Islands Souvenirs: I Love Cebu Shirts

History of Islands Souvenirs

The idea of Islands Souvenirs took form in the early 1990’s. The germ of a concept was inspired by the founder and chief executive Jay Aldeguer’s travels in Europe and around the Philippine Archipelago. He saw the need for light and practical souvenirs and “pasalubong” items.

In every place he visited, he recalls buying all sorts of mementos from miniature figurnes to books. But as his bag filling up he decided to purchase souvenir T-shirts instead. They were lighter and more practical, he explains.

That trip inspired him to start a souvenir business in the Philippines, particularly when he realized that tourists here did not have much choices. At that time, the design and quality of these shirts were substandard, even in the best cities abroad. As world tourism was on an upsurge, Aldeguer decided to introduce the premium quality souvenirs which notches higher in terms of creativity, innovation and quality.

Lisa at Islands Souvenir SM Cebu

Lisa at Islands Souvenir SM Cebu

Choose your "I Love Cebu" Shirt

Choose your "I Love Cebu" Shirt

Using some of his earnings from his T-shirt business in college and some help from his parents, he started Islands Souvenirs in 1992 at the age of 21 with an initial capitalization of P200,000.

With a P1,500 bamboo cart, Aldeguer began selling the shirts at the White Gold department store in Cebu. Less than six months later, Cebu’s top department stores, the Gaisanos, offered him an 80-square meter space. By his second year, sales zoomed more than 300 percent. The timing was also perfect. The economy was on the upswing with tourism at the forefront, he says to his immediate success.

For the next years, Islands Souvenirs was growing a double digit pace. That is until the Asian financial crisis, which began in the late 90’s. Tourist arrivals dipped tremendously, he says of that difficult period. But instead of pulling back, Aldeguer fast-tracked his international distribution and other tourism related businesses.

A novel idea for its time, Islands Souvenirs broke the traditional hold of small, cottage industry type retailers of poor quality souvenirs and craved out a new market niche for premium quality souvenirs creatively designed and showcased in vibrant shopping environments.

Thus, from a single store in the island of Cebu, Islands Souvenirs has grown to a network of over a hundred outlets across the Philippines as well as internationally.

Islands Souvenirs Shop at SM Cebu

Islands Souvenirs Shop at SM Cebu

Islands Souvenirs dynamic growth is marked by its having captured a significant share of the souvenirs market in its home country: making the company the leading and most awarded brand in the Philippines.

I Love Cebu Shirts

One of Islands Souvenirs’ most recent product is the “I Love Cebu” T-shirts for both Males and Females. Lisa and I went to SM City Cebu recently. The advertisements’ models were Cebu’s Boxer Z “The Dream” Gorres, Tourism Secretary Ace Durano & Broadcaster Haide Acuna. We decided to buy the “I Love Cebu” for ourselves and we want to tell everyone that we are one of the many people who love this beautiful City.

Personalize your "I Love Cebu" Shirt

Personalize your "I Love Cebu" Shirt

The price for the Men’s Shirt is P299 while the Women’s Shirt is P229. Since this is a print-when-ordered shirt, you’ll need to wait for a minimum of 30 minutes. But since this item is “selling like hotcakes” today its better you go back the next day to get your shirt or you can take a stroll in the mall for 5-8 hours waiting for your lovely “I Love Cebu” shirt.

Mark & Lisa with "I Love Cebu" Shirt

Mark & Lisa with "I Love Cebu" Shirt

Contact Information of Islands Souvenirs

Islands Souvenirs, Inc.
Aldeguer Group of Companies Compound
Nasipit, Talamban
Cebu City 6000

Phone: (032) 236-4896
Fax: (032) 236-5062


This page is last updated on Jun 16, 2011 @ 2:42 pm
About the author
Mark Anthony Maranga Mark Anthony Maranga is a Web Designer based in Cebu, Philippines. He sells Balloons and Party Supplies in Mandaue City, Cebu and explores the Philippines tourist attractions. During his free time he take pictures and write blogs. Check his website design portfolio and know more about him.

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  2. Sasay says:

    Gusto ko lang sabihin na its not right to fool people especially mga turista. Hindi dapat kayo nagssell ng products na LUMA NA AT MATAGAL NA porket walang bumibili naka display parin. we bought a worth 3k of ur product. Esp the CHICHARON I’am from manila pa i gave it to my relt for pasalubong but lahat ng nabili ko sainyo sira ung ampaw napaka tigas ung chicharon may amoy na. Pinamigay ko pa sa mga lahat ng relatives ko and all the comment was really bad. My tita got sick pa bcoz of ur product. Nakakahiya dahil ni recommend pa naman kau ng hotel. I was trying to contact the no. U posted here in this website but unreachable anung klase kayo. Might as well close the store nalang kesa marami pa ma biktima.

  3. hello im joane i do collect shirts started with I <3 CEBU or anywhere in the philippines how can i have that one?small size black im gonna pay the shipment pls tell me how much will im going to pay…..tnx 🙂

  4. marnsmillin says:

    is one of my favorite brand everytime i visit my hometown CEBU i always buy island souvenier t shirts and some other stuff likes bags and hats ohhhhh love it

  5. Sheena Fernandez says:

    do you have botique in manila can you inform me tnx-sheng

  6. guil santos says:

    meron po ba kayo baller at magkano po ?? :))

  7. APoL says:

    hi,. I have two questions :
    The first one is that I was wondering if Island Souvenir is manufacturing their own shirts or they have a company who supplies them their shirts??
    Second can you give me some of suggestions of companies who can supply a good quality t-shirt for a fair price?

    thanks a lot
    i really appreciate it if you could help me with my queries.:)

  8. ROSE says:

    Do they sell their shirts online? I live in Dallas, TX. I really, really want to buy that I love Cebu shirt!

  9. reina marie says:

    I have been dying to buy this t-shirt eversince I have seen lots of Cebuanos mostly, who are based here in the US. As I have been reading the comments, I guess I got no choice to buy in bulk order..I will contact right away thru the email address coming from the website of Island Souvenir Shop and talk to the rightful person in charge..I can’t wait to have my own! And I’m proud to wear one….thanks and more power to all!….Is Mr. Jay Aldeguer, and Cris Aldeguer brothers perhaps?

    • Reina Marie,

      Yes they are brothers.

      Jay Aldeguer is the president of the Islands Group; Chris Aldeguer is president of the Loalde Group; and, Michael Aldeguer, president of ALA Gym Promotions.

  10. jonathan says:

    hi im a balik bayan and i visited cebu lastweek…. im happy having cebu tshirtssss
    i would like to congratulate islands souvenir for a very nice shirts desyn and a very smiling and accomodating supervisor and staff in islands souvenir in mactan he educate me well abt ur products and abt cebu…. more power guyssss,,,,

  11. Jeanthyne go says:

    hi ! i’m so happy i got two love cebu shirts which is black and white ! weeeeeeeeeeeee many of my friends get jealous hahahahaha thanks island souvenirs :0)

  12. Grace Dar says:

    Hi! I live in USA and I’d like to order one of the “I <3 Cebu" shirts.
    Is it possible to purchase one by ordering online internationaly?

    • Mark Maranga says:

      Grace Dar,

      I don’t think it is possible to purchase the Island Souvenirs’ “I HEART CEBU” shirt online and send the $6 shirt directly to you.

      But if you want to be sure, try contacting them using the above information. Hopefully they will deliver to the USA or other countries in bulk orders.

  13. Mary Jones says:

    Hi, I love your story because I feel identify with it, I live on i island and I always go for vacation to a next country and I love buy different souvenir, but when I look around the island I live I dont think that visitor have a lot of souvenir to pick, and that make me start make a line of souvenir, I start with the shirt, I trying to fine a place to print some mug, shot glass and keychain, but in Panama city is not so easy. I will happy if you share some of your expeirence with me.


  14. Mark Maranga says:

    For everyone’s additional information, there are already Black “I Love Cebu” Shirts in Island Souvenirs. There’s a new design which has a smaller text/heart size which can be found in the upper-left part of the shirt located/sized just like most of the polo shirts wore by PNOY (the ones which has the Philippine Flag in it).

    If you go to Island Souvenirs Bohol Branch, you can have a shirt printed with “I Love Bohol” or “I Heart Bohol”.

  15. Samantha says:

    Is the phrase “l <3 CEBU” trademarked by Island Souvenirs? Please state your sources. Thank you.

  16. jovin says:

    do you have any island souvenir branches in colon? or where are your other branches located?

    • Mark Maranga says:

      Hi Jovin, I am not in any way connected with Island Souvenirs. I think they one store at Gaisano Colon where you can order the “I love Cebu” T-shirt. Other options are SM City Cebu and Ayala Center Cebu.

  17. lorefe says:

    hi..i live in talisay city, cebu..i would like to purchase the i heart cebu tshirt. i find it too far to go at any island souvenir shops. can i purchase it online?

    • Mark Maranga says:

      Hi Lorefe, at the moment I don’t think they sell the “I Heart Cebu” shirts online. Try contacting them through their landline MAYBE they can give you easier options live free delivery in bulk orders.

  18. Joan says:

    I started working with ISI (Islands Souvenirs Inc.) and i’m no biase but with great confidence of marketing this company.

    all materials made for their items are scrutinized and controlled by Mr. Jay himself before sending to the production. it doesnt shrink for year no matter how many times you wash them in the machine.

    everything is affordable and worth-it! it’s sisters-company are also having best quality products…

    Mr. Jay and the team, I owe you what I am right now and thanks for the opportunity and the trust you have given me for 2 years…I am proud to be one of your loyal staff…

    • miko says:

      hi joan, Iam just curious how much is ISI’s salary for managerial position. My friend saw ISI advertising for vacancy on these positions…she doesnt have an idea how much she might get if she gets hired. thanks a lot

  19. MadamV says:

    can we order these custom shirts online? I’m based in California and would love to get them for my family and for my colleagues for our college reunion come July this year. Thanks!~MadamV

    • Mark Maranga says:

      Hi MadamV,

      I’m not connected with Island Souvenirs. I think they allow online ordering in bulk but you need to confirm this by contacting them directly. Contact details are seen at the bottom part of my article.


      Mark M.

  20. Zach says:

    I got 1 of those shirts, I’m still not sure how to iron it so that it doesn’t get messed up, I’m scared to wash it hehe

    • Mark Maranga says:

      Hi Zach,

      You can iron the back portion of the shirt/print. We washed our shirts several times already and the color of the shirt and its print are still the same.


      Mark M.

  21. Maxine says:

    I love the story of Islands Souvenirs. It’s very inspiring and their shirts are indeed with good quality. I wish I could get one of their I Love Cebu shirts.

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