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Caveats Re Purchasing Pasalubongs

It is almost de rigueur, a must, especially for Pinoy travellers, to buy pasalubongs or gift items for the folks (special relations, relatives, BFF’s, friends, group mates, etc) back home. Usually, these are in the form of trinkets and food specialties from the places visited.

These warnings involve food items: Cooked or processed food, vegetables, fruits.

  1. Do not ask the vendors if the items are good to eat. No vendor is his or her right mind would reply in the negative. You might be better off asking a local or even a co-passenger
  2. Do not buy specialty food items from itinerant vendors, those going from bus to bus., or plying transportation hubs, vehicle stops. You would likely end up paying more than the normal home-market price at best. At worse, the items may not be as good as you would expect. Worst, these may not even be good enough to eat.
  3. Unless you are really good at spotting quality food items, especially fruits, and, unless you are updated on market prices at home, do not buy from roadside stalls, even from itinerant stalls in marketplaces.
  4. If you cannot resist buying, do not buy pre-packaged items, i.e., packed in plastic, in kaings or baskets. The ‘good’ ones can be seen, the bad ones are hidden inside or underneath. Better to buy by the count or by the weight, and do the picking yourself. Do not let the vendor pick the ‘good ones’ for you.
  5. Better to buy from regular stalls in the marketplace or from established stores. These are less likely to cheat on their customers. If you can, ask locals for recommended vendors.

All the above are based from sad experiences. It does not matter whether you are in the Ilocos, in Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Bicolandia, or in Mindanao. The rule still is ‘Caveat emptor’ or ‘Buyer beware.’