As our car neared the site of Mayon Resthouse, children ran following us. I thought they were beggars, but I apologize for the ill thought. These children were helping their parents make a living by selling dish gardens of bonsai. So if you buy anything from them, you help a family.
What to buy: Dish gardens of bonsais of different sizes and styles are sold by the kids.
What to pay: price ranging from P50-75 for small; P150-350 for bigger dish gardens
The shop sells a wide variety of abaca footwear, bags and decors, as well as other native products. I bought all my souvenir items and "pasalubongs" (token gifts for relatives/friends) at Ariannes because I liked the attention and patience bestowed on me by the proprietress. The items were all so beautiful, I had a difficult time choosing the colors and styles of the bags, in fact I changed my mind many times, but Angie Marcelino, the proprietress kept her smile. She was very helpful in suggesting items that would be nice as "pasalubong" but not very expensive. She even gave me a freebie (small coin purse) after my shopping.
What to buy: Tabaco is known for its high-quality handcrafted abaca hats, slippers, bags, baskets, placemats, and raffia gift wrapping items like ribbons, flowerettes and tiny baskets. Rolls of raffia and abaca fiber are also available.
What to pay: Assorted abaca slippers - from P60 toP150
Abaca Bags - from P110 to P350
There is no single shop that I recommend in this tip. The stretch of the street on the right side of the Tabaco City Capitol building is a pasalubong shoppers' heaven. All you have to do is get there early (or late) and go mad. :)
What to buy: The little shops carry tabak (bolos from whence came the city's name... Tabaco), knives, scissors, saws, whetstones, bags, native slippers and every imaginable object that can be made from abaca. :) On the back street there are more shops carrying a weird collection of stuff. Who can imagine that one will find formal wear (ball gowns, tuxes) and sleepwear in between shops that sell voodoo dolls and slingshots?
Across the way are little stores that sell foodstuff made from pili nuts and sesame seeds. They also have tablea (native chocolate balls).
What to pay: As much money as you can afford. All goods are priced about 40% or much lower than the price of the same goods in Manila.