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5 brands that make you proud to be Pinoy

By AUDRIE JULIENNE BERNAS Published Jul 14, 2022 1:55 pm Updated Jan 30, 2023 9:39 pm

By way of contributing to nation-building and propelling more opportunities for the vital drivers of the country’s economic growth, The Philippine STAR offered itself as a platform for SMEs whose products showcase world-class quality and reflect the culture of Filipino creativity.

At the launch of Nakakalokal on June 15 at Casa Buenas, Hotel Okura at Newport City, The STAR introduced topnotch local brands that best represent Filipino culture, history, and identity as a country through their products — from food and beverage to footwear and houseware.

PhilSTAR Media Group executive vice president Lucien Dy Tioco believes that while the pandemic greatly challenged the country’s economy, it showed how resilient and creative Filipinos could be in the face of adversity.

In Nakakalocal, we don’t just involve the SMEs, but making huge corporations, the government, the consumers, to really support this cause.

“We value the important role that they play. And we’re so inspired by their extreme passion, even amid a crisis,” Dy Tioco says. “My dream for this project is really to become a huge movement where people will become inspired to start their own business, to pursue excellence, and create more innovative products that will make Filipinos shine on the global stage.”

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez agreed with Dy Tioco, saying that maintaining platforms like this would give SMEs the chance to gain their own audience and sustain a community of buyers, sellers, artisans, and craftsmen in different industries.

“In Nakakalocal, we don’t just involve the SMEs, but making huge corporations, the government, the consumers, to really support this cause,” stresses Dy Tioco. “And I really hope that this will be sustained from this year on.”

He adds: “I invite all MSMEs, SMEs to support Nakakalocal and for our country to support and patronize local products, and be proud as a Filipino.”

Meet the first five of the 36 STAR SMEs and their amazing products:

LivClean: Natural and eco-friendly surface cleaners

LivClean is an innovative brand of natural, eco-friendly surface cleaners that are free from harmful and toxic chemicals. One of its active ingredients is calamansi, a fruit that is endemic in the Philippines.

LivClean Multi-purpose Powder Cleanser

A personal advocacy of Pure Essentials Specialist Corp. founder and president Pinky Yee and her co-founder, vice president Lynet Ng, LivClean champions using local, biodegradable ingredients for cleaning your home. 

 LivClean Cleaning Vinegar with Calamansi and Multi-purpose Powder Cleanser

Pinky researched on unique ingredients that haven't been used yet in cleaning agents. Pinky found the local supplier of calamansi essential oils in the country, and she was the first local brand to use it in the country. In the past, it was Thailand who they exported their calamansi essential oils to, because demand for calamansi essential oil in the local market was non-existent. This became a major advocacy for LivClean — to generate consumer awareness that calamansi is a potent cleaner.

She then decided to use calamansi as the key ingredient for the products. Pinky ended up finding these in Thailand, and then proceeded to partner with Lynet and her husband as her manufacturers. “When consumers patronize local products, our Pinoy farmers will be more encouraged to keep planting calamansi, a fruit that is endemic to our country.”

A product born out of Pinky’s desire to have more all-natural home products after getting sick, LivClean uses plant-based, all-natural ingredients to ensure all-around health and wellness. It's based on Pinky's philosophy that if people can eat vegan and switch to non-GMO products with their food, they can apply the same strictness to what they’re using externally. 

Pinky Yee, founder and president, Pure Essentials Specialist Corp.

“We're trying to educate people that there are natural alternatives to home cleaners that are laid there with toxic chemicals,” says Pinky.

“God gave us so many natural resources where we don't see chemicals,” Lynet reiterates, adding that they’re trying to educate people that there are natural alternatives to home cleaners. “Given the right ingredients, the right products, these can be world-class.”

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LivClean is available at Shopee, Lazada, and will be available at SPEEDGIFTS this July. For inquiries, call or 8287-5371, email [email protected], [email protected], or visit Follow LivClean on Facebook and Instagram.

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First for Women, First for Men: Skincare essentials for him and her

Another venture by the duo is First Skincare, a brand made for both men and women. Also using all-natural products, the skincare line believes in the power of nature and the beauty of choosing local.

Lynet Ng, vice president, Pure Essentials Specialist Corp.

All their products are FDA-approved, and sourced sustainably, using mostly plant-based products. 

“This is something that's very competitive, that we can take to foreign markets, hoping they will be very accepting not just of the product itself but of how it's packaged,” Pinky says with a hint of hope.

First For Men products

She adds, “We took so much effort into creating the skincare product that works for both female and male. Sustainability is something that's very close to our hearts, starting from living clean. We make sure that these products do not harm the environment.”

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First for Women, First for Men will be available at Shopee, Lazada and SPEEDGIFTS this July. For inquiries, call Pure Essentials office at 8287-5371, email [email protected], [email protected], or visit their website. Follow First for Women, First for Men on Facebook and Instagram.

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De Kalidad Foods: Top quality products and service
Myx Ferrer of De Kalidad 

De Kalidad Foods is one business to look out for. While the owners, couple Robert Baranda and Myx Ferrer, lost their jobs during the pandemic, it didn’t stop them from dreaming big. Starting with a capital of only P1,000, De Kalidad sells kesong puti, fresh ube halaya, and tsokolateng batirol.

The brand aims to promote the local cheese industry and support the farmers that provide the products that they offer. They strictly follow the code of their namesake, dekalidad or “of quality” in terms of products and services. Over the past two years, De Kalidad has serviced its clients both here and abroad, who have been supporting their growth from a small business to what it is today.

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For orders and inquiries, visit and follow them on Facebook or call/SMS 0915-4054099.

Renegade Folk: Leather luxe
Tina Sambalido of Renegade Folk

Owned by the Sambalido sisters — Bea, Tina, and Reg — Renegade Folk is a homegrown name aimed at empowering the country’s local shoe industry in Marikina by providing the best footwear for the everyday Filipino.

Renegade Folk's OMF flats

Currently with three branches already, Renegade Folk makes sure that they never forget about empowering the local Marikina sapateros.

“I guess what differentiates us is we’re still quite traditional in shoemaking. Most of the stuff is still handmade. What makes these handmade shoes very special is we're really keen on quality and we give them our personal touch," Tina shares, adding that on top of that, they also champion using local materials and not branching out to using machines.

“It’s actually quite amazing how they’re able to make beautiful shoes using DIY materials and tools as well. The challenge of the industry now is how to enable younger people to go into shoemaking,” Tina adds, noting that their products are purely built on the principle that they're Filipino-made, which makes them doubly special.

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Renegade Folk has branches at UP Town Center, Phase 1, Level 1 (beside Mad Mark’s), Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Ayala Cebu, second level, Paseo Solana (beside 2nd VMV, across Human). For orders and inquiries, visit their website.

Everyday Coffee Roasters: From farm to cup

Everyday Coffee Roasters is an e-commerce coffee company that offers various high-quality green bean coffee beans sourced from all over the world, roasted upon order and delivered right to your doorstep. 

Everyday Coffee Roasters' Iggy Tan with Jay Sarmiento

“Our mission is to be able for its customers to experience farm-to-cup of the world’s best coffee without having to travel or even leave the country,” enthuses Iggy Tan of Everyday Coffee.

Coffee croissants

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For orders and inquiries, visit their website.