Featured Products: Most Recommended and Bestselling Pasalubong
The pasalubong box ritualizes Filipinos’ generosity. It is the material manifestation of a culture that zealously puts family first before self.
Every month or so, a Filipino family in the Philippines would receive a large, corrugated box filled to the brim with foreign food brands and items—enough to make the children feel loved and longing for their mother or father toiling away overseas. I heard stories of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who took as much paid overtime as they could so that they could fill the box with items requested by their children for leisure or schooling within a month. It takes another month for the pasalubong box to be delivered to the doorstep through special freight services that manage the logistics of thousands of these care packages.
In the Filipino language, the root word salubong means “meet” or “welcome.” When the prefix is added, pasalubong connotes a social expectation that one will be met or welcomed with something. Historians are not entirely clear about the origins of the practice. On the other hand, cultural anthropologists believe that the practice is an extension of generosity and reciprocity already embedded in the Filipino DNA long before the Spanish came. The strong sense of social responsibility to give back can be felt in small packages too. Filipinos would always bring back something home to their loved ones after work or a quick getaway. Going out of one’s way to find the perfect pasalubong emphasizes the importance of reinforcing relationships, polite remembrance of those left behind, and sharing the fruits of one’s fortunate circumstances.
Pasalubong is not just any gift, however. Pasalubong is more of a souvenir—unique item/s or delicacies specific to your destination. The pasalubong culture resembles the culture of omiyage (???) in Japan, except that this etiquette is practiced in the workplace only. Nevertheless, Japanese etiquette also demonstrates reciprocity and appreciation by gifting co-workers with delicacies tied to the destination. Similar to omiyage, failing to bring pasalubong is sometimes frowned upon or embarrassing at the least. The social pressure can be overwhelming when family and friends hint at expecting a pasalubong from your travels—almost an obligation that must be fulfilled to avoid embarrassment.
Filipinos returning to the US after visiting relatives in the Philippines are not exempted from the pasalubong culture. Filipino immigrants in the US look forward to receiving pasalubong that makes them feel at home and less lonely on American soil. Anything that comes from the Philippines gives them a sense of being reintegrated back to their roots. After all, they are still Filipinos who are only separated from their home by the force of the desire for greener pastures. The pasalubong box symbolizes the American Dream for both overseas workers and immigrants.
Waiting for your next visit to the Philippines just to hoard your favorite pasalubong goodies may not be the cost-effective way to go, so My Tindahan thought of bringing home closer to you. We give you a rundown of the most-requested and best-selling Filipino pasalubong straight out of Louisville.
As the pork-loving folks in the Philippines jokingly say, chicharon will keep you young at heart. Oh it’s so good that it will make your heart skip a beat—hope not quite literally. Chicharon is one of the most sought-after delicacies in Filipino drinking parties. It’s made with savory pork rinds that curl up when deep-fried. A good chicharon worth its salt (pun intended) is a joy to sink your teeth into because of its crispy and puffy exterior. Filipinos learned chicharon from Spanish influence (they spell it as chicharrón). The Filipino term chicharon may refer to other variations that differ in crispiness, saltiness, and thickness—depending on the pig part used. Chicharon may also refer to savory crunch made with fish, CHICKEN, or beef.