Home >> Road Adventures >> Notes on the Pinoy as a Traveller

1. The ‘pasalubong’ is king. Admit it, there’s nothing more Pinoy than our pasalubong (take home) mentality. Am not saying it’s negative, I just find it amusing that there are some things my family or friends associate with a certain place and they expect you to bring it home when you go a-travelling, be it otap from Cebu, bangus from Pangasinan, buko pie from Laguna, pili nut from Bicol or even giant crabs from Palawan. As expected, during my last trip to HK, my friends were also badgering me about what pasalubong I brought home. Darn, what was I supposed to answer when I was cramming to see the sights and hardly had time to shop? Truth is, somebody who goes abroad (or even the nearest province) would feel guilty if he or she didn’t even take the time to buy souvenirs, such as the requisite keychain, for example.

2. Baggage galore. Partly related to No.1. There’s simply no excuse for the overseas Pinoy to travel light even if the baggage allowance is only 20 or 40 kilos. He will hand carry what is necessary even if his arms ache walking from one point of the airport to the next. Heck, I once even wore four jackets just so I can have extra room in my luggage for everything else (this was during my working-in-Europe phase). Towards this end, the balikbayan box has become an icon unique to the Pinoy.

3. What is it with overseas Filipino workers and their maong (denim) jackets? Not to forget the Ray Ban shades and brand-new Nike rubber shoes to complete the whole outfit (in the words of Al)

4. And how about those thick gold jewelry, especially for those coming from the Middle East?

5. Open an outbound Pinoy’s luggage and you’re sure to find there carefully-wrapped bottles of bagoong, sinigang mix, canned tuna, dried mangoes and other local delicacies. Somehow, eating Filipino food is one way of curing these OFWs homesickness. Sure, the number of Filipino food stores abroad have grown but there’s nothing like bringing your own I guess.

6. Okay I admit that during my first two transcontinental flights, I brought home the blanket and was almost tempted to mooch the food containers and utensils as well. Tell me you didn’t!!

7. Same with the hotel toiletries which has some use actually, if you read this related post. Just don’t make the mistake the taking out the towels and the bathrobe as you really have to pay for them 😛

9. Picture! Picture! Pinoys are simply in love with their digital cameras, mobile phone cameras, instamatic cameras, video camcorders or whatever camera there is on the planet. They must pose in every tourist spot, every restaurant and every location (I think that bloggers like me are guilty of this, Your Honor) Not to worry because it seems other Asians (like those omnipresent Koreans) are fond of this habit too.

If you can think of other uniquely Filipino travelling habits, kindly share them here. Gracias!

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the author

This blog is my own happy place where I've written on a sundry of topics since 2004. Am an entrepreneur and busy mom who's passionate about travel, food and fitness. Email me at annalyn.jusay@gmail.com for inquiries & collaborations....thank you!


  1. duke says:

    Pasalubong is a Pinoy trademark. When you are going to travel, you will always here someone say ” pasalubong ko ha!”.
    The first time I travelled with my husband I bought so many pasalubongs for friends and family and my hubby found this bizaare. lol:cool:

    The denim jacket phenomenon is so true! In HK alone, you can spot a pinoy by his/her denim jacket. hahahahaha!

  2. Manuel Viloria says:

    Perhaps the pasalubong mentality gives Pinoys am excuse to visit a place more than once (i.e., didn’t get to see all the sights because I was busy buying… pasalubong)? 😀

  3. Al Perez says:

    Ha! You forgot the “de riguer” Rayban glasses and the latest Nike shoes that complement the maong jeans/jacket. You can tell a Pinoy a kilometer away with this attire. As for the jewelry, kabayans from the ME suffer from a case of jaundice when they go home since they all look yellow from the 21K they’re wearing on their necks, wrists and fingers. Am not guilty of the above, but am guilty of photo overexposure. The digital camera is a double-edged sword. Sure, you can shoot as much as you want. But how do you edit 2,500 pix from a single trip? Gives me migraine, really!

  4. noemi says:

    Good observations. But I ‘ve never had problems with baggage allowance. I travel light and choose items that aren’t bulky or heavy. I remember my first trip to Europe was with my dad. And I am enjoying the view and he says “picture picture”. Ugh, the moment is destroyed.

  5. ajay says:

    That is so true Duke. They should include “pasalubong ko ha!” to the “You Know You’re Filipino If…” series..:lol:

    or the other way around, Manuel. You can reason out: “Sorry I didn’t get to buy pasalubong because I was too busy seeing all the sights.”:razz:

    Will include your input Al. Thanks!! 2500 pix? Di pa naman umabot ng ganon ang laman ng digicam ko, moreso on a single trip:smile:

    Nice anecdote Noemi. I also travel light but I had problems with my baggage when I stayed for six months in Europe and I wanted to put in one luggage what I hoarded there in those six months (not to mention all the pasalubong!!) Packing up was really mind-boggling.

  6. pinayhekmi says:

    I always get so excited when traveling to a different country. I take pics galore (but NOT 2500 pics…my max was 200 one one trip) because its my way of remembering the trip. My aim: sightsee, eat the foods and get pasalubong, and the importance is in that order. Great post!

  7. Ogie says:

    You brought home an airline blanket?:grin:

    Seriously, I know a well travelled Pinoy family, that when you go to their place, the only thing it seems they never took home is the aircraft seats…

    They got toiletries, cutleries, headphones, safety cards, china (they served me coffee one time using it), etc… and dig this, they even have life jackets…

    And yes they are not in anyway connected to the airline… they’re just plain old frequent flyers…

    Their house is now undergoing renovations, adding an extra room for a home theatre setup – I guess the aircraft seats are next in their shopping list 🙂

  8. jane says:

    Naku, I’m guilty of the “Pasalubong ko ha” thing. Wala lang, my way of lambing though di naman din ako nage~expect because ako nga madalas mag excess during my travels abroad dahil jan, ha ha.
    Ako, I take pics but not THAT much. When I enjoy the good view or the activities, ninanamnam ko. I don’t destroy the moment by picture~picture, ha ha.:grin:

  9. Al Perez says:

    Well, on a single trip taking, say, 6 countries, you can easily use 2-3,000 shots specially when you’re a shutterbug using autobracketing and a motordrive (3fps) which am addicted to. With the old system, the physical constraints of lugging around film canisters and the monstrous cost for developing put a brake on those trigger-happy fingers. But with digital where you can upload thousands of shots to your Ipod at the end of each day, there’s no stopping! The best photos, however, are the ones in my mind just for my private viewing. They’re called memories, I guess….

  10. docduke says:

    the 5 months i was in the states, i did nothing but buy pasalubongs.
    in the end i realized i never bought myself anything.

  11. ajay says:

    Hi Ogie! Yes, I do know too of some very rich people who take home airline blankets. Maybe, the travel industry should legalize it once and for all since it’s an open secret anyway. BTW, I also take home the fashion magazines when the attendant is not looking, lol:lol:

    Yes Jane, “pasalubong ko ha” appears to be more of a reflex reaction than anything. Though I think we should utter it with caution to foreigners who probably can’t relate to what we’re saying…

    Aaaaah, the joy of digital, Al!! I can understand what you’re saying, especially with a person like you who probably has ultra high-tech gadgets. And I do agree that the memories – what’s in your mind – can’t be duplicated by any kind of technology. Still, I’d feel naked going on a trip without a camera.

    Docduke, thanks for dropping by. I do get that eerie feeling sometimes- going on a trip and realizing that I bought things for everybody except myself. Such martyrdom:grin:

  12. Al Perez says:

    Hi Ajay –

    No, my gadgets aren’t really that hi-tech though the thing I can boast of is my NikonD70 with a zoom which is simply great! But too heavy carrying around on a trip – para lang SLR kasi. I usually take the smaller Nikon5000 Coolpix along with a back-up Canon Ixus which I actually use a lot since you can strap it on to your belt and pull it out quickly like John Wayne used to do with his six-shooter! I get too engrossed shooting nonsensical stuff (like stopping the car and shooting the old cobblestones in Antwerp to catch the afternoon sun’s reflection) that I usually hear my wife gripe: “Ano ba?!!”. But a tip: never get a 1Gig flashcard hoping to cram so many photos in it parang all-in-one. Kasi, once may mangyari (corrupted or accidentally deleted) patay ka! It happened to me once and I cried like a baby! So better have 4 pcs. 250Meg cards in lieu of the 1Gig.

  13. Ivan says:

    Picture picture nga! Hehe! Sayang but Pinoy travellers will have to learn how to backpack. If we are able to promote backpacking in the country, we create a backpack trail which foreigners will follow. The reason we are losing out to our Southeast Asian neighbors is because they are so backpack friendly while we are sooooo expensive!

  14. ajay says:

    Hi Al. The tip about the 1Gig flashcard is a very good one. Iiyak rin siguro ako pag nawala contents ng card na yun. I can also relate to a traveler’s tendency to take pictures of everything. I think it’s all part of our digital mentality. I was more restrained when I was using film:smile:

    Ivan, thanks for dropping by. Backpacking seems exciting. Am ashamed to admit I’ve never backpacked in my whole life though I’ve been to places where there were hardly any amenities or facilities. I do know for a fact that there are a few hostels and homestay places in our country, di lang promoted masyado. The Lonely Planet guide to the Philippines would be a good reference point to start with, though I’ve browsed through it & di pa rin sya complete. Hope we get there…

  15. Hi, Ajay:

    Enjoyed this post. Your observations are “swak na swak.” Hope you’d permit me to use this post for the Cebu-based Sun.Star Weekend Magazine (of which I’m the editor). Our mag has a section called BLOG PLUG in which we recommend a particular blogsite for readers to visit. Don’t worry, proper attribution is duly observed, and we will also include your URL so that readers would have access to your site. Hope you’re ok with this idea. Thanks, and God bless you.


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