“We’re not made to be alone…. Togetherness is our greatest blessing, our reason for being. How grateful we are for that.”
Bienvenido “Donnie” Tantoco III, as always, said it so eloquently, honestly and poignantly. The president of Rustan’s who, the past few years, has become known for his inspiring messages, insights and writings—be it about the pandemic or the recent passing of his grandfather, Ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco, Sr.—opened the virtual media launch of the 2021 Rustan’s Christmas this afternoon, Oct. 6, 2021.
The Tantoco clan, the owner of the foremost high-end retail chain in the country for more than 60 years, has been known for their personal ties to the industry and to media, always ready and comfortable enough to reach out. Even in this lockdown, the family, whose scions are now at the helm of the business, is reaching out—with confidence and empathy, trust and hope.
This is the second Christmas in the pandemic, and trust the Filipinos—Christmas can’t be stopped, no matter that the times are harder than any in recent memory. The start of the Filipino Christmas this decade—acknowledged to be the longest yuletide celebration in the world—is signaled by the posts of Jose Mari Chan’s memes (the music icon Chan, incidentally, kicked off Rustan’s Christmas a few years back), and the opening of Rustan’s Christmas Shop. This entire floor at Rustan’s Makati has become the Christmas Disneyland of shoppers for years now. As a shopper said, “It’s my happy place.” The Christmas Village opening and the unveiling of the Christmas display window of Rustan’s along Ayala Avenue have become the traditional harbingers of the Filipino Christmas.
The Christmas Village is a one-stop shop on the 5th level of Rustan’s Makati. It has what you need to decorate your home, from Christmas trees ornaments, lights, wreaths, garlands, pillow covers, table napkins, to other exciting must-haves. Rustan’s Flower Shop also has a selection of festive décor, giving even more options to customers and shoppers.
The specialty shop also has curated food boxes in partnership with Gourmet Garage, Marks & Spencer, and Theo & Philo, Ferrero Rocher featuring sumptuous goodies. Because champagne makes for the best celebratory beverage, Moet & Chandon will also be available for purchase.
There are also discounts offered across sections during Rustan’s launch weekend on October 15 to 17.
Whether it be scratch-proof mittens, bodysuits, or burp cloths, there are children’s essentials and apparel from Rustan’s Kid’s. Select brands are offering up to 35% off including Attipas, Baby Hood, Banz, Graco, Hamico, Yamatoya, Roobetter, My Carry Potty, and more.
For guys, especially dads, there are bags, accessories, shaving sets, and other men’s items at special prices up to 50% off from brands like Gouache, Braun, Seiko, Pacsafe, Hydrapak, Lewis N Clark, Artiart, Bugatti Bags, Loqi, Jack Nicklaus, and Knomo. FSP members can earn x5 FSP points from, Hackett, New Balance, Emporio Armani, Magnanni, Pedro del Hierro, and more.
Collect x5 FSP points when you shop for women’s fashion, bags, and shoes from Elie Tahari. Coccinelle, Dooney & Bourke, Bardot, Swarovski, Criselda Lontok, Lady Rustan, Lotus and Luna. Meanwhile, Sitara Vintage and Etika Collective, is putting up its sustainable apparel up to 15% off on selected items.
For upgraded kitchen and dining ware, there’s 30% off on kitchenware, tableware, glassware, small appliances, and other lifestyle accessories. Brands include Beka, Cuisinart, Tefal, Amefa, Nachtmann, Seletti, Wilmax, Serta, Malouf, Russell Hobbs, Saeco, Gaggia, and more.
Fine jewelry and beauty brands also have limited-time promotions—Montblanc gift sets at 15% off; haircare, skincare, and other beauty needs at Rustan’s Bath and Body brands give a free gift for every minimum purchase amount.
All Frequent Shopper Program (FSP) members get more points when they shop at participating Women’s, Men’s, Kid’s, Home, Fine Jewelry, and Beauty brands from October 15 to 17. For every minimum purchase of Php 5,000, members are entitled to x5 FSP points.
A special Holiday offer awaits UnionPay Cardholders where they will receive Php 800 Rustan’s Gift Card or Rustans.com Online Gift Card when they shop minimum Php 8,000 in-store or online, this will run until December 31. Rustan’s also levels up Christmas shopping with a 0% bank installment promo up to January 31, 2022. Holiday shoppers can choose between three transaction plans depending on their purchase amount, covering up to 3, 6, and 12 months at 0% installment for participating credit cards.
Also, there is the growing online shopping of Rustan’s, its increasing move to be, as Tantoco said, an “omni-channel.”
To facilitate Christmas shopping, Rustan’s now has over 117 personal shoppers, specializing in different consumer needs and interests. “We would like as much as possible to make it a stress-free Christmas for our customers,” said Tantoco.
Tantoco is also proud about the “fulfillment” service of its online shopping, that Rustan’s is able to deliver if not in a day, at least in 48 hours.
Those who like to shop from home can use the Gift List Management service that allows customers to send their gift list to Rustan’s personal shoppers, who can look for the gift choices, assist in the transaction process, and set the delivery to the buyer or the recipient. Rustan’s also offers Assisted Shopping services, in which customers can schedule an appointment with a store personnel to assist them during their store visit.
Shoppers can also opt to go on a virtual store tour, which allows them to view items at Rustan’s stores via video call with a personal shopper.
Personalization adds thoughtfulness to gift-giving. Print a loved one’s name, initials, or family crest on fabrics, bath towels, jewelry, wood, and metal products with Rustan’s embroidery, embossing, and engraving services. Apparel can also be altered to fit specific measurements. Then there’s the Rustan’s iconic gift wrap and gold ribbon for a premium look on special presents.
Tantoco said that the safety and health protocols Rustan’s has in place now will be there for some time in the near and long future. “People will continue to buy based on convenience and safety, so even as a thrust to being an omni-channel continues, we also want the physical store to be experiential.”
Tantoco has the gift of drawing insights, even from the Bible and the Catholic Mass. He said that attending the Sunday Mass has become a “bespoke virtual experience” for him and wife Crickette; they could attend Mass anywhere in the world. He drew from Sunday’s gospel from the Genesis, the creation of man and woman to be together. “It’s not good for man to be alone,” he echoed the gospel. “We’re not made to be alone; we’ll never be happy if we don’t live for a purpose other than ourselves; the family, the community—it’s better than the individual” he said.
Then he talked about Christmas—the village and the Star. We’re like the Christmas village, he said, “there’s a sense of belonging, unity in diversity.”
He reiterated that “togetherness is our greatest blessing”—which is driven home in this pandemic. Then he thanked the media—how the Rustan’s family and media have been “staying together through good times and upheavals for over six decades.”
He talked about the Star that led the Magi to Jesus in Bethlehem, and from there, Rustan’s draws the theme of togetherness and the Star this Christmas. “The North Star depicts the beacon of inspiration to many. It is the mission statement in your life,” he said.
“The pandemic is the time to connect to your North Star.”
With Tantoco to give their own well wishes and to say how glad they were to be together with media friends once more were the other Rustan’s executives: Marilen Tantoco, Maritess Tantoco-Enriquez, Michael Huang and Dina Tantoco.