Parisian fashion, Colombian coffee, Italian ice cream, Swiss watches, Korean makeup, German cars… We can recognize many countries by their products faster than we can identify their flags! International brands gain their status from customers like us who patronize their products and build up their global reputation. But how many of our purchases are from the Philippines?

Choosing to support Filipino brands and artisans can actually have an incredible impact on our nation.  Here are 5 good reasons why we should spend your peso on local products and services:

1. Buying local develops local talent and promotes creativity

Filipinos are known to be resourceful. Pesky plants clogging up your neighborhood drainages and causing floods? Turn them into fashionable bags and notebooks. Filipino creativity has given rise to such amazing products that are often showcased in holiday bazaars and weekly fairs. With online shops giving local artisans and small social enterprise businesses more accessibility and publicity, you can find locally made, high-quality substitutes for your wellness must-haves or food products in just a few clicks.

2. Buying local stimulates our economy

Choosing to buy your weekly groceries from the market around the corner or a locally-run weekend fair can have a significant impact on small businesses. It’s true that local businesses require a little more effort than global franchises do – bringing your own reusable bags, enduring crowds in some non-air-conditioned venues, the occasionally higher price-tags required to sustain local production, and purchasing fresh produce that may not always be picturesque.

But by making the extra effort, you can have exponential effects: Buying local helps provide income for small farmers, keeps money circulating within our local economy, develops more self-sustaining communities, and secures local employment in homegrown businesses.

3. Buying local reduces waste and lessens your carbon footprint

There are things that we buy from abroad because we can’t find certain products in the Philippines at the moment – such as gadgets, makeup, books or clothes – or because “it’s cheaper to buy them from abroad or in bulk.” Imported goods tend to be more appealing for reasons of status, quality, reputability, and perceived value. But whether you spend hours on Amazon, patronize European clothing chains, Korean makeup stores, and American fast food and coffee franchises, or regularly shop from the imported aisle at the grocery, we don’t usually think about how many resources it takes to make imported goods and services readily available to us.

The amount of petroleum it takes to get your international shipments to your doorstep, the carbon emissions expelled to get fruits and veggies shipped to your grocery while they’re still fresh, the amount of plastic and other non-renewable resources put into the elaborate packaging of cosmetics and gadgets, and the amount of water, energy, money, and fertilizer it takes to maintain factory farming and put mass-produced food on your table are not only shocking, but excessive. Investing in local goods, especially those that can be refilled, is not only better for our economy – it also does the least amount of harm on the Earth.

4. Buying local supports farmers and poor communities

With healthy and environmental living gaining momentum among the public, there has been a growth in conscious shoppers who want to know the story and people behind their purchase: where their food, skincare, and cosmetics come from, how they are grown or made, and whose livelihoods they support in patronizing local goods. More progressive enterprises and organizations even go so far as to establish a relationship between farmers and their customers through community-shared agriculture. There is a sense of fulfillment and affirmation in knowing that each peso you spend has a mutually beneficial effect. For enterprises that partner with poor communities to create their goods and services, your regular patronage not only provides stable income for Filipino farmers and laborers, but also helps develop their skills and livelihood.

5. Buying local overturns colonial mentality

There is something ironic about buying an expensive dress from an established international brand – and then reading the words Made in the Philippines on the tag. Most Filipinos haven’t quite outgrown the mentality that imported products are better than local products, or that local products are all low-quality, inferior goods. International producers often see more potential in the Philippines than we do, making it too easy for them to tap into our resources and sell them back to us assembled at padded prices. However, by seeing the value of our resources and investing in our own goods, we can channel the potential of local creativity and truly own our identity as a country that is capable of producing competitive and coveted world-class products.

Shop for a cause every day by proudly patronizing Filipino products! Here are some local food and drink products and items by social enterprise partners you can start with.