22 Apr2009


A good friend and neighbor recently returned from a trip to Japan bearing three wonderful pasalubongs… First, let me say that the Filipino concept of a pasalubong (gift) can often cross the line into feeling like an obligation, and the inevitable result are the bags of boxed or tin-wrapped chocolates for sale at our duty-free shops, almost an automatic and safe answer to making sure you have something on hand to give a friend or relative. But I actually love the concept of a pasalubong, and so much more so when the giver has really thought about their choice of present. Anything anyone gives you after they have returned from a trip is generous and wonderful, period. But there is a whole other level of pasalubongs and pasalubong givers who always seem to surprise, delight and amuse with a present that is so unique, appropriate, inventive, creative or just darned delicious. Take this box of stunningly colored chocolates…


From the patisserie Sadaharu Aoki, with several branches in Paris and a couple in Tokyo, these are the single most stunningly colored chocolates I have EVER laid my eyes on. Aoki has lived in Paris for much of the last two decades and if David Lebovitz considers him one of the best pastry chefs in Paris, you just have to give him a try. The chocolates were a visual treat, I didn’t want to eat them, but when I finally popped one in my mouth it was a dark thin shell encasing some delicious ganache. I don’t think the colors denote flavors in any way, they just seem to be there for visual impact. If you wish to know more about Mr. Aoki, try this link.


This whimsical edamame or soy bean key chain for the Teen continues the food theme, and the Teen loves edamame, but more amusingly…


…you can actually squeeze out the beans… isn’t that just too Japanese-ly clever for you? :)


And for “Pigman,” what could be more cool than…


…piggy shaped paper clips?! Thank you, thank you G, we LOVE our pasalubongs! :)



  1. Apicio says:

    It is nice to be remembered, but delightful to be remembered thoughtfully.

    Apr 22, 2009 | 5:46 am


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  3. ThePseudoshrink says:

    Those paperclips and keychain are absolutely the cutest! The Japanese certainly know cute.

    Apr 22, 2009 | 6:42 am

  4. kim says:

    reminds me of the good old days :) miss the food, the lifestyle and of course my dear friends :'( so sweet of your neighbor to bring you some goodies… wish i could visit again, i’ll pretty much pig out & shop! (for ingredients not clothes or shoes – darn too expensive out there!)

    Apr 22, 2009 | 6:48 am

  5. sanojmd says:

    darn, they are so cute.. i would probably stare at the chocolates forever..atleast i would not gain calories from that.. hehehe.very nice indeed..

    Apr 22, 2009 | 6:53 am

  6. Jaja says:

    the pig clips are so cute!

    Apr 22, 2009 | 7:49 am

  7. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Awesome!!! One of the traits I admire with the japanese is their passion for perfection. I believe they bring passion up to the level of obession.

    And I miss working in a chocolate shop!!!!

    Apr 22, 2009 | 7:49 am

  8. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    ooops…miss the “s” in obsession

    Apr 22, 2009 | 7:52 am

  9. Marketman says:

    And not only the item itself, but the packaging is definitely superior to most in Japan…

    Apr 22, 2009 | 7:55 am

  10. zena says:

    I have to confess that I sometimes dislike the concept of pasalubong especially when people ask for it before I leave. I like giving tokens/gifts but I would like it better if it was something I did sincerely and voluntarily. I try to get things that I know they like. My family does not obligate its members for pasalubong which is why I doubly dislike it when others do. And I miss the 100 yen stores in Tokyo. =)

    Apr 22, 2009 | 8:01 am

  11. tipat says:

    love the pasalubongs! They arent your usual stuff – things like that would really make anyone feel special. =)

    Apr 22, 2009 | 8:18 am

  12. Quillene says:


    Apr 22, 2009 | 8:46 am

  13. ragamuffin girl says:

    the Japanese have so much cool stuff, their “inventiveness” delights me whenever I’m there. I do love their packaging I just feel it’s too much sometimes… landfills come to mind. :) How could I have missed those chocolates? Beautiful!

    Apr 22, 2009 | 9:19 am

  14. Fabian M says:

    Cool items. :) I especially like the edamame key chain.

    zena: I know what you mean by obligation :) Best way to ‘cure’ people of insisting is just by not giving in. I now return from trips giving pasalubongs to only very few people. When others ask, hey where’s my gift (as a half-joke), I say, “hey, I didn’t find anything perfect for you. I didn’t want to get you something corny.” (and I mean it when I say that)

    Apr 22, 2009 | 9:25 am

  15. cakestar says:

    nice and cute pasalubong. you’d feel that they’re really meant for you. very heartwarming…oh and the chocolate is like an edible xylophone. really pretty. :-D

    Apr 22, 2009 | 9:30 am

  16. Tricia says:

    what a very thoughtful pasalubong!! :)

    Apr 22, 2009 | 9:50 am

  17. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    MM, …..and even the way the japanese wrap the box!!! OVER!!!

    Apr 22, 2009 | 9:51 am

  18. Lissa says:

    My immediate thought when I saw the first picture was –xylophone!

    Apr 22, 2009 | 10:07 am

  19. mojito drinker says:

    these gifts are sooo cool!

    Apr 22, 2009 | 10:20 am

  20. chinachix says:

    such stylish presents!

    Apr 22, 2009 | 10:45 am

  21. Jenny says:

    i thought the first pasalubong was a box of palette paints. hehe

    Apr 22, 2009 | 10:46 am

  22. apester says:

    the japanese take pasalubong or omiyagi very very seriously. and they’ll move heaven and earth to package something beautifully regardless of content. says a lot about the people. and makes it so much fun receiving stuff from them :)

    Apr 22, 2009 | 11:22 am

  23. mardie c",) says:

    love, love, love it!!! i wish i have pasalubongs these lovely for my family and friends when i go home this june.

    Apr 22, 2009 | 12:20 pm

  24. zena says:

    Fabian M: i will try that line sometimes. =)

    Apr 22, 2009 | 12:59 pm

  25. joey says:

    I love those piggy papper clips!!! Japanese knick knacks are the cutest :)

    I know what you mean about pasalubong…now I just buy something when I see something nice that I know the person will appreciate.

    Fabian: great advise and great answer…I will remember that :)

    Apr 22, 2009 | 1:15 pm

  26. rhea says:

    “Pig Clips for PigMan” = nice!

    Apr 22, 2009 | 1:32 pm

  27. Trisha says:

    Aoki makes my heart skip a beat. Without reading this post, I knew straight away what that was. I do love his macarons also but it was his chocolate that stole the show for me. He is art.

    Apr 22, 2009 | 2:31 pm

  28. corrine says:

    I found out that the concept of “pasalubong” is not just among Filipinos. I had a Peruvian classmate and before our class ended, he said he has to buy some gifts for his staff (or else, they will kill him). I also asked an young Italian lady in Venice and she said that her friends expect something for her to bring back everytime she goes somewhere(same concept of pasalubong) even if she is going to the mountain…then she rolled her eyes. I think among Filipinos, even a simple chocolate basta foreign made will make them happy (not knowing you just bought them from Duty Free). :)

    Apr 22, 2009 | 7:46 pm

  29. s says:

    that’s the best kind of pasalubong- nothing extravagant. just plain sweet and thoughtful. he/she really had you in mind when they bought that. God bless your friend!:)

    Apr 22, 2009 | 11:42 pm

  30. navyGOLF says:

    To corrine’s point, I even buy mine from SnR, as long as it’s ‘esteytsayd’!!! : )

    Apr 23, 2009 | 2:32 am

  31. Maria Clara says:

    Sadaharu’s chocolate ganache has a mirror finish and stay beautiful even in a roaring 100-degree temperature. Japanese pride themselves with their gift wrapping and packaging. It is an art to them. Look at their Ikebana arrangement only a handful of flowers and has all the elements of a good visual perfection right in there.

    Apr 23, 2009 | 4:14 am

  32. mikel says:

    cute stuff! discovered aoki a few yrs ago when he opened his tea house/patisserie in the 6eme. his take on traditional french pastries isn’t as visually sharp but the flavors are so unique. favorites duomo macha azuki, black sesame eclairs & flan sesame eclairs make great presents and dinner treat(have turned on quite a few frenchies who had been unfamiliar with aoki). best part is that the pastries are NOT cloyingly sweet. never went back to p. herme after..

    Apr 23, 2009 | 4:30 am

  33. natie says:

    those are SO cute!!!

    whare can you buy ROYCE chocolates in the US or Canada?? thanks..

    Apr 23, 2009 | 4:41 am

  34. bernadette says:

    those are chocolates??? I would have used them as paint by mistake :-D! Neat!!!

    Apr 23, 2009 | 9:17 am

  35. Edwin D. says:

    Cool gifts! You’re neighbors thinks of everything with style to give you such thoughtful gifts.

    Apr 23, 2009 | 9:32 am

  36. Pandora says:

    The edamame key chain is cute. Seems like a lot of work and thought was put into making such a tiny thing. Great neighbor.

    Apr 23, 2009 | 12:49 pm

  37. albenia says:

    You’re a good apple….that’s why you got good pasalubong…Envious? I…yes sireeee…. You deserve it since you do so much for everyone.

    Apr 23, 2009 | 11:16 pm

  38. wil-b cariaga says:

    japanese people really think a lot. . . they invent things that make everything efficient and more so, they create the cutest knick knacks you dont really need. . .that definitely are good pasalubongs. . . hehe

    Apr 24, 2009 | 5:11 pm

  39. Laura says:

    I think the cutest are those Japanese bento boxes and accessories! I agree about the packaging & Japanese origami papers!

    Apr 25, 2009 | 8:58 am

  40. aggy says:

    was just in tokyo last weekend on the way back home to chicago…the japanese definitely have a flair for presentation and packaging…had a simple tempura meal with such a lovely presentation, i hesitated before digging into it :)

    Apr 25, 2009 | 7:17 pm


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