Amazing Array of Religious Images Collection in Quezon City Part 1

Amazing and extensive collections would greet any visitors or friends who had been invited to visit at the husband and wife house within the heart of Quezon City’s entertainment and restaurant district.


century-old altar table with intricate carvings and details

Mesa de Altar

They had their own special places atop altar tables ( mesa de altar) –which became a standard piece of furniture in the homes of Filipino- Catholic families. They are  called commodas. These furniture pieces also double as functional storage space.

Most commodes had marble tops, with some were fitted with pairs of doors, the trend have started in France during the middle part of the 17th century and gradually spread to Europe and the colonies.

The altar table have influences of Chinese, Portuguese, Mexican and Spanish. Most preferred are the hardwood made from narra, ebony, yakal or kamagong wood.


wooden religious statues and images

They have extensive collection, some of which are family heirloom pieces handed down by their parents and collected for more than 50 years !  That was before the great Typhoon Ketsana ( ONDOY ) hit Metro Manila and inundated almost all their books, wooden items, figurines and among other stuff.

The first floor was badly flooded and they have to throw away at least 1 small truckload of those item. Some small items were stolen by the people that they have hired during the cleaning process.


several religious wooden statues and trophies

But what remained are still amazing to behold and treasure. Some were gifts from their friends , family and love ones. The couple are also visual artists, philanthropist plant lovers at heart.


primitive looking religious containers or urnas ( left- Saint Joseph with child jesus. right- Saint Micheal the Archangel ) These are about a century -old, family heirloom pieces inherited from their parents.

 Religious Containers

The start of the Spanish colonial era in the late-16th century. Catholic religious images made from local hardwood, softwood, elephant ivory became common. The more elaborate wooden images and ivory faced images are usually reserve for the church and the rich families who can afford these items. The religious images are richly embroidered with gold thread and decorated with diamantes and semi-precious stones with silver or copper aureole.


Santo Niño ( possibly carved from elephant ivory with beaten silver crown and pedestal)

Some images made from ivory and other materials are also imported from other religious centers like Macao, Goa ( India), Spain, Portugal and even Mexico.

The common people also have their simple carved wooden religious statues made from other wooden materials. Some preferred batikuling, santol, langka ( jackfruit), yakal.


l-r Our lady of Antipolo, Immaculate Conception, Immaculate Conception, Santo Niño , Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Lourdes

The collector friend had amass 3 religious altar table and 5 religious URNAS.

Note: ( for the purpose of their safety and privacy- The author prefers not to name the collector friend who prefers to be anonymous).





A Visit to Casa Gianan Vintage Collection

Our small group had set an appointment with Mr. Mark Anthony Kyle Gianan which included a short tour of  Kahoy World along Boni Avenue and a visit to his Casa Gianan vintage collection located in Sanggumay street.


custom-made furniture and bed

I first met with Krazy Kyle few years ago during a coverage at Toy Convention 2014 and Historycon 2016.


different kinds of toys , bottles and memorabilias



There are several well-known celebrities posted at the entrance of his store so of which became his clientele.


 face mask from different parts of the globe





He earn the moniker ” Filipino Picker” because of his thousand of toys, memorabilia items, telephone units, face masks, vintage bottles, tin cans, paintings  among others.


Jollibee toys released in the mid 1980’s to early 1990’s


Most of his collections belongs to the 1970’s to mid- 1990’s. He started collecting around 2009 which included old telephone units, face mask from different countries.


different kinds of soft drink bottles, beer bottles, milk bottles


coca-cola bottles, cups and mugs




Jollibee mugs

Jollibee mugs was also part of the promotional items sold at the iconic food chain in the early part of 1990’s


Alphabets and Numbers which can transform into robots

These were part of the promotional items by a well-known toothpaste brand in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s.


Donald Duck figurines and toys


wood carvings


button pins, paper bills, coins, stamps and books

Some of these items were given by his family friends, fans and fellow pickers.


l-r Mr. Carlo Tecson ,Mr. Mark Anthony Kyle Gianan, Mr. Ray Ong and Achilles Lussier

Kahoy World can be visited during business hours , while Casa Gianan vintage collection is upon special appointment.

Facebook Page :

Casa Gianan Address: 664 Sangumay St, Mandaluyong, 1550 Metro Manila

Krazykyle’s Kahoy World Furniture Address: 1550, 643 Boni Ave, Mandaluyong

Contact :0918-911-6280



Shisa: Tales of Stone Dog Guardians

Shisa, Shiisa or Shizi are an ordinary feature when one visit the island of Okinawa and southern prefecture of Japan. The creature looks like hybrid of pekingese dog, lion and cat.

Introduction and Origin

There are many stories which surround the origin of the introduction of Buddhism having been introduced to Japan from Korea in 552 CE. It was during Nara period (710-794), lion guardians was popularized in the country and are found in temples and shrines. These might have come from China and Korea.

Some of the original guard dogs are made of wood and originally placed indoor. It was only between 14th and 15th century that stone dogs are created for outdoor and the horn was gradually replace with the current version.

There are a variation of the guardian lions found in many other parts of Asia, including mainland Japan and Korea where they are called Komainu. Which are mostly found in Buddhist temples and shrines.

As more pottery kiln rose the popularity of shisa within the region. It was also the time that shisa sitting on a red tile roof of buildings or as guard dogs in entrance of one’s abode. Some buildings like schools, hospitals, enterprises, airports and even malls have shisa guarding their entrances.


Shisha guardian dogs made from ceramic ( circa 1980’s)

Folktales and Legends

There are several folk tales which may have started from the Tomimori Village in the late 16th century near Kochinda Town in southern part of Okinawa.

Villagers of that area sought out Saiouzui, a Feng Shui master, to ask him why there were so many fires around the area. He believed they were because of the power of the nearby Mt. Yaese. Hence Shisa dogs were places facing the mountain to ward of the negative elements and fire.

Since placing shisa at the entrance to the village, there hasn’t been a single fire in the village.

Another popular tale originates in the 17th century surrounding the village of Madanbashi south of Naha the capital city.

A visiting Chinese envoy at the Shuri court gave the king of Ryukyu (now Okinawa) a necklace decorated with a figurine of a shisa-dog (locally called Iri-nu). The king found it as nice present and wore it underneath his clothes. This serves as a good luck charm and amulet.


Shisha dogs with bell

According to this legend, Madanbashi village were regularly attacked by a giant fire dragon.

A local priestesses (noro) recalled a dream. She inform the visiting king to stand on the beach with the Shisa figure held high towards the dragon. She gave this information to a young local boy, Chiga, who delivered the message to the king.

She gave this information to a young boy, Chiga, who delivered the message to the king. From there the king went to face the dragon and performed the actions as told by Chiga.

As the dragon was ready to attack, the priestess told the king to hold up the necklace to the monster. There rose a thundering roar and the Shisa came to life, three large boulders fell from the sky pinning the monster and crushing its tail.

Unable to move around, the creature eventually died and was later overgrown with foliage, trees and vegetation. It is later known as Gana-Mui forest near Naha- Ohashi bridge. People have erected large stone shisa to protect the place from evil spirits.

Since then, the inhabitants of Madanbashi continue to gather every year, on August 15th lunar calendar to offer prayers and offerings (mainly fruits , steam buns and foods) to protect the people of the village.

During the closing months of the second world war, Some shisa dogs found in the island were used by some local as shield against gunfire by the allied forces.

The guardian dogs as a talisman against evil spirits and good luck. These are an indispensable element in the lives of Okinawans.


pair of shisa in different posture

Male and Female

There are many beliefs on the gender of these guardian dogs, Some believe that male shisa had a wide an open mouth to wards off evil spirits, and the one with a closed mouth, a female, keeps good spirits in.


a pair of shisa dog -one close mouth and one with open mouth

Depending on who you ask, which one is which might differ. Some believe that the one with an open mouth is male and he is scaring the evil away, but others say that he has the mouth closed to keep evil out of the home. The female with an open mouth is sharing good luck with others, while the one with closed mouth keeps the luck inside the house.

Popular Culture

The popularity of these arouse after the end of the second world war, Shisa were popular souvenir items which range from small figurines, t-shirts, toys, clock, paper weights, bells, sharpener, terracotta pots among others.


shisa figurine is a popular souvenir item from Okinawa

Shisa Collection

She started collecting the items 5 years ago, when her immediate relative gave her a pair of shisa figurine upon visit to the island. She then fell in love with these items and started buying them in Japanese thrift stores within Fairview or Lagro area.

The collector had over 3 dozen Shisa figurines in different sizes. Sometimes, shisa figurine would not come in pair and some items would have missing tails or broken head.


Adopted from Legends of Okinawa by Chizue Sesoko

Arroyo, Kelly : Shisa dogs of Okinawa

Mariko Uehara Roland, Kijimuna and Shisa ( Bilingual ), October 21, 2011

Personal interview with a shisa collector

Okinawa Prefectural Government. Archived from the original on 2009-10-08. Retrieved 2010-08-09.

Shisa : Mythical creature of Okinawa

Miniature beer and liquor bottle collection

The author was invited by a friend who lives within Barangay Talipapa in Novaliches, Quezon City.


miniature liquor , beer, vodka and soft drink bottle collection

Both husband and wife tandem are collectors and sellers of some vintage stuffs. Some of their haul are from Japan , United States, South Korea, Taiwan and some Southeast Asian countries.


some of the miniature bottles does not have any content

They gladly showed me some of their miniature liquor, beer and soft drink  bottle collection. They have more than 30 miniature bottles. Some were still unopened and in almost mint condition.


a few still have corkscrew 

Some of their visitors sometimes would randomly open their miniature liquor bottle collection and drink the content out of it.  They would put padlock to secure their collection.

It took them several years to gradually built-up their collection and They were able to collect some miniature soft drink bottles from coca-cola.

According to the husband and wife tandem which collects miniature bottles, It is not easy to maintain a collection. Some over eager visitors would take them home as souvenirs. But they will still try to maintain their collection as long as they are happy and people visiting their house appreciates them.

Kokeshi dolls made from marbles

Kokeshi doll collecting is the passion of some people who like something unique and cultural. In my previous blog post, I have featured some unique kokeshi dolls find that my friends manage to collect over some period of time.

kokeshi marble dolls.JPG

3 different size of kokeshi dolls ( private collection of Ms. Angelita Chua) 

These are 3 different kinds and sizes of kokeshi dolls. After the second world war, freestyle or creative styles were developed using an array of materials. Ms. Angelita Chua is from San Jose del Monte, Bulacan had had been collecting kokeshi dolls since 2010.

Kokeshi marble dolls4.JPG

kokeshi doll is about 3.5 inches length by 2.75 inches length ( female and male)

These are often sold as tourist souvenir around Japan. One such material is marble. The biggest one is about 3.5 inches with and 2.75 inches height and probably made around late 1970’s or early 1980’s.


kokeshi marble dolls2.JPG

kokeshi doll is about 2.6 inches length by 2.2 inches length ( male and female)

This kokeshi dolls ( male and female) with green and pink ribbon tied around its neck. This was probably made around late 1970’s to early 1980’s using marbles and painted with black, blue and red ink.  This can be use as paper weight or display item.

kokeshi marble dolls 3.JPG

 2.1 inches width by 2 inches length ( female and male) kokeshi doll ( left to right)

In this third set of kokeshi doll , The female doll is positioned on the left side and male is positioned at the right side. This set used three kinds of marbles.

She bought these three kokeshi marble dolls from a thrift store somewhere in Cavite, while visiting a relative early part of this year. She saw a bigger 6- inch kokeshi doll from a Japanese thrift shop in Las Piñas , but failed to buy the kokeshi doll ( also made from marble) since the seller ( tindera) wanted Php 800.00 for the item. ( she find it quite exorbitant)

She does not have an idea on what part of Japan these items were originally made.  Any suggestion or recommendation would be a big help.





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