7 local shops for unique Christmas gifts

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Alaga PH is a local brand of lifestyle products and pet supplies made by local craftsmen. Image from ALAGA PH/FACEBOOK

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — With Christmas less than a week away, most people are heading to the malls to finish their shopping. But online and in little boutiques spread across Manila, locally-owned businesses are also gearing up for the Christmas rush. Competing with big, well-known brands is tough, but support for locally made products has been growing lately thanks to collectives and groups who advocate for local entrepreneurship. Today, there are countless shops to choose from, specializing in all kinds of products, from scents to handwoven pet beds.

Buying from locally-owned businesses has a lot of benefits — many locally-made products are sustainable and eco-friendly, empower local craftsmen, and help create jobs and generate more income in local communities. A lot of small businesses also tap underprivileged and indigenous communities to work with them under fair trade principles.

As it is the season to be giving, consider completing your Christmas shopping by purchasing from local businesses this year. We’ve compiled a list of shops and sellers specializing in locally-made products.

Alaga PH

Alaga PH is a local brand of lifestyle products and pet supplies made by local craftsmen. The Peaceful Pod and Blissful Bed cat beds are handwoven using water hyacinth overgrowth that have been removed from waterways to prevent flooding and the destruction of nearby wildlife. The group donates ₱100 to the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) for every purchase. The donations go to the rescue, rehabilitation, spay-neuter, and rehoming of the sheltered cats and dogs at PAWS.

Visit Alaga PH’s Facebook page for more information.

AKABA Ltd. Design Co.

AKABA is a social enterprise that produces backpacks, knapsacks, satchels, and travel bags that are made of indigenous handwoven textiles. Their website details the type of textile used and the region it hails from, so that you know exactly where each bag comes from.

The group is partnered with weaving communities in Ilocos Norte, Isabela, Oriental Mindoro, Zamboanga, Basilan, and Sulu to craft the bags, which they support through various means, such as conducting livelihood programs and enforcing fair trade policies.

AKABA Ltd. Design Co. opened their flagship store at Eastwood Mall, Quezon City. Visit their website for more information.

Lucy in the Sky

Lucy in the Sky is a clothing brand that uses deadstock and unused fabric that big garment manufacturers keep in storage or simply throw out. The company works with local garment houses near Manila to produce their clothes; the result is affordable and eco-conscious clothing.

Lucy in the Sky is located at 2F, Glorietta 1, Makati City. Visit their website for more information.


Indayog PH

Indayog PH is a small business that sells summery bags, wrap skirts, and robes. The most eye-catching product they have is the hand-woven water hyacinth bag, which are locally sourced and made in Laguna. The bags come in all shapes and sizes, from mini sling bags to backpacks.

Indayog PH’s products are sold at Sa Store, HUB: Make Lab, 413 Escolta St., First United Building, Malate, Manila.


Simoy ng Haraya

Simoy ng Haraya is a scent line concocted by Lala de Leon. The scents are meant to conjure “a rustic space of tranquility amid the frenzy of life in the city.” Each scent is unique, bearing names that bring back memories (Alaala, Kilig, Lambing, Sulyap, Yakap) or take you to your favorite moments (Ulan, Ambon, Buwan, Umaga). Each perfume bottle comes with a tanaga — a traditional four-line poem in Filipino — penned by poet Angelo V. Suarez. The company also produces room and linen sprays, as well as reed diffusers.

Simoy ng Haraya’s products can be purchased online, at Retail Lab at Powerplant Mall, Rockwell, Makati City, Common Room Katipunan, Quezon City, and Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa City.

Proudly Promdi 1.jpg Image from PROUDLY PROMDI/FACEBOOK

Proudly Promdi packages and distributes handcrafted Bugnay and Tapuey rice wine. These wines are sourced from the local winemaking community of Adams, Ilocos Norte. Bugnay is a type of wild cherry that is sweet and tart in flavor. Tapuey is made from cooked and fermented glutinous rice that is stored in jars for months. Tapuey rice wine is usually served at rituals and special occasions.

Proudly Promdi also offers mobile bar services. Their Travelling Promdi Bar can be booked to serve craft cocktails at private events, parties, and weddings.

Visit Proudly Promdi’s website or Facebook page for more information.

GEN. MDSE. - General Merchandise

GEN. MDSE. is just as its name suggests — it’s a store that houses anything and everything from household goods (acacia dinnerware, hand-painted glassware, hand-printed mirrors, tea sets, planters) to vintage and signature fashion (eyeglasses, jackets, accessories) and snacks (granola treats, cacao nibs, tea).

GEN. MDSE. is located at 413 Escolta St., First United Building, Malate, Manila. Visit their Facebook page for more information.