BACOLOD CITY—Enthusiasts and tourists in Bacolod City will be enthralled by this latest attraction in Negros Occidental’s capital city, which is probably the first of its kind in the country.
Vintage Glasses Museum displays a collection of over 2,000 glass pieces, including dinnerware, Victorian lamps, decorative objects, decanters and commemorative plates of different hues and intricate designs.
About 95 percent of the collection of Tomas Claridad Casiano, a floral designer for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, came from the United States and were acquired in a span of 20 years.
These include depression glasses, which are colored glassware made primarily during the depression years in the United States from 1904 to 1940—green, pink, red, yellow, amber, ruby and fire, cobalt blue, aquamarine and delphite (opaque blue glass).
Casiano, 66, who is known to his clients as Tomiko, also has opalescent glasses, which are actually two layers of glass—one colored and the other clear—and carnival glasses (iridescent glasses usually pattern-molded and treated with metallic salts).
The Vaseline glasses are no longer being produced, he says, because the uranium content was used to achieve the transparent yellow to yellow-green colors.
His collection also includes Jadite, a type of uranium glass that appears in shades of pale green, and Milk, an opaque or translucent, or milky white colored glass, blown or pressed into a wide variety of shapes.
Also in his collection are pressed glass pieces and crystals with sterling silver overlays.
In the United States, Casiano first worked as a butler for movie director Benjamin Smith before starting his own flower shop called Tomiko that catered to the Beverly Hills crowd. He was a district science promotion officer of Science Foundation of the Philippines before he went to Australia and the United States in 1986.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree, major in General Science, from La Consolacion College. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree, major in Natural Science, from the University of Negros Occidental–Recoletos in Bacolod City and a masteral degree in science education from the University of Baguio.
While working as a floral designer, Casiano would look for vases in many places for his flowers. It was when he fell in love with glass that he started collecting glass pieces. Over the years, he would send home some of the items.
Last year, he decided to return to Bacolod for good. He brought along 66 more boxes of his glass collection.
Casiano decided to build the museum in a two-story building because his extensive collection could no longer fit in his house in Barangay Sum-ag. The place would also be a venue to share his passion with others.
The museum was inaugurated on Dec. 12 last year, with performances by Sum-ag talents. It formally opened to the public five days later. Visiting time is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesdays to Sundays.
A balcony on the second floor serves as a stage to promote the performing arts in Sum-ag, Casiano says. “I hope to make it the performing arts center of Sum-ag,” says Casiano, who wants to help develop local talents and promote arts and culture in the area.
At the edge of the balcony, water cascades down the front of the building, providing a natural cooling system for the first-floor coffee shop.
A member of the Bird Feeders Association of America, Casiano designed the museum yard to be bird-friendly, putting in landing and bathing areas.
As visitors view his glass collection, they can also hear the rush of water and chirping of birds.