Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Give twice as much this Christmas

The season of giving is here once again! What I like to do at the beginning of the last quarter each year  is to survey all the different non-profits and social enterprises that are coming out with special Christmas offerings. After all, it can't hurt to be a little efficient: buying from these sources makes sure you give twice as much - by getting gifts to your loved ones and donating to a worthy cause :-)

So far, here are some of my favorites:

1. Pathways to Higher Education

Pathways to Higher Education is a "social involvement program that identifies bright but financially-underprivileged public high school students and equips them with the necessary skills, both academic and non-academic, to ensure they get a fair chance at a college education."

This Christmas, they are offering two main products as part of their fund raising program: "Grains of Hope" brown rice christmas pack at Php 180.00 each, and "Wining Brew" coffee  and masco rocks pack at Php 250.00 each. Both come in festive-colored native bags.

According to their side, their Pathways scholars loving pack the products grown and harvested by Filipino farmers. These products are chemical free and completely home-grown.

For more information, contact or call +63 (2) 4266001 local 4404 to 4049. You can view their catalog and order form here.

2. Hands On Manila

I have been volunteering with Hands On Manila for almost four years now, and they are one of my favorite volunteer organizations in the country because they have streamlined the whole volunteering process. They make it easy for busy working professionals to still fit in some time to give back to the community despite their busy schedules.

I loved their past Christmas items - notebooks that come with a built in calendar and two pads of cute little post it notes that say "Be the Change. Volunteer" at the bottom, and a collection of pretty Filipino-themed greeting cards.

For this year, they are offering premium polvoron in ornamental gift boxes covered in natural jute fabric and accented with a pineapple ornament on the cover - supposedly symbolizing hospitality. These are priced at PhP 295.00 for the smaller box, and PhP 495.00 for the bigger size.

For more information, contact Perry Belen at or call +63 (2) 4737458. Click here for the order form.

The EchoStore is one of my favorite concept stores because it is all about sustainable lifestyle. They carry many of my favorite brands - Rags 2 Riches, Human Nature, Ilog Maria, and many many more. You can check out their website to learn more about them, or follow their store on Twitter at @ECHOstore.

The EchoStore has one of the most comprehensive Christmas pack offerings I have seen so far, with gift packages ranging from PhP 650 to PhP 1,750 per gift basket. They offer a mix of different themes - coffees, personal care, organic foods - including a set that's especially made for pet lovers!

To see a full list of their offerings, click here.

For more information, contact Kate Carlos at  / or call +63917 - 5141396 / +63 (2) 4680397.

4. Human Nature

Ever since I started my slow transition from commercial products to natural / organic products, Human Nature has become one of my favorite brands.

After researching on their website, it seems they did not really come out with any Christmas packages. However, there is an interesting new development - where they only formerly offered personal care products, they are now offering the Love Minerals line of makeup. So that is definitely something different that you can give this Christmas.

I am an avid fan of mineral makeup - do the research yourself - and you will find it has a multitude of benefits compared to regular makeup. And it looks better too, flawless finish!

Because Human Nature actually works with a lot of distributors and individual dealers, you can still chance upon some Christmas packages that these resellers have put together. EchoStore has a "Bath Essentials" pack that includes Human Nature Feminine Wash, for example.

5. Anthill Fabric Gallery

Anthill Fabric Gallery is another favorite because of the innovative concept - a creative social enterprise that makes creativity, lifestyle and social change meet. (Also because it sprouted in my hometown of Cebu City!!) 

While it imports beautiful fabrics from all over Asia, it also features our very own Filipino indigenous weaves, with a portion of sales going back to income generation for rural communities - some of them indigenous tribes -  and young entrepreneurs. For a quick introduction to Anthill, view their video here.

They not only sell fabrics, but also different kinds of fabric products that are great for gifts.

Although Anthill did not release any special Christmas gift packs, they did launch their Royalty Card - which gets you a ton of perks. So shopping here is actually a three-fold thing - get great products, support indigenous communities or young entrepreneurs, and get perks. How can you lose?

For more information, contact or call +63 (32) 5054175.

UPDATES as of 24 November 2010:

A couple of days after I put up this post, I got an email from Anthill launching their holiday specials. Check these out, tumblers and planners made with indigenous weaves. Talk about unique! I am definitely stocking up on this when I visit Cebu.

Are you a social enterprise or nonprofit that is also offering gift items this Christmas? Send me an email and I'd be happy to review your stuff :-)

Happy Christmas shopping, everyone!

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