Branded imported items are usually viewed by Filipinos as having a higher quality than that of local products, whether such reputation is warranted or not. That’s why it’s no surprise that big-name brands end up in most people’s wish list for Christmas.
However, if you look around, there are local brands out there that are challenging this consumer mindset by offering well-made products that can rival even their foreign counterparts.
Read on to find some gift ideas from brands that are proudly Filipino. You just might introduce your mañanito or mañanita to a cool local find he or she might not have otherwise known about.
The chic and summery interiors of the Sepa showroom
If you’re looking for a gift for your fashionista friend, you might want to check out Sepa. This local accessories company carries various lines of earrings, necklaces, cuffs, and bracelets inspired by the island tropical vibe.
Statement accessories from various Sepa collections
Stepping into the Sepa showroom is like being welcomed into a sunny paradise. The place has splashes of bright colors like aqua and yellow, while wood panelling evokes the walls of a cabana on an island getaway. Sepa Creative Director Josefa Dianne Espera shares she has always liked anything that’s happy, summery and colorful , a preference which she has brought into her design aesthetic. “Aside from using a few Cebuano materials like wood, the quirkiness and the details tell the story of how sunny and nice it is in Cebu,” quips Dianne.
Isla Puca zodiac necklaces (third row, center); Las Gropa necklace (second row, left); Kobolola bangles
The best-selling pieces in Sepa range from PhP1,099 to PhP2,850. One of their most affordable pieces is the Isla Puca zodiac sign necklace which retails at PhP499.
Another simple piece that one can easily throw on to jazz up a simple outfit is their Praia bracelet (PhP1,499). The bracelets are made of hand-crafted brass metal with semi-precious stones and glass rhinestones.
Praia bracelet from Sepa
For statement necklaces, shoppers can choose from their Las Gropa collection which ranges from PhP1,099 to PhP1,599. There’s also their Oscuro and Laraché pieces which run from PhP1,250 to PhP1,750. More elaborate pieces from their Poncha and Clava lines cost PhP2,250 and PhP2,850 each, respectively.
Las Gropa necklaces from Sepa come in fun, playful designs.
Sepa accessories have been worn by various celebrities including Ana Fegi, Toni Gonzaga-Soriano, and Patty Laurel-Filart. Recently, Sepa Director Dianne designed custom foot jewelry for fashion blogger Tricia Gosingtian for her engagement shoot.
Sepa is available in Greenbelt 5 , Makati and Osmeña Blvd., Cebu City.
Interiors of the Human Nature Osmeña Blvd. branch
With a wide range of products for the home, babies, pets, personal care, and even food and drinks, Human Nature is a good place to start for affordable Christmas shopping.
Sunflower beauty oil, also dubbed as the miracle oil
Their beauty products, which have reaped awards from local magazines, would be a welcome addition to any kikay kit. Their rosehip oil (PhP750 for 15mL), for instance, was named Best Facial Oil in the Cosmopolitan Beauty Awards 2016, while their sunflower beauty oil (PhP174.75 for 50 mL) was included in the Chalk magazine Best in Beauty 2016. Their Radiant Grace Night Cream (PhP995 for 45 mL) was likewise dubbed as one of the Beauty Power Players by Preview magazine.
Though their products cater mainly to women, Human Nature also has men’s bath and body products ranging from PhP74.75 to PhP299.75.
Human Nature also carries men’s personal hygiene products.
Check our list of stores offering beauty products in Manila or browse the Beauty, Health, & Welness Category of the ShoppersGuide Directory.
Foodies might like Theo & Philo Artisan Chocolates Crunchy Peanut Chocolate Spread (PhP265 for 250 grams) or First Harvest Salted Coco Caramel (PhP149.75 for 125 grams).
Chocolate spread from Theo & Philo, one of the social enterprise partners of Human Nature
For the holidays, customers can have their purchases wrapped and put in a basket or box for easy gifting.
Salted coco caramel spread from First Harvest, one of the social enterprise partners of Human Nature
Human Nature was recently recognized as a Sustainability Pioneer in the Sustainability Awards held in France last October 24. “Today we can truly say that made in the Philippines is equal to; or maybe even better than made in Germany and made in France,” said Human Nature President and co-Founder Anna Meloto-Wilk.
Human Nature is available in major supermarkets and across 35 branches nationwide.
Anthill Fabric Gallery
Anthill clothes on display at Tesoro’s Makati (Photo courtesy of Anthill Fabric Gallery)
weaves together fashion with social consciousness in their design. Their apparel incorporates fabric woven in indigenous communities in Abra, Cebu, Bukidnon, Benguet, Mindoro, and South Cotabato.
Weave neckties from Anthill (Photo courtesy of Anthill Fabric Gallery)
Everyday clothes become a way to showcase the craftsmanship of Filipino weaving communities. Anthill skirts and jackets, which range from PhP2,299 to PhP3,499 are great for breaking up the monotony of corporate wear. For men, they have neckties (PhP899) and bowties (PhP549 to PhP649) that can be worn with a suit or polo shirt for a fresh pop of color.
Infinity scarves from Anthill are a great travel companion. (Photo courtesy of Anthill Fabric Gallery)
Practical items like scarves (PhP999 to PhP1,299), luggage tags (PhP275), and passport holders (PhP375) make good gifts that anyone can use, especially those who love to travel. There are also trinkets like brass rings and bracelets (PhP319 to PhP399) for people who love to accessorize.
Colorful passport holders remind travelers of the Philippines. (Photo courtesy of Anthill Fabric Gallery)
For kids, there’s the Anthill Baro’t Saya Doll (PhP549), which is carried in Human Nature stores. This doll is a plush toy dressed in traditional baro’t saya (blouse and skirt), with the doll’s skirt made of hablon fabric from Negros.
Anthill Baro’t Saya Doll, a unique gift for kids (Photo courtesy of Anthill Fabric Gallery)
Whether apparel or non-apparel items, the common thread of these products is preserving the craftsmanship of Filipino weavers. “Fabrics are more than just ingredients for fashion. For us, it is a way of life. In Anthill, we always say wear your tribe with pride because for us, our weaves and our culture don’t just belong in museums or coffee table books. We have to live it and wear it for it to be celebrated, for future generations to be able to witness what we are proud of today,” said Anthill Co-Founder and Managing Director Anya Lim.
Anthill is located at Gorordo Ave., Cebu City While their products are available at The Henry Hotel , Paseo Saturnino, Cebu City; Tesoro Handicrafts , A. Arnaiz Avenue, Makati and online at www.facebook.com/AnthillFabricGallery.
Buying local does not only support our economy, but also the livelihood of fellow Filipinos employed by homegrown companies. By being more conscious of our buying decisions, we can give gifts that keep in giving way beyond the Christmas season. Happy shopping!
Prices are subject to change without prior notice.