The best thing about travelling aside from the unforgettable experiences and memories that will always remain with us for life is bringing home food and souvenirs. Every town and province that we get to visit in the Philippines offers local delights and delicacies which we should never miss out on when travelling or on vacation.
Some local goodies are easier to find than others and these popular treats are usually the ones that end up in our bags as pasalubong for family and friends eagerly waiting back home. What kind of pasalubong can we find and buy in Baguio City?
The following are just some of the popular goodies that you can find in the so-called City of Pines and take home as pasalubong to your loved ones.
Strawberry Jams and Preserves
The best brand of strawberry preserves with whole strawberries in the bottle or jar is the one with no brand name at all. It isn’t sure what brand is preferred by buyers of jams and preserves but the white label with a picture of strawberries and the simple name “Strawberry Preserve La Trinidad Benguet” is probably the best choice. Some of the cheaper strawberry jams sell for P100 for three to five small bottles while a large bottle or jar of a favorite strawberry preserves can be bought at P65 each.
Romana’s Peanut Brittle
This is not a product exclusively made in Baguio but it is definitely a popular pasalubong for travellers to bring home after spending their vacation in the City of Pines. The company that makes this delicious peanut brittle is located in Mangaldan, Pangasinan. After spending time in Baguio City, travellers can go and visit Manaog for a side trip before heading home to Manila. There you will likely pass by the Romana Store which is located along the national highway. This delicious peanut brittle is guaranteed to satisfy and a big jar of Romana’s Peanut Brittle is only P90.
Good Shepherds Ube Jam and other products
There is always a long line of customers waiting for their turn at the Good Shepherd Mountain Maid complex because of their delicious and popular ube jam. No one in Baguio makes ube jam like the trainees of Mountain Maid. The price of ube jam is P120 for a 12 ounce bottle while the larger 24 ounce bottle is P250. Good Shepherds also sells other popular pasalubong goodies like strawberry jam, chocolate flakes, bread rolls and Alamid “Civet Cat” coffee.
If you are a dedicated sweet tooth you cannot go wrong if you decide to buy a jar or two of chocolate flakes. The Mikasan brand of chocolate flakes is the most popular brand of this sweet treat but you can also try Shabach Marketing’s version of choco flakes which you can buy in SM Baguio. This sweet pasalubong usually comes in three versions: chocolate, milk and assorted (half of milk flakes and half of choco flakes). A large jar of choco flakes is P80.
Literally translated in English as “Picked Booger” this sweet treat from Baguio is quite nostalgic for kids who grew up in the 1990s because they are very much aware of these treat. It may sound disgusting but this local kalamay made from brown sugar and sticky rice is packed inside split round wooden shells and is put together by a red tape. Definitely a great snack it is the smallest known traditional packaging of kalamay. Sundot Kulangot is sold in bundles and several of these kalamay balls are nestled inside split bamboo and tied with a string.
A trip to Baguio will not be complete without packing your bag with freshly harvested strawberries. Much like the popular Baguio vegetables, you can easily buy strawberries in such affordable price. Aside from strawberries you can also buy other fresh fruits like Sagada oranges, rambutan, lansones and black berries.
Strawberry Ice Cream
Whether you have the budget or not, strawberry ice cream is definitely something you should consider on your list of pasalubong when you visit Baguio. This is not your typical commercial ice cream because this version is packed with fresh strawberries.
A trip to Baguio will definitely not be complete without trying their strawberry taho. What really makes this version of taho special is unlike the typical taho being sold by taho vendors in your city every morning this taho is mixed with strawberry jam and real strawberry chunks for customers to enjoy.
Baguio and La Trinidad are the two best places to buy freshly harvested vegetables. Compared with the prices of vegetables sold in markets in Manila, the ones that you can buy in Baguio are way too low. It is very interesting to learn that the Cordillera Region supplies the Philippines’ daily requirements for highland vegetables like lettuce, carrots, bell peppers, potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, Chinese eggplant and zucchini to name a few. A bag of fresh lettuce can be bought for only P50.
Another thing that you should never forget to buy in Baguio is their famous walis tambo. These brooms come with woven or wooden handles that usually bear the name “Baguio City.” Walis tambo made in Baguio are known for their great and long lasting quality. You can easily buy three brooms for only P180, a real steal than the bunch of imitation walis tambo being sold in Manila—for P180 per broom!
Penis Ashtray and Man in a Barrel
Aside from their beautiful handicrafts, Baguio is also known for being one of the great sources of impressive wood carvings like those tall Igorot statues displayed in the Cordillera Museum. When it comes to wood carvings made in Baguio there is no better pasalubong to buy for your mother-in-law or girlfriend than their naughty ashtrays depicting men’s genitalia. They also come in various sizes. Baguio is also known for the Barrel Man—a wood carving that depicts a man covered in a huge barrel. The barrel can be removed and the man’s over-sized genitals will spring forth.
Key Chains and Refrigerator Magnets
This is possibly the most practical and most affordable souvenirs that you can buy in Baguio City. You can always spot vendors selling them almost everywhere, even in Wright Park. Each key chain is worth P10 but you can get big discounts if you buy five or 10 pieces. The same thing goes with refrigerator magnets. You can also request the vendors to print names on the key chains or ref magnets, the perfect pasalubong for friends and family waiting at home.
By Jose K. Lirios