ith graduation coming up, parents who aren’t as well-to-do feel pressured to give graduation gifts to their kids all because they heard it’s a thing people do.

Quite frankly, I don’t get it (also quite literally, since I didn’t get a graduation present, either). Chances are, the parent already paid for their kid’s tuition, which is why there’s a graduation to be had, in the first place. Wouldn’t that have been present enough? Nonetheless, here are a few things parents can look into as presents for their kids when they graduate, without having to wipe out their savings the way a trip to another country or a brand new car would.


The Tradition: A trip to another country, normally Hong Kong, the US or a Eurotrip. For some reason, going to Disneyland is a much-beloved present for even college graduates. It’s always fun getting away from it all, even for a few days.

Price Range: 100,000 and up, and that’s being very conservative.

The Cheapskate Approach: Buy them luggage instead of the actual trip. That way, they are now motivated to save up some money to go on their own trip. Probably in Boracay. True, good luggage would still cost you a few thousand bucks, but it’s much cheaper, relatively speaking.


The Tradition: You give them a high-end gadget, usually a phone, as a present for graduation. Secretly, that’s how you manage to continue keeping tabs on them even better than you already do, which proves Foursquare has been conspiring with parents all along.

Price Range: A brand new iPhone 5S is available from the Apple store at 36,990 for 16GB. Ouch.

The Cheapskate Approach: You really want to keep tabs on them? Then do it the hard way by giving them a resume writing package, sourced from a professional writer. That way, you know they come armed to job applications better than you when you were job-hunting. Won’t even cost you more than three thousand.


The Tradition: Sometimes, really expensive jewelry is in vogue as graduation presents. What a better way to be introduced to the real world than to be robbed at knife-point two weeks later while wearing that expensive necklace, right?

Price Range: A really good necklace (not a pearl necklace, though, because you giving your kid that is just wrong) would probably fetch around 15,000.

The Cheapskate Approach: Get them a phone necklace. You know, a stylish accessory that wouldn’t cost more than 300 Pesos that keeps them from getting their phone lost or stolen? Yeah, that works.


The Tradition: Parents have now taken to forcing their kids out of the house by buying them a condo after graduation. Is there something you’re trying to tell them?

Price Range: 2.5 Million seems to be a reasonable price for a one-bedroom unit.

The Cheapskate Approach: Maybe it’s time that you started charging them rent once they get a job, instead of you having to actually give them a present? Well, maybe that’s too harsh, but you can always just give them a discount card for Sogo or Victoria Court, because that’s probably what their condo would end up smelling like, anyways, if you sent them living on their own straight out of college.


The Tradition: Get them a car! It’s probably one of the most asked-for graduation gifts ever, so it needs very little explanation.

Price Range: 300,000 fetches you a decent secondhand car.

The Cheapskate Approach: For once, I will recommend that you still get your kid a car. However, you make sure to put a taxi meter in it. Your kid now has transportation and gainful employment in one go.


The Tradition: I’ve heard batchmates talk about being given at least tens of thousands in cash upon graduation as a present. I try my best to keep a straight face and pretend that I can relate. No. No, I can’t relate. Because I still find graduation gifts so unintuitively insane.

The Price Range: Well, since they mentioned tens of thousands, I’m guessing 10,000 to 90,000.

The Cheapskate Approach: Give them a fishing rod, and not one of those professional ones. Just a makeshift stick with a line on it. Why? Because if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. But if you teach a man how to fish, you feed him forever. Symbolic presents rule!

This also works with fire, according to Terry Pratchett: build a man a fire, and you keep him warm for a day. You set a man on fire, and you keep him warm for the rest of his life.


The Tradition: This, thankfully, has yet to catch on in the Philippines, but American (and South Korean) parents have been giving plastic surgery as graduation gifts for their kids. So yeah. Proud dads are giving their daughters boob jobs as presents. What is this I don’t even.

The Price Range: Yeah, you’re looking at around 200,000 and up from Belo. Maybe 100,000 or so from Calayan. Those are just rough estimates, depending how much your son or daughter wants done.

The Cheapskate Approach: You know what’s cheaper but just as effective for helping your kid out in the future? If you have a kid who’s the type who would want plastic surgery sponsored by you for a graduation present, there’s a high chance you would be better off sending them to rehab.


The Tradition: Celebrate with a graduation party! The sky’s the limit: food, drinks, maybe even entertainment!

Price Range: You’re looking at 5,000 and up, depending how many guests are invited, where the party will be, and what will be served. To give you an idea how costly it can get, booking something like the Mandarin Oriental Ballroom will set you back 250,000 pesos—and that’s before any of the other expenses you will inevitably incur.

The Cheapskate Approach: What do we celebrate in graduation? Triumph, right? What product is often peddled as a drink you offer to someone who succeeds? That’s right: brandy. Forget the music, get some sisig, bust out a bottle of Emperador, because if the commercials are to be believed, that is what successful people drink, all for the low low price of 60 pesos a bottle. Para sa tagumpay!


What did you get when you graduated? Let’s argue about graduation gifts in the Comments Section.

Kel Fabie

Kel Fabie. is a DJ, host, mentalist, satirist, comedian, and a long-time contributor to 8List (Hello, ladies!). He has an Oscar, a Pulitzer, a Nobel, and two other weirdly-named pet dogs. He blogs on

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