One of the craze of millennials lately is acquiring wooden stuff. Wooden houses, furniture, tableware, bags, shoes, accessories… this also includes eyewear. I never really imagined that eyeglass frames could be made out of wood or maybe I simply lack imagination? But whatever… because wearing one feels awesome. It also makes me feel at one with nature. Disposing it is also not a problem because it is biodegradable unlike those made out of plastic and metal.
Prior to acquiring my wood frame glasses, I was fortunate to be able to talk with the owner-creator of Juantipara, thanks to my friend Paul Cobangbang. He introduced me to an optometrist with a vision and mission in life, Dr. Mike Abulencia did not lack imagination nor creativity. His work started off as a hobby during 2016, it was a simple handmade gift for his wife who is an ophthalmologist.
He wanted to give her something that was inspired by his father who used to make things out of wooden scraps. This influenced his thinking and probably his lifestyle too when it comes to reusable things. Wanting to use recyclable things to integrate into his work, came out the idea of wooden glasses. He did mention that he initially wanted to utilize used skateboard decks and make them into eyeglass frames. How is he going to do that? I have no idea! Yet I’m sure that’s going to be really cool and memorable for the person who owned that skateboard or to anyone who rides a board.
However, after everything I’ve mentioned above… let’s be honest that the “wooden frame” idea isn’t entirely original as there are a lot of eye wears made from wood out there in the mainstream market. Nonetheless, have you noticed that the ones being sold off the shelf are ready-made? You can only choose what is offered and that’s that. Furthermore most of the items are only sold as eye shades and not prescribed ones. Somehow, upon talking to several eyewear suppliers, I discovered that these frames came from factories and are ordered in bulk. Do you want to guess where most of it came from? Yep! It’s from China.
Now the thing that differentiates Dr. Abulencia’s Juantipara from the market is that each and every single wooden frame is handmade. He personally makes each item and not only that, the frames are also custom made to fit the face perfectly. Another factor that made his creation an awesome piece is that he wouldn’t release the frames unless he is wholly satisfied with the finished product. When I say satisfied, the frame has to be perfect and in tip-top shape. To be precise, each frame is made from nine layers of thinly sliced wood, pressed together, cut and shaped then connected with metal hinges. Then he finishes them off with a lot of wood sanding… by hand! The process makes the eye wear durable as testified by my friend who had tried out his very own Juantipara in hard conditions. He soaked them in warm, cold and salt water, placed it under the sun, used it while biking around and let his sweat seep in through the wood. However harsh the treatment was, it still looked better worn out as any wood would look like as time passes by. The wood is made lithe to withstand pressure so as not to break easily when it is mishandled. The concept of the frame was inspired from a German artist who made semi-flexible wooden works.
As for my personal opinion, the customized frame fit me perfectly. Since I need prescription glasses for my astigmatism, I knew I will be wearing it all the time. What I really wanted was something light, long-lasting, simple and yet stylish. When I finally got my Juantipara glasses, it exceeded my expectations because it was everything I hoped for and more. The frame actually felt like a part of my face and it also came with a cute case and an effective glass cleaner. My husband who also had his own custom made polarized shades was very happy with the way the frame fit his face. He always had a hard time looking for an eyewear that wouldn’t fall off his nose or feel uncomfortable. Now, we both don’t have to look somewhere else to satisfy our visual needs.
For those who are interested to procure a Juantipara eyewear, I would suggest that it would be better to schedule a consultation with Dr. Abulencia to discuss what kind of frame you want. He also accepts designs according to his client’s request. The price starts at P4,500 for polarized shades while for prescription glasses it may be higher. The price would vary depending on the type of glasses you will need or ask for. Eye consultation for prescription glasses are free. If you feel the price is hefty for a pair of glasses and a wooden frame, think of investing for something that could last you a lifetime. Also put into consideration that the item is custom made especially for you and not for anyone else which makes it rather unique. That would make the purchase worth it.
For further information, please see contact details below:
Dr. Mike Abulencia
02 366 8994
Facebook: JuanTipara Wooden Eyewear