What to Buy: Bring Home BACOLOD PASALUBONG

Pasalubong from Bacolod
that you should bring home.

Bacolod is known as “sugar land”, where the land grows the sweetest sugar cane to produce the best quality sugar and where the people have the sweetest smiles. It is no wonder then that Bacolod is known as “The City of Smiles” and that the place is filled with cafes with some of the best and sweetest desserts in the country. We have a hotel called Sugarland and we have a Bacolod pasalubong store called Sugarlandia.

What is pasalubong? “Pasalubong is the Filipino tradition of travelers bringing gifts from their destination to people back home. Pasalubong can be any gift or souvenir brought for family or friends after being away for a period of time.” Or even just for a vacation.

Perhaps the most famous pasalubong item that Bacolod is known for is the piaya. It is a flat pastry filled with–what else–sugar, but a different kind called the muscovado. But you would be happy to know that there are many things that you can bring home, ranging from food, decors, t-shirts, fashion items, even jewelry. Some of the food items need to be consumed within a few days but others can be stored for quite some time. So read on and the next time you come to Bacolod, you know what Bacolod pasalubong to buy and where to get them.

Related story: Where to Eat: Bacolod Home-Grown Restaurants

Note: If you have a Bacolod pasalubong shop that I might have missed, please drop me an email at sigroid75@gmail.com.

Freshly cooked Bailon’s piaya in their kitchen.

Bailon Foods
Bailon Foods specializes in homemade Ilonggo delicacies since the 1960s. I believe they have been in the same place ever since. Their specialties are their fresh lumpia, empanada, and of course, piaya. Their piaya is perhaps the most expensive here in Bacolod today, but theirs is the only one that uses pure muscovado sugar, which is why they produce crispy thin piaya coated with crystalline sugar in the inside. When you go to their store at San Juan-San Sebastian Sts., don’t miss snacking on their fresh lumpia and empanada. If you like their empanada, you would be happy to know that they have frozen versions of these that you can bring home and fry when you want to eat them. Bailon Food products are also available at SM Supermarket and Pendy’s.

Bailon’s empanada.
Bailon Foods humble store along San Juan-San Sebastian St.

Bongbong’s Piaya and Barquillos Center
Another old player in the Bacolod pasalubong business is Bongbong’s. And from its name, you could straight away guess that these two products are their specialties. But they have so many products with really nice packaging that you would be happy to bring home to your friends and loved ones back home. You would also be happy to know that they have many branches all over the city, including two at the Bacolod-Silay airport and one at 14th-Lacson Streets that is open until 11pm every day.

The Bongbong’s store at 14th-Lacson St. is open until 11pm. It has a spacious interior, parking space, snack areas, and comfortable rest rooms.

 

Bongbong’s Piaya (plain) in packs of 10. There are other flavors available.

 

Barquillos comes in small, medium, and large sizes. They differ in thickness, too. This is one is large, about 10 inches in length and the girth is about an inch. It is pretty thick.

 

This is bayi-bayi–another glutinous rice product that can last up to 3 days without refrigeration.
This is kalamay-hati sold at Bongbong’s but is made by a different supplier. Can last up to 5 days without refrigeration. It is made of ground glutinous rice, coconut milk, and brown sugar. It is sticky and pasty.

Merzci Pasalubong Treats
Merzci started as a bakeshop in the 90s then they just kept growing. They added a snack bar, then a water station, and eventually a pasalubong center to their business chain. But they were aggressive and the company was the one responsible for amping the pasalubong industry in Bacolod by putting up modern, air conditioned stores and by improving their products’ shelf life and packaging. Merzci has many pasalubong centers in the city selling their very own biscocho, piaya, tarts, napoleones, and many more baked products. I personally love their ube piaya. I have such a sweet tooth. But they also display products of other local producers that you might find interesting. And oh, they also have a tour bus available for rent for tours around the province of Negros Occidental. If you pass by their store, don’t forget to try their chicken siopao, too. By the way, if you are a tourist with a recent plane, bus, or ferry ticket or a boarding pass, Merzci will give you a 10% discount off your Bacolod pasalubong purchases.

Merzci’s beautiful store at the BREDCO port with their tour bus in the foreground. They used to be known as Merci. Photo from Merzci. Published with permission.

 

Merzci is known for their creamy and crunchy biscocho. Available in small and big packs.

 

A variant of barquillos is the barquiron. The hollow center is filled with polvoron, thus the name, and is individually wrapped. They are sold in packs.

 

Don’t forget to try the famous Merzci chicken siopao when you visit one of their many stores.

Virgie’s
Virgie’s is another specialty food store selling quality homemade Ilonggo delicacies. Their products are a bit pricier than Bongbong’s and Merzci and they only have one store, but they are being sought by visitors and locals because of the quality and taste of their offerings. Special mention would be their galletas, napoleones, tarts, butterscotch, and mango bars. You may also want to try their yummy angel cookies, which are made from the “retazos” of the communion bread. Their cheese muffins are by far the best for me. Check out their store at San Sebastian Street (near the Lacson corner).

The Virgie’s store along San Sebastian St.

 

Their tarts in beautiful boxes that would surely bring a smile to your loved ones back home. From left, caramel tart, pastillas de manga, and cheese tart.

 

This colorful display rack at Virgie’s has some of the tastiest goodies here in Bacolod. Try their butterscotch and mango chews.

 

Hands down–the best galletas.

 

The Virgie’s napoleones is the most expensive box sold among the different pasalubong stores. Find out why.

 

Looking for something unique? These angel cookies are love.

Quan Native Delicacies
I know we are sugarlandia here in Bacolod, but for those who cannot have sugar for health reasons, Quan has some sugar-free pasalubong items. They use a natural sweetener so you can enjoy the goodness of Bacolod pasalubong without the sugar. And while you are visiting their stores, which are also everywhere, sample the native Ilonggo delicacies that they offer. These are the only ones you can get in the restaurant. Your next best bet would be the street vendor already. You should also check out their organic salad dressings made from natural ingredients grown from the owner’s farm. They have several variants available. Quan branches are at La Salle Avenue, B.S. Aquino Drive (beside Doctor’s Hospital), Robinsons Supermarket, Gaisano City, Lopue’s East, and The District North Point.

A plastic tub of Quan sugar-free galletas. See I told you? Sugar-free Bacolod pasalubong is possible. haha Photos by Jojo Vito. Published with permission.

 

Quan sugar-free barquillos. Check their stores for more products. Photos by Jojo Vito. Published with permission.

 

Some of the organic salad dressings at Quan. Photos by Jojo Vito. Published with permission.

Margie’s Cakes and Pastries
Margie’s has long been in the Bacolod pasalubong business and although they also have an extensive line of Bacolod delicacies, what made them famous and got them landed a feature on Rated K of Ms. Korina Sanchez is their hopia. Yep, hopia is their signature pasalubong item. They are open daily but only until 6pm. They serve breakfast and lunch, too, so if you visit them during meal times, do enjoy their healthy dishes. Located at corner Burgos-Lopez Jaena Sts. Tel. No. 4349375

Margie’s famous hopia sebuyas dahon.

 

Margie’s store at Burgos-Lopez Jaena Sts.

Jojo Vito Designs Gallery
Fellow blogger Jojo Vito is the man behind world-famous masks, designer lighting fixtures, fabulous decor, and unique furniture. He is also an ardent user of indigenous materials and supporter of local livelihood projects.You may visit his gallery at Kapitana Dicang-Alunan Avenue Sts. (behind Metrodome Bldg. at Araneta St.) They are open from Monday to Saturday, 8:30am-5pm. Special arrangements may be made for big groups who would like to schedule a visit to the gallery during Sundays. For appointments, please call (034) 704-2378, Mobile: 0943-547-3609. Bring home a piece of Ilonggo art through many of his products. If you don’t want to carry big items, they also have small masks as table decors and key chains.

Read related story: Bacolodnon: Jojo Vito of Jojo Vito Designs Gallery and Intraspec Management Consultancy

Jojo Vito Designs Gallery is like an art wonderland. Photo by Jojo Vito. Published with permission.
Lighted masks by Jojo Vito. Photo by Jojo Vito. Published with permission.

 

Some of Jojo Vito’s designs. Photo by Jojo Vito. Published with permission.

Azatri Souvenirs
Azatri Souvenirs specializes on wearables and keepsakes, such as their artfully designed Bacolod shirts and key chains. Now, they also have fiberglass masks that you can use to decorate your homes or shops. They don’t have a gallery yet but their products are available at most Bacolod pasalubong centers like Merzci, Bongbongs’s, Virgie’s, and the ANP Showroom.

Azatri shirts worn by models. Photo from Azatri. Published with permission.
Fiberglass masks by Azatri. Photos from Azatri. Published with permission.

Association of Negros Producers Showroom
The ANP Showroom is just that–the showroom of Negros producers. They are selling anything from food items, to clothes, to home decor, to jewelry, to furniture, and many other things in between. Their main showroom is located at 9th-Lacson St., with a branch at the Robinsons City Walk, Lacson St., Mandalagan.

Some of the items that you can find at the Negros Showroom.

 

Native bags by Kiculo, available at the Negros Showroom.

 

Mosaic frames and other decors by the Negrense Volunteers for Change, available at the Negros Showroom.

 

Scarves and other silk products by OISCA, available at the Negros Showroom at 9th-Lacson Sts. or at Robinsons Place.
Assorted Sugarlandia products in gift boxes. Available at the Negros Showroom.

Alter Trade Mascobado
Let’s face it. The top product of Negros is still sugar, after all we are sugarlandia. If you have friends from other places who are coffee drinkers, do consider gifting them with mascobado sugar from Altertrade. They have individual sachets that are packed in boxes or the Masco Rocks that come in decorative bottles. These are truly unique pasalubong items from Negros (as suggested by Dr. Dominic Alojado of Skyscraper City). These are available in most Bacolod pasalubong stores and at the Negros Showroom at 9th-Lacson Sts. or at Robinsons Place.

Alter Trade Mascobado products. Photo from their website.

Uba-Laba Ilonggowear
Want something different? How about wearable Ilonggo wit? That’s what you get at Uba-Laba Ilonggowear. They feature Ilonggo message shirts with artwork, quotes, hashtags, or even invective that only the Ilonggo can relate to. Great gift items for family and friends in other places who miss the beauty of Ilonggo wit. To those who are naughty enough, you can use some of their “Freudian” designs as “sasko” to your foreigner friends who do not understand what they are wearing. hehe Different sizes, materials, and colors are available. You may order Uba-Laba Ilonggowear online through their Facebook account, https://www.facebook.com/123sakasalubi. You may also browse through their selections at their new store at the 2nd Level, The District North Point (Ayala), Talisay, Metro Bacolod.

Wear what’s on your mind with Uba-Laba Ilonggowear.
More message shirts in black, white, and in between.

Jarvis Gourmet Foods
Jarvis Gourmet Foods has leveled up Ilonggo favorites, especially in taste and presentation. Bring home these beautifully bottled sauces to your loved ones. Available in Pesto Sauce, Tuna Tapenade, Puttanesca Sauce, and Gourmet Tuyo. Great gifts, too. They also have halaya ube on occasion, special baked ensaymada, organic spreads, and for Christmas, they have fruitcakes that contain muscovado sugar and organic eggs. Check out their display at Pendy’s (Lacson St) and at Fresh Start stores at Robinsons Place and The District North Point. Or you may visit them at their shop at AC Building Molave Street, Capitol Shopping, Bacolod City. You may contact them through Mobile: 639189410568 or landline: +63344334076. Follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jarvisgourmetfoods

Bottled sauces from Jarvis Gourmet Foods. Photo by Tata Jarvis.
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