Filipinos often say "It's the thought that counts." And they do mean it. That you remembered to get something is more important than the gift itself.

That's why you yourself will often receive stuff that may make you go "Meh... Why even bother to give me such a thing?" But really it's the thought that counts. The other person probably tortured himself trying to think of what possible thing to give you. Express your appreciation and say thank you.

In Filipino culture, you have to remember to give everyone at least a little trinket -- even the distant cousin, the little infant, even the housemaid and yard boy.  In the case of the household help, you can slip them a few bills if you haven't gotten to know them very well; if you're close to them, you have to give something personal.

Say, you visited a rich man in Manila and stayed in his home for a few days. While you were there, the live-in maids probably cleaned your room and washed your clothes. If before you leave, you seek them out and hand them a few bills to thank them, everyone and not just the maids will have a better opinion of you.

If you're coming from far away either from your home overseas or from a vacation, bring a pasalubong that's unique to the place where you came from. It might be a local delicacy or a souvenir that's emblematic of the place where you've spent time. Food is always good, and the souvenir is something they can show off to their friends while speaking highly of you.

Practical, functional gifts? Of course, those are appreciated too. But for example you're giving a camera or some other electronic item, make sure it has fully charged batteries and that they have the means to charge them. Middle-class Filipinos won't have any issues, but if you're giving a gift to someone in a remote province, it's possible such a gift won't be so easy for them to use.

Top 10 Christmas Gifts for Filipino Children

The Tagalog word for 'gift' is regalo and the word for 'Christmas gift' is pamasko.

Tagalog Words Book for Kids

Filipino kids like the same things as children all over the world. You can get them a bike, dolls or newly released video games. According to trivia buffs, the yoyo has Filipino origins... To help you brainstorm, here are a few ideas in the form of a top-ten list:

Top 10 Christmas Gifts for Filipino Children

1. A skateboard with a Filipino theme - If the child lives in the rural provinces of the Philippines with no paved roads, this wouldn't be a good idea. But Filipino-American kids stateside would get a kick out of showing off their ethnic pride.

2.  A popular Philippine game like sungka (called mancala in the US)

SUNGKA = "African stone game"

3. A radio-controlled toy vehicle ... race cars, pickup trucks, helicopters, police cruisers...

4. A starter guitar set -- Filipinos are musical in ways that will amaze foreigners.  Give the kid an instrument early on!

5. Jump ropes, toy tops, and hula hoops are popular toys in the Philippines.

6. Classic marbles (holen) are fascinating for Filipino children, both boys and girls.

7. Encourage reading and cultivate the reader with books!

8. You can get a Razor Carver for less than 70 dollars.

9. Disney animated movies featuring the voice of Filipina singer Lea Salonga, like Aladdin and Mulan.

10. A traditional Philippine fan like pamaypay or abaniko.

Page 1 of 5