Friday, September 28, 2007


First time I saw this green glass globe was in a quaint gift shop in Greenwich Village in downtown, New York City. There must be a hundred of them in various sizes that filled a huge basket (tiklis); all of them used, not new -- being sold from five to ten dollars each. When the shop owner told me they came from the Philippines, I started scratching my head wondering what they were used for. She added that her customers would buy a few to put in a nice basket as home decor.

A year later when I moved to Manila, I was pleasantly surprised when a cousin gave me two -- a large and a small one (the latter is featured in the photo above). She said she got them from Vigan, and that these glass globes were used as weights to fishing nets. Although she couldn't give me an exact per piece price (since she got them in bulk, a tiklis load), she claimed they were rather cheap.

Anyway, next time you guys visit Vigan, buy a few of these as gifts to friends, especially for those balikbayans. You can also get some nice woven baskets from Quiapo's sa ilalim ng tulay handicraft market.


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posted by Señor Enrique at 7:00 AM


Anonymous rhodora said...

Hmmm.. I was thinking it would be a nice souvenir item for guests in my nephew's wedding early next year.

I guess there's no limit to man's creative mind!

Thanks for sharing this, Eric. And nice pic.. what is that backdrop? How'd you do it?

September 28, 2007 7:54 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I guess, the reason why these glass globes were a big hit in NYC was because collectors were reminded of those depression era glassware whose prices continually go up astronomically (that is, if you can even fine some at flea markets nowadays).

As for your "how'd I take the picture" query: I grabbed some garden pebbles and put them on a table; placed an 8x10 print of a Manila Bay sunset picture I had taken as backdrop; and used two table lamps on either end as my main lights.

Tip: when lighting glass items, always light from behind or sides.

That's it!

September 28, 2007 9:01 AM  

Anonymous rhodora said...

Ganun ba? I thought at first 'live' yang backdrop mo. Akala ko, dinala mo yang glass globe sa Manila Bay then, placed it on top of some pebbles there. If you hadn't explained how you actually did it, ganun talaga ang effect ng pic.

Your creativity is amazing, Eric! :)

September 28, 2007 9:28 AM  

Anonymous kyels said...

I've never seen the glass orb before and I find it interesting. Yes, it would make a perfect gift or souvenir to friends.

Do they come in other colors too?


September 28, 2007 9:49 AM  

Blogger fionski said...

Hello Senor! Everytime I go to Quiapo/downtown area, I always look around me incase I see you. I like going around the Quiapo area even if it's kind of dirty and magulo.
My uncle used to have those glass globes and the huge glass jars in his place. I think they are called dama juana or something similar to that. The glass pieces made their way to Nueva Vizcaya via Cagayan.

September 28, 2007 9:53 AM  

Anonymous leo said...

Those green spheres are found all over the pacific. The Japanese Trawlers uses it to keep their nets bouyant. Sometimes its attachement to the nets are severed causing it to be carried away by the current to the beaches.

September 28, 2007 10:10 AM  

Blogger pusa said...

what a very beautiful photo!!! wow gleng gleng kala ko nga dinala mo talaga sa manila bay! brilliant!!!
and quite interesting globe.

September 28, 2007 10:18 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thanks, Rhoda, pero ginaya ko lang technique ng mga ibang photographers sa Internet.

Ideally, right on the beach against an old fishing boat would be fantastic. But, since it has been raining here, I decided to practice more indoor controlled lighting pictorials kaya hanap ako ng mga abubot sa loob ng bahay ... hehehe.

September 28, 2007 10:18 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Oo nga, Fionski, kahit magulo sa Quiapo mas exciting mamasyal at mag picture taking. I bet we've already passed by each other once or twice ... hehehe.

Wow! Thanks for its attribution history. Now I'm getting more info about this interesting item.

September 28, 2007 10:24 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Ah, for buoyancy pala.

And is that how some folks are able to collect these green orbs?

Very interesting, Leo. Many thanks!

September 28, 2007 10:26 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I only know of green, Kyels.

Next time you come over for a vist, get at least a couple to add to your shell collection.

September 28, 2007 10:29 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Sa may la mesa ko lang yan, Pusa ... hehehe!

Yes, this is a very interesting item.

Thanks much!

September 28, 2007 10:30 AM  

Blogger Daisy said...

I know what these are they are bouys. Beautiful glass ones from the olden days. I was surprised to read that it was used as pampabigat sa net--dahil i think it is more correct yung ginagamit iyan as floater for nets. Great to read that comment about Japanese.

These are really nice, because recently people just use plastic or styrofoam bouys that are very damaging to the environment. Glass is a lot better,c an be recycled and even be used for decor as such :)

September 28, 2007 11:33 AM  

Anonymous bw said...

Thanks for the tip on the glass globes but I really think this picture is quite pretty :)

September 28, 2007 12:39 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi Daisy! Yes, I think Leo gave us a very accurate and quite historic uses for the glass globes. Come to think of it, I doubt if these could be used as weight although that what my cousin told me.

Those other mterial are indeed a threat to our environment. Sana nga puros glass na lang gamitin nila.

September 28, 2007 12:59 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thanks, BW!

Better grab a couple of these while vacationing in Manila :)

September 28, 2007 1:00 PM  

Blogger Sidney said...

I thought you took that glass globe to Roxas Blvd. So you did it the other way round. You brought the Roxas sunset to your house. Clever, clever... you keep surprising me.

September 28, 2007 4:56 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Been practicing controlled lighting techniques, Sidney, since it has been raining outside.

September 28, 2007 5:50 PM  

Anonymous LAR said...

I like the shot very much! Galing! Pero mahirap mag-control ng light kung kulang ang gamit pero magandang pag-aralan. :)

September 28, 2007 6:12 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thanks, Lar!

Actually, I only used two desk lamps that you can buy anywhere in Quiapo wit those spiral bulbs. For diffuser, I use plain white plastic bag. You can also use those cellophane from natl bookstore that come in various colors. Also, a styrofoam board that I got from my cousin's new refrigerator box when it was delivered to his house, I grabbed a piece immediately. I use this as diffuser or to bounce back light from a source onto a subject.

At this moment, I am not ready to buy any of those pricey lighting systems, so these will do for now ... hehehe.

Try playing with controlled lighting techniques. It's fun.

September 28, 2007 6:27 PM  

Anonymous Major Tom said...

I can't belive that their original use were for net fishing for they are so arty and elegant, like art deco stuff.

I believe an aunt had one like this and when I was a child I kep gleaming at it and observed how my face get distorted in the reflecting image.

September 28, 2007 8:15 PM  

Blogger ROMY said...

seems very interesting... I hope this would b of any interest to U dear Sr.E, Have a fun weekend...I wish you enough!

September 29, 2007 3:00 AM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

There is another type of decorative balls, looking lie oversized marbles, and I believe not made of glass.

I saw them at Tesoro's (Makati).

A number of FilAms bring them over here as decor.

Anybody knows what it's made of?

September 29, 2007 10:27 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Are those made of wood of some sort that seem laminated and decorated with interesting designs, Amadeo?

If not wood, perhaps, plastic resin of sort, or fiberglass?

One of the reasons I like these glass balls is because it has been used, or as they say, it has "soul" -- like those collectible depression era glasswares.

September 29, 2007 11:25 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Many thanks for sharing these URLS, Romy.

And enjoy your weekend, too!

September 29, 2007 11:25 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

And like I said, Major Tom, it has "soul" because it has gone to many sea travels and adventure ... hehehe.

I had no idea, either, of its true function until now :)

September 29, 2007 11:27 AM  

Anonymous traje said...

your such a creative/manipulative should i say heheheh ;)when it comes to your photos really amaze me,everytime i visit your site nkaka-tanggal ng stress just looking at the pics.and reading the comments....

hAvE A NiCe wEeKeNd

September 30, 2007 9:23 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thank you so much, Traje. I guess that's essentially what this site is all about through everyone's healing effort -- a respite from the stress of daily life :)

October 01, 2007 6:16 AM  

Blogger mimi said...

parang fantasy ang feeling.. galing!

October 01, 2007 5:41 PM  

Blogger dave (",) said...

Looks like an oversized marble indeed, and I also thought of it as some fancy props for a science fantasy.

October 04, 2007 12:54 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Lol ... or a giant plastic balloon, Dave :)

October 04, 2007 7:19 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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