Today, when wireless technology seems to have taken over every aspect of our lives, a longing for what is handcrafted, used, and old surfaces. There are days when the overload of broadband distractions becomes just too much to handle. A good antidote for slowing down could be turning off your cell phone and taking a short road trip out of the city for some fresh air and new sights.
The thrill would be taking off in the middle of a busy week, and the joy would be chancing upon a standalone segunda mano shop that’s not inside a mall. Even if you’re not too interested in rummaging through old things in musty china shops, just the fact that you can actually slow down by looking at bric-a-brac from a time when everything was slower will be enough to recharge you.
Then, there are those who will do this for a pastime. They will go looking for old, used, vintage items for reasons other than work overload.
Driven by nostalgia and the thrill of the hunt, the vintage pack is growing. More and more of them are shopping around for anchor pieces that could add a new look to an old space or for a match to what they already have. Instead of buying new things, they would rather get their hands on old or used items, often for sentimental reasons.
Some people simply don’t want anything that looks modern. Others remember that when they were young, an older aunt or grandmother used to have remarkable bone china cups and saucers, and now they, too, long for something similar.
These are the elements that make shopping for second-hand items from different stylistic periods or antiques their favorite pastime. Unfortunately, things like authentic vintage porcelain are often very fragile and break quite easily, which is why they are so difficult to find now.
A slightly easier way to find some would be to look for them on the Internet, although prices could be high and, of course, fixed, and the sleuthing not as much fun. Nothing beats walking around and picking up things, handling them, talking to the shop owner, and stumbling upon a great find.
No flight to the Internet
The fact is, eBay hasn’t killed segunda mano shops. There is no flight to the Internet. In fact, they are very much here to stay. You just have to know where some of them have moved, or chance upon one the way I did.
In the ’90s, Ronnei Silva used to have his store on the third floor of Makati Cinema Square, along with a small group of segunda mano shop owners and antique dealers. Early this year, he moved to his present location along the Tagaytay-Sta. Rosa Road that leads to Tagaytay City proper.
Over the years, Silva has built up his collection, which includes enough vintage crockery for several tea parties. And since this business is all about restocking, he frequently trawls auctions and flea markets in and around Europe, and buys when an occasional collector or homeowner trades up his stuff. He has regular buyers who go to him looking for specific patterns on bone china sets or one-of-a-kind furniture pieces. If Silva doesn’t have it in his shop, he may have it at home. Just ask him.
The store is crammed to the ceiling with vintage English blue and white porcelain, demitasse sets, bone china sets, carnival glassware, silver plated tea services, pewter ware, brass and crystal chandeliers, Venetian Murano glass, Venetian mirrors, cobalt blue, hurricane lamps, European corner cabinets and cupboards, Blackamoor statues, candelabras, cut glass decanters, grandfather clocks, bric-a-brac, and copper pots and pans.
I saw an Italian corner cabinet with beveled glass in the neoclassical style that could be a decorator’s stylistic foil to a modern, chic and eminently lovely home. Once inside the store, you will literally have to slow down and walk with care as there is so much stuff you could bump into and break.
From the South Luzon Expressway, take the Sta. Rosa exit going to Tagaytay. Drive along the Tagaytay-Sta. Rosa Road past the roadside wooden furniture shops till you see the Gintong Talulot sign on the right side of the highway. From there on, keep your eyes peeled for a sign that says “Sevillejo Home Furnishing Antiques and Accessories,” about a few hundred meters down the road on the left side. You won’t miss the green awning. The shop is open seven days a week.
Segundo mano shops like Silva’s are here to stay. After all, what gets outmoded today will be hip and trendy tomorrow.
Sevillejo’s Home Furnishing is at No. 5 Pasong Langka, Tagaytay-Sta. Rosa Road, Silang, Cavite. For inquiries, call 0919-6329289 or 0923-9564884.