In as much as we like to buy Salomon, Merrell, Patagonia or North Face, some enterprising Filipino outdoormen and women are also building their own brands of mountaineering gear and recreational equipment, which we all can be proud of.
These products are made locally, and are priced within the budget range of many of our mountaineer kababayans. Although we may have a long way to go to compete with American or European brands, these local mountaineering brands are more than enough to provide the protection and support we need in the outdoors.
Built by hand. Tested by nature.
A trio of friends passionate of the outdoors, Efren “Junks” Muaña, Randy Su and Dindo Sugatan, started Habagat in a borrowed garage, sewing their first product using a grandmother’s machine. It was the 1970s, and mountaineering wasn’t as commercialised and as popular as it is now. Outdoor equipment back then were scarce, and many local mountaineers needed to order their gear from abroad.
When Habagat was formed, it became a hit mainly because for the first time, Filipinos could have their hands on budget-friendly, locally made outdoor equipment designed by outdoorsmen for outdoorsmen. The company’s first milestone occurred in April 1987, when the Mountaineering Federation of the Philippines, Inc. (MFPI) acknowledged the brand during its annual congress at Mt. Kitanglad.
Today, Habagat stores are found in many shopping malls across the country, with its main branch and head office located in Cebu City. It designs various outdoor gear such as backpacks, beltbags, waterproof bags, apparel, pouches, wallets, life vests, and a lot more.
Address: 472 Archbishop Reyes Avenue, Lahug, Cebu City
Contact: (032) 231-5651 / (032) 232-0963
Email: [email protected]
Because our world is not flat.
In 1995, Jason Luengo, a Davaoeño, started making sandals with unique, contoured soles for himself. But it didn’t take long for his masterpieces to be recognized by the outdoor community. Aside from the wave-inspired soles, Tribu sandals are known for their tribal engraved designs and ethnic strap patterns.
Today, Tribu products are distributed domestically and internationally, with its signature contoured sole sandals as the flagship of the Tribu brand. The company also designs apparel for men, women and kids, as well as bags and accessories.
Address: #3 Felix Baez Street, Perperual Village, San Martin de Porres, Km. 16 East Service Road, Parañaque City
Contact: (02) 837-1531 / (02) 837-2047 / 0939-9038520
Mountaineer, Job Faminialagao, started Sandugo Sandals in 1994 as a backyard enterprise designing sandals fit for hiking and trekking. The proprietor focused on footwear that can withstand the vigorous wear and tear from outdoor activity.
Today, one cannot mistake the brand due to its distinctive gecko logo with its body forming the letter S. Over the years, the company diversified from its main product category and is now offering shoes, bags, apparel, and accessories.
Address: Market! Market! 5th Level, 26th Street cor. C5 Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Contact: (02) 856-0453 / (02) 856-0453
Conquer Outdoor Equipment founded by Jessie Tan is best known for its high quality yet affordable camping tents, sleeping bags, bags, backpacks, footwear, apparel. Its stores in Luzon also house other brands of outdoor equipment including bikes, apparel, and accessories.
Address: 2nd level,Robinsons Pioneer Mall, EDSA Mandaluyong
Contact: (02) 747-0726
Email: [email protected]
Balay Outdoor Equipment’s primary products are outdoor shelters, hence the name balay or house. It also manufactures and distributes hammocks, tarps, bandanas, apparel, and stuff sacks. In addition, the company offers tent accessories and repair works.
Balay is a joint venture of SMB Mountaineers, which stands for Society of Mountaineering Berks or Samahan ng Mountaineering Barkadas. It was formed in 2004 by Jimmar D. Lagazo and his friends who had a common love for outdoor adventures.
Contact: 0917-8089588 / 0917-5942592 / 0922-8444753 / 0921-3624466
Email: [email protected]
Apexus Outdoor Equipment is famous for its range of camping tents and tarps (parawing). Its classic tadpole has even reached the camp grounds of the majestic Mt. Everest. The brand markets the notorious 4-pole Andes33, the super lightweight single pole Micralite, the Tadpole classic, and the Halcon YJ.
Address: 58 F, Kamias Road, Quezon City, 1100 Metro Manila
Contact: (02) 434 5072
Lagalag is another local brand that designs and distributes great quality outdoor apparel, gear and accessories. Its product range includes trekking pants, bush hats, shirts, sleeping bags, backpacks, and many others, which are sold via networks of distributors within the mountaineering and outdoor-loving community.
According to its Facebook page, “Lagalag is a Filipino outdoor company manufacturing products for outdoor-adventure and travel since 1998.” You can find Lagalag products sold at various online shops including Lazada, ebay, iprice, and over social media. Lagalag Store Manila also carries a vast range of outdoor equipment from other brands.
Address: Lower Ground Floor Main Bldg, SM City North Edsa, Quezon City
Contact: (02) 294 7145
V12 Radgear is a Cebu-based outdoor apparel and accessory business. It designs and markets trekking shorts and pants, and custom-made jerseys in full dye sublimation designs. Many of its jersey shirts are custom ordered by bikers who join races.
Address: 416-A F. Llamas Extension, Tisa, Cebu City
Email: [email protected]
Brown Trekker Adventure and Outdoor Gear offers backpack covers, backpacks, camping tents, heavy-duty pegs, and other outdoor accessories. The brand is well known for its bright, neon-colored tents made of durable waterproof polyester fabric for its flysheet and floor material, and high-density nylon sheet for its inner tent.
Address: (inside Rebel Grafix Printshop), G/F, Atrium Mall, Taft Avenue
Contact: (02) 556-0946 / 0917-5015526
The Simon Designs Outdoor Shop is a local outdoor equipment brand based in Iligan. It manufactures backpacks, shoulder bags, sling bags, wallets, pouches, slippers, purses, belts, shirts, and other accessories.
Address: 2nd Floor of Party Mix, Gen. Aguinaldo Street, Poblacion, Iligan City
Contact: 223-9078 / 0917-7172340 / 0916-410-6167 / 0925-501-3650 / 0923-722-1116
Email: [email protected], [email protected]
So there you have it mountaineering and outdoor enthusiasts! These are ten of our local outdoor gear brands, which have proven themselves worthy. We can fairly say that the artistry and quality of these products can already compete neck and neck with international brands.
The big catch is of course the price difference. Whereas you can buy a top quality two-person Apexus tent for less than Php8,000, a comparable North Face tent would cost you double or triple the price. What do we say to this? For such an affordable Pinoy-friendly price, the choice is obvious. Support Pinoy. Buy local.
Let your mountaineering and outdoor-loving friends know where to find local products for their active lifestyle. Share this article to them by clicking on the appropriate social media button below.
And oh, share us your thoughts whether or not local outdoor products are indeed worth the price you pay. I for one can vouch for a Conquer tadpole tent, which has been with me for more than 10 years. I do take good care of it, so it should last very long.