The Nice List: Last minute gifts that make a difference

The Nice List: Last minute gifts that make a difference

‘Tis the season to frolick to the malls in a frenzied craze, in search for the perfect gifts for loved ones. Ah, the holidays. There’s nothing like the madness of last minute Christmas shopping that makes you want to pull your hair out and hole up at home to avoid the holiday rush. But more than the never ending traffic and long queues at every store,  comes the real headache of having to decide what presents to give.

When you’re on a time crunch, scrambling through aisles of products can be overwhelming (and we’d rather use that time to travel!).  It’s easy to settle for that shirt or perfume that no one really wants for the sake of having something to give. But this mindless consumption isn’t just expensive, it can also be quite wasteful and hurtful to our planet. To help you avoid the traps of last minute holiday shopping, we’ve rounded up a list of mindful gift ideas that are thoughtful for both your adventure-loving loved ones and the environment.
From wooden watches to woven backpacks, these presents are the perfect ways to inspire more adventures this 2019. The best part is, apart from being locally and sustainably crafted, these items all make a difference (😛) as well.

Katutubo Kit by Ma-ta Philippines

Looking for an affordable gift that suits a zero waste lifestyle? Ma-ta partners up with environmentally conscious brands like Tela Story, Slo Living, and Where To Next? to bring together your daily essentials all bundled up in one kit. Each kit comes wrapped in an ethically produced banig case and includes items made from durable bamboo such as local cutlery, a reusable straw, and a toothbrush.

In addition to the Katutubo Kit, Ma-ta also has three other mindful kits to choose from that contain your everyday necessities in travel sizes, from organic toothpaste to homemade hand spray.

Knapsacks by Akaba

You can never go wrong with a good, trusty backpack – especially if you’re gifting it to a traveler! Equipped with both design and functionality, the best things about Akaba’s backpacks are the stories they tell. A quick visit to their website shows you the handwoven textiles used as well as the weaving communities that crafted the bags. They also have stores in malls all over the Metro.

This knapsack features the Sinaluan textile, intricately woven using backstrap looms by the Yakan people of Basilan, Southern Mindanao. Akaba’s other bags are also crafted by various weaving communities all over the country, from the Tausug’s of Sulu to the T’boli women of Cotobato. Akaba does its part in preserving the country’s rich loom-weaving industry by providing support to these communities by way of conducting livelihood projects and enforcing fair trade policies.

Guppy Beach Towels by Guppy

Know someone who’d rather spends their days by the beach? Guppy Shorts, a local brand known for its vibrant polos and board shorts, recently released its line of beach towels which comes in 4 different colors: Blue Wave, Green Palm, Yellow Sunshine, and Red Cup. Their lightweight and compact size make them perfect to use as beach mats, light towels, and even cover-ups. These towels are locally sourced and crafted from inabel handwoven fabric. These new towels are part of Guppy’s initiative to become more sustainable by supporting local artisans and weavers.

Casual Bamboo Watch by Funk Trunk

We all have that friend or family member who’s never on time for plans. Make sure they’re never late again by gifting them this bamboo watch – Funk Trunk’s unique spin on a classic timepiece. Made out of responsibly sourced wood, these watches are designed for everyday use, making them the perfect accessory for your workplace, as well as your out of town trips.

Funk Trunk has also partnered up with MAD Travel to reach their goal of reforesting the Philippines’ rainforests. The brand pledges to plant a tree for every item purchased. Since 2014, they’ve planted over 10,000 trees and will continue to do so until they reach their goal of 1 million trees by 2020.

Shampoo Tablets from Savon

Savon PH is the pioneer of shampoo tablets in the Philippines. Perfect for your loved ones who are constantly on the go, these are great alternatives to single-use sachets which we all know add to plastic trash. Instead, these sulfate-free, alcohol-free, and vegan tablets are packaged in tin cans which you can refill during Savon’s pop-ups. The tablets are packed with plant-derived ingredients and oils which help with deep cleansing and prevention of dry and itchy scalp (perfect for cleaning up after long days of adventures!). Savon also offers conditioner tablets which come in variants like citrus and lavender.

2019 Travel Planner from Where To Next?

Help your wanderlust-filled friends gear up for the upcoming year with this minimalistic and functional planner. Aside from keeping you on track with your daily hustle, it also contains space for you to plot out more meaningful adventures this 2019 – from bucket lists to vacation leave charts. It’s also filled with beautiful illustrations and photographs from local artists, as well as inspiring stories from passionate individuals. To top it off, 10% of the proceeds from each planner will go to projects for the Aeta communities in Yangil & Botolan, Zambales.


We hope you find a few things that will help show your love for family and friends – and maybe even  yourself – on this list. While we’re sure your loved ones will appreciate just about anything you choose to give them, choosing to gift local and sustainable products that leave positive impacts in the lives of so many others and the environment makes all the difference. Happy (last-minute) shopping!

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