From pasalubongs to essentials: Kultura highlights Filipino ingenuity, hard work and resilience | Inquirer Lifestyle

Kultura champions Filipino brands and products. Supporting local means support for the communities that are behind these uniquely Filipino items.

While known to many as a one-stop pasalubong shop for balikbayans, Kultura is also a treasure trove of anything uniquely Filipino. Beyond this, Kultura also tells through its offerings the story of Filipino workers, farmers and artisans—ingenious, hard-working and resilient. Since its humble beginnings as the Philippines Craft Section at The SM Store to its evolution into a full-fledged specialty brand, Kultura has championed local artistry and craftsmanship from micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“It has always been the mission of Kultura to keep the Filipino heritage alive and relevant. What inspires us to do this are the many partnerships built and nurtured with communities and small enterprises over the years. After all, Kultura traces its roots from SM, a company built with MSMEs as its partner,” says Ivy Yap, President of Kultura. Ivy adds that most of its MSME partners have grown with Kultura, and it has stood witness to their growth from a community, to national and, now, world-class brands. 

The pandemic has pushed Kultura to pivot and explore previously untapped opportunities in order to continue fulfilling its mission. It is reintroducing pasalubongs or souvenirs as essentials for the local market. “Working closely with our MSME partners, we are confident to say that Philippine products have come a long way. Our very own coffee, chocolates, snacks and personal care products are world class and can compete with your everyday staples,” says Ivy.

By supporting these essentials, Filipinos not only carry a piece of their favorite local tourist destinations to their homes, but they also champion the dreams and sustain the livelihoods of local entrepreneurs, farmers, artisans, and indigenous communities. 

Kultura is home to Philippine chocolate brands such as Risa, Cocoa Monster, Theo & Philo, Pili Choc and the award-winning Malagos Chocolate and Auro Chocolate of Davao.

Tasting sweet success with local chocolates

Philippine chocolates are experiencing a renaissance thanks to some of the world’s best cacao beans and farmers, determined entrepreneurs and their partnership with supportive retailers such as Kultura. Malagos Chocolate Auro Chocolate, Risa, Cocoa Monster, Theo & Philo and Manila Chocolatier are some of the country’s finest chocolate brands available in Kultura. 


More than just a drink, Philippine coffee also serves as a source of livelihood for local coffee farmers and manufacturers.

Perfect blends with Philippine coffee 

While the Kapeng Barako of Batangas remains a popular variant, local coffee is also now making a mark through Gourmet Farms, Silcafe, Kickstart, Kape Maria and Bo’s Coffee, all available at Kultura. Aside from providing livelihood to their partner coffee farmers, these brands are also very active with community endeavors.

Made from natural ingredients and coming from years of product research and development, native snacks are a testament to Filipino ingenuity. Photo from Michelle’s Homemade.

Native snacks offering different flavors 

Kultura makes the dried mangoes of Cebu, the pili nuts of Bicol, the banana chips of Mindoro and the coco jam of Quezon accessible by partnering with brands such as Cebu Best, Healthy Tropics and Michelle’s Homemade, among many others.

While it has already gotten recognition abroad, personal wellness brand Pili Ani stays true to its local roots as it continues to work with Philippine farmers and promote fair trade.

Personal wellness finds beauty from nature

Kultura offers personal wellness items such as soaps, shampoos, lotions, essential oils, and even cosmetics that are unique, effective and make the most out of the country’s natural resources. These brands include Pili Ani, Cocobody, Jabon Jabon, Sibol, The Soap Farms and Daila, among many others. 

Through its work with various MSMEs and by championing their products, Kultura gives pasalubongs a whole new dimension. For Kultura, pasalubongs are nice reminders of home, but they are also potent options to essentials we have gotten used to. They are a source of pride because of their outstanding quality, and also because of the ingenious and hardworking people behind them. 

Support local. Shop now at Kultura available in SM malls, The SM Store and at