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Best Pasalubong from Ilocos

It is interesting how we always allocate as much as we can for pasalubong whenever we travel, simply because we want to make sure office colleagues and folks back home feel “remembered” while we are having our vacation. It’s a Pinoy thing!

Pasalubong or bringing homecoming gifts is our distinctive and widely practiced tradition. It’s like “a must” for us to bring some souvenir or food items for our loved ones, friends and officemates after we came back from a trip or a vacation because we don’t want to hear them complaining “Wala ka man lang pasalubong?

Various regions in the Philippines have their own specialties in food, handicrafts, and the like. These are promoted to local tourists via the pasalubong custom. In Ilocos, it is not unusual for major tourist destinations to have stalls nearby which sell specialty pasalubong.

Here then is a list of worthy pasalubongs, homecoming gifts from the North that will earn you pogi and ganda points among your colleagues and gain attention among family and friends as you recount your amazing Ilocandia escapade.

1. Bottled products for Tatay: Sukang Iloko, Bagoong, Honey, Bugnay (Wild Berry Wine)

We always love eating with sawsawan (sauce or dip). Traditional everyday Filipino meal usually has a special sawsawan prepared by our Tatay or Lolo, usually a subtle concoctions of native sauces such as patis or bagoong with calamansi and siling labuyo.

Your Tatay and the whole family will love it if you bring home a variety of bagoong from Ilocos. You’ll be amazed they have all kinds of bagoong there. You can also buy the famous sukang iloko (Ilocos vinegar), pure honey and wild berry wine.   

2. Farm products for Lola: Garlic, Onions and Tobacco

I am sure your Lola still believes in aswang, manananggal and kapre. Then buy her a braided Ilocos bawang for her protection! Don’t forget to include native onions for her favorite ginisa cuisine. 

You can opt not buy tobacco rolls because you know, it attracts the kapre.

3. Delicacies for the Family: Bagnet and Vigan Longganisa

Even your weight conscious sister could not resist this! Bagnet is the Ilocano version of lechon kawali. Large chunks of pork liempo, belly or pork sides, deep fried for at least two times until crispy.

Also, you’ll be amazed how your no-time-for-breakfast family will suddenly stop by to eat the famous Vigan longganisa. 

4. Chicha for your office mates: Chichacorn, Taro Chips and Royal Bibingka

Want to know the cheesy chismis you’ve missed while you’re away? Bring your officemates packs of cheesy chichacorn and taro chips to ensure a whole-day chismisan session. 

 Also serve them a slice of royal bibingka during merienda to get a friendly update about your department’s new project. 

5. Handicrafts for the Boss

Ah, he will never approve your next vacation leave not unless you bring him something from Ilocandia. That would not be a problem because Ilocandia offers a whole lot of something for your boss such as antiques, abel woven products, bags, burnay and woodcrafts

6. Souvenir shirts, key chains and curio items for everybody

 On a tight budget? Then you can just buy everybody the usual cheap pasalubong such as souvenir shirts, key chains, ref magnets, paper weights, friendship bands, tribal necklaces and other curio items. Remember, it’s the thought the counts!

7. Potted ornamental plants for your kapitbahay

Ooops, don’t forget your loyal neighbor who look after your house while you are away. Buy them some potted plants and I’m sure they will love you more.

There you have it! These are only the common take home gifts (pasalubong) from the different parts of Ilocos – just keep digging and you’ll be surprised finding other exciting items there. Just don’t forget your haggling skills. 

Happy roadside shopping!

Planning an Ilocos Tour? Check out my complete Ilocos tour series:

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