15 Aug2012

Capiz Shells

by Marketman

One peso each. That’s what I paid for about 100 beautiful capiz shells just cleaned prepared by a man working roadside on a provincial road in Cebu. Headed to handicraft factories, these shells are used in lamps, placemats, boxes, etc. The vendor was kind enough to sell some to me and inquired if I was going to fix an old capiz window or something… I didn’t tell him I had no idea what I was going to do with them, I was just fascinated to have come across them in this raw state.

Fast forward several months later, and I washed the shells well and dried them and took these photos before using them as serving “plates” for mini-crabcakes that were served as appetizers on the Zubuchon terrace. Very nice. Very economical. Very native. Totally re-usable. :)



  1. Monique says:

    Wow! Great buy MM. Craving for crab cakes now.

    Aug 15, 2012 | 7:02 am


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  3. j-gurl says:

    Hi MM, we used to have capiz windows n our old house at pampanga,,,(remisnicing mode)

    Aug 15, 2012 | 8:00 am

  4. Jade186 says:

    What is their diameter? They see quite large capiz plates.
    To use them as eating plates is so sosi “sosyal” idea :-) .

    Aug 15, 2012 | 8:09 am

  5. marilen says:

    Love, love your serendipitous finds!! Much like the post on nutmeg.

    Aug 15, 2012 | 8:12 am

  6. scott says:

    what a fabulous idea MM using the shells as serving platters for a yummy appetizer!

    Aug 15, 2012 | 9:35 am

  7. Sealdi says:

    Hi Marketman, could you post a photo of how the capiz shells looked like with the mini-crab cakes in it?

    Aug 15, 2012 | 9:52 am

  8. ros says:

    Nice! The first photo is just brilliant! Surely Ansel Adams would have approved.
    I wish I could see the RAW HD version.

    Serving Plates!! MORE FUN(and Eco-fiendly) IN THE PHILIPPINES!!


    Aug 15, 2012 | 12:13 pm

  9. betty q. says:

    …MUST visit Cebu definitely!

    Aug 15, 2012 | 1:44 pm

  10. millet says:

    love them! or you could scatter them across the table for accent.

    Aug 15, 2012 | 1:54 pm

  11. Marketman says:

    Sealdi, bizarrely, I didn’t manage to snap a shot. There was a magazine photographer shooting so hopefully they may make it to print one day. Will post it here if it does so you can see it… Jade186, they are roughly 3-3.5 inches in diameter…

    Aug 15, 2012 | 3:21 pm

  12. Heck says:

    The photos above remind me of a popular type of Asian print or design called Japanese clouds. I am surprised to see that capiz shells are good photo subject. The photos can be enlarged and used as wall prints in lieu of the usual paintings, mirrors and other wall decors. The photos can also be printed on recycled paper and be used as place mats (can be laminated so that it can be used over and over again). The shells itself can serve as tea light holders.

    Interestingly, capiz shells do not evoke memories of summers spent on the beach. Rather, the shells remind me of Quiapo, specifically, Balikbayan Handicrafts (and other handicraft stores around it – ilalim). Well at least, that is an indication that I have not yet completely lost my hold on the city where I was born.

    Aug 15, 2012 | 3:25 pm

  13. Pink Carnations says:

    Love those! and for the price.. You have an eye for beauty. Just needs extra care in handling and storage, no? Wish also to see the crab cakes on it :)

    Aug 15, 2012 | 4:15 pm

  14. Rowi says:

    Hi MM!
    What a great roadside find! I have never seen capiz shells such as those you have found – I would be overjoyed at such a discovery.

    The second photo is so tantalizing that with your permission I would like to use it as my Mac’s desktop photo for the autumn.

    Many thanks for sharing. Btw, are these shells only found in Capiz, hence the name?

    Aug 15, 2012 | 4:33 pm

  15. EbbaBlue says:

    Ako rin, naalala ko ang bintana namin sa Sampaloc, capiz-lattice ang design. At naalala ko rin yung capiz “chandelier” na itinapon na lang ng hubby ko kasi ang daming nabasag because of our move. Eh sabi ko sayang dahil ang dami pang pcs na pwedeng i-save.

    Thanks for sharing the photo.

    Aug 15, 2012 | 8:20 pm

  16. rosedmd says:

    you make placemats!

    Aug 15, 2012 | 9:19 pm

  17. dhayL says:

    Totally awesome!! That’s really priced very well!

    Aug 16, 2012 | 1:59 am

  18. eustressor says:

    Great find as always and what a spectacular idea to use them as plates for the cupcakes!

    Aug 16, 2012 | 7:21 am

  19. Hiddendragon says:

    Growing up where I did, I watched a whole lot of kung-fu and swordfight films before I actually encountered a real capiz shell window. I had always thought those windows were made of paper, where the bad guy in a black ninja costume would ‘soar’ in, dip his (sometimes, it’s a she!) finger into his mouth and stick it into the window and break it for a peek into the guys inside, after which a fight would break out resulting in smashed, flying furniture. I was actually surprised when those window gaps are actually hard shells!

    Aug 16, 2012 | 7:38 am

  20. Clarissa says:

    I love random finds you buy, and have no idea how it’s going to be used, just like finding random ingredients for recipes you still have to discover :) but what else do you do with this? :)

    Aug 16, 2012 | 2:06 pm

  21. Betchay says:

    Are these the shells of scallops? If not, what kind of mollusk is capiz shell from? Is the capiz mollusk edible?

    Aug 16, 2012 | 7:24 pm

  22. meh says:

    Betchay, capiz shell is from the bivalve Placuna placenta. Apparently the meat is edible… you can read more about these bivalves here: http://www.malacsoc.org.uk/malacological_bulletin/Mini-Reviews/3Aquaculture/Aquaculture.htm

    Aug 17, 2012 | 12:07 am

  23. cherryoyvr says:

    Love love these fabulous find. Wish I could buy some too. I know just what to do with them.

    Aug 17, 2012 | 7:52 am

  24. Betchay says:

    Thank you meh for the very interesting link. So this is another exploited Philippine product that the Government and the people should take a second look if we want our children and the future generation to continue to enjoy the magical play of lights emanating from these translucent pearly shells.

    Aug 17, 2012 | 8:24 am

  25. Nadia says:

    Two weeks ago I arrived to this lovely country, (I am from Ecuador in Southamerica). A while ago I found this blog and just love it, lots of very good information for someone like me, thanks!

    I am in love with this sheells, you have a good eye.

    Aug 17, 2012 | 4:26 pm

  26. Marketman says:

    Nadia, welcome to the Philippines! The blog has over 3,300 posts over the past 8 years, so please feel free to browse “backwards” in time when you have nothing better to do. Also, if searching for a particular topic, it is easier to use Google as the search engine rather than the search function on the blog. So, if looking for “epazote” herbs, then simply google “epazote marketmanila” and you will be directed to any related posts…

    meh, thanks for that link. I would like to think that I am never too old to learn something new. So everyday, I hope I discover something I didn’t know or understand the day before… :)

    Aug 17, 2012 | 6:17 pm

  27. dana says:

    along with bamboo, this beautiful, natural filipino product should be promoted in making cabinets and furniture accessories for both local and foreign markets.

    Oct 29, 2012 | 2:43 pm


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