I miss Cardinal ceramics

For the past decade, we have been hunting for the perfect candle holders. Not for decorative purposes, really, but because in this Third World country where storms and typhoons often mean power outages that can last for days, candles are still useful. We don’t like crystal candle holders which may look gorgeous and classy but which will probably make me cry if any of the house helpers broke them.

We don’t have house helpers anymore but my idea of how our candle holders should be has not really changed. I want them to be sturdy. I want them to be able to hold large candles. And I want them to look GOOD. I saw some solid wood sets in Dapitan last year, the prices made me faint so I didn’t buy any. Then, the rainy season was upon us and we knew we’d better start looking around some more. These were the best we could find.

casaveneracion.com tea-candles

I’m not exactly ecstatic about them but they looked decent enough so we bought four. Then, it turned out that they can only hold tea candles. Speedy said the glass got too hot if large candles were placed inside. We didn’t want to take risks so we used them once, burned some tea candles, and they’ve been lying on the living room coffee table since — forgotten and forlorn. No one even bothered to clean out the candle stubs.

All this time that we had been looking for candle holders, the only thing that remained constant inside my head was how much I wanted to go to the Cardinal ceramics outlet. We used to go there so often, in the Quezon city factory outlet, and I still have a lot of the stuff I bought when Sam and Alex were very young. Like this bowl.

casaveneracion.com cardinal-ceramics-bowl

When a cousin got married, we gave her a pair of pure white candle holders shaped like angels.

If you’re not familiar with Cardinal ceramics, it’s an export company that started out as a livelihood program for the residents of Tala leprosarium. “Cardinal” refers to the late Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Rufino J. Santos who played a huge role in turning the project into a profitable business. There used to be two outlets, one in the Scout area in Quezon City and the main one in Makati right across the YMCA. The great thing about these outlets was that they were factory outlets that sold overruns and rejects, the latter with slight painting issues that, considering the fantastic rock-bottom bargain prices (sounds overkill but the prices were really, really low), were quite negligible.

We couldn’t find Quezon City anymore last year. And just a couple of weeks ago, a friend told us that Cardinal ceramics in Makati was holding its final sale before finally closing its doors. I don’t know if it’s just the factory outlets that have closed or if the export company has folded up too. I found a U.S. company that sells Cardinal ceramics products and the listing appears current. Does that mean I can still buy Cardinal ceramics products in a roundabout way? By ordering from a U.S. company that imported the items from the Philippines in the first place? I’m sure the prices will be much, much, MUCH more than the factory prices at the Quezon City and Makati outlets. And that won’t make them too attractive to a price-conscious consumer like me.


  1. Hazel says

    Hi. They were in St Francis Square for a while after the company closed in October. Apparently a huge buyer backed out last minute and they had to sell the goods meant for that buyer. Got the cell number of one of the sales assistant from my friend. I think they join tiangges. you may wish to get in touch with her to ask where they are. Her name is Fely 0908 1998880. By the way, their goods are sold at the closing out prices (about 80% off).

    • leng crisostomo says

      Hi!!! would you know if cardinal ceramics is open for consignment. Would love to sell their products in different bazaars. Hope to receive prompt reply. Thanks

  2. ann sianson says

    my mom love’s the company sooo much…she had sleepless nights when cardinal had closed…more than 30 yrs of service is really painful to bear…But we had so many souvenir items, from little figurines up to big plates…beautiful products..unfortunately comes to an end…

  3. shawee says

    cardinal ceramics in cebu is already closed too! waaaaaaaaaaah mahirap na talaga maghanap punta pa ako ng manila for that huhuhuh! my mom and i are really into their great pieces, along with my boss who is now based in taguig. we would give beautiful pieces to my aunts for christmas… sayang last year di na kami nka bili. will be checking out this post for updates on where they are now.

  4. says

    my candle holders are so heavy and sturdy.. swedish crystals, Orrefors and Kosta Boda. They are timeless pieces.

    shame no all these local products wala na sa market.

  5. says

    Beveled crystal is gorgeous if you live in a place that’s not so dusty. But in the Philippines, you’ll probably spend more time cleaning it than using it.

    I think they sell Orrefors in a shop at Shangri-La. But I’m sure the prices will give me a heart attack LOL

  6. Mila says

    Oh no, that’s terrible news! I will go check if the Makati outlet is still around in a few weeks and let you know. I hope they have merely moved to a new location.

  7. says

    we also have a couple of kosta boda tea light holders at home. now they have a large crack from the inside, possibly from the heat of the candles because they’re really overused, but until now they’re just cracks. so yeah they are pretty sturdy.

    try looking for designs that won’t collect so much dust. ours are irregularly rounded ones that look like they have a rough finish, but they just look that way, they’re really polished smooth so no dusting required. good luck!

  8. malen says

    I checked yesterday the Cardinal store in Makati and it is already torn down. The security guard said Cardinal already closed. Now I really miss Cardinal. I hope they just moved to another location. Will appreciate any information.

  9. Boo says

    Hi Connie,

    There IS a Cardinal ceramics outlet, in BF Homes Paranaque.
    My mom gets all her serving dishes, tealight holders, bowls, ‘katol holders’, doggie bowls etc from there. It’s in Phase 1, where the commercial centre is. Christmas finds our home loaded with gifts to distribute, bought from Cardinal Ceramics.

    Take care. Hope you will find what you’re missing there, and although it’s faaaaar from where you live, i’m sure you’ll make a trip down south one of these days…. =0)

  10. malen says

    i called the coffeeshop beside the Cardinal Ceramics outlet in BF and they said Cardinal moved probably at the Alabang Town Center. If any officer at Cardinal Ceramics is reading this, I hope they can clarify where their current location is.

  11. emyM says

    From what I read, Cardinal produced porcelain dinnerware
    for Dansk.I love the simple blue and white Dansk dinnerware
    and some designs were discontinued.The round platter sells
    for $69.95 online but I got lucky when I bought 2 platters
    for $3.00 each at a thrift store.

    I think dinner plates are good buy.You can mix and match
    the blue and white patterns.One dinner plate here cost $12.00,
    that’s the new Dansk and one place setting cost $29.95.
    The butter dish sells for $24.99.

    So,if you can find it….buy it.Love your vegetable dish.