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What Is The Best Souvenir To Buy From The Philippines


by Beverie Long



The Philippines is renowned for its rich cultural heritage and diverse craftsmanship. When visiting this beautiful archipelago located in Southeast Asia, it’s common for travelers to seek out unique souvenirs that capture the essence of Filipino culture. From traditional handicrafts to delectable treats, there are countless options to choose from.


But with so many choices available, it can be overwhelming to decide which souvenir to bring back home. In this article, we will explore the best souvenirs to buy from the Philippines, ensuring you have a memorable keepsake that represents the country’s vibrant spirit.


Whether you are an art enthusiast, a fashion lover, a foodie, or simply someone looking for a meaningful memento, the Philippines has something for everyone. Each item possesses its own story and is crafted with meticulous attention to detail. By purchasing these souvenirs, not only will you bring a piece of the Philippines with you, but you’ll also be supporting local artisans and the preservation of traditional craftsmanship.


So, let’s dive into the wonderful world of Filipino souvenirs and discover the perfect token to capture your journey in this breathtaking country.


Philippine Handwoven Fabrics

When it comes to showcasing the artistic talents of the Filipino people, Philippine handwoven fabrics stand out as a true testament to the country’s rich cultural heritage. Made using traditional weaving techniques that have been passed down through generations, these fabrics are not only beautiful but also carry a deep historical and cultural significance.


One of the most iconic handwoven fabrics in the Philippines is the “Barong Tagalog” fabric. This lightweight and intricately embroidered fabric is traditionally used to make the Barong Tagalog, the national dress of the Philippines for men. The Barong Tagalog is a symbol of elegance and is often worn during formal occasions and special events. Buying a piece of Barong Tagalog fabric allows you to bring a touch of Filipino elegance and craftsmanship into your wardrobe.


Another widely recognized handwoven fabric in the Philippines is the “Inabel” fabric from the Ilocos region. Known for its vibrant colors and intricate patterns, Inabel fabric is typically used to make clothing, bags, and home decor items. Its exquisite designs and durability make it a sought-after souvenir for those who appreciate the artistry of Filipino weavers.


Visiting the province of Mindanao, you’ll come across the traditional T’nalak fabric created by the T’boli tribe. T’nalak is woven from abaca fibers and is known for its distinct geometric designs and earthy tones. Each piece of T’nalak fabric is handmade and reflects the cultural heritage and customs of the T’boli people. Owning a piece of T’nalak fabric not only adds a unique touch to your home or wardrobe but also supports the preservation of indigenous weaving traditions.


Whether you choose to purchase a garment made from these handwoven fabrics or buy the fabric itself, you’ll be taking home a piece of Filipino artistry and craftsmanship. The intricate patterns, vibrant colors, and dedication to traditional weaving techniques make these fabrics cherished souvenirs that showcase the beauty and talent of the Filipino people.


Barong Tagalog

The Barong Tagalog is a traditional Filipino garment that is not only a symbol of national pride but also a fashion statement that represents elegance and sophistication. This iconic attire is a must-have souvenir for anyone visiting the Philippines.


The Barong Tagalog is made from various fabrics, including delicate piña (pineapple) fibers, silk, and jusi. It is adorned with intricate hand embroidery called “calado” or “burda,” featuring floral and geometric patterns that showcase the meticulous craftsmanship of Filipino artisans.


Traditionally, the Barong Tagalog was worn by men on formal occasions such as weddings, national events, and cultural celebrations. However, modern adaptations now cater to women as well, offering a range of stylish and feminine designs.


Bringing home a Barong Tagalog allows you to not only appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship of Filipino designers but also to showcase a unique piece of Filipino culture in your wardrobe. It serves as a reminder of your visit to the Philippines and can be worn to special events, parties, or even framed as a beautiful display.


When shopping for a Barong Tagalog, it’s recommended to visit reputable stores or artisans who specialize in creating these exquisite garments. You can also find them in popular marketplaces and souvenir shops. Don’t forget to consider the perfect fit and fabric that suit your style and preferences.


By purchasing a Barong Tagalog, you are supporting local artisans and communities dedicated to preserving the Filipino tradition of elegant dressing. It’s not just a souvenir – it’s a wearable piece of art that reflects the beauty and culture of the Philippines.


Filipino Crafts and Artwork

The Philippines is a treasure trove of unique crafts and artwork, showcasing the immense talent and creativity of Filipino artisans. From intricate woodcarvings to vibrant paintings, these pieces make for wonderful souvenirs that capture the essence of Filipino artistry.


One popular Filipino craft is the “anahaw” leaf products. The anahaw leaf, known for its large and fan-like shape, is transformed into beautiful woven products such as bags, hats, and home decor items. These handcrafted items are not only visually appealing but also eco-friendly, as they are made from sustainable materials.


Woodcarving is another highly esteemed traditional craft in the Philippines. Skilled artisans meticulously carve intricate designs onto wood, creating stunning sculptures, furniture, and decorative items. From religious figures to native wildlife, the woodcarvings showcase the cultural heritage and creativity of Filipino craftsmen.


For art enthusiasts, Filipino paintings and artworks offer a glimpse into the vibrant local art scene. Filipino artists, known for their talent and distinct styles, create unique pieces that reflect the country’s culture, history, and landscapes. Whether it’s a traditional oil painting, a contemporary piece, or even a locally inspired print, owning a Filipino artwork is like having a visual representation of the country’s artistic soul.


When looking for Filipino crafts and artwork, visit local art galleries, craft markets, or even directly support individual artisans. These authentic and one-of-a-kind pieces make for exceptional souvenirs that can adorn your home or serve as meaningful gifts for your loved ones.


By purchasing Filipino crafts and artwork, you not only bring home a piece of the country’s artistic heritage but also support the local art community. These pieces serve as reminders of your unforgettable journey in the Philippines, showcasing the beauty, talent, and creativity of Filipino artisans.


Capiz Shell Products

When it comes to unique and eye-catching souvenirs, Capiz shell products from the Philippines are hard to beat. Named after the province of Capiz, where these shells are abundantly found, these exquisite items are crafted using the translucent inner lining of the capiz shell.


Capiz shell products come in a variety of forms, including decorative lamps, wind chimes, jewelry boxes, coasters, and even intricately designed window panels. The shells’ natural transparency allows light to pass through, resulting in a beautiful and ethereal glow when illuminated.


The art of creating Capiz shell products has been passed down through generations of Filipino craftsmen. Skilled artisans carefully cut, shape, and assemble the delicate shells, often incorporating intricate patterns and designs to enhance their beauty.


These unique souvenirs not only add a touch of elegance and charm to any space but also serve as a testament to the creativity and resourcefulness of the Filipino people. Whether you choose to display a Capiz shell lamp as a centerpiece in your living room or hang a wind chime in your garden, these products are sure to captivate your guests and remind you of the beauty of the Philippines.


Capiz shell products can be found in various markets and souvenir shops across the country. When purchasing, be sure to look for products that are ethically sourced and made by skilled artisans. By supporting the local craftsmen who create these intricate pieces, you contribute to the preservation of their traditional skills and help sustain their livelihoods.


Bringing home Capiz shell products is not just acquiring a stunning souvenir, but it’s also acquiring a piece of the Philippines’ natural beauty and cultural heritage. These unique and delicate creations will serve as cherished reminders of your time spent in the captivating archipelago.


Philippine Coffee

Coffee lovers rejoice! The Philippines is not just a tropical paradise; it’s also home to some exceptional coffee beans. With a growing reputation for producing high-quality specialty coffee, bringing home Philippine coffee is a perfect way to savor the flavors of this beautiful country long after your visit.


The Philippine coffee industry boasts a diverse range of coffee varieties, each with its unique flavor profile. From the rich and full-bodied Arabica beans grown in the highlands of Benguet and Sagada to the bold and earthy Robusta beans cultivated in regions like Batangas and Mindanao, there’s a coffee to suit every taste preference.


When purchasing Philippine coffee, consider buying directly from local coffee farmers or supporting small-scale roasters. By doing so, not only are you getting freshly roasted beans, but you’re also helping sustain the livelihoods of coffee-growing communities.


Philippine coffee can be enjoyed in various forms, from whole beans to ground coffee. For an authentic experience, consider trying the traditional Filipino coffee brewing method known as “kape barako.” This method involves using a “barako” or Filipino coffee press to brew a strong and flavorsome cup of coffee.


Not only is Philippine coffee a delightful treat for your taste buds, but it also offers a glimpse into the rich coffee culture and history of the Philippines. Coffee has been cultivated in the country for centuries, and by supporting the local coffee industry, you contribute to the preservation of this cultural heritage.


So, whether you’re a coffee connoisseur or simply appreciate the aroma and taste of a good cup of joe, don’t miss the opportunity to bring home Philippine coffee. Enjoy the flavors of the Philippines and savor the memories of your time in this coffee-rich nation.


Native Delicacies

Exploring the culinary delights of the Philippines is an essential part of any visit to the country. From savory dishes to sweet treats, the Philippines is renowned for its rich and diverse native delicacies. Bringing home these delectable treats as souvenirs allows you to share the flavors of the Philippines with friends and family.


One popular native delicacy is the “ube halaya,” a sweet and creamy purple yam jam. Made from mashed purple yam, condensed milk, and coconut milk, this vibrant dessert is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Ube halaya can be enjoyed on its own or used as a filling or topping for other desserts.


Another Filipino treat that is worth savoring is the “bibingka.” This moist and fluffy rice cake is traditionally made with ground glutinous rice, coconut milk, and eggs. Often sold during the Christmas season, bibingka is typically topped with butter, grated coconut, and salted duck egg slices.


If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss out on trying “kakanin” or Filipino rice cakes. These bite-sized delights come in various flavors and colors, such as “puto” (steamed rice cake) and “kutsinta” (sticky rice cake). These treats are not only delicious but also beautifully crafted and make for delightful gifts.


For those who prefer savory snacks, the Philippines offers a wide array of options. One popular choice is “pili nuts,” a native nut known for its buttery flavor and crunchy texture. Pili nuts can be enjoyed plain or coated with flavors like honey, chocolate, or adobo seasoning. They make for a nutritious and delicious souvenir option.


While traveling in the Philippines, it’s also worth trying “balut,” a unique delicacy that may not be for the faint of heart. Balut is a fertilized duck egg, boiled and consumed with salt and vinegar. This controversial snack is a culinary adventure and a local specialty that some visitors find intriguing to bring back home as a conversation starter.


Whether you have a sweet tooth or a penchant for savory flavors, Filipino native delicacies offer a tantalizing taste of the local cuisine. Savor these treats during your stay and consider bringing some home to share the delightful flavors of the Philippines with your loved ones.


Filipino-made Accessories and Jewelry

If you’re looking for unique and stylish souvenirs, Filipino-made accessories and jewelry are a perfect choice. The Philippines is known for its skilled artisans who craft exquisite pieces that reflect the country’s rich cultural heritage.


One of the most iconic Filipino accessories is the “T’boli brass accessories” made by the T’boli tribe from Mindanao. These brass accessories, including earrings, necklaces, and cuffs, feature intricate tribal designs that represent the indigenous culture of the T’boli people. Each piece is meticulously handcrafted, making them cherished and meaningful souvenirs.


Another popular Filipino accessory is the “Filipiniana jewelry,” inspired by traditional Filipino motifs and materials. Pearls, gold, and indigenous gemstones are often used to create stunning pieces that highlight the elegance and grace of Filipino fashion. From statement necklaces and bracelets to earrings and brooches, Filipiniana jewelry offers a touch of sophistication and heritage.


For those looking for more contemporary designs, Filipino artisans also excel at creating trendy accessories using natural materials. Seashell accessories, such as earrings, bracelets, and hair accessories, are popular choices with their beach-inspired charm. Bamboo and rattan accessories, including bags, hats, and earrings, showcase the country’s commitment to sustainable fashion.


When shopping for Filipino-made accessories and jewelry, it’s advisable to visit local markets, artisan shops, or even support online platforms that collaborate directly with Filipino artisans. By doing so, you are not only acquiring a unique and fashionable souvenir but also supporting local craftsmanship and preserving traditional techniques.


Owning Filipino-made accessories and jewelry is like carrying a piece of the Philippines’ artistic spirit with you. These pieces are not just decorations; they are symbols of Filipino artistry, passion, and cultural heritage. Each time you wear them, you’ll be reminded of your wonderful time in the Philippines and the beauty of its craftsmanship.


Local Handicrafts and Decorative Items

The Philippines is a treasure trove of beautiful and unique handicrafts and decorative items. From intricately woven baskets to hand-carved sculptures, these local crafts showcase the creativity and skill of Filipino artisans. Bringing home these decorative pieces allows you to adorn your space with a touch of Filipino culture and craftsmanship.


One popular handicraft in the Philippines is “banig” or woven mats made from pandan leaves. These mats feature vibrant patterns and designs and are skillfully crafted by local weavers. Banig mats can be used as floor coverings, wall hangings, or even as picnic mats, adding a touch of Filipino charm to any space.


Another notable Filipino handicraft is the “Nito basket.” Made from the Nito vine, these sturdy and intricately woven baskets are perfect for storing and organizing household items. Nito baskets come in various shapes and sizes and make for functional and visually appealing decor pieces.


For those who appreciate ceramics, the Philippines offers beautiful pottery and ceramic products. The town of Sagada is particularly famous for its hand-painted earthenware known as “Sagada Pottery.” From mugs and bowls to vases and decorative figurines, Sagada Pottery adds a touch of rustic charm to any home.


The Philippines is also known for its exquisite woodcarvings, particularly those created by artisans from Paete, Laguna. These intricate and detailed sculptures depict religious figures, native animals, and traditional motifs. A wooden sculpture from Paete is not just a beautiful decorative item but also a testament to the rich artistic heritage of the Philippines.


When purchasing local handicrafts and decorative items, it’s important to look for authentic pieces created by skilled artisans. Support local craft markets, visit artisan workshops, or consider purchasing directly from Filipino craftspeople. By doing so, you not only acquire unique and meaningful souvenirs but also contribute to the livelihoods of local artisans and the preservation of traditional craftsmanship.


Adding Filipino handicrafts and decorative items to your home not only embellishes your space with their beauty but also serves as a reminder of your time in the Philippines and the country’s rich cultural heritage. These items are not just decorations; they are expressions of Filipino artistry and craftsmanship that will be cherished for years to come.


Traditional Musical Instruments

The Philippines has a rich musical heritage, and traditional musical instruments play a significant role in the country’s cultural identity. Bringing home a traditional musical instrument from the Philippines allows you to connect with the country’s vibrant music scene and showcase its unique sounds and rhythms.


One iconic Filipino instrument is the “kulintang.” This ensemble of small, gong-like instruments is played by striking the brass or bronze discs with mallets. Traditionally used by ethnic groups in Mindanao, the kulintang produces enchanting and rhythmic melodies that reflect the cultural diversity of the Philippines.


Another traditional instrument is the “harana” guitar. The harana is a serenade performed to express romantic sentiments, and the guitar is the instrument of choice for this musical tradition. Filipino harana guitars are crafted with meticulous attention to detail and produce rich, melodic tones, making them cherished by musicians and collectors alike.


The “banduria” is a plucked string instrument resembling a small mandolin. With its melodious sound, the banduria is commonly used in traditional Filipino music ensembles like the rondalla. It can be a delightful souvenir for music enthusiasts who appreciate the unique timbre of this instrument.


The “kubing” or mouth harp is a small and portable instrument made from bamboo. When played, the bamboo reed vibrates to produce a distinct sound. The kubing is not only a musical instrument but also a cultural symbol, often used in indigenous rituals and celebrations.


When purchasing traditional musical instruments from the Philippines, it’s essential to consider their authenticity and quality. Look for instruments crafted by skilled artisans who specialize in traditional instrument making. Support local music shops, cultural centers, or even directly connect with Filipino instrument makers to ensure you acquire an authentic and well-crafted piece.


By bringing home a traditional musical instrument from the Philippines, you not only acquire a unique and meaningful souvenir but also open the door to exploring and embracing the country’s rich musical heritage. These instruments serve as reminders of the captivating sounds and rhythms of the Philippines, allowing you to create your melodies and connect with the vibrant spirit of Filipino music.


Filipino Herbal Products

The Philippines is blessed with lush biodiversity, and its rich flora has long been utilized for medicinal purposes. Filipino herbal products harness the healing properties of various plants and botanicals, offering a natural and holistic approach to wellness. Bringing home Filipino herbal products allows you to experience the benefits of these traditional remedies wherever you go.


One popular herbal product in the Philippines is virgin coconut oil (VCO). Derived from fresh coconut meat, VCO is known for its numerous health benefits. It can be used as a natural moisturizer, hair conditioner, and cooking oil. Rich in antioxidants and medium-chain fatty acids, VCO is believed to promote a healthy immune system and support overall well-being.


Another widely used herbal product is malunggay (Moringa) capsules or tea. Malunggay leaves are known for their high nutritional content, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Consuming malunggay products is believed to boost energy levels, support digestion, and strengthen the immune system.


The Philippines is also famous for its rejuvenating and aromatic herbal oils. Essential oils, such as ylang-ylang, lemongrass, and eucalyptus, are commonly used in aromatherapy to relax the mind, promote sleep, and relieve stress. These oils can be diffused, added to bathwater, or used for massage.


Herbal teas, or “tisanes,” are also popular in the Philippines. Pandan, lemongrass, ginger, and chamomile teas are just a few examples of the varieties available. These soothing and aromatic teas offer a delightful way to relax and unwind, while also providing potential health benefits.


When purchasing Filipino herbal products, it’s important to choose those made from high-quality, locally sourced ingredients. Look for reputable brands that prioritize sustainable harvesting and ethical practices. Supporting local herbal product producers not only ensures you acquire authentic and effective products but also contributes to the preservation of traditional Filipino herbal knowledge.


Filipino herbal products bridge the gap between nature and wellness, offering natural remedies for various ailments and promoting a holistic approach to health. By incorporating these herbal products into your daily routine, you can experience the benefits of traditional Filipino healing practices and carry a piece of the country’s natural bounty wherever you go.



The Philippines is a country rich in culture, heritage, and craftsmanship. When searching for the perfect souvenirs to bring back home, it’s important to consider those that capture the essence of this vibrant nation. From handwoven fabrics and Barong Tagalog to local handicrafts, jewelry, and herbal products, the Philippines offers a wide array of unique and meaningful keepsakes.


By purchasing Philippine handwoven fabrics, you not only acquire beautiful garments but also support the preservation of traditional weaving techniques. The Barong Tagalog represents elegance and is a symbol of national pride. Filipino crafts and artwork allow you to bring a touch of creativity and beauty into your home, while Capiz shell products add an ethereal glow and coastal charm.


Philippine coffee and native delicacies provide a flavorful journey through the country’s culinary scene, while Filipino-made accessories and jewelry showcase the talent and craftsmanship of local artisans. Local handicrafts and decorative items add a touch of Filipino artistry to any space, and traditional musical instruments allow you to immerse yourself in the rich music heritage of the Philippines.


Lastly, Filipino herbal products offer natural and holistic remedies, harnessing the healing properties of the country’s diverse flora. By purchasing these products, you not only support local producers but also embrace the traditional approaches to wellness.


Whether you’re looking for fashionable souvenirs, functional items, or products that promote well-being, the Philippines has something for everyone. By selecting authentic and locally made souvenirs, you not only take home beautiful mementos but also contribute to the preservation of Filipino culture and support local communities.


So, as you explore the wonders of the Philippines, don’t forget to immerse yourself in the rich heritage and craftsmanship of the country, and choose the perfect souvenirs that encapsulate the beauty, culture, and spirit of this extraordinary archipelago.