Love Local, Give Local: 10 Christmas Gift Ideas from Mindanao

With Christmas just around the corner, we’re scouring the country for gifts to give our friends and family members. After a recent trip to Butuan, I realized that Mindanao has so much to offer on the gift-giving front! Check out these items that I got to see at The Trading Post – a carefully curated souvenir shop of all things Mindanao found just inside the lobby of the Watergate Boutique Hotel.

Love Local, Give Local: 10 Christmas Gift Ideas from Mindanao

10. Bayod Sunnies

Bayod means waves in Surigaonon, a nod to Surigao (where the brand is from). Apart from being perfect for beach trips, these sunnies are also made from 100% bamboo, and are waterproof, polarized, and eco-friendly.

Each pair of shades comes with a bamboo case, a cleaning cloth, and a cloth pouch. What more could you ask for in a pair of shades? They’re perfect as gifts for friends who could use it practically all year round.

9. Laksoy Nipa Palm Liquor

The making of Laksoy, an alcoholic drink that is made from the abundant Nipa Palm Mangroves found along Agusan River, has been passed on for generations. It is usually sold in markets and small-town sari-sari stores. As the years went by, fewer families made them because there was less demand for them. Enter the brand Makahingaw, which means “nakakalasing” or “gets you drunk” in Butuanon. Since they wanted to make sure that the tradition of Laksoy making in Butuan City lives on, they perfected the quality of the drink, and repackaged and rebranded it to the bottle that it is now.

8. Katha Pillow Mist

Have trouble sleeping? These pillow mists smell absolutely heavenly. A few spritzes on your pillow and off you’ll go to Lala Land. You’ll wake up the next day feeling renewed and refreshed, too. Since it can be costly to keep buying room air fresheners, this is a great alternative. They come in four scents and two bottle sizes. I was told that insomniacs swear by this brand and I can clearly see… ok, smell why.

7. Buena Palma Virgin Coconut Oil

Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil has so many benefits that it is making so much noise worldwide when it comes to health trends. Since we’re a tropical country, it is only right that the best VCO products come from the Philippines. Some of the health benefits of VCO include reducing the risk of heart disease, increasing how many calories you burn, raising good HDL Cholesterol, and protecting your hair, skin, and dental health. Ready to buy a bottle yet?

6. Kapeng Lumad Coffee

There have been articles recently that have been showing that our country produces really good coffee. Provinces like Bukidnon and Benguet provide the perfect climate for growing coffee beans. Kapeng Lumad is no different. They’re coffee connoisseurs that have a passion for sharing their love for coffee. These guys grow their coffee in Bukidnon and roast them in the quiet town of Gingoog. They also supply some of the local coffee shops of Cagayan de Oro, Claveria, and Butuan with coffee.

5. Handcrafted Straw Bags

These bags are quite special because they are made by female PDLs (Person Deprived of Liberty) or inmates in the Butuan City Jail. They make these bags as part of their livelihood program. I love how the Trading Post has given them an avenue to sell their products, so that they can help their families financially from inside the city jail.

These exclusive designs can only be ordered and bought from The Trading Post.

5. Jemel Kent’s Mushroom Chips

Sure, mushroom chips are all the rage; but it can be hard to find the best quality out there. I’m so glad my trip to Butuan led me to discover that this brand of delicious mushroom chips that I recently found in Manila actually hails from this city, too! They’re the perfect blend of light, crunchy, and tasty. Think of it as snacking without the guilt! You can also find them in a lot of health stores in Manila; but it’s so great to know that they come all the way from Mindanao, as well.

4. Chocoloco Cacao Nibs

I don’t know about you, but I simply go loko for choco. I saw this brand’s name and cute packaging and bought them right away. You, guys! These bags are pure chocolate heaven! I couldn’t be more proud that these hail from the Philippines! And they’re such amazing combinations, too. The combined spiciness and sweetness of the chili cacao nibs are pure genius. I’ve also tried chocolates with cranberries during some trips out of the country and it’s such a treat to see that Chocoloco has managed to make them here in the Philippines.

3. Lerio Chocolates

With the success of Davao’s Malagos Chocolates in the mainstream market, it makes me so happy to see others in the same industry step up. Lerio Chocolates is from Rosario, a quiet town between Butuan and Davao. There’s something about cute packaging that just attracts my eye and makes me want to buy the product immediately. This was the case with Lerio Chocolates. And I’m so glad I got them, too, because their dark choco is one to beat! It looks like the cacao industry has a good future ahead of them with producers like Lerio and Chocoloco continuing on this upward trend.

2. T’boli Products

Anything that is handwoven and locally made catches my attention, and the curated T’boli products of The Trading Post had me constantly going through their shelves. If there is any time to start supporting local traditions, that time is now. We have to patronize products made by local communities, so that future generations can appreciate them, too. Incorporating the t’boli weaves with other natural products and updating the look of these products help keep them relevant for younger generations.

1. Handcrafted Jewelry

The Handcrafted Jewelry here is made by our Muslim brothers and sisters from Mindanao. Although the stones and materials are not naturally from the Philippines, there is no denying that the details and craftsmanship are all thanks to the local talents. I’ve seen other jewelry with the same materials sold in malls, and they can get pretty pricey. Theirs is a good range between Php700 and Php1,500.

So, there you have it, guys: our list of the best Mindanao finds that are absolutely perfect for the holidays. Get in touch with the Trading Post on social media to find out more.

The Trading Post

Watergate Boutique Hotel, Jose Rosales Avenue, Butuan City



Instagram: @thetradingpost_ph

Do you have a story for the Team? Email us at or send us a direct message at Facebook Page. Interact with the team and join the Community at WIM Squad!


Related Stories