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Holiday gift ideas

Food, fragrance, and other fab finds to help you finish your Christmas shopping


by Paulyne L. Fermin

Tic Toc Tic Toc. Only 15 days left and it’s Christmas! Everybody is in such a rush to get everything accomplished before the big day arrives. The malls are packed and traffic is doubly horrendous this time of year.  All are part and parcel, however, of Christmas as we know it in the Philippines.

To help you get your shopping done, I’ve rounded up some gift ideas that will make wonderful tidings. Each of these products cost less than a thousand pesos and is produced locally. More important, each of your purchases will help support businesses by Filipina entrepreneurs.

  • Fashionable Finds (clockwise form top left) Scents from Fille et Fils, must-have sunnies from Icon Eyewear, embroidered sacks from Santa Sack Manila, and Kiele skin correcting mineral powder.

  • Match made in chocolate heaven. Gift your loved ones with Xocolat’s ultimate cocoa mixes and pair it with freshly baked buttery brioche dotted with bits of Belgian chocolate (R645 for Pan de Xocolat box of 9).

  • Thoughtful Tidings
    Clockwise from top: Xocolat’s holiday gift basket, bodywash lineup of Smell Chic and green tea sans rival with a serving of food for the gods from Arleen’s Sweet Art.


    For Valerie Lopez and her partners Pinky Ortiz, Rina Avecilla, and Trish Malvar, chocolate is an indulgence one can’t do without. Beautifully packaged with witty notes that read “Take big bites! Moderation is for monks,” all of their products are sinfully delicious! Xocolat’s signature hot chocolate blends (P345 to P399) come in five flavors: dark, old fashioned, organic, xocolat rush (mocha) and wicked (spiced). This season, the cacao selections come with a ceramic mug in a box (P745).  My preferred perfect pair to the ultimate hot cocoa mixes is the gourmet brownies in a baton box (box of five for P500).  Imagine hefty servings of gooey goodness in citrus, espresso s’mores, original sin, peanut butter, and salted caramel. One bite and you’ll surely fall in love! Their bite size green and dark tea cookies (P195) and three cookies in a jar (P345) are also delightful grab-and-go gifts.

    G/F Lobby, Promenade, Greenhills and 172 B. Gonzales St. Loyola Heights, QC; 02 470 7563


    Arleen Agustin makes the most beautiful celebration cakes and is the baker of choice among women south of Manila. My daughter’s five-tiered candylicious first birthday cake topped with a Lalaloopsy 3D doll drew ahh’s from guests. Her famous sans rival (old fashioned green tea, and chocolate, P750) made of four layers of decadent meringue wafers richly covered in buttercream and topped with cashew nuts is simply unforgettable.  Another deliciously divine creation (which I’ve hoarded) is her food for the gods (P225/box of eight, P450/box of 16). Guaranteed to satisfy your recipients’ sweet cravings!

    Facebook/Arleen’s Sweet Art; 63 920 922 5145


    Started by friends Cathy Cruz, Vanna Garcia, Lisa Rossiter, and Maui Chua, Smell Chic has seven fresh and unique fragrances for both the body wash (500 ml, P379) and hand sanitizers (50ml, P99).  Sophisticated Grace (a burst of floral goodness) and Classic Audrey (nectarine and honey) body washes are staples in my bathroom. It makes me shower longer than I need to and the scent stays on my skin all day long. I also like the brand’s linen spray in Olive scent.

    63 917 486 4888;


    The common passion for scents and all things pure, fresh, and clean inspired friends Trisha Salvador-Ocampo and Tricia Chongbian-Concepcion to start Fille et Fils (French for daughter and son) Therapy. Made from the most select natural oils from France, the brand’s eau de cologne and eau de toilette sprays (P500 to P700) are must-haves not only for the holidays but all year through. These scents will leave you smelling like a new born babe, handy for travelling and everyday use, great to spritz on you and your kids. My current favorites are the fleur d’orange and fleur d’vanille limited edition set.

    Sapato Manila, Tarte Tatin and Fifth Rack Aguirre St. BF Home;,


    There’s no need to break the bank to be fashionable according to Icon Eyewear’s chief executive officer Bambi Garcia. Round pieces, funky rims, and bold colors dominate this season’s playful collection. These trends have a youthful vibe that echo the season of cheers. The brand has become quite popular with the savvy shoppers because of its price-friendly designer-inspired lunettes. Priced at P399, you can very well afford to gift your friends with these and get some for yourself, too!

    3rd floor, Glorietta 1 near bridgeway and at the G/F of Market Market Taguig.


    Entrepreneur Marga Nograles has just come up with an exciting product that all women will adore. Introducing Kiele’s skin correcting mineral powder (P375) that’s made from Mediterranean clay. Loaded with anti-aging and anti-acne properties, this wonder powder not only blurs imperfections as it creates a flawless matte finish but also heals and protects. Comes in light and medium tones.


    Lucy Katipunan promises that Santa will certainly be lured to put more gifts in these personalized velvet stockings (P450) and sacks (P550 for small/ P580 for large) from Santa Sack Manila.

    Facebook/ Santa Sack Manila;; 63 917 881 2810

    Happy shopping everyone!

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