21 Mar2007

What would be in your dream outgoing alisbayan box if you resided abroad and relatives back home could send you one? I have posed the question before asking what was in your balikbayan box, so why don’t we turn the tables around… As I type, thousands and thousands of balikbayan boxes are working their way back to the Philippines, either just assembled and half filled, taking up space in the corner of one’s home in a foreign land, slowly filling up with miscellaneous pabilins or brilliant finds at neighborhood sales at the warehouse club or grocery. You are putting in gifts for people’s birthdays, maybe graduation presents, and perhaps a special something for a godchild or two or three. Your mom’s favorite cold cream, pampers for an apo, or used magazines… You fill orders for shoes based on traced and cut-out pieces of paper send to you by snail mail or fax, the sender not realizing the fax may distort the size in transmission. You are stocking up on particular canned goods and some folks even load boxes up with Canadian rice, Argentinian corned beef, French mustards, Danish cookies, Swiss chocolates, English jams, etc. I am convinced that this whole balikbayan box thing is a uniquely Pinoy phenomenon, and thank goodness the government continues to allow what amounts to duty-free importation of just about anything you can think off (that isn’t electronic, in theory or contraband)…

Whenever I was based abroad, I always had a hankering for something from home. Dried mangoes, sampalok candy, tuyo in oil, cow label beef, dried squid, guava jelly, etc. It was usually something to eat, though an occasional abaca placement, shell coaster or other handicraft doodad was much appreciated. So I am curious what 60-65% of Marketmanila’s readers based in countries around the globe would want their relatives to send them? Would it be dried mangoes? Banana chips? Chocnut? Tropical fruit jams? Sky flakes? Tuyo (dried fish) in olive oil? You name it…if the customs officers in your neck of the woods wouldn’t go ballistic, and the items could stand a 2 month long sea journey, what would you ask for? And if you are part of the 30-35% of the readership that resides in the Philippines, what would you want to send your relatives who live abroad who have all these years sent you those balikbayan boxes that have such a great “smell” when you just open it up? Your comments are appreciated.



  1. kaye says:

    i am one of those who regularly get a box or two from my sister in vegas who just loves to go shopping and includes me and my family in every shopping spree she does, hehehe! i have been sending her stuff thru johnny air in megamall whenever she wants something but now johnny air has given rule that they will not accept packages containing food items, even if it’s dried mangoes or biscuits in tin can.. that made my sister a little sad so we just opted to send stuff whenever somebody leaving offers to accept any “padala” to our relatives.. we usually send them the usual cornick, mani and other “kutkutin” from Adelina’s since you get them freshly cooked.. we also send them food items which they normally wouldn’t get from either the filipino stores or if it’s not the same quality as what we have here.. most of the time it’s choco mallows, chocolate crunchies(they can buy these in the filipino stores for $3 per piece!!), dangit from cebu, cooked bagoong and buro which we have canned.. most of the time it’s food items.. sometimes she asks me to buy her stuff like baby clothes mostly tie-sides, bedroom slippers and the shampoo she loves using here since shampoo there are all too strong for asian hair. and not to forget the local magazines which aren’t always available in the filipino store she frequents..a lot of pictures as well…

    Mar 21, 2007 | 5:41 pm


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  3. Colleen says:

    Dear Marketman:

    Stuff I always ask for whenever anybody would ask me what I want as pasalubong: (1) Beach walk slippers (the x type) preferably 2 pairs; (2) latest issue or the annual issue of Food Magazine (now I heard that Yummy magazine is now available – so this another addition); (3) I also would like a copy of the latest issue of Pugadbaboy; and last but not the least (4) copy of the latest CD of Ryan Cayabyab – usually with the SMC Philharmonic Orchestra. As for foodstuff, I know I would like two items from Cebu: sweet mangoes and those sausages from Carbon market. I tried to duplicate the sausages but i failed – so many times!!!! Iba na talaga ang original! :-)


    Mar 21, 2007 | 5:54 pm

  4. Doddie from Korea says:


    Mine would mostly be food stuff:

    1. Tuyo
    2. Sinigang mix
    3. Palabok mix
    4. Knorr seasoning liquid
    5. Knorr beef/chicken/pork boullion cubes
    6. Banana blossoms
    7. Kasubha for my arroz caldo
    8. Argentina corned beef (yes, we do have this imported here in Korea)
    9. Blue sky crackers
    10. Boy bawang
    11. Chippy
    12. Cheese curls
    13. Chocnut (you can tell I have kids)
    14. Miswa noodles
    15. Tsinelas!!!!

    And that’s just for starters… :-)


    Mar 21, 2007 | 6:05 pm

  5. nikka says:

    lets see…

    -judge chewing gum
    -ube jam from baguio
    -a polvoron mold
    -dried mango chips
    -sukang puti
    -sili seeds

    Mar 21, 2007 | 6:20 pm

  6. millet says:

    last year, i sent goody boxes of these to relatives in the US:
    a) a CD of “Uyayi”, Chin-chin Guiterrez’s sublime compilation of ehtnic Pinoy lullabies;
    b) a copy of the book “Pinoy Comfort Food”, and a selection of other books by Pinoy authors published last year
    c) a copy of the latest Apo CD
    c) a few pieces of “suding” (or “kubing”)-the bamboo “jew’s harp” from the T’boli (always a hit among Fil-Am kids)
    d) jars of Zaragoza bangus pate
    e) jars of the “spoon-able” pastillas de leche (I got mine from a stall in Tiendesitas)
    f) packs of Boy Bawang
    g) the best durian, langka and ube pastillas.

    Mar 21, 2007 | 6:30 pm

  7. millet says:

    ..i forgot to mention:
    h) jars of Kablon Farms mangosteen jam, coconut jam and guava jelly

    Mar 21, 2007 | 6:34 pm

  8. mini says:

    when i lived in the states, the best packages i got contained ketchup flavored piknik, pastillas de leche, and choc nut. my aunt always demands a dozen of lord stow’s egg custards!

    Mar 21, 2007 | 8:31 pm

  9. catalina says:

    1. Homemade mango jam
    2. Kalamansi (whole or freshly squeezed and frozen)
    3. Marca Piña queso de bola
    4. Pastillas de leche
    5. Laing & longaniza, canned separately at UP
    6. Ensaymada
    7. Gourmet Coffee (Barako or Manila Blend)
    8. Antonio Pueo chocolate balls
    9. Stuff from Cardinal Ceramics
    10. Little girls’ dresses

    Mar 21, 2007 | 8:37 pm

  10. xiao li says:

    The bulk of our luggage is always dried mangoes, at least 10kg of it! We also bring a supply of sinigang mix, Argentina corned beef, Century Tuna, bagoong (Chowking is the best!), Knorr Seasoning, Chocnut, Chippy, 3 in 1 coffee mixes, vitamins and medicine for common sickness, shampoo and other toiletries. Lately, we also added in Del Monte Ketchup and Datu Puti vinegar.

    Mar 21, 2007 | 9:13 pm

  11. leira says:

    What I usually ask for are the ff:
    1. Sinigang Mix
    2. Milo
    3 Polvoron from Goldilocks

    Mar 21, 2007 | 9:43 pm

  12. emz says:

    1. boy bawang corniks
    2. dried mangoes
    3. ube jam
    4. macapuno balls
    5. dried langka
    6. chocnut
    7. cocojam
    8. bottled tuyo in olive oil
    9. banana chips
    10.bagoong alamang

    Mar 21, 2007 | 10:08 pm

  13. Grace says:

    Standards in our list of ‘pabili naman nito o’ given to relative we invite to beijing:

    -sinigang, tocino, tapa, longganisa mix
    -bagoong alamang
    -dried mangoes
    -corned beef
    -my hubby’s FHM
    -durian preserve
    -argentina corned beef
    -medicines as well as we don’t read chinese and can’t figure basic ones without a prescription
    -baking supplies (can’t find them here or they’re super expensive – lye water,baking powder, dutch cocoa)

    MM, you made me realize i hadn’t had guava jelly in a long time… will have to add that to the list next time someone is coming over for a visit

    Mar 21, 2007 | 10:31 pm

  14. NYCMama says:

    I’ll tell you what I had in my maletas last Oct, that I took home to NY:
    1) 20 bottles of tuyo in oil
    2) 6 bottles of dulong
    3) 10 boxes of IYA’s Giant Pastillas (de leche)
    4) Guava jelly
    5) Pearl necklaces from Virra mall
    6) Tons of books by Filipino authors from Fully Booked
    7) Copies of Yes (the gossip magazine), Tatler, and one other “socialite” magazine for a friend who laughs while reading all of it
    8) 10 bottles of Pajo Dikiam from Milky Way
    And I almost brought home budbod kabog from MM’s suki in Salcedo, but I ate them before they got in the maleta!

    I will be there again in April, and my maleta is already packed with stuff that I had someone “pre-buy” for me to save time shopping:
    1) 4 sets of the batidor for tsokolate, plus the pot it comes with
    2) Pili squares from Silay
    3) Cans of Panaderia de Molo cookies
    4) The usual tuyo in oil supply
    5) The usual Pajo Dikiam supply
    6) Pili bars from Legazpi
    7) Piaya and Pinasugbo from Bacolod
    8) Papaya soap (lots of bars)

    Maybe I’ll update my comment when I actually come back to NY in April and tell you what else went in!

    Mar 21, 2007 | 10:44 pm

  15. Noypetes says:

    I’ve been lurking on your site for a while and love it.

    The last time my sister came to visit me here in Los Angeles, she brought along, upon my pleas:

    A huge colorful BANIG
    6 large plastic ..?oz.containers of “ROMANA PEANUT BRITTLE”
    A box of original Iloggo PINASUGBO and PIYAYA’s
    4 boxes of CHOCNUTS
    and a set of large PALAYOK’s and the coconut shell SANDOK for cooking my favorite Pinoy meals.

    Mar 21, 2007 | 11:00 pm

  16. Pecorino says:

    My most recent pabilins to people coming to visit:

    – Red Ribbon pancit palabok
    – Sapin-sapin
    – Ube ice cream
    – Queensland butter in red can
    – Spanish sardines in olive oil
    – Taba ng talangka
    – Delmonte 202 pineapple juice
    – Mang Tomas lechon sauce
    – Tomato Sauce (There’s only tomato paste here in Bangkok!)
    – Atchuete/annato seeds
    – Bagoong
    – Palm’s corned beef
    – Chapstick lipbalm
    – Recent Daily Inquirer or Phil Star newspapers

    Mar 21, 2007 | 11:02 pm

  17. flip4ever says:

    Here in southern California, we can get a lot of things already from Filipino/Asian grocery stores, so I would only be asking for:
    1. Jar(s) of mangosteen jam (ever since I read your blog on this)
    2. Burong (pickled/brined) paho. (We were able to get a bottle of this once, made in Thailand or another SEAsian country, but the pickling solution had its own strong flavor that you really couldn’t taste the paho anymore).
    3. Sampalok candy

    Mar 21, 2007 | 11:06 pm

  18. mikel in paris says:

    1 ube
    2 tuyo in olive oil
    3 sampaloc/mango candy
    4 ube & mongo hopia
    5 knorr sinigang
    6 pastillas de leche
    7 sapin sapin
    8 longanisa & other dishes cooked by mom & canned

    Mar 21, 2007 | 11:15 pm

  19. Maria Clara says:

    Butong pakwan, danggit, tuyo from Bataan, espasol from Pampanga, pastillas de leche made out of carabao milk, dried mangoes, Holland hopia, tikoy roll, champoy, bagoong and palayok.

    Mar 22, 2007 | 12:26 am

  20. alilay says:

    longganisang Taal, burong baboy, taba ng talangka, dvd’s of pinoy movies, dried mangoes, fresh if possible, tuyo, queso de bola marca pina, pastillas de leche, halayang ube, macapuno, minatamis na langka and calumpit jam

    Mar 22, 2007 | 12:46 am

  21. susan says:

    Mine just walis tambo at tingting, tsinellas, new movie in dvd, magazine, santol at lansones..

    Mar 22, 2007 | 1:16 am

  22. Bubut says:

    everytime i went to a vacation to my Ninong in Vegas, he would always ask me to bring
    – 1 dozen of square (big) wooden plates

    Mar 22, 2007 | 1:33 am

  23. Bubut says:

    plus : all flavors of eng beetin hopia, sinigang mix, kare-kare mix Tanduay Rhum, and other sweets.

    Mar 22, 2007 | 1:34 am

  24. sharonel says:

    i always ask for:

    1. adobo gourmet tuyo
    2. ube from bsu, la trinidad
    3. filipino soap opera dvds, and filipino movies
    4. bagoong
    5. pastillas de leche
    6. cornik from ilocos
    7. royal bibingka
    8. filipino recipe books

    Mar 22, 2007 | 1:48 am

  25. eustressor says:

    a good friend who’s based in new york recently asked for:
    1. hair doctor
    2. sunflower chicken flavor
    3. pastillas

    Mar 22, 2007 | 2:02 am

  26. Ted says:

    What i normally ask is not the food itself, but the implement on how it’s cooked/done the filipino way.

    I’ve asked for and received the following:
    1. Palayok – so I can present the kare-kare i cooked in it’s natural form.
    2. Coconut Kudkuran – I like it better than my cuisinart food processor, there’s nothing better than a freshly shredded coconut in your puto, bibingka, etc.
    3. Puto bungbong steamer – I make my own now.
    4. Polvoron form.
    5. bibingka form/pan in clay – bibingka galapong realy taste better if baked in this clay form rather than a non-stick pan.

    6. Im still looking for the metal “syanse” that pinoys use to burn the caramel off the fat of a chinese ham, someday someone will finally find it and send it to me ;-)

    Mar 22, 2007 | 2:16 am

  27. Ted says:

    NYCMama, what is a “batidor for tsokolate” ?

    Mar 22, 2007 | 2:20 am

  28. Maria Clara says:

    Ted: Do you make your own puto from galapong and same thing with bibingka? If so, would you be so kind enough to share your recipe. Thanks in advance.

    Mar 22, 2007 | 2:42 am

  29. tulip says:

    My family abroad do have a great source for mostly Asian/Filipino stuffs, so they hardly ask for food stuffs. They do have unusual pabilins though, which are also pricey but that is of course alright. I do get my share of px thru them too.

    1. taro and pandan flavored gelatin/jelly ace
    2. folk and local artist CDs
    3. good quality native or abaca bags that are worth a whooping sum of money in the US
    4. civet coffee and barako coffee
    5. plates and kitchen accessories made of shells
    6. customized woven cloths
    7. interesting finds from Balikbayan Handicrafts

    Mar 22, 2007 | 3:02 am

  30. cwid says:

    We’re so lucky here in Vancouver because we have 99% of the items in the list that your readers have shared. We even have locally made chicharon with taba and laman, filipino siopao, longaniza and tocino, hopia.That’s because of our large Asian community. What I asked my sister to bring when she came for a visit last November were:

    fresh bibingka – all kinds
    fresh puto — all kinds
    queso de bola
    budbod kabog – just curious what this was all about
    latest copies of filipino newspapers

    The fresh kakanins were vacuum packed and frozen at home and then packed in her suitcase. I tried the frozen suman and puto just a few days ago and they were still excellent.

    Mar 22, 2007 | 3:03 am

  31. Ted says:

    Maria Clara, if you were asking for the puto bungbong recipe, here it is, as for the bibingka, i just use the glutinous rice flour, if you want the bibingka recipe as well, let me know.

    Puto Bumbong
    1 Kilogram malagkit (glutinous) rice, mixed with
    125 grams ordinary rice
    2 tbsp salt
    1 coconut, shredded
    butter or margarine
    violet food coloring
    banana leaves

    Soak malagkit and ordinary rice mixture in salted water with violet food coloring for 1 hour. With water just about 1/2 inch above the rice.
    Let dry overnight by putting inside a flour sack or cheesecloth and let it drain, by putting something heavy on top to squeeze out water.
    Mixture is ready for cooking the following morning.

    Heat steamer (lansungan) with enough water.
    Put a small amount of rice mixture inside bamboo tubes(bumbong).
    Attached bamboo tubes to lansungan or steamer.
    When steam comes out of bamboo tubes, remove and immediately push out puto bumbong.
    Top with shredded coconut, margarine/butter and sugar before serving on to a banana leaf topped plate.

    Tip: wrap some cheese cloth to the bumbong so that it would be cool enough to handle when removing from the lansungan.

    Mar 22, 2007 | 3:13 am

  32. trishlovesbread says:

    Millet, great goodie bag! Wish I were a relative of yours. :-)

    Mar 22, 2007 | 3:13 am

  33. Christianne says:

    My list is pretty short:
    1. Instant pansit canton
    2. Canned sisig
    3. Keebler Soft Batch cookies
    4. Knorr seasoning, original
    5. Nestea lemon iced tea (hubby’s addicted and we only get iced tea concentrate in Sweden)
    6. Goldilocks mamon

    Mar 22, 2007 | 3:30 am

  34. Maria Clara says:

    Thanks a million for sharing your recipe Ted. You are a real trouper! I mean puto – putong puti like the one from Calasiao, Pangasinan, Marilao, Bulacan or Sulipan-Apalit, Pampanga. They are off-white and steamed and usually top with grated coconut. Now a days they are morphed in pandan, ube, and cheese.

    Mar 22, 2007 | 3:38 am

  35. Cookie says:

    We have lots of stuff in Filipino grocery stores, but whenever I have relatives visiting, like my Mom, Dad and brother who are arriving this Friday (can’t wait!!) – I ask for the following:

    1. Sinigang mix – Knorr came out with a mix that has sili flavoring it it. Then I just had more sili! yum!
    2. Ariel – pang-laba in sachet. When I went home last year, our labandera used it to make our whites, dazzlingly white! I was amazed – with no need for clorox.
    3. Had my mom buy the latest Basil Valdez CD that I read about in the Inquirer. Also the latest The CompanY CD – all bossanova.
    4. Cornick – I like Boy Bawang too but I tried a pack I bought from one of those small kiosks outside Market Market -I think there the Ilocos variety. It was very good.
    5. Ding Dong – small packets to bring to work.

    One time, I didnt ask, but my Mom had her friend bring me a tub of atchara. That was a disaster for my tita. They forgot to tape the cover, so the liquid spilled all over my tita’s luggage. She of course smelled like atchara, but I still had my favorite!

    Another time, another Tita, who loves Pampango butong pakwan, actually paid a fried of hers to fill one whole “alisbayan” box full of butong pakwan. My Tita was specific too as to where she should buy it. That friend of hers probably owes her quite a bit because she came here with a huge box!

    I wish my Mom could bring me Cielo’s doughnuts! I don’t know if it will survive the trip. Its best eaten freshly made. Who cares?? I will ask her to bring some for me!!

    Mar 22, 2007 | 3:49 am

  36. tercer says:

    Great site. Always a pleasure to read.
    I’m sorry to disillusion all about bbayan uniqueness but my shipping company based in the US ships a good amount of what they call “relief goods” (exactly same contents as what you would generally find in bbayan boxes) to various Eastern European countries, sent by US resident immigrants. Usually peaks between Halloween and Thanksgiving to arrive in time for Christmas. Several years ago I was with a multi-national shipping company that shipped tons of these “relief goods” to Vietnam from California alone.

    What I would probably enjoy the most to receive from friends and family would be sights and sounds i.e. videos of friends, families and places whether in party settings, normal day, trip to beach/resort, visiting other friends/family, etc. Yes, I think I would enjoy that very much. It’s probably why I enjoy your blog and some of the other blogs you have linked especially those with lots of photos!

    Mar 22, 2007 | 4:32 am

  37. Ted says:

    Maria Clara, here’s my Puto recipe.

    2 cups powdered glutinous rice flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3 teaspoons baking powder
    2 cups coconut milk
    1 cup white sugar
    1 teaspoon anise seeds
    1 cup shredded/grated coconut

    In a mixing bowl, sift first four ingredients together. Add coconut milk to sifted ingredients and blend well to make
    a smooth mixture. Add anise seeds. Mix and blend thoroughly and fill greased muffin pans 2/3 full.

    Cook in a steamer for 30 minutes. Test for doneness. Puto is done when a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve hot topped with shredded/grated coconut and/or butter.

    Pair the puto with dinuguan, pancit, or on it’s own with hot tea.

    Mar 22, 2007 | 4:36 am

  38. starbuxadix says:

    Staples to my family & relatives’ Alisbayan box(es)
    -Sinigang mixes & broth cubes
    -cornik, butong pakwan & sweet beans
    -home-made kalamay ube & misalubong (kalamay made of smoothly grounded glutinous rice that was soaked in water then cooked with milk & sugar)
    -home-made yema & atchara
    -taba ng talangka
    -camisa de chino, duster dresses & sandos

    and then there are the unusual pabilins
    -Eden cheese & condensed milk (dont ask me why, dont know too. *smiles*)
    – Banana heart sisig & fish paksiw (to be canned by the local taba ng talangka makers in pampanga for 20pesos apiece)

    Mar 22, 2007 | 4:51 am

  39. Maria Clara says:

    Ted, again my heartfelt gratitude for this detailed recipe of puto. I cannot thank you enough for this. I look forward to a day when I can return this big favor.

    Mar 22, 2007 | 5:16 am

  40. Ted says:

    YW Maria Clara.
    One other thing i really love to do is read the newspaper wrappings from the pasalubongs I get from the Philippines. Does anyone enjoy it to?

    Mar 22, 2007 | 6:20 am

  41. Maria Clara says:

    Ted, I do really enjoy the stale news from newspaper wrappings of my pasalubongs. Even the meat vendors kept the merchandise in old newspaper after wrapping the meat with banana leaves. Old newspaper is a hot stuff. In fact I fought hard with my siblings to sell them to bote garapa hawkers for extra baon money. Siblings rivalry. It gives me a very nostalgic feeling and keeps my family value stronger – reminiscence of my youth. When I see the movie section oh so and so still around. But if you go to Baguio even in the 60s and 70s nobody nobody use the newspaper to wrap merchandise. They always have brown paper bags.

    Mar 22, 2007 | 6:46 am

  42. gemma asis says:

    kraft cheese in can
    marca pina queso de bola
    ma mon luk siopao
    chicharon bulaklak
    purefoods corned beef

    Mar 22, 2007 | 7:45 am

  43. corrine says:

    i would send my sister in Vancouver the ff:

    1. Mama Sita tocino mix…no sodium nitrite it says. Great for chicken or pork tocino.
    2. Knorr sinigang mix – however, I noticed that ever since Uniliver bought CMC, the taste has changed. It’s not as good anymore. Maggi isn’t any better. I’m searching for better alternatives.
    3. Dried mangoes
    My hi school friend in SF loves adobong mani and cornicks.
    My friend in LA loves her Rigenol by Framesi to tame her buhaghag hair. It’s cheaper here than in the States!

    Mar 22, 2007 | 7:55 am

  44. Olive says:

    My sister always asks for the ff.:
    1. 2 medim sized sapin-sapin from Dolor’s
    2. suman latik from Tita Paring’s
    3. Choc-nut
    4. Ding Dong mixed nuts
    5. Boy Bawang
    6. assorted Knorr soup mixes
    7. pastillas
    8. polvoron (cashew, pili, and plain)
    9. dusters (house dresses one can vuy from Divisioria or Greenhills tiangge)
    10.Lucky Me instant pancit canton
    11.Yes! Magazines
    12.Johnson’s baby cologne and pressed powder :)
    13.dried mangoes
    14.spoof shirts
    16.nata de coco
    18.magazines about cockfighting!

    Mar 22, 2007 | 8:00 am

  45. Mia says:

    Here’s mine (in no particular order)

    1. ube haleya from Good Shepherd Sisters
    2. polvoron
    3. pastillas
    4. piaya
    5. chichacorn
    6. Eng Bee Tin hopia
    7. Mama Sita tocino mix, sinigang mix
    8. CDs and VCDs of local artists

    Mar 22, 2007 | 8:14 am

  46. sylvia says:

    Luckily, there is a large Filipino supermarket nearby where I can get all the basics that I need. Thus, these are what I always request when someone is coming over:

    1. dulong in olive oil
    2. guava jelly
    3. Nestea Lemon Splash
    4. pastillas de leche from carabao’s milk

    aside from the above, my family always sends me the following:

    4. Chocnut
    5. dried mangoes
    6. native handbags
    7. chinelas
    8. Filipino-English children’s storybooks

    After reading the lists of the previous posters, I now have more ideas for pasalubong. Who knew that kakanins would survive the long trip? Yehey!

    Mar 22, 2007 | 8:19 am

  47. mrs m says:

    Hello Marketman,
    been a reader of your site since late 2005, great reading indeed.
    the stuff i’d love to receive in my aabox would be:
    – a sturdy polvoron mould/orange tailor’s chalk
    – alfombra slippers with all the beadwork, rubber slippers
    – a colorful banig, big rattan basket, benguet kumot/tapis
    – copies of FOOD magazine,movie dvds,Pugadbaboy,newspapers
    – canned aligi,benguet coffee,sampalok balls
    – pili nut brittle, garlic cornik
    – frozen haleyang ube, crispy dilis
    – kraft cheese, bangus sardines
    – dried kamias, mom’s atchara
    they can forget to send all of the above except this last two items – paksiw na kanduli and bibingkang bugok – pleeeeease

    Mar 22, 2007 | 8:51 am

  48. Jacob's Mom says:


    Mar 22, 2007 | 8:52 am

  49. dee says:

    Wow, just so timely as Im at a loss what to send my brother come April! Thanks once again MM for this useful topic! :)

    Mar 22, 2007 | 8:52 am

  50. Isabelle says:

    I’m not really fond of sweet stuff or chichirya so my list would include only a few things:
    1. bottles of tuyo and sardines
    2. Marca Pato or Marca Pina queso de bola
    3. Taba ng talanka
    4. Ivory shampoo
    5. Filipino fashion magazines i.e. YES, Preview, Metro

    Mar 22, 2007 | 9:02 am

  51. noemi says:

    i miss pritos ring. especially now that I moved out from california. i now lived in east coast, there is no more jollibee or big filipino store. so saaaaddddd.

    Mar 22, 2007 | 9:15 am

  52. CecileJ says:

    Is it true that it is only us Pinoys who use tabo? JAcob’s Mom, whenever I go abroad, I always try to pack a tabo or a big tumbler. Hehe…

    Mar 22, 2007 | 9:32 am

  53. rina says:

    – sinantol na bagoong
    – Michelle’s putong ube
    – crispy dilis snacks
    – lucky me lapaz bachoy
    – sevillas pastillas
    – rock salt
    – purefoods corned beef
    – drained burong green mangoes (without the seed)in a ziplock

    Mar 22, 2007 | 9:57 am

  54. ivyjelly says:

    Here’s some of mine:

    1. hotdogs. I don’t like the hotdogs here in Singapore.
    2. Tocino and Longganisa
    3. Polvoron, pastillas
    4, Chicaron
    5. Chicacorn
    6. Taba ng talangka
    7. chichiria: boy bawang, tostillas, kornets
    8. donuts! kahit mister donut. they dont have them here
    9. ph care:) (costs 9 dollars when i buy it in Filipino stores!)
    10. cream silk conditioner
    11. the gadget you use for melons and buko when making juices
    12. cds of local bands, books by filipino authors and vcd’s of filipino movies

    but i’m going home in april so ill take them back with me! :)

    btw, re guava jam, first time i tried that was in Sagada and it was good. If ever you guys go there you can buy them from Masferres. They also have orange marmalade.

    Mar 22, 2007 | 10:01 am

  55. Ley says:

    My hubby’s uncle in the US always requests for:

    1. Montaño Spanish sardines
    2. Torta and cookies from Cebu
    3. Johnson’s cologne
    4. Dried mango
    5. San Miguel beer pale pilsen
    6. masareal
    7. Novena guide

    I have a funny story of a friend who visited a cousin in Toronto. This cousin was so fond of lechon that it was the only thing he requested from my friend. I dont know how she did it but this friend of mine successfully sneaked into Toronto half of the lechon (and i mean half of the whole lechon)! She said she had it frozen and packed just before she left for the airport. My friend said when she arrived in Toronto her cousin put the lechon in the freezer and they would just take small slices of it and placed it in the microwave and it tasted like newly cooked. Imagine the delight of the cousin who had a month-long supply of lechon!

    Mar 22, 2007 | 10:05 am

  56. luya says:

    My wishlist: Claud 9 taba ng talangka, sweet tapa from Bel-Air, piyaya and banyadas, green mango(mission impossible) and fresh warm bibingka plus any goodies from Via mare or Cafe Ilustrado.(P.S. if anyone would like to share a recipe for Banyadas I would be certainly grateful!)

    Mar 22, 2007 | 10:18 am

  57. Marketman says:

    Ley, that’s outrageous! That’s the makings of another post coming soon…”what have you been able to sneak in?” heehee. thanks everyone for all these responses so far…I am in the midst of a major cooking spree so am busy… but I still check in once in a while during the day…

    Mar 22, 2007 | 10:18 am

  58. arlene says:

    Hi.. wow, just in time Im on my way to canada next week for a month long vacation to visit my sister. Im going with my 2 kids and hubby and my sis gave me this this list…

    – 4 pcs.walis tambo (no walis tambo in canada)
    – barong tagalog (for her kid, he uses it for his piano recital)
    – lots of slippers (for visitors daw sa bahay niya, I heard the best place to buy is in step right in laguna, I bought mine in shoemart makati)
    – lots of jogging pants from surplus shop, and also from tiangge
    – columbia jackets (over runs from jenney’s garments in pasig)
    – trench coat (over runs/ I am still researching where they make it here,I know the best place is in the TENT tiangge kaya lang wala na, they just have it one weekend a month) GUYS HELP IF YOU KNOW A PLACE KINDLY POST IT…
    – boy bawang
    – dried mangoes
    – megamelt ensaymada (plain and ube, I will also bring Diamond Hotel ensaymada)
    – lucky me pancit canton with kalamansi and spicy
    – lucky me bulalo soup and la paz batchoy
    – bottled calamansi w/o honey (I ordered from salcedo market and will pick it up next sunday in magallanes market)
    – chicharitos from cebu ( did you know that they are pulling out from manila and will go back to cebu by end of the month, if you still want to buy try going to their main branch manila at pasong tamo extension across manila memorial head office)
    – purefoods sisig in can
    – ligo sardines red and green
    – CANNED foods: homemade LAING, BICOL EXPRESS, IGADO ( homemade foods can be canned, just bring them to UP Diliman Pilot Food Plant, College of Home Economics, but they are just open monday to friday from 9 to 4pm.

    Haaay, this is really tiring everyday there is a new request, BUT you I enjoy packing this for my family abroad. And everytime there is a request I am discovering good place where you can actully buy them..


    Mar 22, 2007 | 10:32 am

  59. mila says:

    I’ve had to send (or bring with me) boxes of chinese-filipino food stuff (hopia, those red pinipig sweet things, peanut candy) for my aunts in the US, plus jewelry for my cousins. My best friend always asks for the large bottles of Spanish baby cologne. While my brother in law loves Argentina corned beef. I think he’d love to have that half a lechon though! But no way am I going to try to sneak that in!!!

    Mar 22, 2007 | 10:43 am

  60. NYCMama says:

    For Ted: the batidor is a wooden utensil (my old one is from Mexico) which you use to stir/froth up the tsokolate, and it really works only in the narrow metal pot with a long neck (or you splash all the liquid out of the pot.) I believe MM has a previous post on this. I have not owned a pot since my father had one in the Philippines ages ago. We tried to find a reasonable facsimile in New York once, even looking in thrift shops. My dad thought he found a metal container that looked good (narrow with long neck) but I thought it looked like an urn for ashes and I refused to get it. Finally will get my tsokolate pot in a few days in Manila!

    I laughed at the posts above that mentioned “tabo”. I used to do this also, until I found a nice plastic pitcher with spout, at Ikea, and it’s an Ikea staple, so that’s been our tabo of choice for years now!

    Another unusual content of my alisbayan box in recent years is ampalaya tea or capsules. They are good for my husband’s now and then gout attacks.

    Mar 22, 2007 | 11:32 am

  61. Dennis says:

    Ted… wifey thinks i’m really weird reading those newspaper wrappings from the pasalubongs. its sure nice to know I’m not the only one.

    Mar 22, 2007 | 11:57 am

  62. connie says:

    Most of the stuff that are a must in the kitchen I could get from a Filipino store, albeit having to drive one to one and a half hour with traffic. Stuff like sinigang mix, bottled tuyo, dried fish, tuyo, calamansi, pansit stuff, longanisa and more. I even discovered and got addicted to Boy Bawang when the store owner urged me to try them. Still, I miss stuff like Guagua chicharon that have meat in them and pure crab fat that is not mixed in tons of flour. Freshly made turones de casoy and a really good Vigan longanisa. The Pinoy store I go to offer only one brand, and honestly it’s horrible, full of fat and nothing like the real thing. As far as candies, I miss the really sour sampaloc candies, I really do not like the sweetened ones I could only get. I also would want some really good ube pastillas.

    Mar 22, 2007 | 12:28 pm

  63. ThePseudoshrink says:

    Oh, this reminds me of one time when I asked my “friend” in California if she wants something from Pinas, as my husband’s flight home is from LA, and she asked for cornick from Santa Maria, Bulacan, and Tagalog comics/showbiz mags, to which I added dried mangoes, gourmet tuyo, Spanish sardines, and red eggs. And the package is the reason why my husband’s luggage was held at the airport for so many days, and he all his business clothes were there! What made the matter worse was that my “friend” stood up my husband, merely texting that she can’t pick up the package! Grrr!

    Anyway, as I do not reside abroad, I’ll just list the ones I usually send abroad (via good old padala-sa-kakilala): dried pusit, gourmet tuyo, Chocnut, dried mangoes, gourmet tuyo, Spanish sardines, red eggs, taba ng talangka, and canned laing. You wouldn’t believe this, but my aunt once brought to the States several kilograms of tilapia in preserved in vinegar. How she was able to get this past Customs is beyond me. She can be pretty charming though.

    Mar 22, 2007 | 12:53 pm

  64. Diana says:

    When I lived in Shanghai, my parents visited and brought me vacuum packed, tightly sealed lechon! Sarap! :)

    I brought the following to Shanghai:
    – Tanduay Rhum (to my friends’ utter delight)
    – Chocnut
    – Pastillas de leche
    – Polvoron
    – Choco mallows
    – Curly tops and flat tops (haha local chocolate!)
    – Cans of corned beef! (There is no such thing as corned beef in China, can you believe?)
    – Dried mangoes as a bribe for the locals… it’s a rare luxury for them
    – Datu Puti vinegar

    Mar 22, 2007 | 1:51 pm

  65. linda says:

    very lucky ang mga Pinoy sa U.S. kasi you can get all these goodies there,but,in Australia,very very strict dito sa customs and very very limited lang ang puwedeng pumasok dito,but at least,puwede ang dried mangoes and dried fish.

    Mar 22, 2007 | 2:36 pm

  66. lee says:

    holy camote! a million comments and a half!

    I’ll bring yellow nagaraya and tanduay rhum. I will try my best then to enjoy, tolerate, accept whatever produce, beverage, snack item, cholesterol source, carbohydrate source, soap, soup, soursop, fish, meat, clothing, shelter, my new destination has. For all things Filipino, I would have to miss them for a while. Absence make the heart go fonder. Rain, lightning and thunder.

    Mar 22, 2007 | 2:58 pm

  67. Maricel says:

    Rina, burong mangga is a staple request from my cousins. They horde and keep it for months and months in their ref, rationing it out at 1 tablespoon of the liquid per day and several cubes of the mango per person in the household.

    To make it easy to send, I just brine the mangoes and keep it in the ref. Before sending it, I drain it., pack the mangoes in those spill proof plastic containers. The drained liquid is put into empty PET bottles. We wrap them up in disposable diapers as an extra precaution against leaks. They just add more water when they get to the States.

    Mar 22, 2007 | 5:34 pm

  68. sam says:

    always on my list:

    1. Tanduay rum (for my morenitos, a variation of the mojito, which is always a hit on the poolside during summer weekends)!
    2. Batangas lambanog infused with slivers of mango or jackfruit.
    3. kurakding ( a popular Bicol delicacy – more like a grey silver looking fungus abundant in the mountains).
    4. home-cooked, canned Bicol express.
    5. taba ng talangka from mabalacat, bottled
    6. burong isda, canned
    7. sandok na bao (beats any wooden spoon in my kitchen, anytime).
    8. panghilod ( the dark volcanic stone – it’s always fun to prop it in the bathroom; more of a conversation piece, if there is such a thing called a chat in the loo!!. the thing is enough to abrade or injure you in the shower!! ;).
    9. toasted pili nuts – for salads
    10. mazapan de pili from Ms. Mimi Samsom. I am unsure if she still makes it.
    11. home-made chocolate balls
    12.stainless steel coconut grater with bench attachment (in tagalog, kudkuran na may upuan, is it?).

    are these enough to fill a box?? maybe.

    Mar 22, 2007 | 5:45 pm

  69. sha says:

    glad athens now have pinoy store but honestly its been over 23 years but i still have my wish list

    a friend brought this bagoong homemade with pork fats from bacolod.. cant find the same here.

    perhaps some moulds for experimentation of phil cuisine

    good quality of hopia please

    good books on philippine history and culture
    apo hiking cds
    t shirts

    Mar 22, 2007 | 5:59 pm

  70. lojet says:

    Tried to ask my friend to bring me Landang from Cebu after I read your blog. Unfortunately she did not see my email til she was already in California but, she said she was not sure if it will survive mailing from Cali to NY as it does not keep long without spoiling. Guess I’ll just have to go home to eat it.

    Mar 22, 2007 | 6:04 pm

  71. Aileen says:

    Here in Thailand I normally bring along some….
    1. Didache
    2. graham crackers
    3. victorias or VMC spanish style sardines
    4. homemade peanut butter
    5. pancit canton- chilimansi
    6. presto creams sandwich
    7. chippy
    8. dried mangoes
    9. cheese
    10. papaya soaps

    these are just for my handcarry…there’s alot more for check-in :)

    Mar 22, 2007 | 6:06 pm

  72. goodtimer says:

    My L.A. relatives top ten bilins:
    1. H.O.P. polvoron
    2. Eng Bee Tin hopia monggo
    3. Mama Sita Tocino Mix, Lumpia Shanghai Mix, Palabok Mix
    4. Purefoods Corned Beef, Palm Corned Beef
    5. Knorr Sinigang Mix
    6. Silka Papaya Soap, Skin White Soap (very nice scent!)
    7. Dolors Kakanin
    8. latest DVD’s
    9. OPM cd’s
    10. Sky Flakes crackers individually wrapped (it doesn’t get kunat easily)

    Mar 22, 2007 | 8:39 pm

  73. rina says:

    I almost forgot, my Aunt in North America, goes to either Quiapo or in Greenhills, whenever she is here in Manila. She buys dozens and dozens of pearl necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, and make it as instant bday/x’mas presents to her officemates and friends!

    Mar 22, 2007 | 9:01 pm

  74. smarie says:

    since there is no Pinoy food stores here in lagos, nigeria, the list is quite long. hehe… but to top it off, it would be the following (food) items:

    1. bagoong (barrio fiesta, sweet)
    2. kiamoy
    3. boy bawang
    4. caldereta mix/other food mix (mama sita)
    5. sky flakes
    6. sinigang mix
    7. banana ketchup
    8. mang tomas gravy
    9. mang tomas lechon sauce
    10. sweets like pastillas, etc.
    11. pastries/cakes from red ribbon…

    the list goes on… and on… and on… :0)

    Mar 22, 2007 | 10:33 pm

  75. Ling says:

    In toronto we have alot of asian grocery stores, some pinoy food service stores with a side room for “grocery”. At special times we can even get a frozen red ribbon ube macapuno cake.

    But what i can never find…

    1. ube extract, pandan-buko extract
    2. pandan powder
    3. polvoron molds
    4. chorizo de bilbao
    5. filipino cookbooks (aside from the ones you can order on amazon)
    6. torrones de casuey
    7. Pearls!!!!
    8. taba ng talangka (sp?)

    I’ve actually never been the phil so i guess i don’t know what i’m missing… but i notice that all the stuff that our relatives used to bring over in the 80s and 90s we can pretty much get within a 10 minute drive now…well, except everything else on this list.

    Just the other week at T&T (grocery store) there was a guy selling pinoy dvd’s…

    In the summertime in toronto there is a big “fair” before labour day called “canadian national exhibition”. there is an international marketplace…the phillipines stall usually has barongs, walis, those mats you bring to the park (i forget what they are called)..even the barrel man. Reading other peoples comments, i guess i’m pretty lucky over here to have such a wide assortment of stuff available…

    Mar 23, 2007 | 12:00 am

  76. ykmd says:

    We recently moved closer to Seattle so we are now only a 15-20 min drive to the Filipino and Asian stores AND a Valerio’s bakery- yippee! My wish list now would be the stuff I still can’t get here (or takes too long to make from scratch):

    1. canned or bottled taba ng talangka
    2. OPM CDs (I usually get to buy these only when we drive down to California! for some reason the local Filipino store only sells Tagalog movies)
    3. piaya
    4. lechon paksiw the Cebuano way (vinegar and tons of garlic and green onions)
    5. torta and broas from Argao
    6. those shirts with funny sayings on them (Tag-Hirap, etc)
    7. buwad danggit
    8. santol
    9. masareal
    10.Century Tuna Hot & Spicy and calamansi flavors (the rest are available here)
    11. Philippine cookbooks to add to my collection. I’d love to get my hands on Doreen Fernandez’s “Palayok” and other books!

    Sigh…I could go on forever….

    NYC Mama, when we lived in NYC I used to get my morning coffee at a Colombian bakery in Jackson Heights – they used a batidor too for their hot chocolate. I don’t recall ever seeing it being sold thereabouts though.

    Mar 23, 2007 | 12:59 am

  77. fried-neurons says:

    Hmmm… interesting question… my list is unrealistic, as it includes perishables…

    – Chocolate mallows (Mallomars just aren’t the same!)
    – Danggit
    – Corned beef pan de sal sandwiches from that shop @ Greenbelt
    – Mangoes (must be “kalabaw”)
    – Latundan bananas
    – cans of Purefoods corned beef (gotta have all that salt!)
    – Milo
    – Sweetened tamarind (the kind that comes in white boxes that one typicall buys from roadside vendors on the way to the Southern Tagalog provinces)
    – Bulalo from Tagaytay (hahahaha)
    – Dinuguan from freshly slaughtered Batangas pig
    – Pastillas de leche
    – Hopia from Poland (or is it Holland?)
    – Taba ng talangka
    – That sticky ube dessert (halaya?)
    – Piaya
    – “OPM” CDs
    – (here’s the kicker) ISAW from one of those roadside vendors at UP Diliman

    Mar 23, 2007 | 1:01 am

  78. Ted says:

    Majestic Ham if it ever passes customs. Twice I was able to get them as pasalubong, and once it was thrown out, sayang.

    NYCMama, I think now I know what you are talking about. Williams Sonoma had them last December and I was really eyeing them out, but the frother is made of stainless steel or copper i think, and comes with it’s own small pitcher, but i remember the pitcher was ceramic and too expensive at that time..I’ll ask for this one next pasalubong time ;-)

    Mar 23, 2007 | 4:46 am

  79. Lani says:

    My friends and relatives usually ask for:

    1. choc-nut
    2. sinigang mix (knorr or maggi)
    3. Eng Bee Tin hopia
    4. Kowloon siopao (yes, they ask for that, lol)
    5. tuyo
    6. SoEn undergarments
    7. Reno liver spread (I don’t know why they like this)
    8. Lady’s Choice sandwich spread
    9. Dried mangoes from Cebu
    10. Pastillas de Leche from Bulacan Sweets
    11. slippers
    12. tabo
    13. Goldilock’s polvoron

    Mar 23, 2007 | 8:28 am

  80. Lani says:

    Upps, I forgot

    14. 3-in-1 coffee mix (they want the lite one)
    15. canned Sarsi

    Mar 23, 2007 | 8:42 am

  81. angela says:

    i imagine my friends and relatives abroad would be happy to receive a box with the following:

    1. daing -bangus, dilis, tuyo, tinapa, danggit, pusit
    2. kakanin (frozen) -suman, tupig, puto
    3. sweets -sampalok candies, pastillas, macapuno candies
    4. jars of halo-halo ingredients
    5. bagoong -alamang & balayan
    6. chicharon, cornik, kropek
    7. sukang iloko with sili
    8. bagnet, longganisa, tapa, tocino
    9. preserved manggang hilaw
    10. sky flakes

    Mar 23, 2007 | 11:32 am

  82. tulip says:

    fried-neurons, believe it or not. Mangosteen (which is ban in US), carabao mangoes and Ted’s wish of chinese ham, passed the customs when it were brought to my relatives. hehehe Shhhhhhh!!

    Mar 23, 2007 | 1:34 pm

  83. Trin says:

    Hi Arlene! Do check-out CLOTHES MINDED (that’s really the name of the shop, hehehe) They have winter & spring coats from old navy, ann taylor, per una, gap, etc. It’s right by conti’s and a spanish restaurant in BF paranaque. Aguirre St, if I remember right. It’s a teeny-tiny shop and therefore easy to miss if you’re just driving by. They have good prices too; my fur-lined suede coat was only P2,700.

    Trishlovesbread, now we know what to bring for you!

    Mar 23, 2007 | 2:13 pm

  84. suzette says:

    Usually these are what our relatives and friends ask for:

    1. Chocnut
    2. Lucky me pancit canton
    3. Purefoods Corned Beef
    4. Bottled Tuyo/ Spanish Sardines
    5. Canned Sinaing na tulingan
    6. Queensland Butter
    7. Macapuno Balls
    8. Eng Bee Tin Hopia
    9. Boy Bawang
    10. Nestea

    Mar 23, 2007 | 5:46 pm

  85. Sintea says:

    I can’t resist replying to this post.:) Months before I go home to the Philippines, I usually start writing down my wish list of things/treats to take back to Switzerland with me. I usually bring travel a near empty luggage with me and bring it packed to the full.

    1. Philippine carabao mangoes–fresh and dried
    2. native chocolate from my friend’s farm
    3. Spanish sardines, tuyo in olive oil, dulong in olive oil
    4. pulvoron, pastillas de leche, yema, durian candies :)
    5. Chinese sausage
    6. atchara
    7. calamansi juice in squeeze bottles
    8. local CD’s such as the ones from the Jesuit Music Ministry, Chinchin Gutierrez’s Uyayi
    9. local children’s books, coffee table books about our country
    10. stationery set featuring our local artists
    11. tasteful Filipiniana stuff such as locally woven throwpillow cases, table cloth, runners, and place mats, hand-embroidered pure pina handkerchief to be framed and displayed at home
    12. export overrun tops, pants, jackets, and baby clothes..Thanks for that tip about Clothes-minded! :)

    Mar 23, 2007 | 7:37 pm

  86. aline says:

    my siblings ask for:

    picture CD’s/VCD’s of family reunions and events
    pili mazapan from legazpi city
    sinigang mixes
    so-en panties
    pinoy movies, pinoy music (manny pacquiao fights, APO songs sung by current bands)
    chocolate balls
    children’s clothes
    kalamansi juice concentrate
    VCD of commercials from pinoy TV

    Mar 23, 2007 | 9:19 pm

  87. DivineG. says:

    What I want from the Phils. that I can’t get here and if they are allowed in the customs are:
    1. Duster – I love wearing this at home, the prints and the styles are far prettier than anything here.

    2. Carabao mango, lakatan, malagkit na saging na saba, lanzones(fresh because I buy the frozen ones here just to satisfy my hunger for it).

    3. Seseron, burong babi from the Tarlac market, langgonisa(I can get it here but I want the ones made there in PI because of that certain taste ), burong isda from the market.

    4. Peanuts from the street vendors and also another kind that is not fried but I think toasted or roasted with the skin on. Putong Polo, lumpiang sariwa from Iloilo, Ube cake from Red Ribbon.

    5. Parol from Pampanga with those multicolored-motion lights, a very big one.

    6. Shabu-shabu cookware from SM that has the cooking vessel itself and the compartments for all the ingredients around it, I can’t find it here.

    Mar 23, 2007 | 10:03 pm

  88. pinky says:

    Oh! What a fun list!

    1. Pinipig polvoron from Goldilocks
    2. Ube ensaymada and mamon from Cakes and Bakes
    3. La Ressureccion chocolate tableas
    4. Boxes of dried mango – Guadalupe brand
    5. Sachets of shampoo for asian hair
    6. Misua noodles
    7. Premium piaya from Merci in Bacolod

    Mar 23, 2007 | 11:39 pm

  89. pinky says:

    8. capiz shell lanterns
    9. mocha cake from Merced bakehouse
    10. rug from Narda’s
    11. jose mari chan’s latest CDs
    12. shawls from Greenhills tiange
    13. choco sans rival from Goldilocks

    Mar 23, 2007 | 11:49 pm

  90. charmaine says:

    there are Filipino and Asian stores near us. we can get most of the stuff from them like walis, sky flakes, tuyo, dried pusit, daing, bagoong, suka, etc. pero if relatives ask us what we want as pasalubong here’s our list:
    1. polvoron from goldilock’s plain or special (my son loves this)
    2. parol
    3. pastillas de leche from bulacan sweets
    4. marzipan de pili (from the bicol region)
    5. espasol
    6. tartlets/ boat tart tins / polvoron mould
    7. mangosteen jam (the tindahan here does not sell it)

    btw, does anyone know if san miguel beer can be bought here in new jersey? saan? thank you.

    Mar 24, 2007 | 1:19 am

  91. sam says:


    If you cannot find it in Filipino food markets, try the beverage section of Mexican food markets and neighborhood liquor stores. , they often carry San Miguel (lager, light lager and dark) in bottles. It’$ 6.99 – 7.50 for a six-pack.

    Mar 24, 2007 | 3:26 am

  92. pinkytab says:

    Bolo for gardening. The garden implements in the US are lame. Nothing beats the bolo/sundang that we use for gardening back home. My sister got me the ones from Cebu where the handle and the blade are one piece, what a piece of art. Now weeding, digging a hole, or edging grass is a breeze!

    Mar 24, 2007 | 9:35 am

  93. apropos says:

    my wishlist of food from backHOME:
    – galletas de patatas
    – majestic ham
    – connie’s kitchen cheese torta
    – macarons from bizu
    – calamansi marmalade
    – passion fruit juice

    Mar 24, 2007 | 10:10 am

  94. Candygirl says:

    My brother was asked by an office mate to bring back Hortaleza’s Coconut Oil conditioner when he visited us last Christmas. I bought my own bottle along with the C.O. shampoo- cheap but good products.

    Mar 24, 2007 | 1:32 pm

  95. zap says:

    Comment avalanche!

    Ran around town about a month ago to help fulfill the latest wish list:

    – tsinelas
    – dried mangoes
    – atchara
    – choco mallows
    – Argentina corned beef
    – Ilocos chichacorn
    – whitening/papaya soaps
    – walis tambo
    – ube halaya
    – sinigang/caldereta mix
    – Lucky Me pancit canton
    – Nissin’s yakisoba
    – canned bagoong
    – spanish sardines
    – Cream-O
    – the newest Pugad Baboy
    – colorful good quality abanikos
    – pinoy movies
    – and yep… a tabo. =D

    Mar 24, 2007 | 3:10 pm

  96. amateur misanthrope says:

    Offhand, I would bring books: my Jessica Zafras, Isagani R. Cruz’s dubiously titled anthology The Best Philippine Short Stories of the 20th Century, the coffee table book People Power: An Eyewitness History, Jose Garcia Villa’s poetry. What else? No need to bring food–there are Filipino stores everywhere. Tabo, definitely. Tissue papers are soooo unthorough.

    Mar 24, 2007 | 10:25 pm

  97. Dennis says:

    You are talking about the wrong San Miguel Beer. Yes, you can find San Miguel, the export version, in the US but it is the toned-down version of the real beer. In fact you’ll find them in most large Grocery stores, but I believe this is not what Charmaine (and others) are looking for. What they (me too) want is the good old “brown bottle” San Miguel Pale Pilsen which you will never find in any US store because of some FDA regulations on alcoholic beverages. You might find them in some Pinoy restos or karaoke bars, but you have to ask. Here in So Cal, we occasionally are able to get the real beer from Pinoy seamen who docks at the Long Beach harbor for R&R. They are usually willing to share part of their “baon” for $1-1.50 per bottle.

    Mar 25, 2007 | 2:51 am

  98. perkycinderella says:

    Mine are:

    1. Bottled Batuan from Tiendesitas
    2. Black is Black daing from bacolod
    3. Napoleones
    4. Ponstan 500 mg for my migraine
    5. Liveraide
    6. Korniks
    7. Kropeck from Divisoria
    8. Kutsinta from Imus, Cavite
    9. Guinamos from Bacolod

    Mar 25, 2007 | 3:22 am

  99. alecx says:


    was searching for a lechon story or recipe online and chance upon your site wow, that was quite alot of comments. enjoyed reading it, am also interested to know the recipe for bibingka if you would be so nice to send it to me.

    as for the topic, last time a friend visited us here in norway, asked for the following:
    -tanduay rhum 5 years
    -she brought me boy bawang but i still like the ilocos version
    -barako coffee, would like to try benguet coffee next time

    for the other food basic food stuff like seaonings and flavorings, i can get it from nearby asian stores here. we can even request for stuffs that we dont find and they will try to get it for us. but i do miss is dagupan bangus, they only have milkfish that comes from indonesia or thailand here.

    Mar 25, 2007 | 5:37 pm

  100. Mariel says:

    1. Choco mallows, choco crunchies, flat tops, and curly tops
    2. Atchuete/annato seeds and kasoubha
    3. Frozen lechon kawali and sisig (Monterey?)
    4. Pampanga’s Best tocino and skinless longannisa
    5. Sea Best marinated boneless Bangus
    6. Spicy crispy dilis snacks
    7. lucky me bulalo soup and la paz batchoy
    8. Mang Tomas sauce
    9. My mom’s igado and other recipe, canned
    10. Bottled tuyo
    11. Goldilocks polvoron
    12. Mama Sita mixes (from sinigang to bbq marinade!)
    13. Lucky Me pansit canton with kalamansi
    14. Knorr kalamansi
    15. Bagoong balayan
    16. Datu Puti vinegar (for the best adobo)
    17. Atchara
    18. Mary Grace’s Ensaymada
    19. Kalamansi, fresh or bottled
    20. Bottled fried garlic and onion
    21. Miki noodles from Ilocos
    22. Bottled Aristocrat Java sauce
    23. Alaxan and Neozep

    Mar 26, 2007 | 4:12 am

  101. Epi says:

    Dear Marketman,
    You posted a very interesting question. I have over the years (16 to be exact and counting)packed alisbayan boxes/ suitcases regularly. And I must say there are trends. Every year is different, my regular route is Hongkong and Los angeles. You can see the customs requirements are extreme, fortunately I have been reprimanded only once when I tried to sneak in 200 pieces of siopao with egg to LAX 2 years ago. I get all sorts of requests from Aunties, cousins and sister-in-laws here are my lists per trends can’t remember the exact years though:
    — Burong Manga I must have hauled in 4 Gallons of those to LAX and at the time customs were as we say LAX
    –Purefood Corned Beef, Purefoods Hotdogs ( now there is a mexican version so I no longer break my back over this but my cousin still swears by the original taste oh so much better)
    –Muhlach ensaymada the year they started making them, now it’s just unthinkable
    –CDs,DVDs and VCDs you name it I brought it
    –Lucky Me cup noodles all sorts of flavors bulky but light
    –Food Coloring ( my Auntie has a restaurant, she makes the very best adobo melts- in -your- mouth-watering-goodness and her Carioca hhhmmmm let’s get back in track)
    –Virgin Coconut Oil lots and lots of those
    –Bottled fish all varieties even the dulong made it
    –200 pieces siopao asado with egg 2 years ago BAWAL DAW almost got fined 500 USD good thing I declared it ( always declare to be on the safe side )
    –Chicharitos all flavors
    –Fita biscuits, chocomallows,flatops curlytops (given away as party favors to nostalgic over 30’s)
    –baby clothes from SM
    –Those LVs Guccis etc from shenzen
    –All sorts of dried seafood (FYI US Customs allow fresh frozen and dried seafood)
    –Those witty T-shirts we find in most malls
    –All sorts of Dried fruits
    –Chocolate cake and Lechon from Davao (HKG Bound only )
    –Plovoron from Sasmuan
    –Castanas during Christmas season, now its available year round so I get the cooked and packed ones from Aji Ichiban not as good but according to Tita pwede na with matching smirk
    Luckily nowadays they have most items available in Filipino stores expensive but My Relatives are now content to see me without the Baggage oh my poor Back….

    Mar 26, 2007 | 9:29 am

  102. Epi says:

    Oh I forgot my Brothers Fish net God knows what, where, why he use it for, my lips are sealed

    Mar 26, 2007 | 9:43 am

  103. luya says:

    heehee, pinkytab’s request is one of the funniest. A bolo? Omigad, can you imagine sneaking that through customs.

    Mar 26, 2007 | 9:51 am

  104. Jacob's Mom says:

    Ley’s post reminded me of my mom’s pasalubong last year — tulingan cooked in gata. She stuck it in a tupperware container and it sailed right through customs! Other years she’s brought buko pie from my hometown of Los Baños and homemade burong mangga in bottles or ziploc bags. The first few times she had the burong mangga canned but when her luggage consistently escaped scrutiny, she started getting cheeky and did away with that extra step. So far so good. Not so for a childhood friend on mine whose dried mangoes nearly got confiscated. Instead of giving them up, he stood in front of the customs guy and ate every single one. :)

    Mar 26, 2007 | 10:37 am

  105. Charina says:

    I don’t think the items on my list will survive a two month journey by sea – I think these will require overnight shipping. Here’s why;

    1. Mrs Cunanan’s ensaymadas
    2. Mary Grace’s cheese rolls
    3. Mrs. Galang’s food for the gods
    4. Dimpy Camara’s butter cake
    5. Purefoods corned beef
    6. Mangosteen
    7. Lansones
    8. suha
    9. manggang hilaw
    10. vigan longganiza
    11. dalandan

    Mar 27, 2007 | 3:15 am

  106. Alexander Uy says:

    when i visited friends abroad last year, i brought the following:

    dried mangoes
    boy bawang

    some friends from Manila, knowing i was going abroad, sent some stuff to give to our common friends. These included:

    an MP3 player bought from Raon
    Maya Hotcake Mix
    Norton Antivirus original software (cheaper in RP than in North America!)

    Mar 27, 2007 | 4:34 pm

  107. dhayL says:

    just last year when all of us( 9 family members, yes that’s about 18 luggages/balikbayan/alisbayan boxes and somehow we all managed to fill them up)went home for my lola’s funeral, we all had different ideas on what kind of stuff/abubot to bring back here in toronto. here are some of the “contrabando’s” we brought back: hehehe

    -knorr seasonings
    -nescafe 3in1 coffee
    -a few dozens of asst’d socks from divisoria
    -wok in diff sizes
    -boy bawang
    -instant noodles
    -goldilocks polvoron
    -clothings, chinese and flannel pj sets
    -shoes, slippers with personalized names
    -asst’d bags
    -jewelries/hair acces.
    -window coverings
    -wow magic sing
    -car air freshener
    -some feminine stuff
    -all kinds of goodies for our daughter’s lootbag (stickers, toys, small fan, notebooks, keychains and individually wrapped in a pink mickey mouse package cotton candy from Baklaran with expiry date on it)WOW!

    these are some of the stuff that we brought back, but the next time we go home here are the mish lists:

    -puto mold
    -chorizo de bilbao
    -polvoron mold
    -coconut virgin oil
    -powdered cheese flavouring
    -more nescafe 3in1 coffee
    -powdered coconut cream
    -more of those maggi seasoning mix
    -shanghai wrappers
    -more goodies for my daughter’s lootbags

    that’s it for now, but im sure i’ll find hundreds of stuff that i never thought i would need or would be interested in! :)

    Apr 11, 2007 | 5:18 am

  108. Koko says:

    Where can you buy frozen lanzones in Vancouver???

    Sep 9, 2007 | 12:54 am

  109. kamillerz says:

    To Ted: Thanks for the Puto Bumbong recipe! I’ve been looking everywhere! Thanks for sharing!

    Feb 14, 2008 | 8:03 am

  110. gino says:


    Do you have contacts of companies in Manila making miswa noodles?

    Please let me know. Thanks


    Feb 22, 2008 | 6:38 pm

  111. Maria says:

    Nice site!
    made me more homesick. almost all of your “pabilin’ surprisingly is available in the Filipino store here in New Jersey more so in Queens , New York.
    My parents usually bring from the Phil:
    fresh/homemade bukayo (from young coconuts)
    homemade polvoron (made by my sister)
    dried fish (fleshier)
    Sotanghon from the Barter Trade store

    P.S. we grow mangoes and lanzones at home but of course I can’t have it send here…do you know where I could buy fresh lanzones? thanks

    Apr 19, 2008 | 7:04 am

  112. grace says:

    Thanks for this post – my parents are coming to visit me in Beijing and the lists gave me a lot of ideas of what i want them to bring over.

    And since I posted my list, I don’t have to create a list from scratch!!

    Jul 20, 2008 | 11:36 pm

  113. Missie says:

    Help I am living in Alaska and would like a recipe for Chicacorn. Thanks missie

    Aug 2, 2008 | 1:52 am

  114. mines duario says:

    We have almost everything here in San Francisco, except fresh coconut & green mangoes.

    But I still bring some stuff from Manila.
    -Sonya’s Garden Peanut Butter (soooo yummy!)
    -Mazapan de Pili
    -Carl’s Fish Crackers (this brand is the best!)
    -Salted eggs from Pateros
    -Pirated DVD’s
    -Videoke CD’s
    -3 in 1 coffee
    -Magnolia All purpose cream
    -Eden Cheese
    -Danggit & Dried Squid

    Jul 29, 2009 | 6:35 am

  115. Rain says:

    I love this post. I really have a long lists of things I want to get form the Philippines. i live in NYC. we have a lot of Philippine products here readily available kahit na jollibee…but still marami pa rin akong hinahanap na wala dito

    -itim na palayok yung malaki with matching sandok na gawa sa coconut shell

    -espasol galing laguna

    -puto binan

    -Eng beetin Hopia-ube,pandan,munggo

    -kesong puti

    -Danggit from Cebu

    -Buko Pie from Los banos or San Pablo

    -Tupig from Pangasinan

    -kumot na hinabi gawang Ilokos

    -Tapayan from Vigan

    -kudkuran ng nyog-stainless steel na may upuan

    -hulmahan ng polvoron

    -sweer pili nuts from Legazpi

    -sweet dried mangoes from cebu

    -Tableas galing Batangas

    -Doreen Fernandez’s Palayok book and other books by her.

    -books by Nick Joaquin,NVM Gonzalez

    -ladlad book from Danton Remoto

    -taba ng talangka

    -Hamon galing Excellente sa Carriedo street sa Maynila

    -Llanera para sa leche flan…mayroon na bang stainless steel? basta non aluminum

    -pandan powder

    -dried bulaklak ng saging

    -frozen oddballs with the sawsawan




    -blue marlin!!!

    -denenes na cologne galing Rustan’s

    atbp- naku marami pa akong naiisip pero mahaba na ito.

    Jul 30, 2009 | 3:40 am


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