Gift ideas that keep on giv­ing


The hol­i­day rush fre­quently sum­mons child­hood mem­o­ries of my mother dash­ing off to join the crowds in Divi­so­ria to buy our Christ­mas presents. There were even a few years when she would take me along with her and I would see gar­ish rep­re­sen­ta­tions of my fa­vorite car­toon char­ac­ters dec­o­rat­ing the stalls in 168 Mall. We would buy items in whole­sale, of course, mostly gifts that bore cheap plas­tic cas­ings and were made in bulk in China. Un­sur­pris­ingly, any­thing that in­volved elec­tric wiring never lasted more than a cou­ple of months.

Now that I’m older and wiser, brav­ing Divi­so­ria dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son is out of the ques­tion. And given the cur­rently high­lighted mind­set to save the Earth in our own lit­tle way, why not give the gift of sus­tain­abil­ity to your loved ones in­stead, and maybe even spark change in their life­styles?

A few of to­day’s names in the green and cre­ative fields share the eco-friendly gifts they’d give their loved ones this Christ­mas, and may their wish lists in­spire the rest of us to fol­low suit.

Ju­lia Ne­brija, ur­ban plan­ner

“Kal­sada cof­fee. The com­pany sup­ports lo­cal farm­ers and does all the roast­ing and pack­ag­ing in the coun­try [where the cof­fee farms are]. This sea­son, Kal­sada has a spe­cial col­lab­o­ra­tion with Filipino artist Dex Fer­nan­dez, and the Kal­sada Kof­fee Junkie Klub art can make a gift ex­tra spe­cial. These treats and more can be found at The HUB in Es­colta.”

Charisse Aquino-Tu­gade, cre­ative di­rec­tor Cul­tur­aid and The Manila Col­lectible Co.

“Hand­wo­ven Maguin­danaoan Inaul ma­l­ongs. Buy­ing them sup­ports the newly formed weav­ing com­mu­nity of moth­ers that Cul­tur­aid is sup­port­ing in Maguin­danao, where they use 100 per­cent cot­ton. Ifugao brass, be­cause there are only five fam­i­lies left that do brass cast­ing, and also to raise funds for our Ifugao hut project, where old huts can be re­stored by the lo­cal com­mu­nity for sus­tain­able tourism pur­poses. Fi­nally, Maranao mother of pearl in­lay charg­ers, in sup­port of our com­mu­nity in Tu­gaya. We’re do­ing the first cul­tural map­ping in that area and artisans need help in mar­ket­ing their prod­ucts.”

Car­los Celdran, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Manila Bi­en­nale 2018

“Co­conut oil. It’s the prod­uct of an in­dus­try we should sup­port. It’s good for you and it’s a gift that one may not nec­es­sar­ily think of giv­ing to them­selves.”

"Ifugao brass, be­cause there are only five fam­i­lies left that do the cast­ing..."

Maguin­danaoan Inaul ma­l­ong

Co­conut oil

Ifugao brass

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