Pasalubong at Dekorasyon

Can you translate the Tagalog word "Pasalubong"? Filipinos are fond of giving pasalubong or gifts and souvenirs to their loved ones. When OFWs come home for a long awaited vacation, they load their Balikbayan Boxes with imported T-shirts, bath soaps (sabong mabango), toothpastes, lotions, perfumes (pabango) and used clothing. They also buy mementoes that say something about the country where they work: key chains, dolls, magnets, wraps, woven garments, and decors made of organic materials unique to the host country. And don't forget wines and chocolates. 

Used and discarded item recycled into wall decor pieces
decorate the wall of this home.

Most Filipinos hang calendars on their walls. Table tops, shelves and cabinets will have all sorts of knick-knacks and family mementoes.Most of these decorations were once upon a time gifts.

Basket- during birthdays, anniversaries, or Christmas celebrations, Filipinos give away candies or home baked goodies, or simple one meal groceries - for example - ingredients for a spaghetti meal - beautifully wrapped inside baskets. A big basket may contain a whole week's supply of groceries. Baskets are usually made of rattan or buli . They are useful at home for storage and decorations.

Tagayan (mug) - "container of liquid for drinking" - An all too common gift, cups (tasa), mugs (tason), glasses (baso), and bowls (mangkok) come in all shapes and sizes. In the old days, there was only the tagayan curved from coconut, bamboo, or clay. The Chinese brought ceramic mugs in all shapes and designs. When World War II happened, tin cans proliferated. Curiously in Batangas, they called this porselana.

Kutsara't tinidor - Filipinos used their hands when eating in the old days. After Spain ceded the Philippines to the USA in the mock Battle of Manila Bay, the Americans became the new oppressors. But they gave Filipinos a USA style education. Aside from teaching Filipinos how to speak in English, Americans taught Pinoys to use spoons and forks when eating. Today, cheap cutleries abound and they are a favourite give-away.


Wine and liquor are favorite pasalubong

Plantsang Uling -  Coals powered flat iron are now vintage decorative pieces.

Lampara came before candles. The national hero Jose Rizal, wrote a famous anecdote about a moth which flew in too close around a lampara. The young Rizal read his books with his mother, and saw this moth burn. This left a profound lesson not only on Rizal, but also on everybody who studied his life

Bintanang Capiz - Capiz windows are priced highly in antique shops. Filipino typical old style houses have wide, sliding, capiz windows which allows air to circulate freely in and out of the house.

Aladin - gauze lamp powered by pumping gas comes with many names: "ilawan," "kingke," "tintero," and "gasera"

See a book review on Designing Filipino about Bahay Kubo

A typical Filipino prefers noise over quiet, crowd over solitude, popular tunes over classical music. No wonder that in every country where there is a Filipino, there will be a place or park that will host the Pinoy's love for togetherness.

About the Filipino trait "Sama-sama."

Sungka - once upon a time, before TV and home movies dominated our living rooms, our grandparents played this quiet game to while away the time and to bond. The goal of each player is to "burn a house," (sunog)that is, diminish the stones that could fill out all seven holes on the opponent's side. Initially each hole can house seven stones. In the end, the one without enough stones to fill out every hole looses the game.

Bingo - family gatherings are not complete without a bonding game. With Bingo, it's always the family clown which holds the key to a happy game. 

Plaka - Filipinos love music. Old single record players and long playing albums have become collector's items and a source of pride to those who had the passion to collect them. Today, both young and old carry their music in their pockets. But inside their homes, while riding Jeepneys, at work, and even on the streets Filipinos play their "sounds" - often too loudly. Original CDs are expensive but cherished gifts. 

Tagalog fondness for giving gifts is only one of the unique Filipino traits. Discover others.

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