DOT When in the Philippines: Bring home memories and a piece of the Philippines with you

  • Bring the Philippines Home with These Cool Cultural Treasures
  • Here Are Cool Travel Souvenirs to Bring Home on your Next Trip to the Philippines

The Philippine Islands is home to many proud craftsmen and artisans. These are Filipinos who create world-class products using skills and tools that have been handed down through generations. In harmony with nature and with ingenuity, they use indigenous materials that abound in their communities. These treasures await travelers to the Philippines, as beautiful souvenirs that can be brought home along with memories of a relaxing getaway in this tropical paradise.

The Philippines Department of Tourism partners with the Department of Trade and Industry to support the local handicrafts businesses all over the country. Through this partnership, many local producers have been able to reach a wider customer base. Projects include seminars, trade fairs and expositions, along with souvenir stops at popular destinations. Together with creating travel circuits that are based on attractions in each region, the DOT also highlights artisanal products that can showcase the local talent and culture.

“By showcasing local products, we are able to support livelihoods in the communities as well as help inpreserving their heritage for future generations,” says Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat.

There are many native materials that are transformed into beautiful works of art by Filipino craftsmen.  Here are some of the cool souvenirs that travelers can bring home from the Philippines.

Baguio’s woodcrafts

Woodworking in the uplands of the Cordillera Region ranges from utilitarian items used at home or in the fields, to ceremonial items used in community celebrations, and spiritual figures called Bulul that serve as house guardians that are passed on from generation to generation. Baguio’s public market and roadside stalls offer many choices of hand-carved wood items to fit your fancy and your luggage space – such as the infamous ‘barrel man’, or larger statues of warriors and animals such as eagles that can serve as a conversation piece in your home.    

The Inabel of Ilocos

The practice of weaving cotton thread into fabric on a wooden loom used to be one of the household duties of many Ilocano women. The hardy Inabel or Abel Iloco, is a soft, simple, pliable fabric with varied unique patterns and designs that can be woven to be big enoughfor use as blankets, table runners, and even dress material. Some Inabel items that are available at souvenir shops such as the ones in Vigan, Ilocos Sur or even online are tea towels, blankets, shawls, bags, and even made-to-order apparel from young designers who are keen to use this sustainably made and sourced fabric.

Vigan’s Pagburnayan Clay Jars

Burnay is the Ilocano word forthe brown clay pot used by Filipinos even before the Spanish arrived in the country. These earthen pottery pieces were used by early Filipinos as water containers because they help keep the water cool even on a hot day. They were also important household items as containers for salt and rice, or for vinegar,fermented fish paste, and they were vessels for items that were sold to the Chinese in the days of the sea trade.In Vigan, one can visit a pottery shop and learn howBurnay is made using carabao power to mix the mud, and have your own photo opportunity on the potter’s wheel. You can also purchase these thick and hardy jars to use as decorative pieces or planters at home.  

Cebu’s Guitars and Capiz Shells

Guitars that are handmade in Cebu are famous throughout the Philippines because they are durable, affordable, and of high-quality compared to the mass produced ones in the market. The art of making guitars, which was introduced in the Spanish era, have been passed on through generations of local masters who make these musical instruments by painstakingly shaping the wood into the familiar hourglass shape. These are available at souvenir shops or at family-owned guitar stores, particularly in Lapu-Lapu City, have become local attractions for music lovers of all ages.

The Visayas is also where dainty Capiz shell art is a traditional handicraft industry. The translucent Capiz, which can still be found adorning windows of heritage homes or painted in the stained glass windows of churches, comes from the shell of a mollusk called the Windowpane Oyster . After the meat has been eaten, the shells are gathered to be used in handicrafts. Local artists use the shells to create magnificent décor such as complicated chandeliers, pretty wind chimes, beautiful floor lamps, or smaller stationery items that can be given away to friends and family back home. 

Barako Coffee from Batangas Barako is a Tagalog word that means ‘strong’ and that is a good descriptor for the brew that comes from the coffee beans grown particularly in Batangas and some parts of Cavite. The farmers take pride in their coffee plants, which have been cultivated in their region since the 1800s. Coffee experts describe the taste as woody and smoky with a hint of sweetness from its floral, fruity aroma. Its bold, intense flavor from Liberica beans has been translated into local coffeehouse favorites and even into cakes and pastries. A cup of coffee made from your souvenir bag of ground beans is a great way to perk up on a cold day.

Davao’s Malagos Chocolates

While growing cacao is an agricultural practice in many parts of the Philippines, Davao is hailed as the country’s Chocolate Capitaland the entire Davao Region as the Cacao Capital of the Philippines. One of the frontrunners of the industry in the region is the award-winning Malagos Chocolates brand which uses high-quality beans from a sustainable source for a “tree to bar” chocolate journey. Its latest award was for its 100% Premium Unsweetened Chocolate that won four Golds and one Bronze at the 2020 World Drinking Chocolate Competition organized by the International Chocolate Awards.The products offer a rich, velvety, melt-in the-mouth chocolate experience that makes it a perfect gift for the chocoholics in your circle.

Manila’s South Sea Pearls Shops

There are many high-end jewelry stores located at the malls selling a sundry of pearls and other gems. But for those who want to have the element of a bargain when they shop for their jewelry and accessories can visit the bazaars of Manila, where one can find an assortment of South Sea Pearls from Palawan and some parts of Mindanao sold at stalls beside cellphone accessories and rubber shoes. There, one can browse through their collections of luminous necklaces and dainty earrings while asking for the “final price” that the vendor can offer. 

Davao Oriental’s Virgin Coconut Oil

Touted to have many health benefits, virgin coconut oil is produced from fresh or mature coconuts, without undergoing chemical refining, bleaching or deodorizing. VCO products that are available in the Philippines come in oil and capsule form or even as cosmetics. While coconuts grow abundantly all over the country, Davao Oriental is poised to become a big exporter of coconut products overseas, with 18 Virgin Coconut Oil processing centers set to rise within the year. Modern production at theprocessing plants such as the one of Oriental Golden Coco Inc., ensure high quality through multiple micro filtration processes for additional purity to result in products with that wonderful fresh coconut aroma and flavor in what is called the “purest and healthiest” form of coconut oil.

Cordillera’s Heirloom Rice

Heirloom rice varieties have been grown in the Cordillera Mountains for centuries, and studies have found that there could be about 500 traditional varieties of rice that are indigenous in the region and are mostly being planted for personal or family consumption through generations. So far, there have been 88 varieties that have been identified and studies have shown these to have higher nutritional content. Try this heirloom rice with your next meal and have it the Filipino way by eating with your hands for a more authentic experience.

The Philippines’ Alcoholic Drinks

Imbibe the spirit of the Philippines through its choice alcoholic concoctions. A short story bythe late Don Alejandro Roces who is a National Artist of the Philippines for Literature, cheekily says, “We Filipinos Are Mild Drinkers”. This is offset by the local distilled drinks such as Don Papa Rum, a premium aged single-island rum from the sugar cane fields at the foot of Mt. Kanglaon in the Visayas. Coconut Wine called Lambanog is another potent brew obtained from the distillation of naturally fermented coconut sap. Modern version of this celebratory drink now have added flavors. Travelers can bring this home to European countries if they are for personal consumption while restrictions in Muslim countries may apply.

Liliw, Laguna’s Native Slippers

The town of Liliw in Laguna is known for its slipper industry, with local artisans crafting the footwear from abaca which grows abundantly in the area. These comfortable and colorful house slippers are perfect for keeping your feet warm while relaxing at home and they make great handcrafted gifts – just make sure that the recipient gives you a coin in return as Philippine superstition says that if you don’t get one, you might get into a quarrel.

Filipino Designer’s Modern Filipiniana

Young Filipino designers are rediscovering local woven fabrics and reimagining them for use as modern apparel in order to support traditional industries and local communities. While the National Dress of Barong Tagalog (long sleeved embroidered formal shirts) for men and Baro’t Saya (that literally translates to blouse and skirt, made from fine pina cloth) for women are still worn at important occasions, designers such as the ones at Filip + Inna are coming up with stunning garments that make use of handmade woven material, beading, and embroidery that can be worn at the office or even at the beach.  Bring home something old, something new with the gorgeous designs that will make you stand out in a crowd.


More Treasures to Unbox

The Philippines is a haven for those who want to enjoy local culture through tangible items. Rattan is one of the indigenous materials that are used for traditional packaging, the leaves are dexterously woven into shopping bags called bayong and boxes that are used to store items in the home. Banig, or woven mats are another Filipino woven product, used for sleeping or as bags and home accents, while abaca bags are fashionable and summery all year long. Wooden utensils are utilitarian and decorative items, which can be found both on the dining table or if in their supersized form, hanging from the walls of the dining room.  For those who want to try their hand at a little Filipino cooking, local brand Mama Sita offers condiments and sauces to help capture that local palette.

Souvenir-Hunt Safely

The Tourism Department has been awarded a SafeTravels Stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in recognition of its adoption of “health and hygiene global standardized protocols” that will ensure safe travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, conducts thorough inspection and assessment, to ensure that only those who are accredited are allowed to open and receive guests. The Philippine government through its Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) is constantly updating its protocols to safeguard Filipinos and foreign nationals who are traveling to the Philippines. To learn more about the Philippines’ new and exciting adventures, as well as safety and travel updates, visitwww.morefunawaits.comand (for Thailand) and Qatar) or download the Travel Philippines app at the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Discovering the Beauty of Puerto Galera, Philippines

Looking for your next big getaway in Luzon? Want to bask in the beautiful beaches in the north?
Visit Puerto Galera, Philippines! It is among the most popular beach holiday and nightlife destinations in the country.

What’s more? A wholesome variety of adventure and tourist spots await. The beaches — White Beach, Sabang Beach, Medio, and Paniquian Islands — are perfect for family fun and for getting to know both locals and foreigners. In the main hub, there is a nine-hole golf course. A picturesque view of the waterfalls awaits nearby. If you’re looking for accommodation, there are dozens of Puerto Galera hotels that offer affordable and convenient rooms just for you. What’s more, there are more than 40 Puerto Galera dive sites renowned for unparalleled biodiversity — and amazing night diving

Puerto Galera, Philippines: Your Diving Haven

It’s no secret that Puerto Galera offers some of the best diving spots in the Philippines. In fact, it is one of the three places in the country that was recognized by UNESCO as a Man and Biosphere Reserve in 1973.

Whenever you’d go diving in Puerto Galera, you’d find yourself as a wanderer, awestruck by the diverse species, sloping reefs, and the marine biodiversity that welcomes you beneath the waters.

All these elements make it a dream dive destination for diving enthusiasts and underwater photographers. Imagine being surrounded by schools of big fish, monstrous sea fans, and stunning reefs. Indeed, there’s always something exciting to do here in Puerto Galera.

But, where? Well, we’ve got you covered. Here are some top dive sites in town:

The Wall

At the heart of Verde Island, you’ll be entranced by the beauty of The Wall. It features huge sponges, fans, and a mix of colorful soft and hard coral. And if you’re lucky, you can even spot manta rays, eagle rays, barracudas, schools of bigeye jack, and tuna.

Manila Channel

Manila Channel is one of the favorite muck diving sites of locals and tourists alike. It highlights a nice sandy bottom and some hard coral spots. You’ll also see rich marine species, from mantis shrimps, nudibranch, eels, and crabs. What makes it different than any other diving spot is its mild current and good visibility. This is perfect for all levels of divers, especially for beginners.

Coral Cove

From the name itself, Coral Cove is a wonderful dive site for macro lovers. You’ll find a sloping reef with an abundance of marine life, including countless nudibranchs, whip coral, sea fans, pufferfishes, and cuttlefishes. And if you go deeper, you might spot some pygmy seahorses and ornate ghost pipefish, or even thresher sharks.

Monkey Beach

Are you new to the diving world? If you’re just a beginner who wants to dip into the waters, this shallow dive site is perfect for you. When diving in Monkey Beach, you’ll witness the rich dynamic marine life that’s hidden above the waters. As you wander around this dive spot, you’ll see eels, turtles, feather stars, and Christmas tree worms.

The Canyons

This site is perfect for adrenaline junkies! It boasts a thrilling adventure, luring you in the beauty of the underwaters. In The Canyons, you’ll experience both wonder and amazement while watching schools of trevally, tuna, and even barracuda swimming effortlessly in the current.

Alma Jane Wreck

The once 30m long cargo ship that ferried goods across the country is now the favorite dive site among wreck enthusiasts. Today, the Alma Jane rests upright on the sand and has become a home for diverse marine species, such as giant frogfish, big schools of batfish, and small tropicals.

Shark Cave

Yes, it is exactly what the name says. Here at the Shark Cave, you can encounter different species of sharks inside a cave. You can see the white tip sharks and blue spotted stingrays up close and personal.

Basking in the Beaches

One thing is certain: it’s extremely impossible to get bored on this beautiful island. If you’re not into diving or snorkeling, there are still a thousand and one things you can do. You can lounge around and enjoy the beautiful Puerto Galera beaches around town.

Simply hire a private tour and enjoy your beach-hopping adventure. Here are some of the top beaches you should visit:

White Beach

Puerto Galera White Beach is definitely the top beach destination in town. Don’t get surprised that you’ll find most Puerto Galera resorts located in this spot. Other than relaxing by the beach, you can also get a knack for some water activities.

Aninuan Beach

Just right next to the White, Aninuan Beach is a secluded spot where you can relax and unwind as you listen to the sound of the waves. The perfect time to visit this beach is during the sunset, where the soft glowing light of the sky paints the horizon tranquil and gorgeous twilight – a perfect sight to end your day.

Talipanan Beach

This is yet another uncrowded Puerto Galera beach destination. So, if you’ve enjoyed the White Beach, you’ll fall in love with the relaxing ambiance of Talipanan Beach. Feel unbothered and relaxed as you dip into the crystal-clear waters while enjoying a scenic view.

More Things to Do in Puerto Galera, Philippines

Want to do something more adventurous that doesn’t involve diving? Discover other islands and book a quick island-hopping tour. Visit the Boquete Island, San Antonio Islands, and the Coral Garden and enjoy a day in the tranquil waters.

Better yet, try several extreme watersports and beach activities, like parasailing, flyboarding, and jet-skiing. Don’t miss the fun and try something you haven’t done before,even just once!

It’s Time for a New Adventure; Visit Puerto Galera, Philippines!

Are you excited to travel and explore the Philippines? Even though it is dubbed as the “poor man’s Boracay”, Puerto Galera offers a whole new kind of experience that even Boracay doesn’t offer.

To check Puerto Galera’s travel requirements in 2021, you can check out their official website by clicking this link.

Acclaimed Fil-Am chefs come home to rediscover Filipino ingredients

Written by Portia Ladrido on CNN Philippines

Updated Nov 12, 2019 4:00:11 PM

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — The Farmers Market in Cubao is bustling on a Sunday morning. Filipinos, with their woven baskets or palengke bags, scuttle around the maze of the market, going around the rows and rows of stalls that display a wide range of produce.

The market becomes even more alive as chef Margarita Forés arrives. She is touring Fil-Am chefs Tom Cunanan (the owner of Bad Saint restaurant in Washington D.C.) and chef Grant “Lanai” Tabura (the host behind the show “Cooking Hawaiian Style”), as they have been invited to the Philippines by the Department of Tourism (DOT) for the “Chefs’ Food Trip Project,” a program that seeks to position the country in the global gastronomic scene.

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