What to buy in every region of the Philippines to bring home as gifts
The food scene in the Philippines is a culinary melting pot merging influences from all over Asia.
No matter which province you are heading to, a trip to any region is not complete without immersing in local culinary experiences and asking what the ideal delicacy to bring home is. In fact, the Filipino tradition of pasalubong continues to hold a special place in our hearts and luggage. From sweet treats to salty snacks, here is a list of timeless pasalubong treats found in regions of the country:
Empanada – Region 1 (Ilocos Region)
A crisp, deep-fried pastry, empanada is a portable snack found mainly in Ilocos Region and makes for the perfect street food and pasalubong. Paired with orange-tinged sukang Iloko, this native delicacy is sold in boxes and can be found in markets and plazas around the region.
Moriecos – Region 2 (Cagayan Valley)
Particularly popular with children (or anyone with a sweet tooth), Cagayan Valley’s unique take on the well-loved suman does the country proud. Made with glutinous rice and filled with coconut milk curds and luscious latik mixture, moriecos is a highly satisfying dessert no matter what the season. It is usually sold in stalls around the region, and in buses for inbound and outbound trips to Cagayan Valley.
Batotay – Region 3 (Central Luzon)
Every province in Luzon seems to have its own version of longganisa and Central Luzon is no exception. When in the area, be sure to try and bring home Batotay, a savory and beef-based variant of the well-known breakfast sausage coated in a distinct sweet sauce.
Buko Pie – Region 4A (CALABARZON)
Coconut, a staple in the region, is one of the most used ingredients in Calabarzon’s popular delicacies. Among these delicacies is the classic buko pie, which originated from the coconut capital of the country, Quezon.
Sarsa – Region 4B (MIMAROPA)
Not for the faint-hearted, Sarsa is often full of heat and spice. One of the popular local dishes sought after by tourists in the region, Sarsa is famous in Romblon province and made out of ground freshwater prawns mixed with coconut meat and chili, and then wrapped in coconut leaves. It may be paired with rice or eaten as an accompaniment to alcoholic drinks.
Pili Nuts – Region 5 (Bicol Region)
Grown across the Bicol region, Pili nut is considered as the region’s premium dry fruit. This crunchy nut is offered by street vendors and kiosks around the area in several options—roasted, salted, and caramelized, among others. It is usually sold for around P100 per five packs, with each pack containing five to six tarts. Besides being candied, Pili is also processed into snacks or baked goods such as tarts, Mazapan de Pili, and chocolate bars with Pili.
Pinasugbo – Region 6 (Western Visayas)
Crunchy and chewy pinasugbo is a common Visayan pasalubong popular in Bacolod, Iloilo, and much of Western Visayas. Pinasugbo, also known as banana brittle, is thinly-sliced bananas generously coated with caramelized sugar and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Eating it can be quite a challenge, though, as the caramel coating makes the banana slices stick to their paper cone wrapper or your teeth.
Silvanas – Region 7 (Central Visayas)
From the irresistible crunch of its nutty meringue to the richness of its buttercream, silvanas are a much-demanded pasalubong in Central Visayas. Originally sold in cake shops in Dumaguete City, this cookie counterpart of sans rival were so renowned in the ’90s that they have become the city’s trademark delicacy. Available in original butter or chocolate flavor, whichever you opt for, it is guaranteed that silvanas will leave you wanting for more.
Moron – Region 8 (Eastern Visayas)
A native delicacy of Tacloban City, moron is a snack made of ground rice cooked in coconut milk, then flavored with cocoa. Visitors to Leyte will find Moron sold at delicacy stalls in piers and bus terminals. It is best partnered with coffee or sikwate, a hot chocolate drink made with locally produced cacao.
Lokot-lokot – Region 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula)
Delicious treats from the Zamboanga Peninsula region comes from a rich heritage, with preparations ranging from simple to intricate. Lokot-lokot, also called Jaa, is a sweet noodle rice roll delicacy popular among Tausugs and travelers. Served as an appetizer in celebrations like weddings and engagements, Lokot-lokot has simple ingredients but requires careful preparation.
Pastel de Camiguin – Region 10 (Northern Mindanao)
A local specialty and pasalubong favorite, Pastel de Camiguin is a soft bun that is widely sold in Northern Mindanao provinces such as Cagayan de Oro City and Camiguin City. Served hot as an accompaniment to drinks, the Pastel de Camiguín can be stuffed with any number of sweet fillings, from yema to ube, or melting cheeses. It usually comes in boxes of 12 pieces and six pieces.
Durian – Region 11 (Davao Region)
When we think of pasalubongs from the Davao region, the first thing that comes to our mind is flavorful durian-basedproducts. Travelers, both local and foreign, who come to visit the region, usually bring with them durian delicacies—tarts, sticks, and candy bars.
Barako Coffee – Region 12 (SOCCSKSARGEN)
Located in South Central Mindanao, the Soccksargen region is the main producer of high-quality coffee beans in the local industry. Try their different varieties such as Arabica, Excelsa, Liberica, and Robusta (Barako).
Sayongsong – Region 13 (Caraga Region)
The region, best known as the destination for island hopping adventures, also features a native delight that’s been around for decades. A rendition of the well-loved sticky rice dessert kakanin, this sweet offering from Surigao City features an ube-coloredrice wrapped in a cone-shaped banana leaf.
Patupat – CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region)
Berries have always been a typical pasalubong from Baguio and La Trinidad, but there is much more that the Cordillera Administrative
Region can offer. Patupat, a rice treat mixed with coconut milk, is a common snack in the highlands. Originally from Bontoc, Mountain Province, it is usually sold for P50 for 10 pieces.
NCR (National Capital Region)
Tagged as one of the country’s exotic food, balut from the municipality of Pateros is not just a byword only in the Philippines but also in other countries. On roadside stalls, you can buy balut, a fertilized duck embryo that is boiled as delicacy and served with salt or vinegar.