A Filipino Gift Guide for the Holidaze
If you’ve done some holiday shopping already, then you’re counting down the 15 days until Christmas! If you’re a procrastinator like me, then you’re counting down the one last payday until Christmas and frantically stressing to shop for last minute gifts. Luckily there’s this cool thing called the internet where you can do some of that shopping with the swift swipe of the wrist and tap of a fingertip.
You’ll be supporting your fellow kababayans, enabling small business owners for their livelihood, sticking it to the corporate man, and getting your loved ones thoughtful gifts all at the same damn time. Here’s my compilation of unique Filipino-themed gift ideas, made by Filipinos for Filipinos (or anybody who has a genuine appreciation for Filipino culture).
1. SCENTED SOY WAX CANDLES - $8+
Created by Make Look Good
Scent is the strongest sense tied to memory. These Philippine-themed scented candles will bring you back to memories of your childhood. These natural hand-poured candles come in 4oz or 8oz mason jars scented in your choice of sampaguita (the national flower of the Philippines), good old classic coconut, and kape (decorated with Kalsada’s Philippine specialty coffee). Check out Make Look Good's online shop for additional items like Philippine textile buttons and screen printed posters.
2. BRASS BRACELET SETS - $35/set of 3
Made in the Philippines for Vinta Gallery
These one-of-a-kind traditional T’boli and Ifugao brass bracelets are respecitvely hand made in the Philippine island of Mindanao, as well as Ifugao Province by one of the last remaining brass casters in the region, artisan Basilio. Includes shipping to Canada as well as US.
3. PICKLED AMPALAYA (BITTERMELON) - $12
Created by Food * Sh*t
I had to become grown and sexy to develop an appreciation for ampalaya. As a kid, it was so bitter but now I love the taste of it and eat it regularly, especially for it’s ahmahzing nutritional properties. This jar of pickled ampalaya might be a nice reintroduction of bitter melon to your diet. Don’t let them colonize our palette. Keep it bitter, sweet, and spicy - like your love life maybe.
Food & Sh*t is a monthly Filipino pop-up restaurant based in Seattle.
4. BONIFACIO MOUSEPAD - $8.95
Created by Ugat Clothing
Nowadays everybody wanna talk like they got something to say but nothing comes out when they move their lips. Just a bunch of gibberish. And mufuggas act like they forgot about Andres. Bonifacio that is. Rep Andres Bonfacio aka “father of and Philippine revolution” with this unique mousepad design by Ugat Clothing. Be sure to check out their entire line of more Filipino-themed shirts and hoodies at super affordable prices too.
5. TATU ANORAK - $64.50
Created by Kampeon Company
From Kampeon: "As warriors, Filipino tribesmen tattoo'd their bodies directly related to their lives that include amount of beheadings, occupation, family, etc. The "chaklag" batek/batok/tatak, usually ran upward from each nipple, curving out on the shoulders and ending on the upper arm is earned and a sign of bravery and manhood. [...] This "Tatu" is our interpretation of Filipino tribal markings.” Comes in unisexy sizing!
Update: Sorry this item was too hot and is now sold out, but Kampeon got other dope shit to check out like this kids “Singang” shirt featuring the whole gulay gang tho.
6. BEATROCK MUSIC BUNDLE - $100+
Created by Beatrock Music
Beatrock Music is a record label that is home to a bunch of dope Filipino rappers, musicians, and community organizers including Bambu, Power Struggle, Ruby Ibarra, Rocky Rivera, The Bar, and hella more. Bundle up and grab this special music package that includes 12 CDs (yes TWELVE, like the 12 days of Christmas or something), plus a #veryrare cassette tape of fire. Make sure you check out each individual artist’s online store for other good shit too.
7. SAMPGUITA PIN - $10
Created by Justine Gilbuena
Filipina illustrator Justine Gilbuena makes cute lil enamel pins and patches based off of her own sketchbook drawings and doodles, including this beautiful sampaguita flower. Get your orders in by December 15 for guaranteed Christmas arrival!
In addition, for every sampaguita pin sold, $5 is donated to Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network (Youth Link Arms), a national Filipino youth and student network formed in response to Typhoon Haiyan that advocates for human rights and environmental justice.
8. SURF NINJAS AUTOGRAPH - $25
Every 90s Filipino kid remembers how cool it was to see a fellow Filipino on the big screen, or maybe just VHS. Either way, when Surf Ninjas was released in 1993 and actor Ernie Reyes Jr. had a totally kick-ass lead role, we all had a weird sense of pride. Get a signed photo from the surf ninja himself and wow your cousin who might still be stuck in the 90s.
Shout out to co-star half-Filipino red head Rob Schneider too.
Hood Famous Bakeshop just launched their new online shop! So for all you non-Seattle folks that have been watching Filipina baker Chera Amlag do her thing from a distance, you can now order select items to be conveniently shipped to you anywhere nationwide. This is a total game changer - because they are now also the exclusive online US retailer of Kalsada Philippine specialty coffee. Order by December 19th for guaranteed delivery by Christmas.
9. SWEET GIFT PACKAGES - $7.95+
Created by Hood Famous Bakeshop
Seattle-based small business Hood Famous Bakeshop is a small bakery with a big heart (and appetite!) for unique Filipino sweets and they're busy cranking out the holiday goods again this year. If you’ve got a sweet monster in your life, these baked goods and gift sets will hit the spot. This time they’ve got special-order ube pies to share at your holiday gatherings, hot cocoa and ube macapuno marshmallows in a mug gift set, and even EIY (eat it yourself) polvoron making kits, among other things.
ALSO, VISIT THE BAKESHOP located at 2325 1/2 NW Market Street, Seattle, WA 98107. Open Thursday-Saturday 11am-7pm and Sundays 11am-5pm.
10. PHILIPPINE SPECIALTY COFFEE - $17.50
Created by Kalsada Coffee
Polvoron is hella dry so unless you want cottonmouth you’re gonna need something to wash it down - like some good Philippine-grown coffee. Started in Seattle in 2013 by local Filipina Carmel Laurino, Kalsada is now based in both Seattle and Manila, working directly with the amazing Filipino farmers who expertly grow the beans. Their mission is to bring Philippine coffee to the international stage by giving Filipino coffee producers a fair price for their hard work.
Did you know Philippine coffee from Batangas province was being sold in Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market in 1909? The Filipino Coffee Company obviously did not stick around but coincidentally the first Starbucks store opened nearly seven decades later in the same exact area after the photo on the left was taken. This photo was the source of Carmel's inspiration that led her half way across the world to explore Philippine coffee at it's source.
BUY KALSADA'S ROASTED WHOLE COFFEE BEANS in select stores in the Philippines, New York City, and Seattle - found exclusively at Hood Famous Bakeshop in Ballard (plus their new online shop!), as well as the new pop-up shop Palengke downtown at 1528 1st Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98122.
*BONUS ROUND: SEATTLE ONLY
Sometimes you procrastinate hella extra hard and miss the deadline for online shipping, so here’s a bonus list of gift ideas that you can pick up foreal last minute locally in Seattle only.
11. MADAME DRAGON'S 60TH BIRTHDAY BASH - $75
"...Sara Porkalob has transformed the story of her Filipino gangster family into a culinary cabaret adventure."
If you have not yet seen the live theatrical show "The Dragon Lady", you can now catch the amazing solo performance by local award-winning Filipina performer, director and arts activist Sara Porkalob, from January 12-22, 2017. Plus, there will be Filipino food. Tickets are on sale now, but hurry up and buy because Sara has sold out her past shows very quickly. This performance and dinner showcasing Filipino culture will make for really unique gift that will not disappoint.
12. ARTWORK - $5 & up
Last but definitely not least, there is Seattle pop-up shop Palengke. Definitely check out this semi-permanent pop-up shop that carries some of the items mentioned above, as well as a handful of unique and beautiful artwork created by amazing community artists. Okay, I’m biased - because I am a part of curating and putting this shop together - but there is some serious talent here in Seattle (and worldwide) of Filipino artists doing their thang that you should definitely support. Come check out the spot for more art and one-of-a-kind vintage Philippine items from personal collections.
VISIT THE PALENGKE before we close on December 30, 2016, located in the mezzanine level of 1528 1st Avenue (inside Alchemy Goods). Open every damn day Monday-Friday 11am-7pm, Saturday 10am-8pm, Sunday 10am-6pm.
Good luck shopping and may the holidaze be ever in your favor. This is definitely not meant to be an exhaustive list and hopefully it inspires you to explore your own communities to shop small and local. If you have any Filipino-themed gift ideas that you think should be added to this list, by all means shoot me an email and I'll be happy to add on. Maligayang pasko!