the Abaca baskets is from Php 100.00 to Php 499.75. It is available for purchase at Kultura Filipino at the 2nd floor SM Ayala, Makati City. The shop is open from 10AM to 9PM daily. Alternatively, it can also be purchased at Jonats Handicrafts in Stall 32-34 Building 11, Tiendesitas, Pasig City.
8. Kamagong Salad Server
There are many different types of salad servers that you can purchase. One of them is wood. Wooden salad servers look beautiful with a nice wooden bowl to present your salad in. When our presentation on salads may be lacking, adding a nice wooden bowl and server can turn it into a more eye-pleasing presentation.
In the Philippines, Kamagong timber is extremely dense and very famous for its dark colors. Like many hard woods, it has iron-like hardness and is nearly unbreakable, hence the term “ironwood”.
A true Filipino ingenuity is harvesting the Kamagong tree and converting its branches into kitchen utensils, such as salad servers. Anyone who has ever owned wood salad servers can tell you, there is just something better and tastier about mixing and serving salads with it. Whether it is the slight absorption of the oils in the dressing or the gentle way the bowl treats the salad leaves, there is a distinctly wonderful flavor to salads mixed in a wooden salad bowl with wooden servers.
The price range of the Kamagong salad servers is from Php 100.00 to Php 499.75. It is available for purchase at Kultura at SM Mall Makati City. The shop is open from 10AM to 9PM daily.
9. Salakot Ashtray
Another reason is, traditionally, that Filipino men love to smoke as many of the indigenous tribes of the Philippine northern provinces produce tobacco as a means of trade. In fact, all these wooden ashtrays are made and handcrafted by the indigenous tribes from the Cordillera Region – the Igorots, specifically from the City of Baguio.
Wooden ashtrays are not always depicted in traditional Filipino hats. There are many kinds of wooden ashtrays. For example, the quadruple head ashtray, the cobra ashtray, the human head ashtray, the coffee mug ashtray and the most humorous of them all - the Phallic ashtray. This ashtray is the most unique of them all. You can choose from small,
medium, large and extra large sizes available. Phallus is used in many religions, especially here in the Orient, as a symbol of the degenerative power of nature.
These ashtrays can be a perfect gift for smoker friends and relatives, as well as for non-smokers as collector’s items or home decor.
The price range of these wooden ashtrays is from about Php 100 to Php 250.00. It is available for purchase at Jomats Handicrafts at Stall 32-34 Building 11, Tiendesitas, Pasig City. You can ask Ms. Nora or Ms. Linda. The shop is open from 10AM to 7PM daily.
10. Abaca Placemats, Napkins and Coasters
Back when the whole world was lobbying for environmentally safe products, Filipinos have already invented environmentally sound kitchen items. These placemats, coasters and napkins are sturdy and durable organic table settings that are both environment friendly and elegantly decorative. These dinner setting companions will surely make your dining experience more homey and create an organic feel.
Many of the dinner setting companions can be found in Kultura Filipino at the 2nd Floor of SM Ayala, Makati City. The price of these decorative beauties ranges from Php 99.75 to Php 399.75.
Mats coming from the south are characterized by vibrant color and spontaneous geometric patterns and symbols reflecting marine life. Banig from the north have solid and darker hue because of the kind of raw materials they use.
Today, where once the age-old mat was used solely for sleeping, it now adorns modern walls or ceiling panels. Bbanig has been turned into bags, throw pillows, framed decors, as well as place mats and furniture matting.
Various styles and designs of banig can be found in Kultura Filipino at the 2nd Floor of SM Ayala, Makati City. The price ranges from Php 1,499.75 to Php 1,500.
12. Philippine Jeepney Artworks
Still, no two jeepneys are alike. This is because a jeepney is a canvas for art. Jeepney art is a combination of the "art of the accessory" and the "art of the color" applied on a basic canvas shell of galvanized metal or buffed and glimmering stainless steel. Anachronistic, unchanging, dreadfully unaerodynamic, punishingly uncomfortable — Yes, the jeepney is all that. But, more than a riveted and welded box on wheels, it is also a vehicle of the Filipino ethos and zaniness, an essential ingredient of the Filipino archetype.
To ride one, is sure way to take a peek at the Filipino mentality. To remind yourself of that Philippine adventure, you can bring home decorative models by visiting Kultura Filipino at the 2nd Floor of SM Ayala, Makati City. The price range for these decorative beauties is from Php 300.00 to Php 500.00. Alternatively, you can also purchase them at Jonats Handicrafts in Stall 32-34 Building 11, Tiendesitas, Pasig City.
13. Coconut Wine
Because coconut trees abound throughout the Philippines, and because the process of distilling lambanog from tuba is a relatively inexpensive process, it is known as a poor man’s drink. Farmers often wind down by drinking lambanog after a long day’s work.
Drinking lambanog is usually a communal thing – men sit around in a circle and take turns drinking shots from a cup placed in the middle of the group. Usually, there is also someone singing and playing the guitar to add to the festivities; he takes his turn at drinking too, so the music gets more interesting as the drinking goes on.
Now, because of its long history as a cottage industry product, lambanog is still beginning to gain worldwide recognition. Also, in an effort to increase its appeal to people of all ages, it is now marketed in several flavors: mango, blueberry, bubblegum, cinnamon, etc.
Various flavors of coconut wine can be found at Kultura Filipino at the 2nd floor SM Ayala, Makati City. The shop is open from 10AM to 9PM daily. The price of lambanog is Php 599.75.
14. Tikog Slippers
During the old times, tikog was being used only as a floor covering, something the natives would sleep on. Today, tikog is used for so many other purposes, including decoration and accessories. Among these, the most commonly ordered by foreign investors and buyers of native handicrafts are tikog-made slippers. This product has been repeatedly popularized in magazines, local and national newspapers, as well as international websites.
Tikog slippers can be found at Kultura Filipino at the 2nd floor SM Ayala, Makati City. The shop is open from 10AM to 9PM daily. The price of Tikog slippers starts from Php 99.75.
15. Bottle of Tanduay Rhum
If you find it odd that you’ve never heard of one of the most globally popular rums in the world, you’re not alone. While Tanduay has a veritable strangle-hold on the Filipino market and is consumed in vast quantities throughout Southeast Asia, very few of its bottles make their way to the Western Hemisphere. If you ever wanted an indication of the size of the Asian rum market, a mere consideration that Tanduay concerns itself almost exclusively with only one hemisphere and is still the second largest rum company in the world should tell you all you need to know.
The rum isn’t perfect, with a slight chemical quality making it a middling sipper at-best, but it can really add some interesting depth to cocktails with its combination of light, fruity sweetness and dry, clean body.
You can purchase Tanduay Rhum in any convenience store located in your hotel or place of stay. However, it is recommended to get it at big grocery stores like Save More Supermarkets. Save More Supermarket are prolific around Manila and are normally open from 9AM to 8PM daily. The price range of Tanduay Rhum is around Php 35.00 to Php 50.00.
16. Bottle of San Miguel Beer
In fact, San Miguel Beer is the best-tasting beer in the Philippines. It is carefully brewed to satisfy the distinct preferences of the resilient and unpretentious Filipino drinker. Its unique heritage is representative of a friendship between the Filipino drinker and his beer that has lasted over a hundred years!
Did you know that San Miguel Pale Pilsen is the 14th largest-selling beer in the world? Yes, it is. In fact, San Miguel is brewed in a number of countries including Nepal, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and Australia, and is also exported to over 40 countries.
Some trivia about San Miguel Beer. Back in 1994, San Miguel Beer Division held a 3-day drinking contest in Makati, Philippines. The winner of this 1994 drinking bout was a 20-year old Carlo Decena Bilbao, who still holds the record of 83 bottles of pale pilsen. And take note, this was all consumed without the use of his hands! He would simply pick up the bottle with his mouth and start pounding one after the other. The second placer for this event was none other than the German Gulper himself, Roland Hiitzer, who downed 15 pilsens.
You can purchase San Miguel Beer in any convenience store located in your hotel or place of stay. However, it is recommended to get them at big grocery stores like Save More Supermarkets. Save More Supermarket are prolific around Manila and are normally open from 9AM to 8PM daily. The price of a bottle of San Miguel is Php 12.00.
17. Barako Coffee Beans
Barako Coffee turned out to be a common name for all coffee from Batangas. It’s a rare and exotic coffee fully-grown in Lipa and other high places in Batangas, and known for its strong taste.
Barako Coffee is actually Liberica coffee, which originated in Liberia, West Africa. The coffee bean was brought to the Philippines and planted in Lipa by the Spaniards during the Spanish colonial era. Lipa is a high altitude area, which is one of the key factors for growing good quality coffee beans. Complete with the good climate and soil conditions, this resulted in a distinct quality of kapeng barako grown in the Philippines.
Its taste is said to be superior to Robusta, and most Filipino coffee drinkers prefer Barako to Arabica. Barako Coffee is normally served black. You can purchase authentic Barako Coffee at the Sunday Sidcor Market at Centris Walk on Edsa Avenue. Ask for Mr. Willie or Ms. Dholly of Chavs Marketing. The Sunday Sidcor Market is only open during Sundays from 6AM to 2PM.
18. Coffee Alamid
So what makes Coffee Alamid so special? It starts off with the alamids picking the ripest and finest berries to eat, by smell. The animals stuff themselves with it and excrete them all in the morning as the beans cannot be digested.
It is in their digestive tract that miracles happen. The stomach acids and enzymes affect the chemical structure of the beans. The beans pass through the civet whole after fermenting in the stomach and that’s what gives the coffee its unique taste and aroma.
If you have seen the movie by acclaimed director Rob Reiner, The Bucket List, the first scene of the movie while in a courtroom-case that decided the fare of one his hospitals, Jack whips out a cup of Coffee Alamid before answering one of the judge’s questions. It is, he boastfully said, “This is the most expensive coffee in coffee world. But I do not know why”.
Now, you do. You can purchase authentic Coffee Alamid at farm price at the Sunday Sidcor Market at Centris Walk on Edsa Avenue. Look for Mr. Willie or Ms. Dholly of Chavs Marketing. The Sunday Sidcor Market is only open during Sundays from 6AM to 2PM. The price of Coffee Alamid starts from Php P1,400.00 for 50 grms and P2,400.00 for 100 grms.
19. Dried Mangos (Already Sealed in Vacuum Packs)
These dried mangoes have a sweet, non-acidic flavor, lush, sweet, tasty, rich in vitamins, and a healthy alternative to sugary snack. And it is 100% fat free!
Dried mangoes can be eaten as is, as snack and dessert or used as ingredients for ice cream mixes and toppings. It originated in Cebu which is well-known for its delicious, tasty dried mango - one of the favorite present fruit snacks of Filipinos here and abroad.
Besides the usual dried mangoes, other mango products are dried mango strips, dried mango chips, mango cubes in light and heavy syrup, mango slices in syrup and mango nectar.
The price range of the Dried Mangos is from around Php 64.75 (100g) to Php 125.75 (250g). It is available for purchase at Kultura Filipino at the 2nd floor SM Ayala, Makati City. The shop is open from 10AM to 9PM daily.
20. Barrel Man/ Woman
The statuette usually consists of a crude male figurine carved out of wood, surrounded by a round wooden barrel or storage barrel. After the barrel is taken off, the male figure inside is revealed, including a prominent phallic symbol/phallic protrusion on the lower part of the figure.
This gift is fairly common at gift shops in Manila, and especially in the Mountain Provinces.
And it is somewhat popular among tourists who may be surprised the first time they encounter the object and lift the object's barrel. The souvenir's origin is relatively unknown, but it has been referred to as an Igorot, suggesting that it may represent the "primitive" mountain inhabitants of the country's history.
The barrel man has also been identified as a part of Philippine culture and art, often as the subject of Filipino-related jokes. In recent years, the barrel woman version has come into being as well. The surprise is the woman's breasts.
The price of the Barrel Man/Woman starts from around Php 100 to Php 250.00. It is available for purchase at Jonats Handicrafts at Stall 32-34 Building 11, Tiendesitas, Pasig City. You can look for Ms. Nora or Ms. Linda. The shop is open from 10AM to 7PM daily.
Other Interesting Souvenirs from the Philippines
If traveling to the Philippines is not on your immediate agenda, or you simply can't afford an extra space in your luggage, fortunately, these days, you can find a wide selection of authentic and truly interesting Filipino souvenirs online. Presented here are some of the Filipino products sought by foreign visitors, now available online for your convenience.
2. Filipino Organic Cosmetics -Filipino-made organic cosmetic products are noted for their unique ingredients, among which are the natural enzyme from papaya, Kojic acid, and hand-poured beeswax produced by honey bees of the genus Apis. They give the skin a youthful appearance, fade dark spots and freckles, and promote skin renewal.
3. Filipino Sweets - Purely natural and healthy chocolate made of roasted peanuts, can sugar, milk powder, cocoa powder, and vanilla. No chemicals added. It tastes exactly as you would imagine - a strong flavor of peanut and chocolate. Purple Yam Jam, another popular snack from the Philippines, and is made of purple yam and cane sugar. A true Yam Yam!!!
4. Coconut Snacks - The Philippines is one of the world's largest producers of coconuts, hence the abundance of the locally-made coconut snacks, such as Dried Young Coconut Snacks, Coconut Water, and more. All of them are naturally delicious and refreshing, nutritious and 100% organic.
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