The A Ba Ka of Philippine Souvenirs: Ma for Mabuhay!

There is a word that once it lands on your ears, you would know right away that you’ve arrived in the Philippines. (*No, it’s not psst! Or Uy! Or “Dun” with pointed lips!) Once your plane lands on Philippine grounds, you will hear that perky greeting, “Mabuhay!”

The tenth installment for the A Ba Ka of Philippine Souvenirs series is the showcase of various souvenir items that feature the Filipino greeting “Mabuhay!”


Ma for “Mabuhay!”

All over the Philippines are handicraft items and commercial souvenir items that bear the Filipino greeting “Mabuhay!” 

You probably have heard of it when watching pageants such as Ms. Universe, Ms. World, and many others. The Filipino contestant would usually start with a joyful greeting of “Mabuhay!”

“Mabuhay” means “long live,” however, it is more commonly used as a greeting analogous to “hello” or “welcome”. In context, it is somewhat similar to Hawaii’s “Mahalo.”


If you go around any handicraft store in the Philippines or the souvenir area of the marketplace of your tourist destination, you’ll find a whole line of products with the word “Mabuhay!”


Commercial souvenirs often feature the famed Filipino greeting on shirts and caps. 

There are also bags and other apparel merchandise.


For some souvenirs, the word “Mabuhay” could be scribed in even the smallest free area in a souvenir.

Did you find the tiny hidden “Mabuhay”?

If you’re lucky, you’ll chance upon these pencils that you can plant once you’re done using them.

Seeing the word “Mabuhay” in the souvenirs you take home would definitely remind you not only of the place but of the locals that greeted you with much gusto the moment you set foot on Philippine soil.

* “Pssst!” and Uy! Are both common Filipino ways or Filipino urban slang for calling the attention of close friends or relatives, similar to “hey.” It is not used in formal conversations.

* “Dun” with pointy lips is a way of giving directions without using fingers to point.


BONUS: Of course, you can’t just take everything home with you.

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