Bring on the holiday cheer
Local and purposeful.
If recent research is to be believed, these are two characteristics of brands that Filipinos nowadays patronize.
But while “homegrown” is slowly trumping “imported,” many of the country’s shopping malls are still dominated by foreign merchants.
To hook you up with Filipino brands with a cause—and to help you with last-minute Christmas shopping!—we’ve compiled a short list of labels, together with their latest products and info on where to find them.
Unique ‘tiangge’ finds
Karton.ph is an all-Filipino products website created specifically for sellers who usually just join pop-up bazaars and have no steady sales platform. Products on the site are also available in their showroom in LRI Design Plaza. The site’s team recommends these brands:
The perfect gift for cat parents, Alaga sells handwoven pod-type beds for these pets made out of indigenous materials such as water lilies, which also help local laborers contribute to flood prevention, as these plants clog waterways. One also makes a donation to the Philippine Animal Welfare Society for every purchase.
Both brand and advocacy, Balangay’s Best (Fishers & Changemakers, Inc.) partners with fisherfolk in communities affected by supertyphoon “Yolanda.” The social enterprise educates these fisherfolk on sustainable fishing technology and equitable business practices to help them rise from poverty, as well as protect the country’s seas.
Kala Milk Philippines
The brand takes its name from “kalabaw” (native species of water buffalo), as they claim to be the first local bath and body company built around carabao milk. Their partners are carabao dairy farmers from Baliuag, Bulacan, and their product selection marries milk soap with the varied scents and textures of honey, oats and lavender.
Jacob’s Well Brewing Co.
Jacob’s Well Brewing Co. was founded on two siblings’ quest for drinks with lesser caffeine content for their dad. The brand name is inspired by a character from the bible, symbolizing the business’ mission to continuously participate in life-giving advocacies. Today, Jacob’s Well Brewing Co. continues to give aid and partner with missionaries to uplift rural communities. The business also plans to support programs that aim to provide potable water to rural areas.
Perfectly Natural Herbs
Perfectly Natural Herbs takes pride in its completely organic roster of products. It’s a brand that also seeks to uplift poorer parts of Mindanao, with its commitment to good lives and better health. They make it a point to develop each of their workers’ skills to strengthen their foster communities. The company also employs a diverse team of workers—Cebuano, Maranao, Higaonon, Molbog, Iranon and Badjao.
Vegetari Healthy Bites
This brand creates a unique spin on “chicharon” using only vegetable, mushroom and seaweed as ingredients with gluten free and non-GMO flour. Its mission: to spread awareness on the importance of health and environmentalism.
Jarful of Goodness
Jarful of Goodness was born out of a mother’s need to care for her skin naturally after experiencing rashes during pregnancy. After giving birth to a daughter with sensitive skin, she took it upon herself to do research on all-natural skin care while saying goodbye to toxic cosmetic products.
Good Luck, Humans
Looking to spruce up your home or wardrobe? Good Luck, Humans (goodluckhumans.com) will do exactly that with its unique and colorful dresses, accessories and furniture. Every piece is hand sewn by underprivileged women from different communities chosen by the brand’s founder Apol Massebieau. What makes Massebieau’s pieces stand out are her Lucky Buttons, small pompom-like pieces hand stitched using recycled fabrics, which she designed herself. Her philosophy stems from her love of crafting, of making things with one’s hands—a celebration of everything human.
By using recycled materials to create statement furniture, Wilhelmina Garcia addresses problems such as waste management and the lack of livelihood of women. Junk Not! (www.junknot.ph) partners with different communities, whom they educate on proper solid waste management. They also hold workshops with these communities to teach them the brand’s rope technique used to make its pieces, using plastic waste collected by each respective community. The brand then buys these materials from the women.
Arts, crafts, and everything in between
Home to many local crafters and small sellers is Common Room (commonroomph.com), which was established by sisters Roma and Maan Agsalud of arts and crafts brand Pop Junk Love. In their stores you’ll find a wide assortment of items, mostly handcrafted, big and small—each with a story to tell. Common Room, which has branches on Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City, Power Plant Mall in Makati City, and Alabang Town Center in Muntinlupa City, is also the official partner of the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Go Lokal! (golokal.dti.gov.ph) initiative, which enables micro, small, and medium enterprises gain market access (branches: Go Lokal! Concept Store at the DTI main office, Makati City; Enchanted Kingdom, Sta. Rosa, Laguna; Duty Free Philippines, Parañaque City; SM Kultura in SM Makati; Robinsons Department Store, Place Manila; Rustans Gateway, Cubao, Quezon City; pop-up store in Glorietta 2, Makati City; food aisles in select Shopwise, Rustans Supermarket and Market Place branches, and food kiosks in CityMalls nationwide).
Founded by Candy Reyes-Alipio and Aurora Mangubat-Suarez, Knitting Expedition (www.knittingexpedition.com) employs the knitting expertise of mothers who also tend rice terraces in Ifugao. They create toys, home accessories and warmers.
Cut the Scrap
This brand (https://www.instagram.com/ cutthescrap/) upcycles scrap wood and repurposes junk materials, while providing employment to its artisans, who are mostly persons with disabilities.
Little Big Help
Those taking their first steps toward a zero-waste lifestyle will find Little Big Help’s (Instagram @littlebighelpph) products very, well, helpful. This brand offers reusable cotton pads, shampoo/conditioner/facial wash bars, produce bags and glass straw sets.
Inspired by “mindful living” and “making space for things that matter,” DTI’s Go Lokal! recently launched the Balai Collection in partnership with Common Room. The collection features Filipino artists and their specially crafted home accessories, such as kitchen linens, wooden clocks, wall art accents, room scents, hampers, pillows and wooden planters. These pieces are exclusively available at the Go Lokal! Concept Store in DTI and Glorietta 2 in Makati City, as well as the Go Lokal! Kiss & Fly shop in Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
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