Holiday gift guide: Gifts that help communities, environment

Kara Santos

Posted at Dec 01 2018 01:00 PM

MANILA -- Feel good about this season’s Christmas shopping with these products that give back to the environment and communities in need.

For the outdoorsy friend: Bags from Siklo Pilipinas


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Who knew that bags made from old tires could look cool? Siklo Pilipinas produces a range of eco-ethical lifestyle bags made from repurposed inner tubes and old tires. All their bags, which resemble leather from afar, are tough, waterproof, sustainable and handmade. The bags come in a variety of modern and rugged designs to choose from including cross-body bags, satchels, backpacks, messenger bags, laptop bags, panniers for big and small bikes, legbags for riders and wallets. Since they started, they’ve upcycled over 17 tons of discarded inner tubes and tires that would have otherwise gone to waste.

Cost: Siklo bags range in price depending on size and design. Pangolin Leg Bag: P950; Panniers: P1,150; Crossbody bag: P1,950; Backpack: P3,900.

Where to buy it: Siklo Pilipinas products are available at R.O.X. BGC's Lako Lokal section and the Bambike Headquarters in Intramuros. Website: 

For the fashionista friend: Native bags from The F.A.R.M. 


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For fashionistas, well-designed native bags are a trendy and useful fashion accessory. Especially those that have a good backstory. The F.A.R.M. (which stands for Fabuously Absolutely Rural-Made) by Bidibidi is a local brand from the small town of Baao in Camarines Sur by artist Bernadette de los Santos. The enterprise advocates for artful recycling while providing livelihood for locals.

Women from rural communities in Camarines Sur and Albay weave bangkuan grass into basket-type bags and embellish these with traditional embroidery and crocheting. The unique and fashionable bags have even caught the eye of Heart Evangelista, Tessa Prieto-Valdez and Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo Puyat, to name a few. The enterprise also carries a range of pouches, sling bags, backpacks and other products made from upcycled denim embellished with hand-embroidery and crocheted accessories.


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Cost: The F.A.R.M. Bags range from P2,500 to P3,000 each depending on size and design

Where to buy it: The bags are available in The F.A.R.M. Shoppe by Bidibidi in Baao, Camarines Sur and Rustan’s Makati and Alabang. They’ll also be available at Presente by ArteFino, Finds Section from December 1-16 in Rockwell.

For the perpetually late colleague: Lifesaver watches


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Time is probably the most important gift you could give to someone this holiday season. Especially those fighting the Big C. The LoveHopeFaith Group is a company that has been helping and serving cancer patients since 2013. They aim to give joy and hope thorugh a cause-oriented enterprise by providing affordable products to Filipinos and giving back to the community. For every purchase of their Lifesaver watch, 50% of the net proceeds will be donated to the medication of cancer patients and their various beneficiaries. 

Cost: Lifesaver watches cost just P250 each.

Where to buy it: You can order the Lifesaver watches online at 

For Travel Junkies: Handmade bath & shampoo bars


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Handmade bath bars made by local communities are a great alternative to commerical travel-sized soap and shampoo sold in plastic wrappers, bottles or sachets, which all add to plastic trash. 

Bukid ni Bogs is a permaculture farm and training center that promotes sustainable organic farming in Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur. Their handmade bath bars are made with organic ingredients and come in variants like adlai, calamansi, cucumber, activated charcoal and turmeric. These offer a sustainable, affordable, cruelty-free and eco-friendly way to celebrate the season of gift giving while supporting a community of farmers.

Meanwhile, CleanAir shampoo bars from Haribon Foundation are not only bottle-free and great for travel, but they clean the air too! For every purchase of a CleanAir shampoo bar, a seedling of Philippine native trees such as narra, kamagong and molave will be planted under Haribon’s Forests for Life campaign, a movement that aims to bring back Philippine forests.


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Recipients can choose to plant the seed they donated in one of Haribon's rainforestation drives. The paper wrap that serves as the packaging for the CleanAir shampoo bar serves as a ticket to any Haribon tree planting activity where guests can plant a tree and meet local communities who will nurture it.

Cost: Bukid ni Bogs Shampoo Bar: P30 for Small (50g), P60 for Medium (110g), P80 for Large (140g). Clean Air Shampoo Bar + native tree seedling donation from Haribon: P350 per piece (80g).

Where to buy it: Bukid ni Bogs ships bath bar products nationwide. These are also available from resellers including Active Green PH in Maginhawa. Clean Air Shampoo bars (which come with 1 tree planting activity ticket) from Haribon can be ordered online on Shopee. 

For the Proudly Pinoy: Woven products 


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Woven products that are handmade by artisans in communities help preserve the beautiful weaving traditions around the country.

Langkit weaving is the traditional style of weaving of the Meranaws of Lanao del Sur. These strips of multi-colored fabric are traditionally used to decorate the malong but can also be used as raw materials or accents for modern products like bag straps, clothes, bags, medals, lanyards, and the like. Maranao Collectibles, a group of internally displaced women and men from Marawi, are reestablishing their livelihoods and promoting their culture by producing and selling these woven and embroidered pieces. 

Anthill Fabric Gallery is a social and cultural enterprise working to preserve local weaves through contemporary and zero waste design to sustain the livelihood of community partners in the north and south of the Philippines. Their holiday bundles of products made of woven textiles are ideal gifts for travelers (luggage tag, passport holder, travel envelope), parents (checkbook holders, wine holders, banig bags), kids (native dolls) and colleagues (Christmas ornaments, home decor & functional accessories). Other products feature contemporary designs created from upcycled scrap weaves. 


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Cost: Maranao Collectibles: Maranao Collectibles: Price ranges depending on length, width and complexity of design. Anthill Fabric Gallery: Price ranges depending on items.

Where to buy it: Order online from their Facebook page: Anthill Fabric Gallery is located in Pedro Calomarde Street corner Acacia Street Gorordo Avenue, Cebu City. Products for sale online.