Quirk of the Month: Care Package From The Netherlands

I love getting pasalubong. It’s the innate Filipino trait I have. When my best friend Jackie visited from The Netherlands a few weeks ago, she gave me this cute care package:


Ever since she moved to Europe a few years ago, I see her only once every one to two years. During the months we are apart, we gather as many gifts as we can to make up for the holidays and celebrations we don’t get to spend with each other. In my closet there’s a space where I collect Christmas and birthday presents, souvenirs from travels, and other knickknacks for Jackie.

During her visit a few weeks ago, I gave her a bag of gifts in exchange for this box of goodies. I was so happy to find Dutch chocolates, stationery, and clothes inside.


It’s always interesting to see what Filipinos pack in their balikbayan boxes. I love looking at the food, toys, clothing brands, and other items from the country of origin. It says a lot not just about the culture of the place the pasalubong is from, but also the mindset of the giver. Did you ever take a whiff of a newly-opened balikbayan box from someone who had just arrived from the US? My family and friends call it, “amoy isteytsayd” (smells American). Whenever my OFW uncle comes back from Saudi, I love peeking into his balikbayan box to see what clothing brands are trendy in Western Asia. The nerd in me likes to read the labels—even if it’s in a language I cannot understand—to see what their price range is like or what type of flavors they are into.


My Netherlands care box was full of Knoppers chocolates as I requested, but Jackie also added a few surprise items like letter sets from stationery stores she’d visit during her free time, in the same way that I, too, bought scrapbooks materials for her while waiting for her yearly Manila visit.

What’s your favorite kind of pasalubong, dear readers?

May 31, 2016


  1. kim wrote:

    Like you i always check every item label on the balikbayan box.If i have a difficulty pronouncing the words on the label, I just ask my relatives and friend’s for a language coaching session. My relatives from Canada and Australia sent me a care package and it contained maple syrup and Vegemite and some state side smelling clothes. Hope to see more unboxing of your care package.

  2. Jeremy Garcia wrote:

    Chocolates na pasalubong still makes me really happy the most:) knowing how you and your friend keep the friendship despite of distance is so inspiring.

  3. Sandrah Araja wrote:

    Wow! You two are sweet friends! ? My favorite pasalubong is food hahaha! Or makeups. But I prefer foods. ?

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