‘Tis the season to have a social impact, too
Sustainability seems to be the theme this season, with more people now looking for ways to celebrate Christmas with less of that mindless consumerism and more of asceticism. This goes down to gift-giving, as giving presents that are local and artisanal shows that more thought has been put into choosing items that are practical, have less impact on the planet, and offer economic support to community projects.
There are several stores around the metro that offer artisanal products, but if you are in the mood for some mall shopping, there was the “BPI Sinag ng Pasko” bazaar that took place at the Glorietta 2 Activity Center last December 5 and 6.
The bazaar featured tasteful, homegrown products that make unique gift items. These have been curated by the BPI Foundation, the social innovation platform of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) that aims to showcase social enterprises, or businesses with triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit.
According to Maricris San Diego, executive director of the BPI Foundation, among the sellers at the bazaar were their Sinag Awardees, who have been chosen to receive cash grants and specialized mentorship from a boot camp to grow their businesses.
These awardee-merchants include Saret Organic Farmville, a social, inclusive agri-enterprise working with poor upland farmers and indigenous tribes in Bulacan to produce saleable items such as cacao bars and powdered cacao, turmeric, and cayenne; Junk Not Handicraft, a small-scale brand that promotes and produces eco-creative furniture from upcycled materials; and Uproot Aquaponics, which introduced the soil-free farming technique to low income communities in the Philippines and who will be selling different types of leafy greens at the two-day event.
There were other food items that were made available, such as the sought-after chocolates from Auro, a bean-to-bar chocolate company that sustainably sources their cocoa beans directly from local farming communities in Davao (with free sampling), and various products from Puto ni Papa, ASAM.ph, Balangay’s Best, The Bila Rural Improvement Development (BIRD) Club.
Participating arts and crafts social enterprises featuring handmade products from different communities in the Philippines include AADR Arts and Crafts Center, Accents and Petals, Button’n’things, CustomMade Crafts, Edaya Cordillera, Jacinto & Lirio, Karaw CraftVentures, Mori Notes, and the Ayala Foundation.
Emerging fashion and accessory brands like Akaba, Angie Yakan, Bags for Life, Everything is Pine, Habi Lifestyle, Hera Beatrice, JCJ Barcelon Enterprises, Knitting Expedition, Tejo Collective, Xabukid, and Zambawood highlighted the use of local textiles and designs. There were environmentally-friendly house helpers, too, in the form of Messy Bessy’s cleaning solutions, and the cute, personalized wooden chopping boards and utensils from Grood Wood.
BPI added a touch of tech to the Sinag ng Pasko bazaar this year, with cashless transactions through their new banking app. Customers can now pay digitally using the BPI mobile app by scanning the merchants’ QR code and transferring their payments.