Capiz or Lampirong (alternative spelling: Lamperong) Windows. One of the most distinct and beautiful architectural details of old Philippine buildings are the windows made with shell rather than glass. We’re not sure if this is because glass was not made in the Philippines or it was just too expensive, but whatever the reason, it has has given us a treasure in these beautiful windows. We had imagined that Capiz was something of the distant past until the stands selling “Lampirong” oysters (Placuna placenta) sprang up along the National Highway between Oton and Tigbauan, Iloilo on Panay Island in May. The vendor told us that these Lampirong were harvested right in the immediate area, not trucked in from Capiz Province.
The photo above shows Carol buying Lampirong oysters. At first glance the Lampirong seem so thin that there could not be much meat. This proved not to be the case. The Lampirong were meatier than other local oysters and, according to my Filipino family, exceptionally fresh, sweet and delicious. The cost was P35 per kilo.
The shells of lampirong are discarded and have no market value but they are sometimes used for decorations such as the Christmas tree shown above, by the roadside in Oton, Iloilo.
Getting back to historic Capiz windows, you can see why the windows are so beautiful. They filter in a quiet light through the luminicent, mother-of-pearl shell. The fact is that one the Lampirongs are eaten, the shells are discarded. One firm is marketing newly-made Capiz products, including windows: http://www.lamperong.com/
Since we’re designing our new home, it’s a real temptation to incorporate these beautiful Capiz shells somehow, somewhere.