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Kultura: A catalyst for green living, a showcase of Filipino pride and indigenous culture

By Ching M. Alano, The Philippine STAR Published Jun 15, 2023 3:00 pm

You only have to step into Kultura to find out why our Philippine handicrafts are much raved about as world-class. Our gifted craftsmen and artisans transform native materials into beautiful works of art using skills handed down from one generation to another. But Kultura not only showcases attractive, trendy products, it’s proud to be among those consciously promoting more meaningfully crafted, sustainable merchandise for green living.

“At Kultura, we’ve always been about celebrating indigenous materials, Filipino craftsmanship, and connecting our consumers with the stories and heritage behind our products,” says Ivy Yap, president of Kultura. “And beyond uplifting local, we believe we have a responsibility to encourage a more sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle.” 

Green finds for a greener Philippines

Kultura, conveniently located inside SM Stores across the country aside from its stand-alone stores in SM Supermalls, boasts a loyal following through the years. Taking up the cudgels for a greener Philippines, the Kultura store is teeming with Green Finds that inspire and make it easier for consumers to lead a sustainable lifestyle.

Yap elaborates, “Retailers can influence customer purchasing decisions depending on our product offerings, pricing strategies, and promotions—from product displays to discounts and loyalty programs. Using this influence for good, Kultura helps consumers adopt greener lifestyles by offering a wide selection of products made from biodegradable natural materials and are upcycled or repurposed, aside from being locally sourced.”

Kultura has got it all, for everyone to make a nice and easy shift to green living. For instance, you can have an eco-conscious home with Kultura’s wide range of storage baskets made of rattan, abaca, or seagrass; lamps and lighting solutions in abaca or capiz; placemats in raffia, abaca, and bamboo; bamboo mugs and tumblers, and more local handmade products that even foreigners will surely go loco over.

Kultura is the go-to store for formal Filipiniana, classic barong, and modern styles that can be part of your daily wardrobe, as well as tropical resort wear and chic accessories like seagrass bags and jute sandals.

Yap gushes, “It’s wonderful to witness the global shift to an appreciation for slow, quality fashion, and we are honored to carry beautiful pieces handcrafted by Filipino artisans that will have pride of place in your wardrobe for years to come. These garments and accessories not only showcase our traditions and heritage but are responsibly made, using sustainable local materials like piña and abaca.”

From tees to totes

If you’re hunting for local souvenirs to give away on your next trip abroad, you came to the right place.

Kultura’s intentionally crafted, proudly Filipino finds always make great gift items, like those organic cotton souvenir tees with pop culture-inspired designs, printed using water-based ink that’s good to the environment and kind to the skin. There are also reusable totes in jute and katcha that make smart, eco-friendly alternatives to plastic.

For gifts that give back, Kultura partners with brands and cooperatives that not only provide sustainable income for local communities but are also kinder to Mother Earth by upcycling materials and reducing waste. Imagine tetra juice packs and ring pull tabs transformed into quirky, fun bags or old newspapers, magazines, and sacks fashioned into accessories, rosaries, and home décor.

Go local all the way with Kultura’s thoughtfully native packaging. Here, you’ll be delighted to find all your green gift shopping needs—from lovely sinamay bags, pandan boxes, and craft cartons to cute raffia ribbons.

Handmade macramé hanging decor

“Kultura has become a platform for sustainable products, all available under one roof,” Yap asserts. “We make them very accessible to our customers with a growing number of locations across the Philippines, as well as an exciting website and informative social media platforms that offer personal shopping services.”

Kultura-inspired success stories

Kultura weaves many a success story. Like that of RCB Crafts and Designs, a humble family business that started with a capital of P50,000 and now exports to countries in Asia and Europe.

RCB Crafts & Designs’ seagrass bag with raffia embroidery

Under the leadership of the innovative Rochelle Briones, the company now exports quality raffia embroidered and handwoven bags (repeat: handwoven, not machine-made, with the intricate designs painstakingly woven together by hand and not merely painted on the bags), baskets, hats, tray sets, and placemats using abaca fiber.

Braided seagrass baskets with abaca handles by RCB Crafts & Designs

Rochelle shares, “Our crafts are an expression of our Filipino culture and tradition and their production provides employment and livelihood opportunities to other families in the Bicol Region.”

At Mabaysay by Eva Marie Arts & Crafts, the women weavers of Basey, Samar meticulously create purely handwoven and embroidered bags out of buri and ticog grass wildly growing in the region. Eva Marie’s creatively woven totes and clutches have found their way to the US.

Ticog/buri handwoven bag by Mabaysay by Eva Marie Arts & Crafts

Darlene’s Handcrafted Accessories is a family-owned business begun by Darlene Villaverde 30 years ago, supplying SM with native products like anahaw fans and buri packaging materials and hats. It has been consistently supplying Kultura stores nationwide.

“We’re popular for our tote/eco bags, pouches, and laptop cases made of canvas or handwoven cloth locally sourced and made of Philippine materials,” discloses Joseph Ivan Villaverde, son of the owner and second-generation entrepreneur.

Ivan is in charge of developing designs for Darlene’s bags and sourcing the local materials. He lists some of Darlene’s trusted suppliers: “We have ticog mats from Basey, Samar and Negros; Baguio cloth from Benguet; inabel (Abel Iloco) from Bangar, La Union; buri raw materials from Quezon province.”

Canvas eco bag by Darlene’s Handcrafted Accessories

Darlene’s products are the proud handiwork of highly skilled, seasoned weavers, most of them women. Today, it has a total of 40 workers, including 27 sewers, trimmers, and quality controllers. “We help the community by providing jobs to a number of people who still have the passion to create handmade things with the Pinoy touch,” Ivan adds.

Proudly green. Proudly Pinoy. Proudly Kultura!

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Editor’s Note: BrandedUp is designed to provide you with insightful, inspiring and educational content created by PhilSTAR L!fe in collaboration with brands like Kultura Filipino.