Collecting Filipino Antiques

SOUVENIRS FROM TRAVELS. Stories of olden times are fascinating, but nothing can be more evocative than seeing, touching, and appreciating objects illustrated in books and stories told to us by our grandparents. Thus, antiques and vintage objects make excellent conversation pieces in contemporary homes.

In our case as regular travelers, they make us remember our experiences that allow us to share with friends who come over to our home information about Filipino traditions, culture, and history.

EYE FOR ANTIQUES. When traveling, we occasionally meet people who restore, sell, and collect antiques. It is from people who truly connect with these objects that we learn the history of certain pieces (age or era it belonged) as well how to distinguish what are good buys and what are badly restored or well-made fakes.

But I think we will need more hanging out time with them to acquire their knowledge, skills, and expertise in selecting, whether antiques or those pieces that are not as old to be classified to be antiques but are still good to have for their quality, history and beauty.

WHAT IS AN ANTIQUE. Experts describe an antique as an object that has passed through a period of being a segunda mano, has outlived its owner, went through the test of time, and must be at least a hundred years old.

Age, rarity, quality, and provenance are some of the criteria for a piece to command the highest sale value.

ANTIQUE SORTIES. In our recent visit to an antique shop, we witnessed how a well-known antique collector haggled for a century-old 10-foot aparador (rare for its size). The aparador, as it was pointed out to us by the dealer is in excellent condition. No parts of the original red narra wood has been replaced or repaired. It came to the antique shop straight from an old house of a prominent collector in Tondo, Manila. Off course, the price of this piece has reached unbelievable heights.

FOR INVESTMENT OR FOR NOSTALGIA. Re-sale value is one reason why there some people collect antiques. We’ve learned that recently, some certain pieces of Filipino antiques had made it through the million-peso mark in local auctions.  But for those who have no liking for antiques, it is difficult to explain why big time collectors spend so much for antiques just for the reason of having them stocked in their already over-crowded homes.

EPILOGUE. Although we crave for owning the best pieces available, but we have no budget to compete with what the big time collectors can afford so we buy and take home something we really like to have and most importantly, what we can afford.

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25 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thank you for your educational blog. It is very interesting to read about Philippine antique furniture. They are pieces of art and joy to behold. May i ask where I can see the above different furniture (the furnitures with inlays) in person?

  2. Just want to ask question regarding,where can i find an antique appraiser. My Grandmom passed away and left a sofa with intricate design. Dunno if its Kamagong or Yakal. My Aunt want to sell it but don’t know how much. Thanks and looking forward for an answer.

  3. Wow! This is a wonderful list! Hindi ako galing sa old rich but I have the appreciation for all these old things. I am only starting to acquire pieces for my collection. And your list is truly useful! salamat! 👍👌👍

    • I collect antiques and i would like to see a picture of your aparador. Please email it to me. pinoyartfan@gmail.com

  4. I have an old baul at home from greatgrand relatives, would you know any restoration shop?

    • we restore antique jars and plates.. send us a text message at 09364195265

  5. @ TOF.. i have been working on this Old Narra Vanity standing Mirror… i think it was made in the late 60’s. it comes with carvings along its rectangular frame.. can you help me find its rightful collector whos willing and interested on this piece…. i will surely appreciate your help…tnx…

  6. very educational =)

  7. Hi! We have an antique narra aparador like in one of your photos. It belonged to my great grandfather. My lola would like to sell it. Could you leave me an address or any contact details where I could have it appraised and sold? Thanks!

  8. hello, i have an items here, i just found this stock at the back of our house, im just curious about the marking say ” silver plated” but when i cleaned it with metal paper.. it turns to gold complextion, its very old serving or fruit trays..i dont know what items i had..

  9. Wonderful travellers blog. Especially on antiques. Originals can be tricky to obtain indeed. Best to preserve and keep it in the community. I know of someone who had outbid a piece in the international art market and return it to the owners who were in financial straits. As for reproductions, it may be a way to preserve the craft of old which is almost lost on the new generation or to sheild the original peice from being commercially exploited. It however should not be passed on as authentic.

    • Very good insight Dante. Thank you. -Glenn

  10. I am not sure if there is anyone here who may be able to help, but I am looking to find out information on a couple of pieces that my fiancee recently acquired through a passing of a loved one. We have two tables, two lamps, and what looks like two coaster holders. I have tried to research their origin but have not been able to find out much information. The label on them states Tanglao’s Woodcarving Shop – No. 183 St. Angeles, Pampanga, Philippines. If anyone could point me in the direction where I might be able to learn more about these items it would be appreciated. Thank you.

  11. I’m an antique collector too esp. the rare ones!.one piece of advice,watch out for repros!they look so real!

  12. hi im Al-edz i have an antique bottle name clifford TANSAN wilkinson,color green..i have lot of it in the backyard..if anyone interested u can contact me at 0926xxxx and i have other more kinds of bottle..

  13. Hi im shirley how can i sell my old great great grandfathers passbook its 1936 philippines national bank and some old money 1930 bill i hope you can help me my number is 09063064227

  14. Hi. I am Via Magtoto, a graduating fine arts student. I am currently doing my thesis, and I am hoping I could do an interview with you about collecting antiques. I hope to hear from you soon. Please e-mail me at via xxxx @gmail.com

    Thank you!

  15. I wonder, would I see antique keys in the shops as well? I’m kinda looking for antique keys right now, though I don’t know where to look (other than the internet of course).

  16. @ TOF – Personally, I’m against collecting Philippine antique furniture and santos. I feel that such practice devalue them of their real worth. But there’s really nothing we can do if the very people, descendants of the original owners, wanted to depart with their antiques. There’s a big market for these things. Big money awaits those willing to sell their heritage to the highest bidder. So it should not come as a surprise that even whole old houses are being bought these days.

    • I feel that descendants of the original owners of these so called tangible heritage ( antique furniture, santos, artworks, etc.) are so lucky to them around stock in their bodega or their ancestral homes, hoping upon finding them they will restore or find a place to keep them from further deterioration. But unfortunately not all descendants feel lucky at all and are so willing to throw away or just leave to neglect things that of value to those who appreciate the cultural and historical value of antiques.

  17. Thanks! Your blog site is both interesting & insightful. I like the photos that you take as well as the stories behind your travels. Its like reading a coffee table book. And the nice thing about it is that it brings the reader to the places you visit. Keep on travelling….=)

  18. I like the crucifix…looks like ivory to me..is this in tiendesitas?

    • Hello Dennis. The 19th century kamagong cross with 19th century corpus was from Bacolor.

  19. For a variety of antiques both cheap and expensive ones, try out Hizon street in Bangkal, Makati. Hope you can feature this one of a kind place here in Metro Manila at traveleronfoot.

    • We’ve been to Bangkal several times Mike and its a good place to start hunt for imported antique and vintage objects.


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