I flew to Los Angeles to meet up with my family for the holidays. The following is part of a series of entries that I’ve blogged about during my trip.
For my visit to LA, I thought it would be a nice gesture to bring everyone some gifts from home- little things to remind them of the Philippines, of their childhood, and of home.
Because of safety regulations, we can’t bring just anything; bottled goods (like gourmet sardines, or coconut jam, etc) are totally out of the picture. So are goods not packed very well.
In fact, your best bet, really is a pack of dried mango chips; if it ain’t packed like that, then it’s likely it wouldn’t make it past customs. So I ended up bringing a whole lot of junk food.
- For my sister: I brought all kinds of snack foods she had as a kid, 15 years ago- chippy, chiz curls, pretzels, mallows, clover chips and tortillos. I also brought her episodes of Heroes and Justice League Unlimited.
- For mom, I brought some of her childhood favorites: prima buttered toast, peanut cake, and a whole lot of old-school pinoy komiks.
- For dad, I brought some pinoy Christmas songs- some really old, classic stuff, along with a lot of dried mango chips and a nice barong tagalog. I really would’ve wanted to bring him some san miguel pale pilsen, and some lapids chicharon, but I don’t think those things would get through.
Needless to say, they pretty much enjoyed it. Which means I’ll be building up another care package for them soon enough.
Here’s something you might want to consider though: certain communities in the US (or pretty much anywhere else for that matter), have access to a lot of pinoy goods you would probably think,they wouldn’t have.
Take for example my folks’ neighborhood in Eagle Rock, CA- they have a mall (Macy’s, in fact) which has quite a bit of pinoy stuff- Jollibee, Chowking, Goldilocks, Bench, and a few other pinoy-oriented establishments. Also within the neighborhood I’ve seen a Red Ribbon, a store that sells hot pan de sal, and a store that has all kinds of seafood, including tuyo (dried fish), tinapa (smoked fish), bagoong (shrimp paste) and other pinoy stuff. Heck, mom even knows where to get balut and stuff.
So here’s the thing: If you want to bring (or send over) pasalubong for family and friends in the US, my advice, is to at least ask them for what they miss the most, and what exactly they can’t get from where they are. The last thing you want to do, really, is bring packs of cashew nuts, only to find out they got tubs of that stuff in their shelves.
This is part Two of ten in the continuing coverage of my trip to the United States. More to follow. Part Three up ahead. Cheers!