For many (millennial) Pinoys, travel is life! We really make an effort to visit all the tourist destinations when we’re in another country—weary feet and dead toenails be damned—because we don’t know if we’ll ever have a chance to come back. And to do it for the grams, of course.
You should have the same mentality when it comes to pasalubong shopping, whether it’s for yourself, your lady, or your barkada. Ditch the usual magnets, keychains, and ballpens—these are what you should be looking for instead at these favorite spots:
1) SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
Socks - You can find a ton of cute socks in Seoul’s street markets. Star Wars socks, Disney socks, cute sushi-printed socks–name a design, and you’ll probably find a pair there.
Beauty products - South Koreans take beauty and skincare very seriously. Get your officemates and female friends some sheet masks from top Korean skincare brands like Innisfree, Skinfood, Mediheal, or Leader’s Insolution.
Where to shop: Dongdaemun Market, Hongdae shopping area, Namdaemun Market
2) OSAKA AND TOKYO, JAPAN
Sunscreen - The Japanese are experts when it comes to sun protection. Local brands like Biore and Sunkiller offer sunscreen that protect without that sticky, caked-on feeling.
Shu Uemura products - This Japanese cosmetics brand ceased operations in the Philippines in April 2017, and Pinay beauty addicts are still mourning their loss. Get your female loved ones their famous eyelash curlers, and they’ll love you forever and they’ll bat those eyelashes at you afterwards.
Clothes from GU – Find some only-in-Japan threads at GU, which has nearly 300 outlets across the country. It’s a sister company of Uniqlo, so you can expect high-quality products from them at pocket-friendly prices.
Where to shop: Shibuya and Shinjuku in Toyko, Namba in Osaka
3) BANGKOK, THAILAND
Scarves - Whether you get a genuine silk scarf or a 100 THB cotton piece from a street market, it’s a classy piece that will always be appreciated.
Boxing shorts - A fitting souvenir from the land of Muay Thai, boxing shorts are a practical and comfy souvenir and excellent substitute for all your basketball shorts.
Where to shop: Jatujak Market, Platinum Fashion Mall, Jim Thompson
4) PARIS, FRANCE
Skin and hair care products - French pharmacies are known all over the world for being effective without being too expensive. Hit up City Pharma and stock up on Embryolisse moisturizer, La Roche-Posay sunscreen, and multipurpose Homéoplasmine tubes. We don’t know how to pronounce those either.
Designer items – If you want the pasalubong to end all pasalubongs like something from Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Hermes—then get it here. The prices are way cheaper than in the USA or in Asia, and you’ll be sure you’re getting the real deal, too.
Where to shop: Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, Avenue des Champs-Elysées, Rue de Rivoli, Rue Cler, Rue Montorgueil
“I love NY" shirt - Is this a stereotypical pasalubong pick? Maybe, but it’s nevertheless endearing.
Designer perfume - When stores in the USA go on sale, they really go on sale—none of that useless five percent to 20 percent BS. Hoarding some scents is a good idea.
Where to shop: Outlet malls around the country (try Secaucus and The Mills at Jersey Gardens in New Jersey, Waterloo Premium Outlets in New York, Prime Outlets in Texas, and Boise Factory Outlets in Idaho), Sephora, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Barney’s New York
Lucas Papaw ointment - This antibacterial and antimicrobial multi-purpose salve is the Aussie answer to a wide range of skin problems. Perfect for more traveling!
Cotton On products - Sure, they have a ton of stores here, but you can’t beat actually getting the stuff from Down Under.
Where to shop: The CBD and Surry Hills in Sydney, Queen Victoria Market and St. Kilda Esplanade Market in Melbourne
7) RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
Flip flops - Tsinelas is life in Brazil, just like how it is in the PH. It’s the best place for hoarding Havaianas—they’re way cheaper there, too.
Canga - This is basically the Brazilian version of the sarong. It can be used as a beach towel, a cover-up, or a makeshift blanket if you’re a dude.
Where to shop: The Beach, Feira Nordestina São Cristóvão, Saara Market