For the Filipino, pasalubong shopping is one of the purest joys of travel. Solo travellers and group travellers are alike in that sense — they have an ingrained collectivist culture in them. Both want to let their loved ones “experience” the places they’ve been to.
I talk about pasalubong shopping now because I can already foresee the inevitable: Sooner or later, we’ll be travelling again. Sooner or later, we’ll be, once more, finding ourselves in our favourite spaces on Earth — like Baguio. So in the case that travelling to the City of Pines will be sooner rather than later, then do your loved ones a favour and take this Baguio pasalubong list with you. (You may also send this to your loved ones who’ll be travelling to Baguio sooner than you!)
Edible Baguio pasalubong items
1. Strawberry products
No, Baguio does not grow strawberries. But yes, Baguio offers cheap strawberries nonetheless. The reason for this is that strawberries are abundant in Baguio’s neighbouring town, La Trinidad. That said, if I were you, I’d prepare a shopping bag for all things strawberry.
Think beyond strawberry jam — there’s also strawberry wine, strawberry crinkles, strawberry shortcake, and even strawberry craft beer! And of course, don’t forget to hoard some fresh strawberries themselves! Take note: Strawberry picking season in La Trinidad runs from November to May. Expect to score cheaper strawberries during these months!
2. Ube jam
Running a close second to Baguio strawberries, ube jam is a must-buy in Baguio. In particular, the Good Shepherd Ube Jam has drawn many fans from all around the Philippines. So distinct is its buttery texture and sweet flavour that one can immediately notice if an ube jam is from Good Shepherd.
Of course, there are several other options if you’re not quite a fan of the Good Shepherd ube jam — most are cheaper, too!
3. Sundot kulangot
Please don’t let its name throw you off! Sundot kulangot actually tastes good if you give it a chance. It’s actually sugary and nutty — far from what its name might suggest. It only bears such a name because of how it begs to be eaten: You have to pick it from the tiny shell, just like how you would pick your nose. A disgusting picture, but definitely a delightful experience.
4. Peanut brittle
As far as munchies go, peanut brittle tops my list of Baguio pasalubong items. It says, “Hey, I thought of you while in Baguio!” without being too harsh. Be careful not to finish the whole jar in one sitting — I know I have!
5. Choco flakes
If you’re looking for a safe and affordable Baguio pasalubong, then go for choco flakes. A large jar is plenty and won’t cost you ₱100. Among the many choco flakes brands in the market, Mika’San is the most popular. You can also get them in milk flavour or an assortment of milk and chocolate.
6. Lengua de gato
Honestly, I’m not a big biscuit lover — but I know that many people are! If you know someone who loves melt-in-your-mouth biscuits, this would probably be the best Baguio pasalubong for them. Yummy on its own, amazing with a cup of coffee! Speaking of which…
Arabica beans grow abundantly in mountainous regions. With that, Baguio has easy access to some of the sharpest and tangiest beans in the country. From Sagada to Kalinga to Benguet, the Baguio Public Market has the best roasts for you! As for where to find them, trust me — your nose will lead the way.
My personal favourite coffee bean shop is Garcia’s Pure Coffee, also located at the Baguio Public Market. Ask around for directions if you have to! Most coffee bean shops at the market have grinders, so if you prefer ground coffee, you can ask them to grind the beans for you. This way, you know your coffee grounds are as fresh as can be!
Another Cordilleran product, honey in Baguio is a lot cheaper than in most cities. Back when I studied in Baguio, I regularly took bottles of honey home with me to Quezon City. We used this as a healthier alternative to sugar.
Just a tip: Make sure you get your money’s worth when buying honey. Beware of fake honey at the market — pure honey only smells mildly fragrant, like flowers.
My first Baguio drink was a glass of tapeuy (fermented rice wine) from our Freshie Night, and I remember this distinctly because I was surprisingly fond of how it tasted. Since then, I’ve tried wine of different flavours: strawberry, guyabano, blueberry, and bugnay wine are only some I can name off the top of my head. If you’re planning to get a bottle of wine for your loved ones, fret not — Baguio sells these in various sizes, and the smaller ones don’t even cost ₱100!
Whether you like your longganisa pungent or sweet, Baguio has a variety that would suit your palate. The garlic Baguio longganisa tastes similar to the famous Vigan longganisa; the Baguio de recado longganisa is a sweeter variety, with a flavour reminiscent of hamon.
You might be familiar with either kind if you’ve eaten breakfast in Baguio. Most hotels and restaurants offer longganisa as a speciality breakfast. As a savoury tooth, I love buying garlic longganisa as my pasalubong to my family. Then, I’d get to enjoy eating Baguio longsilog with them!
11. Fruits and vegetables
“Bili mo ako ng lemon,” my mom would always ask me whenever I go to Baguio. Lemon, and other fruits in vegetables, are very cheap in Baguio as most of them grow abundantly in the highlands.
If you’re buying vegetables, make sure to store them in breathable packaging so that they won’t rot on your way home. You might consider having them wrapped in newspapers, and then storing them in paper bags.
12. Raisin bread
A luxurious treat to the taste buds, the Baguio Country Club’s raisin bread has always been a crowd-favourite. It’s especially good when paired with a good cup of coffee or hot chocolate, especially during the rainy season. Make sure to bring a loaf home for your loved ones — and yourself!
Non-edible Baguio pasalubong items
Baguio brooms are the quintessential Baguio pasalubong for the titas. The best and softest of their kind are made in Kapangan, Itogon, Kibungan, and Sablan — Benguet towns that grow buyboy, or tiger grass, which is used in weaving soft brooms.
14. Wood carvings
Wood carving goes way back into Baguio’s heritage. Case in point: The Igorots have a tradition of carving out bulul, a male or female figure that they believe guard their rice crops.
Nowadays, many Igorots continue to practise wood carving; most of them do so for tourist trade. In fact, you can find various forms of woodcraft around the Baguio City Public Market — one of the most famous being the barrelman, a palm-sized figure that conceals a special surprise. (Warning: NSFW).
When in Baguio, I have the pleasure of buying myself flowers whenever I want. The whole city flourishes with fresh flowers of many kinds: sunflowers, marigolds, orchids, hyacinths — I could go on and on. The cool climate of Baguio allows the blossoming of such abundant flora; in fact, every February, the city holds a Panagbenga Festival (flower festival) to celebrate the season of blooming!
With all these Baguio pasalubong options, which one will you be bringing home? Let us know in the comments section!