Friday, August 12, 2011

The sweetness of pasalubong

On a media trip to Thailand last week, my fellow journalists and I made a beeline for the duty-free shops at the airport with less than an hour left before boarding time. Our agenda: buy homecoming gifts or pasalubong. We bought chocolates, tamarind candies, mango in sticky rice, and Thai curry in a box and headed to the gate with our loot.

Looking around, I see that rare is the Filipino who doesn't buy pasalubong for folks back home. It's more of an unwritten rule and a custom to bring home a souvenir for those who weren't with us on the trip, in effect saying, “Wish you were with me” or “Thinking of you” or “Here's a little gift to show you I care.”

It's not really the grandness of the gift that matters, rather the thought that counts, and so little pasalubong items from chocolates to little trinkets are welcomed. This is an expression of the love language of gifts. In “The Five Love Languages of Teenagers”, author Gary Chapman writes, “Gifts are visible, tangible evidence of emotional love.”

My sister remembers hugging and carrying this big white stuffed bear on the plane back home to give to her kids. A friend of mine brought home in his hand luggage two heavy little sculptures from Bangkok to give to friends. And I remember checking out maybe about three stores in Akihabara in Tokyo looking for a specific anime action figure for my son.
There’s satisfaction in buying something for a loved one, or people you care about, and handing this over personally upon arrival from a trip. The smile on the recipients’ faces is worth it.
Traveling soon? Make room then for some strawberry jam and peanut brittle from Baguio, otap and danggitfrom Cebu, green tea from Japan, coffee from Seattle, wine from California, chocolates from Switzerland, tea from China, and yes, why not—some crocodile jerky from Australia. If it fits in the bag, it’s great pasalubong. Have a safe trip!

Click here to read this article on the Smart Super Women blog.

BOOK OF THE WEEK: Walking from East to West is the autobiography of preacher Ravi Zacharias (written with R. S. B. Sawyer). It's interesting to "walk" with the well-known teacher as he recounts his life growing up in India, where he thought he was born to be mediocre. He reached the depths of despair and even tried ending his life. But Zacharias found new life in Christ, and since then, his life turned around completely. From India, he lived in Canada, and now he is a popular preacher based in Atlanta. Sad that I missed listening to him when he was in Manila for a speaking engagement a few years ago. Anyway, got the book from the bargain bin of OMF Lit shop at Il Terrazo on Tomas Morato Avenue Extension in Quezon City for a huge discount (from P250, it was down to P75) during the last sale! Worth it.

VERSE OF THE WEEK: "Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away" ~ Psalm 37:1-2