Souvenirs are memorable items that highlight a particular tourist destination, as they represent a bit of history or a sneak peek into the lifestyle of the locals.
In the Philippines, you can purchase souvenirs at pasalubong centers, known for selling tons of memorabilia to remind you of your visit or to get as gifts for friends and family.
Places like Shamrock and Islands Souvenirs offer a variety of products, which you can also find at malls and shopping centers. You can purchase some of these items directly from the source as well during your visit to a particular town.
Nowadays, several local government projects allow all kinds of establishments to showcase their products in major cities for more exposure. One example is the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) One Town, One Product hub.
Commonly known as OTOP, this pasalubong center gives micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) an opportunity to sell their products to a wider audience within popular hangout spots like major shopping malls.
DTI opened its sixth OTOP in the country at Ayala Center Cebu. This is the first in Cebu, where visitors can browse through various locally made products that represent various parts of the island.
BEST PASALUBONG TO BUY AT OTOP
OTOP sells different kinds of souvenirs, from food, clothing, textiles, footwear, and even musical instruments made by MSMEs from Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor.
Guitars are a famous pasalubong from Cebu because of Lapu-Lapu City and its history as a guitar factory. Visit stores like Ferangeli and Alegre for their hand-made guitars and ukuleles and see for yourself!
You can buy these at the Ayala OTOP as well, complete with a case for safety. These instruments are notable for their superior build and sound quality.
Each local craft is passed on for generations, creating useful products like baskets, placemats, and bags, specially handmade using local materials.
The One Town, One Product store also has a variety of scarves, ponchos, dresses, and traditional barongs, as well as unique accessories like shoulder bags, necklaces, and keychains. Talk about representing everything Cebuano or Filipino!
Other souvenirs include various art pieces from Filipino artists. For example, you can find several wooden sculptures on display, like the one where a pig is being roasted – representing Cebu’s specialty, lechon.
There are even ceiling decorations to give your home that Filipino touch. Other useful products include coasters, plates, and piggy banks.
As for famous native delicacies or local ingredients, there is a wide range of these products being sold as well.
This includes pastries made from special ingredients that were grown and harvested in the Philippines. Each region has their own specific ingredients that make their local cuisines unique.
One of the most famous delicacies is the piaya, a flatbread with a crumbly exterior and sweet filling, originally from Negros Occidental in Western Visayas.
It’s like a local version of the croissant where the layers of crust crumble as you take a bite, with the irresistible muscovado filling melting in your mouth. This tasty delicacy comes in chocolate and ube flavor.
They also have chips seasoned with different flavors like cheese, barbecue, sour cream, and more. These aren’t your regular potato chips, as they are made from locally-sourced crops like cassava and banana plantains.
Other than that, Filipinos love topping their food with extra flavor, so you will find jars of side dishes used in Filipino cuisine, such as tuyo flakes and shrimp paste (bagoong).
With Ayala being one of the city’s biggest shopping malls, One Town, One Product is a hotspot where you can get some of the best souvenirs for yourself or for loved ones.
It also highlights small scale businesses that may need that extra boost of exposure, letting them showcase their unique products to a broader audience.
The pasalubong center stands on the second floor of Ayala Center, right across from the World Balance shoe store. You can visit the store during mall hours.
Take a look around and discover the different cultures of Cebu and the Philippines in one place!