Of course, a trip to Camarines Norte will not be completed without buying any “pasalubong” or “Souvenirs”. Bicol region is known for many different products and delicacies. You may not be able to find much in Calaguas Island but once you arrived in the town proper of Paracale, that’s where you can find souvenir shops and now allow me to list down some of the products that you should not miss buying when visiting Camarines Norte.
1. Crispy Pili Nuts
One of the most popular products of Bicol are the Pili nuts. The Pili Nut can be found in bushes across tropical Asia and other Pacific islands, but the ones grown in the Bicol Region are considered as the best-tasting yet. Pili nuts are cooked and prepared in many different ways but the most common delicacy out of pili are the sweetened ones. The cripy pili nuts that are often glazed with thin sugar coat or honey is undoubtedly one of Bicol’s best selling product. The pili nuts are being applied in many other recipes too.
2. Pili Tarts
The Pili tarts is one of the most common and possibly one of the most populart declicacy of Bicol made from Pili. The mini tart shells are filled with sweet chewy and buttery caramel filling topped with sweetened local delicious pili nuts. This bite-size tarts are one of my personal favorite Bicol delicacies!
3. Pili Roll
It seems like Bicolanos managed to utilized the use of Pili in full extent as they were able to come up with a wide range of dishes from Pili. Pili Rolls is a pastry dish popularly made by Jannah’s. It is basically a soft cake roll filled with sweet milk cream and crashed pili nuts. The price will vary from Php120 and above. If you are looking for a pili delicacy with a twist, this must be a perfect choice.
4. Masa Podrida
Masa Podrida is more like Bicol’s own version of Puto Seko. It is notable for its star shape. It tastes like Puto Seko and it also melts in your mouth. This product is best matched with coffee or hot choco. It is also affordable so it is indeed an ideal pasalubong! Masa Podrida interestingly translates as “rotten dough” in Spanish
Another popular delicacy in Camarines Norte is the pastry dish called “Kinakaw”. It is a deep fried biscuit shaped like rings and coated with thin layers of sugar. The dish is made from flour, milk, butter, sugar, eggs and vegetable oil. It is one of the popular delicacy originated from Camarines Norte.
6. Cacao Tableas
Considering that Bicol is one of the hot spots of Cacao industry, Cacao products are very common in this region. Cacao tableas are very ideal to make Pinoy hot chocolate. 2-3 discs of cacao are ideal enough to make a rich-tasting cup of hot chocolate. It only takes few stirs to dissolve the tableas on a cup of hot water. For best tasting, you can add milk and pinch of sugar.
Pandecillos are nutty bread that is filled with caramel or yema-like spread. It is also available in Jannah’s pasalubong and is also one of their best sellers. Pandecillos is made from flour, sugar, butter, condensed milk, eggs, peanuts and cheese.
I was actually confused when i first heard the term they used for this product. They’re calling it Santan and theyt first thing that strikes my mind is the tiny breed of flowers. Santan is basically another pili delicacy. It is a coco jam mixed with pili nuts. I don’t know if Santan is a Bicolano term but regardless of it, this sweet delicacy is ideal spread for bread.
9. Bagoong of Bicol
Bicol region is not just known for their sweet delicacies but also popular of their native cuisine notable for being spicy. Bicol Express is probably one of their iconic recipes and this recipe will not be completed without the Bagoong Alamang. When we get to Paracale, we spotted so many stores selling these freshly bottled fermented alamang (tiny shrimps).
10. Laing and Bicol Express
Laing and Bicol Express are two of the most popular dish from Bicol region. Since coconut milk is one of the main ingredients of both dish, you can’t bring them from Bicol to Manila as the milk get spoiled easily. Interestingly, we spotted these bottled “ready to eat” Bicol’s Laing and Bicol Express which makes a perfect pasalubong! A bottle of 210-250g is worth Php150 and it is good to last for a week!
Photo Credit: Most of the Pictures above are taken from Jannah’s Pasalubong Facebook Page– Jannah’s Pasalubong is one of the leading pasalubong center in Camarines Norte
This post finally concludes my Calaguas Island Adventure. Just in case you missed an entry, fill free to visit the links below!
Calaguas Island Adventure:
►Calaguas Island Adventure : Prologue
►The Paracale Bay
►Our First Day in Calaguas : Mahabang Buhangin Beach of Tinaga Island
►Sunset in Calaguas
►The Tinago Hills
►The Balagbag Island
►Nuestra Señora De Candelaria Parish in Paracale
►What To Buy When Visiting Camarines Norte