Pandemic or not, it is always a good idea to buy and support Filipino-made products.

Not only because micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) serve as the backbone of our economy and a huge number of Filipinos depend on them for livelihood.

Not only because locally produced products are known for their world-class quality and we have a lot of brilliant craftsmen, entrepreneurs, and brands that have made their name in the international market.

Not only because of the abundance of cheap, unique, and creative choices – from food, clothing, footwear, furniture, cosmetics, crafts, and everything in between.

Buying and supporting Filipino-made products is a must because it is our identity and culture, our future that is at stake, and the most important reason of all, because we are Filipinos.

Think of it as the equivalent of “bayanihan” – your support to local businesses and brands helps local suppliers, owners, and farmers grow their business, create more jobs, and improve the country’s economy in the long run. You are not just helping a person or two; you are contributing to Filipino livelihoods, families, and communities. Every time that you buy local, you patronize the dreams, passion, skills, talents, and years of hardwork of your fellow countrymen, and honestly, is there any feeling better than that?

Given the current economic situation, now - more than ever - is the time to choose our own. It can be done by something as simple as choosing Filipino products over their imported counterparts when in supermarkets and groceries. Or purchasing homemade atsara and peanut butter from your next-door neighbor. Or promoting your friend’s business page on your social media accounts. Remember that every like, share, and mention count, whether it is online or in real life. And there is no big or small amount of support, especially when it comes from the heart (that sounds cheesy but there is no denying that it’s true!).

So the next time that you feel the need to indulge in some retail therapy, do not forget to buy local. Eat local. Travel local. Choose local because you are a Filipino and you are proud of it. We can make it through adversity if we help and support each other, one locally-made product at a time - that's the true spirit of bayanihan.