Gifts with Style

Christmas gift ideas for art lovers

A CHIFFON scarf showcasing Michelangelo’s marble masterpiece David on a stylized map of Florence. A sling bag with a photograph of pointe shoes with feathers fluttering by, recalling the ballet classic Swan Lake. A tote bag adorned with Cinderella’s iconic glass slipper and corresponding text from the Charles Perrault fairy tale. These items are being offered by Arts & Letters, an online enterprise specializing in art-inspired lifestyle goods, as Christmas gift options especially for art lovers. The uniquely designed merchandise celebrate literature, dance, music, visual arts and more. Its first fairytale collection showcases Cinderella, with the glass slipper motif also appearing on a pouch, a scarf, and a ceramic mug paired with a teaspoon. Another sling bag features a music sheet of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons (Autumn concerto) as backdrop for a tree in lush autumn colors. This sling bag series will soon include tributes to winter, spring and summer. Arts & Letters’ initial batch of products is available through its Instagram account artsandlettersmanila, or e-mail artsandlettersmanila@gmail.com.

Charitable gift for plantitos and plantitas

HANDS On Manila (HOM) has an ingenious way of expanding the gardening phenomenon by offering a set of 12 plantable gift tags (P400) in blue or red packages. When sending a present, one can use a gift tag, and the recipient can later tear the tag and sprinkle spinach seeds in a pot. You can volunteer in a variety of ways to help HOM partner public schools start a garden. Designing plant signages and labels would be a great help. An organization or company can sponsor a 2 x 8ft garden bed in a school for P50,000. Since 2001, HOM has been initiating and promoting volunteerism in the Philippines with a one day “Servathon” which fields volunteers to partner nonprofits needing help. Due to the pandemic this year, HOM encourage home activity or organizational sponsorship to continue “Servathon.” For more information, call +632 843-7044 or e-mail info@handsonmanila.org

Hand-painted bayong collection

YOUNG Iloilo-born artist/fashion designer G Magalona has recently gone viral, thanks to her collection of Filipiniana-themed hand-painted bayongs, or native hand-woven totes. Exploring possible projects during the lockdown, she found herself surrounded by bayongs, which her mother bought on the road from the municipality of San Marcelino. The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde alumna delicately hand-painted each tote with elements reminiscent of the country’s Spanish colonial past, to include images of the traditional Filipina ala Maria Clara in her traje de mestiza, and landscapes highlighting the bahay na bato and Baroque churches. Through her collection, she wishes to elevate the existing craftsmanship of the bayong and use it as a canvas to further showcase the rich Philippine tradition. Discover more of her works under the tag #gmagalonaart or visit her Facebook (G Paris Magalona) and Instagram (@gistheheiress and @g.magalona.couture).

NBA Store finds for the sporty

AHEAD of the holidays and tip off of the 2020-21 NBA Season on Dec. 23 in the Philippines, the NBA released a holiday gift guide featuring a wide range of NBA products and essentials fit for the NBA fan. The featured items has everything from NBA apparel, gaming, toys, headwear, jerseys, footwear and more. Highlighted products include the all-new Nike NBA City Edition jerseys, Name and Number T-shirts, and NBA Philippines T-shirts. Among the NBA Store finds are: LeBron James LA Lakers Nike Icon Edition Jersey 20/21 made of double-knit fabric that has a classic jersey construction (P3,795); NBA Philippines ‘MNL’ Tee, featuring four designs inspired by the country’s premier NBA fanbase and passion basketball (P995); Golden State Warriors Nike Reversible Courtside Jacket (P8,495); Nike Heritage 86 Swoosh Team 31 NBA Cap Black/Yellow (P1,045); NBA 2K21 Mamba Forever Edition PS4, with extensive improvements upon its graphics and gameplay, competitive and community online features, and deep, varied game modes, the video game offers one-of-a-kind immersion into all facets of NBA basketball and culture (P5,390); a Funko Pop! Magic Johnson LA Lakers (Home) Pop!, which stands at 3.75-inches (P649.75). The NBA tips off its 2020-21 season on Dec. 23 with the opening-night doubleheader as the Brooklyn Nets host the Golden State Warriors at 8 a.m. PHT on NBA League Pass and the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers take on the LA Clippers at 11 a.m. PHT on NBA TV Philippines.

Tod’s gifting ideas

THE HOLIDAY season, give friends, family, and the significant a timeless gift with the “Italianness” that defines Tod’s. Its array of classic handbags and wallets with the Timeless T buckle at the flap opening and Matelasse texture are spiced up with a sp[ecial color palette for the season: claret red, light blue, and pastel pink. Tod’s classic pump shoes, meticulously crafted by seasoned artisans, are available in leather and maxi Croc printed leather in bold colors. For him, there are the latest smooth calfskin lace-ups and loafers, which boast an elegant shine. Besides these casual-chic styles, the calfskin boots also combine lustrous charm and a hand-polished classic buckle. Colorful men”s wallets made from smooth calfskin combine functionality and style. Also, a perfect gift is Tod’s belt collection, with their silhouettes and colors combined with the elegant metal buckle featuring Timeless T details. In the Philippines, Tod’s is exclusively distributed by Stores Specialists, Inc., and stores at Greenbelt 4, Rustan’s Shangri-La, and Shangri-La Plaza.

Bio-Science holiday skincare products

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THE PROLONGED usage of a facemask since the start of the new normal has made it hard on the skin. This Christmas, help a friend achieve healthy and younger-looking skin with Bio-Science products. With an understanding of the skin care needs of Asian women, Bio-Science is the leading Asian skincare brand from Singapore. Bio-Gold Gold Water, a lightweight essence water, is one of Bio-Science’s flagship products, with visible 24K gold flakes. Give those friends suffering from “maskne” the products from this three-step cleansing routine: Bio-Water Foamy Cleanser, infused with hyaluronic acid which ensures skin remains soft and hydrated, while aloe vera extract keeps it refreshed (suitable for sensitive skin); Bio-Gold Gold Water used as a lightweight hydrating serum which penetrates deep into the skin’s surface to keep it moisturized from within, and which also serves as a toner as it helps tighten pores; and the last step is to use Bio-Water Energizing Water Face Mist to lock-in the moisture absorbed from Gold Water. This hypo-allergenic, fragrance-free product can be used every three hours to prevent mask acne. Niacinamide as an active ingredient in this PH-balanced formula refreshes the skin, regulates oil and sebum production, and provides moisture. Bio-Science is available at Watsons and SM Departmental Stores, BeautyMNL, ShopeePH, and LazadaPH.

Holiday picks from MaArte @ Zalora

AN ANNUAL tradition that celebrates and supports some of the most beloved Filipino boutique brands, MaArte Fair has reinvented itself by migrating to leading online marketplace ZALORA Philippines. Patrons are guaranteed the same MaArte experience, which is all about supporting local businesses, augmenting the fundraising efforts of the Museum Foundation of the Philippines, Inc. (MFPI), and ultimately the foundation’s main beneficiary — the National Museum of the Philippines. From jewelry to fashion to home decor, MaArte @ Zalora promises nothing but beautifully made products that proudly showcase local talent and craftsmanship. Evita Degamo of WVC Wear Your Culture believes that looking good and being presentable is still important even during the WFH (Work From Home) era. From her MaArte @ Zalora inventory, check out WVC’s Ann Puff Sleeves Dress Shirt, each handcrafted with colorful patterns from indigenous groups in the Philippines. Antukin Sleepwear is a smart and practical gift for the WFH era. Her dresses come in various sizes for adult women and children. From designer Amina Aranaz-Alunan, check out the Martina clutch, which showcases Aranaz’s signature style. Another bag that may come in handy in this new normal is the T’nalak Clear Fringe Tote by Coco & Tres which is stylish and easy to clean and sanitize. Siklo Enterprises’s Bakoko backpack features an outer shell that’s weatherproof (as it is upcycled from tire inner tube rubber), with a padded back panel is soft on the back coupled with 100% breathable shoulder strap for maximum comfort. For Pinoy pride, check out Ibarra Watches by Nico, like the 38mm Mariano Automatic Dress Watch in Rose Gold because of its versatility and timeless vintage look. Vic Barba of Vittorio has come up with Valiant face masks under his brand, to help Filipinos stay stylish while staying safe. They are made from denim, and come in blue or grey, with adjustable straps, and fits both men and women. All masks are three-ply and have nose clips and cotton lining, which makes them surprisingly breathable. For those lucky enough to be with their children this Christmas, Mia Villanueva of MCV Designs recommends that they share the gift of writing through MCV’s Solihiya Gift Tag box — classy, elegant, and ready to give, since it comes in a box already (P750). WHIMSY by Silay Export’s serving trays are available in three sizes, and can be used in other ways, such as desk or accessories organizer. For Christmas decorations, there are Milvidas’ hand-crocheted Christmas balls. There are also Creative Definitions’ Negros Hablon Table Runner, handwoven by master weaver Helen Managuit of Valladolid, Negros Occidental with 100% Philippine cotton and dyed with Azo free dyes; and WVN Home Textiles’ Holiday Dining Set, which features texture neutrals with soft touches of gold designed to pair with any Christmas dinner setting. Then there is Gifts & Graces’ T’boli Brass 3-Bell Chime to drive away negative vibes and evil spirits. The bell chime by the T’boli tribe was die-cast by hand by artisans living on the hills of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. MaArte @ ZALORA runs till Dec. 31, 2020. Visit zalora.com.ph/maarte or download the ZALORA app, available on iOS and Android.

For the homebound techie interior decorator

TO MAKE your Christmas celebrations special, creating the right ambience is essential. Aside from parols (Christmas lanterns) and the twinkling strands that line houses and Christmas trees, there are other lights that can help enrich the holiday festivities. This is where having a smart lighting system can work wonders. Now available in the Philippines is the WiZ smart lighting system which offers an affordable range of lights and accessories that are easily set up and can be controlled by room and location. The WiZ Connected portfolio includes easy-to-install lights and accessories that enable consumers to instantly experience the perks of smart lighting. To enjoy the system, screw in the new WiZ light and download the intuitive WiZ mobile app. With Wi-Fi and Bluetooth dual protocol chips installed in the latest WiZ products, the pairing process is made easier and more reliable. Set the perfect light to study, create a cozy setting by mimicking a fireplace or candlelight, and synchronize lights with your daily schedule — all easily done through a range of modes on the WiZ app. Even without using the app, managing the lights can be done through voice control with Amazon Alexa, Google Home or Siri shortcuts. To take your smart lighting experience a step further, smart accessories such as the universal WiZmote helps customize your favorite lighting modes for each room. For hands-free control even without Wi-Fi, the WiZ motion sensor turns on your lights to a predefined setting as you enter a room. For more smart lighting magic, the WiZ smart plug instantly turns any light into a smart light — allowing for control through the WiZ app or remote. For more information, product details and specifications, visit https://www.wizconnected.com/. WiZ is also available in all leading hardware stores and e-commerce partners including Shopee and Lazada.

Last-minute gift Ideas

NINJA Van Philippines, a reliable last-mile logistics partner of many online SMEs (small-medium enterprises), offers this list of 10 gift ideas from homegrown brands that surely fit one’s last minute shopping budget. There is Bop Leather Goods’ Tokki — RFID Blocking Wallet, made with 100% cowhide in either black and blue, which can 20 bills and up to six cards (P799). VxG Leather Co.’s Odette Tote Bag (P1,799) and Coast PH’s tech cases and accessories which are eco-friendly and durable. The bio-cases are made from sustainable materials and are 100% biodegradable. Coast PH’s phone cases retail for P999 and Airpods cases are at P599. Then there are Cyleina Organic’s Tomato and Carrot Soaps which are made with organic extracts. The Tomato Soap retails for P115 while the Carrot Soap is P75.00 here. Cyleina Soaps are also available in all Watsons stores nationwide. Hola Maria has amethyst earrings and layered necklaces (P395) featuring natural stones from around the world, and produce hand-finished jewelry that are inspired by one’s penchant for quality pieces of jewelry. Meanwhile, Talaala offers high-grade, hypoallergenic jewelry for daily use. Their products are made in small batches which make them special gifts to give. Each specially-crafted piece has variations of gold, stainless steel, and rose gold that neither tarnish nor fade. Talaala’s Round Plate Earrings retail for P1,000. Nth Aesthetic’s Moroccan Cotton Short Sleeve Shirt (P695) is one of its best sellers. Ultra-soft and tailored for comfort, this shirt is perfect for a casual weekend at home or a quick stop for essentials. It offers a relaxed fit and comes in three colors, from sizes Small to Extra Large. How about a Personal Air Purifier (P3,500) from Madam Ely for friends who are back to work on a regular basis? For those who stay at home, Serendipity Studio offers long-lasting candles including its best sellers Garden Dew, and Good Night, Sleep Tight. Each 250mL candle retails for P450 and has an average burning time of 40 hours. Every purchase comes with a notecard, an extra wood wick and is packaged in a reusable white pouch. Meanwhile, Solace Essentials offer a wide range of different essential oil blends to choose from. Among their best sellers are Sleep Well, Immune Booster, Bye Migraine and Sleep Away. Each roller bottle retails for P395. In a rush to have these sent out? Ninja Van Philippines will deliver your gifts from any of the merchants above right to your recipient’s doorstep, within and outside Metro Manila.

Gifts for as low as P49

EVER Bilena cosmetics brand has an ongoing sale with makeup products as low as P49. Ever Bilena lists down its recommended picks for your trendy sisters and besties: Eyeshadow Palette which comes in two versions — Pink Palette for fun makeup looks and Brown Palette for more neutral, classic look; Ever Bilena Pro Eye Color eye liners; EB Lip and Cheek Stain which it’s multifunctional because it can be used on the eyes, cheeks and lips. All these are under P49. Check out Ever Bilena’s official pages for a full list of items on sale: on Facebook (@everbilenacosmetics), Instagram (@everbilenofficial), Lazada (www.lazada.com.ph) and Shopee (www.shopee.ph).

Healthy Options’ gift sets

FOR thoughtful gifts, consider Healthy Options personal care gift sets, all featuring products which use no artificial ingredients, just the nourishing benefits from nature. The Self Care Anywhere set promises perfect hair days with items featuring the age-defying powers of argan oil. The Moisture Perfect Kit contains products with tried and tested ingredients like extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil will give you moisture that lasts, while pure peppermint essential oils will refresh your hands as they stay clean. The Frizz Free Hydrating set offers smooth, holiday-ready hair that stays flawless, thanks to argan oil and shea butter which effectively moisturize and condition hair.

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