Baguio became Independent City in 1916 from being the former provincial capital of Benguet for the reason of it being a highly urbanized city that became the center of business, commerce, and education in Northern Luzon.
It is the tourist destination in the Northern part of the Philippines with its cool climate, foggy hills, panoramic views, and lovely flowers. The city is rich in culture and countless resources that opens chances for investments and business opportunities to the city.
Last year, the City of Pines has been included in UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network due to the craft and folk art traditions of the city wherein, a lot of local artists, artisans, and the creative community established ENTACool 2018 to help and promote the culture and creativity of Baguio.
Being one of the top destination during holidays, long weekend, summer and due to various activities drives the city’s production of a variety of souvenir items, handicrafts, and edible goodies to become popular for tourist coming from different places – both national and international.
Some of these products are bought as pasalubong, but can also be the best gift you can give this coming Christmas. As what they keep on saying, “Buying handmade is buying from someone who cares.” This means that it is handled with care and they took the time and effort in order to bring satisfaction and love to the ones who will be receiving the finished product.
Here is the list of best Gifts Ideas made in Baguio City:
A Tie Weave to an Art
Hand-weaving is one of the most interesting traditional crafts in the Philippines because of its cultural significance. In Northern Luzon, the Cordilleran ethnic groups are one of those who still continues to preserve, promote and passed down the tradition of hand-weaving to many generations. Most of the weavers in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) uses the back-strap loom and a dyeing technique that employs tie-resist on the yarns which is called Ikat.
Narda’s is a pioneer in making woven art that started in 1972 who first produce vibrant bags, shawls, scarves, placemats, and rugs. The business is been exporting to countries like Japan, United States, and Canada after Bloomingdale’s New York featured the products in a Philippine sales exhibition in the year 1982. Now, Narda’s also sells wall hangings with leather insets and coco beads, hats, and clothes like tops, skirt, bolero, etc. made in a tie-dyed thread. There are several businesses in Baguio that also entered hand-weaving and started to build their names in the weaving industry.
These handwoven products are one of the best gifts to your family or friends which they can wear, make as a home decor, handy bag, pillowcase and many more that are very convenient to use in any occasions. You can find and buy it in all souvenir stalls at major tourist spots or at Easter Weaving Room, which started way back in 1908. You can also check out the Baguio City Market, Maharlika and other stalls in Business Central District.
Love of Portraits and Paints
A lot of heartwarming memories are created on Christmas day or any special occasions where families gather to catch up, bond and reconnect to each other. The common way to preserve these memories are through picture takings to be printed and framed, but sometimes other photos fade due to its quality or caused by changes in weather.
You must try to make your gift more touching and exciting by giving someone a painting or caricature of herself. It can also be their favorite pet, a family picture, an unforgettable scene you want to remember, or a memory you want to revive and preserve.
If you are in a hurry, you can try the ready-made paintings or sketches where you will be only choosing the art you think is suited to their liking or characteristic. Remember, people go but art doesn’t and painting or sketch are one of those.
You can find various paintings and sketches in Tam-awan Village, BenCab Museum, Pasa-Kalye beside Bookends Baguio bookshop, and many more. According to Anandita Jumde, “When you gift someone a painting, you gift them a little piece of the world that is theirs and theirs alone.”
Woodworks and Antiques that last long
We all know that woodworks and furniture made from molave, narra and kamagong are used to make an Ifugao carved “nail-less.” A lot of local furniture makers are committed to sustaining the industry by utilizing the native artisan’s skills here in Baguio.
There artisans are those people who sell and promote locally made woodworks and antiques made by our artisans of Independent furniture shops in the city, while others are original designs coming from the Woodcarver’s Village along Asin Road. You have a lot of choices to pick from as a gift. It can be a rocking chair for grandfather, a set of dining utensils for grandmother, or a big, comfy sala set for the family, and many others.
Antiques are popular too in the City of Pines due to its unique and creative designs made and preserved by the local artists. Some are made from recycled materials not knowing that it has a use and can form an art while few are restored antiques. These are gifts that you can give to someone who loves saving the environment and are into vintage stuff.
Silverworks made with meanings
There are many silver shops that sell sterling silver, silver-plated treasures, and personalized jewelry items in the City which you can see anywhere. A lot of people are fond of white-colored jewelry and handcrafted gift items. Jewelry is something that you want to give for someone who is very special in your life or to a person who prefers simple but elegant things such as a ring, earrings, necklace, bracelet, etc.
Hence, before buying you must know the meaning behind the ring, bracelet, necklace, watch, brooch, or any other jewelry piece you choose for them. It may have a meaning that is not suitable for the one you are about to give because of its personality. The meaning of jewelry may vary from where and what it made from, make sure to ask the jewelry seller or try to do a research first for more information.
Make sure to buy jewelry from legitimate silver crafters rather than buying crafts sold at the market or near the tourist attractions for a cheap price. Ask and look for silver shops known in the city that you can visit if you haven’t seen the one that you want to buy as a present.
“Anyone who read a book as a child knows the power of a good piece of literature. Whether it’s a fictional adventure to imaginary lands, a biographical piece with lessons from history, or something entirely different, a book has the power to spark curiosity, introduce innovation, and open opportunity.” Aaron Kinnari said.
People nowadays prefer watching movies instead of reading the original book where it was adopted thinking that imagining things is just a waste of time rather than seeing it on a widescreen. Little do they now, there are scenes in the book that never shown in a movie.
Kids who grew up with modern technologies are already hooked with video games, social media, and other applications that make them interact less with other children personally and/or time in reading books. Bottom line is it does not depend on their age on why they don’t make enough free time to sit and lose themselves in a book.
Nevertheless, there are some who still loves reading books from its texture, smell, and content who prefer isolating themselves from a crowd and make their own world with the characters of the story.
Mt. Cloud Bookshop in Baguio offers works of local writers that features the history and literature of the City of Pines, also presents a wide spectrum of Philippine literature and scholarly work. You might find a book that you might be interested with or something that will make your gift recipient happy because of affection he/she will feel with it. They also sell international books that are already limited and can’t find in other bookshops.
The city’s biggest pre-loved bookshop, Bookends Baguio, is a reliable source of rare books from classic, romance, poetry to scientific-fiction. As well children’s book has its own section in the shop. Maricar Docyogen, the owner of the shop, wants to revive the city’s reading culture by selling the books for a cheap price.
It is better to encourage kids, also adults, to read a book and limit them from using phones, tablet, computer, and even television. Books are nice gifts you can give to someone because of the benefit in stress reduction, vocabulary expansion, more knowledge you can have, memory improvement, mental stimulation, and as a free entertainment.
A Wine for everyone
Wine as a gift is great for any occasion and the perfect gift for those hard to shop for people in your life. Well, besides from being a classy gift with different flavors to choose from, no one will be disappointed when receiving it. After all, the best wines are the ones we drink with friends or family.
There are five main types of wine – red wine, white wine, rose wine, sparkling wine, and fortified wine. But before you go shopping for the perfect one, you need to work out your budget. Knowing the person’s tastes is the key, if they have a sweet tooth then they might prefer a sweeter wine or if you are not sure just approach staff in the store and ask politely for any recommendation.
The most popular wines here in Baguio are the Strawberry Wine, Fruit Wine, Bugnay Wine, and Tapuey. Strawberry wines are one of the top of the list for its light, fairly sweet and the aroma that is very distinct. It originated in La Trinidad and being sell in different shops in Baguio City.
Fruit wines are distinct for having different flavors that you can choose from such as mango, grapes, apple, berry and more to give you a sweet and dry taste and can be bought 3 for about 100 to 150 pesos only.
Bugnay wine, on the other hand, is a kind of sour berry that is ripest when it is blackest that grows in the wild mountainous regions of the North. The fruit has a sour taste similar to that of the cranberry when immature, and a tart but sweet taste when ripe.
Lastly, the popular rice wine called Tapuey (also called Tapuy or Tapey) is a traditional beverage that originated from Banaue and the Mountain Province. It is made from pure rice juice that is either moderately sweetened or sugar-free. It has a strong alcoholic flavor that surely leaves an aftertaste. The glutinous rice is cooked and set aside for about three days while inside a closed vessel to be fermented.
Of course, you wouldn’t want to give plain wine bottle as a gift to your loved one, so make sure to wrap it with a big classy ribbon and a card with a small message on it or put it on a classy paper bag to make it look presentable.
Surely, these gifts will make your loved ones’ Christmas extra meaningful because of their good quality, affordable price and the effort you exerted in finding them the gifts. Not only will you be able to help those local artists, designers, and crafters, but you also made their Christmas memorable by buying their products.
We get used to buying gifts from malls or shops that sell branded clothes, bags, shoes, appliances made from other country thinking that it is the most convenient and easy to look from. It is pretty and expensive but the effort and feeling are just not there. It’s like giving something that he/she already has or can buy, possibly something better than your gift.
To end, don’t be afraid of trying new things and look around carefully. There are a lot of shops and stalls that have unique products and things worth spending money. It will surely make you think hard on which you’ll be buying because of remembering someone or memorable event in your life that triggers it. As what Janice Maeditere said, “Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.”