20 Proudly Filipino Brands We Love
by Audrey Ferriol on Jun 05, 2016
Updated on June 2021
In light of our celebration of Philippine Independence Day this June, we're giving a much-needed shout-out to Filipino brands and items we're head over heels for here at R2R! These are products, places, and people we’re in love with because they embody everything the R2R team personally believes in: excellence in quality, proudly homegrown, and an empowering social or environmental vision.
Try out the brands in this ever-evolving list and beam with extra pride at the creativity and ingenuity of the Filipino.
1. Happy Skin
This local makeup brand was built to make women (and their skin!) happy and well-cared-for. We especially love the special attention they put to the ingredients to make sure that our skin is, well, happy!
Our marketing associate, Nicole, shares, “I've always loved makeup since high school but I can't fully enjoy wearing it because I have very sensitive skin. When I read about Happy Skin's uniquely formulated lippies that make it easy to achieve that gorgeous matte finish while also moisturizing your lips, I tried them and my lips loved it! I have two shades of their Shut Up & Kiss Me Moisturizing Matte Lippies.”
Photos from Happy Skin Facebook page
Human Heart Nature, a Gawad Kalinga brainchild, is already getting quite known as a Filipino social enterprise. They create organic personal hygiene and beauty products, successfully competing against big, international brands stacked along your grocery aisle.
What we love most about it is its founders started the Human Heart Nature journey because they wanted to start a revolution of inclusive enterprises that promote caring and restoring communities. In the R2R HQ, we use their Natural Hand Soap in our comfort rooms and Natural Dishwashing Liquid in our pantry!
Photos from Human Heart Nature Facebook page
This one is another organic home and beauty brand that we use in the R2R HQ! Zenutrients bottles the best that nature has to offer. They have everything from bath soaps and shampoos to massage oils and room deodorizers without the harmful chemicals!
A personal favorite of ours in the office? Their Room Freshener & Linen Spray!
Photos from Seek the Uniq
VMV Hypoallergenics takes pride in being the first and only brand to rate a product’s hypoallergenicity, which measures the likelihood of it causing allergies. The 42-year-old brand founded by a dermatologist-dermatopathologist from Cebu and Leyte is on a mission to save the world’s skin and takes a firm stand against testing on animals.
Many beauty products contain harsh chemicals and can cause breakouts, allergies and untimely aging to our skin. Finn ensures their customers’ overall skin health by using only all-natural ingredients in their makeup and skincare products. They also encourage environmental stewardship by returning empty tins of their products to be used for refills.
To complete our beauty and wellness regimen, they offer beeswax candles made from pure essential oils and dried flowers.
ANTHILL is another social enterprise that infuses our country’s beautiful, traditional weaves into fashion fit for the modern Filipina and Filipino, reviving a dying art that we really should continue to cultivate, patronize, and boast about internationally – lest it disappears!
Steph, our culture and systems manager, loves that with ANTHILL, indigenous cloth could be part of our daily lives. “They’ve been advocating for this (wear your tribe with pride!) and as a result, we have beautiful clothes that we can wear every day and have amazing stories behind them.”
Fun fact: Did you know that we source most of our indigenous fabric for our R2R bags through ANTHILL? We partner with them not just through pop-ups shops and shopping parties but also in our product design!
Photos from ANTHILL Fabric Gallery Facebook page
Renegade Folk’s everyday leather sandals are handcrafted by talented Filipino artisans (just like R2R!) and that’s why so many of us at the HQ love them. Their sandals’ styles are so simple but very elegant, perfect for everyday wear. Our president and co-founder, Reese, admires that “their style is so laid back, fun, and still sophisticated! I believe their style, values, and aesthetics are so Pinoy!”
Photos from Renegade Folk
On the other hand, the shoes from Risqué Designs are those one-of-a-kind pieces for those extra special occasions. They’re a Filipino lifestyle brand that brings forth modernity and luxury with its meticulously handcrafted artisan products, working with the far-flung communities of Negros Occidental and Paete, Laguna, to the busy show town of Marikina City.
“I love the innovation they do with indigenous fabric and their advocacy to support local cobblers,” Reese shared.
Photos from Risqué Designs
We’re firm believers that handmade products are made with love so seeing how intricate the details are in Amami jewelry makes us extra proud that it’s a Filipino brand. They aim to preserve endangered jewelry-making traditions, and empower craftsmen to persist and find value in their work.
By increasing demand for their artisanal and traditional earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings and cufflinks, they’re able to provide livelihood to silversmiths who are masters in pre-colonial techniques, and convince younger artisans to learn the craft.
10. Zarah Juan
Zarah Juan is one of the local enterprises that proudly advocate sustainable fashion by ensuring each bag, pair of shoes, and accessory they create is made with intention, and celebrates our cultural heritage at the same time. They collaborate with various artisan communities to produce unique handcrafted products using local materials like abaca, rattan, and pandan leaves. Some of their products that caught our eye are a jeepney-inspired bag co-created by artisans from Cavite, Abra, Benguet and Bulacan, a planter that incorporates a woman in terno hand-carved and painted by Paete craftspeople, and fiesta-themed earrings handmade by artists from Cebu.
11. Kenneth Cobonpue
We’re pretty sure you’ve seen Kenneth Cobonpue pieces and you’ll know why we love them – what’s not to love about them? He’s hailed as "rattans first virtuoso" by TIME magazine, among many other awards and accolades, and he’s a designer that shone and proved that Filipino quality and design are world-class, even having clients as big as Brad Pitt! The dream is to have a Kenneth Cobonpue piece in our homes!
Photos from Kenneth Cobonpue
12. Common Room
We love and support local crafts at R2R and that’s why we can’t help but gush over Common Room along Dela Rosa Street, Katipunan Avenue. It’s home to 30+ local brands on decor, arts, and craft, showcasing the talents of our up and coming Filipino makers! Among our many favorites are the succulents from The Greenhouse Project, stuffed toys and pillows by PopJunkLove, and the mugs and paper products by Pluma.
Common Room also hosts a variety of arts and crafts workshops in its cute space, perfect for those weekends with friends where you're tired of going to the mall again. Workshops such as these are the perfect opportunity to try something new!
Photos from Common Room
13. Jacinto & Lirio
We’re fans of making things from materials that others consider as waste, so we have a lot of admiration for Jacinto & Lirio. They’re a social enterprise that uses water hyacinths, which are considered as aquatic pests, to make multi-functional plant leather goods like journals, bags, and lanyards.
The communities they work with have been severely affected by the damage water hyacinths have caused, hampering fishing livelihoods and forcing evacuations due to clogged waterways. Through advocating for stylishness and sustainability, they’re also able to provide meaningful work to communities, while transforming a potentially destructive material into eco-friendly products.
14. Abel Philippines
Abel weaving, a traditional technique used by Ilocano master weavers to produce stunning high-quality inabel textiles, has been modernized in recent years to come up with fashion and household items that will catch the attention of a wider audience. One of the brands that hopes to bring Inabel to as many Filipino homes as possible is Abel Philippines, a brand that works with over fifty weavers from northern provinces to produce blankets, pillow cases, bed covers, placemats, napkins, and table runners. They also accept customization work for wedding souvenirs and other special requests.
15. Sustainably Made
At a time when quarantine makes us want to remodel our spaces, it’s tempting to get cheap furniture and home accessories without considering their durability and longevity. Sustainably Made, on the other hand, makes a case for producing and using kitchenware, home accessories and bespoke furniture that are built to last long. Their products made from sustainably farmed premium wood undergo a process called kiln drying which safeguards against temperature changes and parasitic attacks.
16. Tsaa Laya
Again, we adore social good enterprises that carry items of excellent quality because they’re a win-win for both the people making the products and the ones buying them. One example of such is Tsaa Laya, a line of premium tea products made by women and mothers who are the beneficiaries of Kapwa Greens Lifestyle, an organization that provides an entrepreneurial capacity building for underprivileged members of the community.
Tsaa Laya has an exciting variety of flavors ranging from the classic mint tea to more complex ones such as lemon ginger.
Photos from Rappler
17. Bayani Brew
Another idea that started in Gawad Kalinga is Bayani Brew. This social enterprise started out organically (pun intended!) when the people of one Gawad Kalinga community would offer hot, casserole-brewed tanglad or pandan leaves.
Now, Bayani Brew gives sustainable livelihood to farmers of these native leaves! These organic ingredients are also known to ward off all sorts of diseases.
Photos from Marketa
18. Theo & Philo
If you ask someone what their favorite chocolate is, chances are a local brand wouldn’t be top of mind. This is challenged by Theo and Philo Artisan Chocolates, the country’s first bean-to-bar single origin chocolate company. They use high-quality local ingredients, coming up with intriguing varieties like Dark Chocolate with Calamansi, Milk Chocolate Turon, Dark Chocolate with Black Sesame, Cashew & Pili, and Milk Chocolate Adobo, among many others.
According to Cropital, two out of three farmers live below the poverty line, despite our country being one of the top rice importers in the world. To help smallholder farmers gain fairer wages and consequently, uplift the local agricultural sector, they connect them to anyone who wants to invest their money, and enable them to reach a wider customer base. The Cropital Store offers different rice varieties, and even a cute gift option - a dressed-up 5-kilogram pack of locally sourced rice, with the face of a bear!
The popular street food that can be found in a few Southeast Asian countries takes on a local twist with artisanal rolled ice cream brand Elait. Interesting flavors like Champorado, Banoffee and Strawberry Cheesecake are served to you by hearing-impaired staff whom you can communicate with using a basic sign language chart provided in all their stalls. Elait has the same owners as Overdough, a cookie and doughnut shop that also employs differently abled individuals.
Written by Audrey Ferriol & Meryl Ligunas