There is now a sizeable number of food companies signing up for halal certification from the Islamic Da’wah Council of the Philippines (IDCP), which means you can find Muslim-friendly products to share when you travel from the archipelago.
We shortlisted food items that are not easily perishable, making them ideal to bring back from your trip. Some of these may already be available in your local supermarket, but they would still be cheaper close to the source.
Who can resist Choco Mucho, those bars layered with wafers, caramel, rice crispies and milk chocolate? There are five variants, but any of them would do just as well. At that ridiculously low price point, it’s pointless to even think twice about buying these. They also come in Big Bars, if you believe that size does matter.
Want something healthy that you can’t find elsewhere in the world, you say? Nutrient-rich pili nuts grow around Asia-Pacific, but are only grown commercially in the Philippines. They’re high in omega fatty acids, too. Look for J. Emmanuel’s honey, garlic and roasted variants or Growers Glazed Pili for crispy treats that are good for your heart.
When dried mangoes are too run-of-the-mill, consider chocolate-coated dried mangoes. You can’t go wrong with the attractively packaged For my dearest, Pangga and the pioneering Cebu Best Mango Chocolate–worthy presents for your special someone. Or the boss you want to impress.
Tropical fruit cravings, begone! Healthy Tropics Banana Chips and the range of La2pu dried fruits, including green mango, jackfruit, papaya and soursop, are exotic alternatives, if you’re heading to temperate regions next.
What, you have dieters in your gift list? Stave off their hunger pangs with some crackers. Simple ones like Fita, SkyFlakes Fit Fiber Oat and Rebisco Whole Wheat Crackers are great with spreads. If you find these too plain, try Rebisco Fiesta Pastillas, which has a milky filling.
Pacify the hundreds of sweet tooths expecting handouts from your holiday with Potchi Strawberry Cream and Ricoa Flat Tops. They may be tiny, but they have that sugary sweetness that many Filipinos associate with their childhood. And our guess is that it will remind you of yours.
When it comes to the crumbly milk powder candies locally called polvoron, there are halal choices aplenty. Top brands Goldilocks, House of Polvoron (HOP) and ChocoVron produce numerous varieties. Now the challenge is transporting them to your final destination without them falling apart!
No Pinoy snack food list would be complete without Chef Tony’s Popcorn, which has built a following in the country and beyond. The mild sweet-and-salty flavours will keep you reaching for another handful. These gluten- and wheat-free goodies contain no transfat, and come in flavours such as Jalapeno Cheddar and White Chocolate Parmesan. Plus, the reusable tub is incredibly versatile.
GETTING THERE AirAsia flies to Manila, Cebu and Kalibo from various destinations. For flight schedules and fares, visit airasia.com.
The #travelgr8 series on travel 3Sixty° celebrates AirAsia’s 8th year as the World’s Best Low-cost Airline in the Skytrax Airline Awards.