My grandfather used to bring barquillos from Iloilo as pasalubong. When he and my grandmother came to visit us in Los Baños all the way from Negros, they would bring sacks of fruit as pasalubong . These “meeting gifts” were part and parcel of their luggage on the boat. If you’re a Filipino, you’re familiar with this tradition. If you have no clue, you’re about to be introduced to a custom that’s practiced everywhere in the islands. It’s actually practiced everywhere Filipinos may be found.
So what is a pasalubong?
Filipino have this long-standing tradition of bringing back to their loved ones treats they have found along their travels. These treats they give as gifts upon returning home and these treats are what they called pasalubong.
“Pasalubong” comes from the root word “salubong” literally meaning, ” to meet” and the prefix “pa” connotes “for”. So, pasalubong is practically a gift to meet you with, or a meeting gift of sorts or present.
Food makes the best pasalubong , so as to give the recipient a real taste of one’s travels. If one came from the provinces, fruits and native delicacies are the usual items. And it’s almost always a specialty of the place that was visited. After all, there’s no point in bringing something that the recipient can buy from the corner store.
My favorite pasalubong from the Philippines is Goldilock’s polvoron. What’s that, you say? Well, that’s a topic for another post. Stay tuned!