Shopping is practically a national sport in the Philippines, so it’s no surprise that many of the country’s most visited and developed tourist destinations have evolved into small shopping hubs. Cebu is no different. As much as the island province is known for pristine white sand beaches, diverse underwater life, and magnificent waterfalls, Cebu is also the land of sweet delicacies and handmade crafts. It’s the perfect place to buy souvenirs and pasalubongs for your family and friends back home.
Unsure of what to bring home to your loved ones? Here are some of the distinctly Cebu souvenirs you can pick up during your next trip to the island paradise.
Handmade Lapu-Lapu Guitars
Musically-inclined travelers will certainly love Lapu-Lapu City’s awesome range of handmade guitars and other string instruments. Guitar making is a tradition here and many of the well-known shops are run by families who pass down the business through generations. Most handcrafted guitars in Cebu are made from black ebony, jackfruit, narra, or imported woods.
Head to Lapu-Lapu City in the island of Mactan to purchase a locally crafted guitar, ukulele, banjo, or mandolin. Some of the most famous guitar makers are the Alegre Guitar Factory, Celia’s Guitars, and Jerry’s Guitars. Many tricycles and taxi cabs in the city are also well-versed in the best guitar factories around, whether you prefer major guitar makers or smaller backyard stores.
Lechon is the Philippines’ local version of a roast pig and most Filipinos agree that the crunchiest, most tender, and most flavorful ones are found in Cebu. Even the late great Anthony Bourdain himself dubbed it as “the tastiest pig ever.”
Many lechon restaurants in Cebu offer lechon belly that are packed and airport-ready or frozen for long-distance journeys, so tourists can easily purchase a kilo or two (or more) of this mouthwatering dish for their family and friends to enjoy. Every Filipino who frequents Cebu has a personal favorite lechon restaurant, but the most popular ones are Zubuchon, Ayer’s Lechon, Rico’s Lechon, and CNT Lechon.
Mangoes in the Philippines are delicious, but dried mangoes are a better pasalubong, since these last much longer and can survive flights to anywhere in the world. They’re also handy snacks for when you have to wait at airports or long journeys. Some brands even offer dried mangoes glazed with chocolate for an extra treat.
Cebu City is a major distributor of dried mangoes and many of these products are also exported to other countries, so when you’re in Cebu, you might as well stock up and bring home a few bags for loved ones. 7D Dried Mangoes are one of the best, sweetest dried mangoes in the market, but other well-known brands are Profood and R&M.
Biscuits and Other Delicacies
For Filipinos, Cebu is a center of baked delicacies. Try masareal, a rectangular delicacy from Mandaue City that’s sweet, nutty, and perfect for dessert. Many Filipinos also love otap, which is a light and flaky biscuit that’s a pasalubong favorite of locals. Rosquillos is another popular one, a sweet butter cookie that looks like a flatter version of a doughnut.
You can also visit Shamrock Pasalubong Center, a one-stop-shop of Cebu delicacies. However, most of these products are also available in the province’s malls, supermarkets, sidewalk stalls, and even the airport.
Shell Accessories and Décor
The province of Cebu consists of one large island and many smaller isles, so it has countless beaches where shells are common. A lot of locals have learned to create accessories and handicrafts from these pretty shells. If you’re looking for a more permanent souvenir from Cebu, shell accessories are perfect purchase to remind you of this island province once you’re back home.
Choose from a wide selection of shell handicrafts, such as jewelry, hair clips, bags, placemats, picture frames, lamps, wind chimes, and more. All of these products are handmade.