Artisanal Pinoy gifts

Published December 11, 2021, 11:00 AM

by John Legaspi

Special gift ideas crafted by the guards of Philippine heritage

“Local crafts are the baseline of the creative economy, which will alleviate poverty and spur sustainable development,” HABI president and long-time purveyor of local goods, Adelaida Lim, tells Manila Bulletin.

Who wouldn’t agree with that? The Philippines has such a diverse culture that is best represented by artisanal works, from the humble banig and handwoven textiles to the produce we grow in our rich soil. These products are unique and among the best things the country can offer internationally, especially with the continuous demand for more eco-friendly and ethical products. We owe it to our artisans and indigenous communities who have kept many of our age-old crafts alive, especially during this time when many Filipinos are always looking outside the nation’s borders rather than within.

That’s why this holiday season, let’s patronize their goods by giving your loved ones a piece of Philippine culture. From charming home decors and wearable art to tasty treats, here are some gift ideas that champion all things local, inclusive, and sustainable.

Filigree jewelry

Filigree jewelry-making has been part of the country’s heritage even before the Spanish colonization era began. Keeping this craft alive and supporting its artisans is homegrown brand Amami. Its “Sibol” collection presents beautiful bloom-inspired pieces and its genderless line “Basilio” has something for everyone.

Price starts at 3,500 (“Sibol”) and 3,900 (“Basilio”)

Instagram: |

Asin Tibuok

This is not your ordinary table salt. Asin Tibuok, which means “unbroken salt,” is an artisanal food made in Alburquerque, Bohol through a months-long soaking process of coconut husks in seawater. The husks are then sun-dried and burned, creating an orb that looks like a dinosaur egg that has a sharp smokey taste and faint fruity flavor.

Asin Tibuok

Price upon request

Woven parols

Social enterprise Anthill presents a symbol of hope this season with their “Parol ng Pag-Asa” holiday ornament. The native star decor is made of patchwork local textiles, handwoven by its partner Daraghuyan Tribe in Bukidnon, Mindanao.

Anthill woven parol

Price: 1,999 (small) and 2,999 (Big)

Instagram: @anthillfabric

Ube produce

Facebook page “Cabalen Aeta Farmers and Partners” are bridging ube or purple yam buyers with

the Pampanga-based Aeta farmers. But if you are not keen on cooking halaya for Christmas gift-giving, their partners make sumptuous ube treats that are holiday-ready.

Price of ube fruit is 75 per kilo, while orders of 50 kilos and up are priced at 65 per kilo.

Wooden timepieces

Capturing the spirit of indigenous creativity and sustainable style, wooden watches by Kayu are crafted by the hands of the Ivatan ethnic group.

kayu wooden timepiece

Price: 2,300

Instagram: |

Coffee gift set

Coffee start-up Upgrounds is bringing the best local coffee beans to Filipino homes this Christmas with its holiday gift sets. Apart from the local brews, the kits also feature its collection of tumblers, mug, coffee press, and coffee jars made of bamboo.

Upgrounds Coffee Set

Price starts at 450

Instagram: @upgroundsmnl |

Alfombra footwear

Working with the shoemakers of Marikina and Laguna, Sewn Sandals presents a reimagination of the classic Pinoy tsinelas. Inspired by Pateros’ Alfombra apatan is its Animan, a six-strapped Alfombra made of pure abaca.

Sewn Sandals Animan

Price: 1,190

Instagram: @sewnsandals |

Custom dress in local weaves

It doesn’t just do custom work, it can even bring your fashion sketches to life. Local brand Northern Looms can help make your style dream a reality with handloomed textile such as pinilian, ikat, and binakul. This takes personal gifts to the next level.

Northern Looms

Price upon request

Instagram: @northernlooms


Binetwagan bags

Social enterprise Rags2Riches brings to ethical fashion this holiday season with its color-blocked Binetwagan bags. Its urban artisans crafted the brand’s signature weave and used it with the Binetwagan, another type of inabel from Ilocos, to create arm candies in the shape of a classic saddle and Cebu’s iconic treat pusô.

Rags2Riches Puso

Price starts at 2,500

Instagram: @rags2richesinc |


Abaca fruit basket

Make fruit presentations on Noche Buena and Media Noche more festive with Maison Love Marie’s coastal-inspired abaca fruit bowl. Fashion influencer Heart Evangelista collaborated with the artisans of Sorsogon in creating the piece and the rest of her “Padaba” collection.

Maison Love Marie Abaca Fruit Basket

Price: 780

Instagram: @shopmaisonlovemarie |


Buri masks

Give your loved ones an armor for protection with these buri masks by homegrown brand Mimi+Lipi. Made by women weavers in Quezon Province, these doctor-approved face masks are made out of handwoven dried buri leaves and neoprene fabrics, and come in an array of designs.

Mimi+Lipi Buri Masks

Price upon request

Instagram: @mimi.lipi


Rum-infused chocolate bars

Sinful and full of pleasure, this rum-infused chocolate bar is the perfect Aguinaldo for the adults, sorry kids. Auro Chocolate’s 70 percent Davao-cultivated dark chocolate becomes spirited with Don Papa Rum’s premium single-island rum.

Auro Chocolate Don Papa Rum

Price: 295

Instagram: aurochocolate |