THE EVENTS of last year offered lessons on the importance of not only taking care of ourselves but also the environment. As the beginning of the year gives everyone a clean slate to live healthy and sustainably, helping them achieve these new goals and resolutions are the grantees of the Forest Foundation Philippines, a non-profit organization that provides grants to individuals and organizations that empower people to protect and conserve Philippine forests.
They offer a wide-range of locally made products made from non-timber forest products — these are natural materials other than timber which can be used and consumed. Common examples include nuts, seeds, leaves, honey, and resin. The grantees make handmade items, nature-inspired crafts, as well as sustainably harvested products, from some of Forest Foundation’s focal landscapes: Palawan, Samar and Leyte, and Bukidnon.
From woven banig to all natural honey, here is a list of locally crafted products to try this year:
• Kape Hu Mapayag Coffee from Bukidnon.
Kape Hu Mapayag Coffee comes fresh from the fourth highest mountain in the country, Mt. Kitanglad in Bukidnon. In partnership with Philippine Coffee Alliance, Kape Hu Mapayag is made by Kitanglad Guard Volunteers, an association of volunteers from the 28 villages located at the foot of Mt. Kitanglad and who are leading the protection of the mountain range. Check it out on the Kape Hu Mapayag Coffee Facebook page, (3) Coffee -kape hu’ Mapayag | Facebook.
• Brooke’s Point Coco Products Producers Cooperative (BPCPPC) Premium Virgin Coconut Oil from Palawan
This virgin coconut oil is a high-value, multi-purpose product which supports Brooke’s Point Coco Products Producers Cooperative, a community-based social enterprise that provides sustainable livelihood to the farmers of the indigenous Pala’wan tribe. In partnership with Bayan Academy, the cooperative produces and manufactures virgin coconut oil and other coconut-derived products that promote good health. Their VCO is FDA-approved and is made through the cold-press method, which retains all the enzymes such as lauric acid and other immune-building nutrients. VCO is known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-stress properties and can be used in cooking as well as skincare. Get this at Wild Bounty’s online shop (Brooke’s Bounty Premium Virgin Coconut Oil, 100ml – Wild Bounty PH (myshopify.com) ).
• Nagkakaisang mga Tribu ng Palawan (NATRIPAL) Honey
Contribute to protecting Palawan’s indigenous forests this year by trying NATRIPAL Honey, hand-harvested from trees in Palawan’s forests. Partnered with Bayan Academy, the Nagkakaisang Tribu ng Palawan (NATRIPAL), or the United Tribes of Palawan, is an indigenous peoples organization federated by 63 local associations spread across the island of Palawan. They work with indigenous communities towards the recognition of their rights, natural resource management and establishment of sustainable livelihood enterprises through collecting wild Apis dorsata honey and producing high-quality crafts made of rattan and other forest materials. Get this at Wild Bounty’s online shop (Wildwood Wild Tropical Honey, 250mL – Wild Bounty PH (myshopify.com).
• Woven banig from Samar and Leyte
Thinking of a brand new look for your home this new year? Redecorate your spaces with vibrant handwoven mats or banig and showcase the craftsmanship of the women of the Old San Agustin Tikog Workers Association (OSATWA). The 34 women weavers and embroiderers in Basey, Samar, the banig capital of the Philippines, seek to empower women through their work. Through banig weaving, they generate their own source of income, and lead in preserving the traditional way of weaving native products, and level up the status of weavers and embroiderers in their municipality. Their products are available on Woven Crafts (woven.ph).
• Life Stories Cards for Conversations with Forest Foundation
If one is planning to take a journey through self-discovery, Life Stories: Cards for Conversations by Where to Next? can help one know more about oneself, navigate one’s surroundings, and experience life through stories. The second deck of Life Stories was created in collaboration with Forest Foundation Philippines and contains 63 questions that can make this year more meaningful for you. Where To Next? is a platform to tell stories and create products that seek to inspire people to go on meaningful adventures. A portion of their proceeds will fund livelihood projects of Aeta communities in Yangil and Botolan, Zambales, Philippines, and will be used to support reforestation and education. Get this now at their online shop, wheretonext.ph/products/life-stories-cards.
• Forest Reflections: Nature Appreciation Journal
Now available for pre-order, Forest Reflections by Cynthia Bauzon-Arre, done in partnership with Forest Foundation, is a planner and workbook for nature appreciation. The journal promotes mindfulness through nature immersion, art therapy, and writing. The workbook can be pre-ordered through bit.ly/FRPH2.
For more information on Forest Foundation and its programs, visit www.forestfoundation.ph and www.facebook.com/forestfoundationph/.