I think I’ve given one or all of these books to all the Filipino (and sometimes non-Filipino) families I know who live abroad. I’ve seriously bought at least 5 copies of each one. They’re the best pasalubong since they’re very representative of the Philippines and yet they’re easy to travel with – skinny and light!
Bahay Kubo with artwork by Hermes Alegre
I love the folk-art quality of the pictures in this book. Each page features a line from the classic song, Bahay Kubo. The book is about a family that lives in a nipa hut situated next to their little vegetable farm.
Hermes Alegre no longer paints in this folk-art style so I think having this book as a part of your kids’ collection is a definite must.
Haluhalo Espesyal by Yvette Fernandez-Ferreol
Celebrating family, food and being Filipino, Haluhalo Espesyal’s simple story touches on the special relationship kids have with their grandparents, and on the enduring qualities of love. I’m gushing, but please buy 1,2, 3 copies! There’s also a nice recipe on the last page for… HaluHalo! : )
The Mats by Francisco Arcellana, artwork by Hermes Alegre
A very Filipino story about familial love. The mats here are used to symbolize a father’s love for his children. The story isn’t exactly for young kids, but children (and I’m told even my baby niece) love the colorful pictures, wonderfully done by Hermes Alegre.