Culture, Living

Balai Balai Houses Mindful Gifts to Brighten Up the Holiday Season

Shopping for Christmas gifts is no easy feat. With the rising price of basic consumer goods, buying gifts for our loved ones would be the least of our worries. Balai balai however offers alternatives in which you can hit two birds with one stone–by housing products that are most if not all handmade by women, and by helping you decide which gift would suit various tastes best–without really breaking the bank.

Something Local: Balai Balai

Balai Balai is a lifestyle brand that carries a curated selection of one-of-a-kind, natural, cultural, and regenerative products handmade by Filipino artisans from all over the country. The name for the brand was inspired by “playing house-house” when in 2015, Andrea participated in the Liwanag Festival for sustainable initiatives in Cebu and was tasked to perform a skit that symbolized the resurrection of the Babaylan (traditional healer and culture bearer in pre-colonial Philippines) as part of a group for Arts, Culture, and Business.

“I wanted to bring together a few other homegrown Cebuano brands inspired by a similar ethos of sustainability and good energy. I originally connected with Kym and Bryan (the brand owners) through the holistic community of Cebu.” –Andrea Nable, owner of Balai Balai shares.

Something Cozy: Elemento

Elemento is a Cebu-based fragrance and lifestyle brand that specializes in creating olfactory objects meant to inspire the senses. Made from a custom blend of vegetable and natural waxes, Elemento offers Discovery sets to help shoppers try out four different scents at once before committing to a candle that they fancy.

Included in their lineup of products are bestsellers Grandvert and Monarch. Elemento also introduced their latest addition to the family: Ugly Sweater, a well-rounded scent that has hints of mandarin, coffee, pine, patchouli, vetiver, and tonka beans. “Ugly Sweater” convinces you to crank up the air conditioning, and make yourself something warm to drink, a book, or a good movie. 

Something Slow Fashion: Solti Collective

Solti is a slow fashion business located and produced in Cebu City, Philippines. The collective is committed to creating products that bring happiness and good energy into our lives. Solti is the flow of water, the cool in your hair, the supportive Earth under your feet, and the fire in your heart. Known for its wide array of tops and dresses, Solti Collective includes three dresses Shakti, Tala, and Vian to the pop-up shop.

In the spirit of true Filipino holidays, it is common for us to practice the tradition of monito/monita where we decide on a price range, draw names, and anonymously buy gifts for the person we got until the actual Christmas party celebration. Luckily, the pop-up shop offers a wide range of budget-friendly options which you can cop for five hundred pesos below.

5 under 500: Five Intentional Gifts You Can Give This Holiday Season

Abaca Angel Christmas Ornaments (₱550); Embroidered Sinamay Food Cover (₱450); Pahiyom Placemats (₱440/pc); Plant-dyed Bandanas (₱450); Yakan Earrings with Lapis lazuli and Rose quartz crystals (₱500)

Skip the glittery, plastic ornaments this year and opt for these nifty angel Christmas ornaments made of abaca instead. On the other hand, Balai Balai’s embroidered sinamay food covers are perfect for preserving leftovers on your table after a delightful Thanksgiving dinner. While you’re at it, make a statement to beloved guests and relatives with beautifully embroidered Pahiyom placemats.

If you’re looking for your next wardrobe addition, consider a more vegan approach with plant-dyed bandanas, available in the tones of Mahogany, Guava, and Turmeric. Meanwhile, pair them with the Yakan earrings or give them as gifts together!

Shop for more items in the Balai Balai pop-up holiday gift boutique located in BOCA, 2 Albaño subdivision, Mandaue City from November 11 to December 17, 2023. Open from 11:00 AM to 7:30 PM on the Weekends, and 3:30 PM to 7:30 PM on Thursdays & Fridays.

Instagram: @balai.balai_  |  Facebook: Balai Balai

Photo courtesy Balai Balai

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