1. The Manila Collectible Company
Best for: culture vultures
Wandering around the Manila Collectible Co. is like taking a speed tour of the country from north to south. There are indigenous woven items, packaged food, local goods you would have to travel hours to find, and even backscratchers. It’s a joy to find them all here in the walled city of Intramuros, perfect for your break from the Old Manila heritage sites.
The Manila Collectible Company Chamber 8, Sta. Clara St., Intramuros, Manila. Open daily, 8am-6pm. www.facebook.com/manilacollectible
2. Islands Souvenirs
Best for: souvenir t-shirt hoarders
If your family and friends enjoy collecting things with the name of your destination on it, then this is an essential stop on your itinerary. Cebu-based Islands Souvenirs’ bright and happy designs are affordably priced and always radiate that summer-y vibe. It’s the easiest way to say you’ve been to the beach.
Islands Souvenirs Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3, Cebu International Airport, and numerous outlets in Cebu and nationwide. www.facebook.com/theislandsway
3. Team Manila
Best for: urban design geeks
Students, music lovers and graphic artists head over to Team Manila for wearable tees, caps and bags that don’t scream “tourist!” National hero Jose Rizal (in sunnies) is the face of the brand, which keeps their merchandise young, hip and brimming with Pinoy pride.
Team Manila Lifestyle Robinsons Place Manila, Powerplant Mall Makati, Ayala Malls, selected SM Malls, Harbor Point Subic, Marquee Mall Angeles City. teammanilalifestyle.com
Best for: those in a hurry
There is no retail behemoth bigger than SM, and Kultura Filipino is their venture into the balikbayan (returning citizen) and tourist segment. Kultura has it all, from Filipiniana wear to packaged food to home decor. Prices are higher than when sourced directly from the supplier, but still reasonable.
Kultura Filipino has standalone stores in major SM Malls and can also be found within SM Stores. kulturafilipino.com
5. Chef Tony’s
Best for: those who prefer snacks over stuff
In our office, it seems that everyone who comes back from the Philippines brings back a few tubs of happiness from Chef Tony’s Popcorn. Why? It’s universally approved: GMO-free corn, premium ingredients, zero trans fat, certified Halal, and yummy flavours that are not overpoweringly sweet or salty.
Chef Tony’s Popcorn Available at selected SM Stores, Robinsons Department Stores www.facebook.com/cheftonysphilippines
Best for: eco-conscious homemakers
ECHOstore isn’t exactly a souvenir shop, but its natural, organic and fair-trade merchandise make perfect gifts. Aside from its house brand, it has like-minded brands for your sustainable lifestyle.
ECHOstore Salcedo Village, The Podium Ortigas, Serendra BGC, Eton Centris Walk QC, Streetscape Mall Cebu, Robinsons Highlands Davao www.echostore.ph
Best for: frequent fliers
Spot your backpacks and luggage from a mile away with Wanderskye’s polyester and spandex bag covers designed by Filipino artists. You’ll never look twice at someone else’s baggage or wrap yours in metres of plastic ever again.
Wanderskye Available at Flight001, Common Thread and The Travel Club, which has branches at various malls in Metro Manila, SM Clark, Ayala Cebu, Abreeza Davao and SM Cagayan de Oro www.wanderskye.com