Palawan's Top Souvenirs: Must-Buy Items to Bring Home as Memories
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Palawan, named the best island in the world by several travel magazines, draws travelers with its breathtaking natural scenery and wonders. Apart from sharing picturesque photos on social media, there are unique souvenirs to take home from Palawan. From handcrafted items to local delicacies, the island has plenty of options for souvenir hunters.
Souvenir shops are abundant in Puerto Princesa, El Nido and Coron. However, beware of mass-produced items made in China or Indonesia that flood souvenir shops in popular tourist areas.
To help you choose the original and authentic souvenirs made by local artisans, we’ve prepared a list of must-buy items that reflect Palawan’s culture and heritage. Whether you’re into handcrafted items, local delicacies, or natural products, we’ve got you covered. So, don’t leave Palawan without picking up a unique souvenir or two!
Authentic Palawan Souvenirs to buy
The indigenous tribes of Palawan create beautiful handicrafts, which are sold in the city to earn a living. These handmade items are often made of wood harvested from Palawan’s forests and mountains and represent the tribes’ art and culture.
The Batak Tribe is known for creating most of the handicrafts sold as souvenirs. Tourists can find authentic Batak handicrafts, including wooden masks and sculptures, in shops along Rizal Avenue in Puerto Princesa.
Wild Pig Figurine
The “Wild Pig Figurine,” named for its shape resembling a wild pig, is a functional hardwood item that is popular among tourists and sellers. It serves as a pipe for smoking, with users inhaling from the figurine’s snout. For non-smokers, it can be a unique decorative piece for the home.
Biday is a type of handicraft made from rattan, a natural wood product. It is commonly found in Palawan, an island province in the Philippines. Biday can be used in a variety of ways, such as window blinds, wall decorations, room dividers, or floor mats. Its intricate design and unique texture make it a popular souvenir item among tourists visiting Palawan.
Although the rainmaker is not a handicraft that originated from Palawan, it has become a popular souvenir item in many parts of the world including Palawan in the Philippines. Produced by the local people, the rainmaker is a cylinder-shaped instrument that produces a sound resembling rain falling on a tin roof when it is moved or shaken. It is available in various sizes to suit individual preferences and features intricate designs created by carefully burning the wood.
The pearls in Palawan are cultivated on the island and are available in various colors and sizes. They can be found in jewelry stores. However, it’s important to note that not all pearls sold by street vendors or in markets and souvenir shops are genuine. It’s best to buy authentic pearls from reputable jewelry shops like the South Sea Pearl Museum in SM Mall. Therefore, for those searching for top-quality pearls and pearl jewelry, it’s recommended to shop at well-known and trustworthy establishments.
Palawan is also known for its wide variety of local food that can be taken home as souvenirs. These local delicacies are considered as the pride of their respective municipalities where they originated.
The ideal time to buy local food is during the “Fiesta” celebrations in Palawan. These events typically include street parades, fireworks, dance competitions, beauty pageants, and food fairs. One of the best places to find locally made products is at the food fairs organized at the Provincial Capitol in Puerto Princesa city. Each municipality showcases their food specialties during the fair, so it’s a great opportunity to bring home some of Palawan’s delicious treats to share with friends and family.
Cashews, also known as kasoy, are a popular food souvenir from Palawan. Palawan is considered as the country’s cashew capital, producing high-quality cashews that are sold in many parts of the Philippines. The nuts are processed in various ways, such as being salted, fried, toasted, made into brittle, caramelized, and even chocolate-coated. Coron’s cashew nuts are especially renowned for their rich flavors and creamy texture. If you’re looking for a tasty and unique souvenir to take home from Palawan, cashews are definitely worth considering.
Palawan is famous for its delectable honey. Although many vendors sell processed honey, there are still souvenir shops that offer raw and wild honey without any additives.
The native people of Palawan harvest this natural sweetener and sell it to stores in the city to meet their financial requirements. By purchasing their wild honey, you are supporting the livelihood of these indigenous communities.
Buti: Carameled popped rice
Buti-buti is a delectable treat hailing from the municipality of Cuyo, but it has yet to gain widespread recognition among tourists. The only chance for visitors to try it is during the annual Baragatan Festival in Puerto Princesa.
This mouth-watering snack is crafted from native rice with bran that is unpolished and dehulled, usually in red or brown hues. The grains are pan-roasted until they pop and resemble popcorn, after which caramelized muscovado sugar is added to bind and sweeten the caramel-coated poprice. The mixture is then molded by hand into small balls about the size of a golf ball.
Buti-buti is made from heirloom rice grown in Cuyo, Palawan. Since it is seasonal and subject to availability, it can only be found when a new harvest is available or when it is in-stock.
Daing: Dried fish
Dried fish or “daing” is a well-known specialty in Palawan, and can be purchased from any wet market in the province. This dish is prepared by cleaning and salting the fish, then leaving it to dry under the sun for several days before it is sold.
Daing is a versatile food that pairs perfectly with any dish, and can even be enjoyed with plain rice and condiments such as soy sauce or vinegar. It’s a great option for those looking for a savory and protein-packed meal.
Tuna in oil
Palawan’s waters are abundant in fish, with tuna being one of the most popular catches. One of the top food products from the municipality of San Vicente is tuna fillets that come in glass jars packed in oil.
These tuna fillets are carefully selected and preserved in high-quality oil to maintain their flavor and freshness. They are a perfect addition to a variety of dishes, from salads to pasta and even sandwiches. The glass jar packaging ensures that the tuna fillets remain intact and fresh, making them a great choice for those who appreciate the taste and texture of quality seafood.
If you’re a fan of bananas, then you’re sure to love banana chips! These crispy snacks are made by drying and deep-frying slices of bananas, and are a popular treat enjoyed throughout Palawan.
In addition to banana chips, you can also find dried mango in Palawan (dried mango is a popular product from Cebu). These sweet and chewy snacks are made by drying fresh mangoes, preserving their flavor and nutrients in a deliciously portable form.
Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy snack to take on-the-go or a tasty souvenir to bring home, dried banana chips and dried Manago are a must-try when visiting Palawan.
Turmeric and ginger tea
Turmeric and ginger tea is a healthy and delicious drink made from two powerful plants native to Southeast Asia. Turmeric and ginger tea are available in powder form, which is convenient and easy to use. The powder can be mixed with hot water or milk to create a delicious and healthy beverage that is perfect for any time of day.
It is often used in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for its numerous health benefits. Both ginger and turmeric are known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making this tea a popular choice for those looking to support their immune system and overall health.
Polvoron is a delicious Filipino-style shortbread that is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. This delectable treat is made by combining toasted rice flour, powdered milk, sugar, and butter, resulting in a crumbly and buttery texture that simply melts in your mouth.
The combination of flavors in polvoron biscuits is truly divine, with the buttery richness of the shortbread perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the powdered sugar and milk. It’s a beloved snack in the Philippines, often enjoyed as a midday treat or served as a dessert after meals.
Polvoron can be easily found in many supermarkets and convenience stores throughout the Philippines. This beloved snack is widely available and can be purchased in a variety of flavors, including classic, chocolate, and ube (purple yam).
Coconut jam, also known as “kaya” in some parts of the world, is a beloved spread in the Philippines that is made from a combination of coconut milk and brown sugar. This rich and smooth jam is characterized by its delicious caramel flavor and is the perfect accompaniment to breads, crackers, and even desserts.
One of the things that makes coconut jam so special is the process by which it is made. The mixture of coconut milk and brown sugar is cooked slowly over low heat for several hours, resulting in a thick and creamy jam that is bursting with flavor.
Whether you’re spreading it on toast, using it as a filling for pastries, or drizzling it over your favorite desserts, coconut jam is a versatile and delicious ingredient that adds a touch of sweetness to any dish. It’s no wonder that it has become such a popular condiment in the Philippines and beyond, beloved for its unique flavor and creamy texture