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Christmas Shopping: Locally-made and sustainable gifts for a greener Christmas

By Pauline Evora

The holiday season is yet another opportunity to reflect on family, friendship and love. Giving a gift to someone is as important as the process of choosing the right present, for the gifts that will be cherished the most are the ones coming from the heart.

Here is our special selection of favorites proudly, beautifully, and lovingly made in Boracay and in the Philippines.

Made in Boracay

Shopping to empower women and local productivity is possible now, thanks to the Boracay Women Producers Cooperative.

Comprised of farmers, entrepreneurs, employees and housewives, the members describe themselves as “pro-active, productive, pro-health, and pro-environment women that advocate for an organic Boracay.” Respecting good manufacturing practices towards zero waste processing, their production line is extensive and made from raw materials. These implementations ensure safe non-chemical based farming.

Their line of eco-friendly products made from Gumamela (hibiscus) flowers include flower candies and teas, soaps, shampoos, dish washing and hand washing soaps are created with natural lye from wood ash and rain water. They use Boracay’s native mangoes (known as Indian mangoes) to create dried goods, candies and fruit jams.

“We have also mass produced Boracay’s native coffee SARA SARA with a natural sweetener of coconut sugar and a non-dairy coffee creamer from Boracay’s survival crops (the root crops), while the bread fruit or remas are made into chips wrapped in native tablea chocolates,” they tell Boracay Sun.

You can find their products under the name Pinay Boracay and Hibiscus Gwapamela at Hugod in D’Mall, La Rossa Mini Mart in Station 3, Grace Hotel Souvenir shop, the Villa Caemilla souvenir shop, BETC Coffee Shop at Tindahan It Boracay, Boracay Mini Mart and at RB Souvenirs in D’Mall. The profit from each sale supports the advocacies, social services benefits and livelihood projects of their all-women cooperative.

Cocoya is another proud local brand, founded in 2018 to promote Philippine-made products. Their unique soaps, handmade in Boracay, will be a great addition to your shopping list for friends and family living outside of the island. Layered with the colors of the sand, sea, and sky, a coconut tree coming out of its frame or shaped like a Filipino coin, the soaps are not only original, but also healthy and eco-friendly. Cocoya makes their beautiful products in small batches only, using the best ingredients. They also add a combination of herbs found on the island. You can find them at Chris Sports Boracay in D’Mall. They will soon be available at Coco Supermarket Store.

If you are looking for a gift that can be enjoyed with friends, then Destileria Barako has your back!

Created in 2016, the distillery handcrafts their gin and vodka in the jungles of Malay. “We pride ourselves in integrating with our local community and even assist local farmers in farming products that we require for our recipes.”

Their Sirena Blue Pea gin is probably the most unique product they carry. Including Philippine floral touches such as Sampaguita and blue pea flowers, the distinctive purple bottle has won a double gold medal at the SIP Awards (2018 and 2019 ) in the US. They also offer Sirena Dry Gin, Sirena Vodka and an amazing Kanto Salted Caramel. Crafts is the only place on Boracay that supplies the bottles commercially, at PhP120 for Blue Pea and Kanto Vodka (50mL), and PhP715 for a 700mL bottle.

For a most original gift, take your friends for a tour of the Destileria on the mainland to see how their gin and vodka are made! A pool, drinks and much fun awaits you. Contact them at (0995) 294 3231 to book a visit.

Made in the Philippines

Local Color is a shop that emphasizes the talent of Filipinos in many ways. Chocolate bars from The Sunny Side Café, in partnership with local, artisanal chocolate-maker, Risa Chocolates would please anyone with a sweet tooth. Made with cacao from South Cotobato, these goodies are helping Filipino farmers.

The shop located in Station X also carries Filipino-designed accessories such as the Masanting Satreria calamansi scarf, Starfish knitted toys by Mayown, and Philippine fruit tote bags by Cynthia Bauzon-Arre.

If you are after a more sophisticated and timeless gift, you can never go wrong with a bottle of Don Papa Rum. Produced with sugar cane from Negros, the uniquely flavored rum is manufactured on the foothill of Mount Kanlaon.

Aside from their soaps, Cocoya also produces delicious toasted coconut snacks from organic plantations in Davao. Gift the children with little bags of goodness made from fresh coconuts instead of the usual sweets. Their crunchy texture and natural rich flavor will have them asking for more! You can find them at Orange Mart and at Chris Sports Boracay in D’Mall.

EcoVie Philippines is a beautiful brand founded in 2004, that focuses on recycling or converting defective materials into fashion products in order to give employment to skilled workers. The brand which means “organic life” in French, transforms everything they touch into art.

Doypacks become colorful mats, pouch, bags or baskets to add a joyful touch to any room. Old kite sails transform into sturdy, stylish and unique bags of every size and shape. Aluminum cans metamorphose into Christmas decorations and purses. Materials are sourced both in Cebu city and Boracay. Here & Now Boutique in D’Mall showcases the extensive line that their brand offers. Thanks to the shop, you can now easily switch all your Christmas tree decors to recycled ones.

Here & Now Boutique also carries beautifully handcrafted and upcycled jewelry by Lumago Designs, a social enterprise and livelihood program from Dumaguete City. Lumago Designs enables women living under the poverty line in Dumaguete to earn a fair and reliable living wage through handcrafted and upcycled accessories, enabling the artisans to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. The punchy collection includes one-of-a-kind neckpieces and earrings that make for great conversation pieces, with a beautiful story behind each masterpiece (inscribed in the tags!). Lumago products are also available atThe General Store at Coast Boracay.

And if your budget is limited, be original!

A gift from the heart is always most precious. Think first about what the other person loves or might need. For foodies, you can spread the love by baking for your friends and families. There’s nothing sweeter than receiving a box of homemade muffins or Food for the Gods for the Christmas breakfast.

Do your girlfriends like to take care of themselves with all natural products? A homemade scrub is a must, and as easy as combining some sugar or coffee, honey and a few drops of essential oil to brighten their daily routine.

Do you miss spending time with someone? You can prepare a jar of popsicle sticks where you write twenty dates they can pick anytime: having coffee together, a walk on the beach, watching a movie together, eating ice cream.

The ideas are endless when you have no time to shop. Be creative, have fun and open your heart to your loved ones!



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