Giving with meaning

What you give can benefit not only the recipient, but a good cause as well.

By Ruth Manimtim-Floresca


Christmas is when we delight in making our loved ones happy by giving them things that they want or need. This yuletide season, make gift-giving more meaningful with items with worthwhile advocacies.

Human Nature ( products use ingredients that are locally grown and available in the Philippines. “[T]he company also provides livelihood to our local farmers by taking care of the Gawad Kalinga farms where they plant raw materials for the ingredients,” describes Aletha Tan, a dealer of Human Nature. “I personally buy [these] products because I want to keep my family away from harmful chemicals that may put our health at risk. I also believe in [their] advocacy, mission, and the benefits of the products.”

Suggested gift items: Their Mineral Make-Up Line which includes foundation, powder, lip gloss, lipstick, lip balm, blush, eyeshadow, and cleansing oil, with prices that range from P79.75 to P475.00.

Luntian Bags is a livelihood program started by Ichay Bulaong in San Teodoro, Mabini, Batangas that provides jobs for unemployed women and promotes the use of stylish, earth-friendly reusable bags instead of wasting plastic ones. In 2007, Bulaong read in a TIME magazine article that every year, more than 500 billion plastic bags are distributed—and less than three percent of them are recycled. “More than the numbers, however, my main takeaway was that we, normal people—and not scientists or radical activists—can do something about it,” says Bulaong. The suggestion to bring one’s own bag when buying groceries to reduce plastic bag pollution made her realize she can do that and, maybe, get other people to do it, too.

Suggested gift items: Tad-balik Reversible Bags are canvas totes with funky prints and pockets, and can be turned inside out. They’re available in eight designs and sell for P350.00 each. To see more products, visit

Messy Bessy ( is a line of worry-free household cleaning products made with safe, non-toxic, all-natural, biodegradable ingredients that are good for the health and for the planet, too! Sales benefit the employment and education of formerly abused, incarcerated and impoverished young adults.

Suggested gift items: Messy Baby products like Handy Nanny (P135 for 60ml and P800 for 1000ml), an on-the-go odorless disinfectant for baby’s toys and surroundings; Gentle Soap Flakes (P300 for 300g) for use as a surface cleaner, baby bottle cleaner, dish soap, and laundry soap; and Diaper Bin Odor Absorber (P150 for 3 x 90g) which are odor-absorbing tea bags to eliminate bad smell in baby’s diaper bin.

Rags2Riches Inc. is a for-profit social enterprise that offers eco-ethical fashion and home accessories using scrap cloth, organic materials and indigenous fabrics. The products are made by women living in poor communities across the Philippines. Rags2Riches provide these women with fair access to the market and the formal economy, with additional skills-based, financial and health training to further their career potentials and improve their long-term financial and personal well-being.

Suggested gift items: Rags2Riches clutches available at are sold from P1195.00 and up. For the list of other outlets log on to

For more gifts-with-a-cause, check out the latest issue of HealthToday magazine, out now in bookstores and newsstands.

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