The A Ba Ka of Philippine Souvenirs: La for Laruan

Souvenirs are fun! Yep, that’s why every time we go around on our trips, we always take home a suitcase full of souvenirs.

This fun installment for the A Ba Ka of Philippine Souvenirs series is the favorite of most tourists.

La for Laruan

“Laruan” is the Filipino term for “toy”. Toys as souvenirs are popular in many parts of the Philippines. They are colorful, handy, creatively and artistically done, and (yes, you guessed it,) they’re FUN!

Most souvenir toys are miniature versions of the real thing. When you go around the souvenir shops anywhere in the Philippines, you’ll find toy models of jeepneys in countless designs.


Aside from Philippine jeepneys, there are also “kalesa” models or carriage in English, tricycle models, or what I call “modern-day chariots, and the “dirty ice cream” cart — which is not actually dirty but is called as such just because it’s sold on the streets.


You’ll also find ukuleles at very low prices which are made for kids. These are usually colorful and made in fun shapes. 

There are also miniature guitars, although some might not produce much sound.

There are also model huts or miniature bamboo houses. This one comes in various designs. Some stores would sell a similar product but with tiny model people as well.


While on a plane such as Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines, ask a stewardess for a model plane. Although some airlines might have a different item available, you gotta try, right?

I know most of these are models. Some of them even look delicate. This is why you should buy two — one for display and one for play!


Other toys common in Philippine souvenir shops include tiny wooden drums, tiny baskets, and sungka. Sungka is a long wooden game board with shells as the moving pieces.

If you’re lucky, you’ll find a chessboard with Philippine character carved right into its pieces.

The best thing about toy souvenirs is that you will have no difficulty in hunting them down. Many are available in malls if not in marketplaces.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: My Search for Creative Workshops Around the World: Weta Tours Workshop


Check out local small convenient stores in residential areas. Locals call these stores sari-sari stores. Some sell plastic balloons that come in tiny tubes. You squeeze out the gooey content onto an end of a tiny straw and blow on the other end to make a balloon.

1 thought on “The A Ba Ka of Philippine Souvenirs: La for Laruan”

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