The Ultimate Guide to Buying Eyewear in the Philippines

Honestly, I think it’s safe to say when it comes to eyewear, there should be around 2 brand names that will almost certainly come into your mind, Ray-Ban or Oakley. This piece will hopefully help you get the most out of our money for any kind of eyewear shopping especially since we are in a tropical country where sunglasses is a must else you want to eye irritation or diseases.

RayBan Wayfarer RX Broken in Less Than 6 Months

RayBan Wayfarer RX Broken in Less Than 6 Months

The Misconception

Till today, I’m more than certain most of us would still assume that these coveted brand names in eyewear are made in Italy and the US of A respectively. I too thought so. Stupidly so, if I may add. Last year, I bought my wifey a new pair of RX frames. I insisted she get an Oakley with titanium material as it should be more than enough to withstand our then 4 year old son’s antics. Before pulling the trigger on a PHP 15,000 (US$ 340) frame, I had to ask the George Optical sales staff if it was still made in the US. If I remember it correctly, they all had no direct or definite answer to it. I had to resort to inspecting all of the contents of the product and found no easy trace of where it was made except the aluminum casing which clearly stated made in China. Later on, I found a “made in China” text somewhere on the accompanying leaflet of it. This was less than a month or so of use already and this was after the paint job of the expensive frames all started falling off! I took it back to George Optical in SM City Cebu and they said they would gladly send it to Manila or somewhere for processing or probably repainting. I knew this would take forever and my wife can’t afford to NOT SEE forever so I declined.

Oakley's Paint is Gone in Less Than One Month of Normal Use

Oakley’s Paint is Gone in Less Than One Month of Normal Use

To make things worse, at least for my part, I fell for the very same misconception less than a year after the Oakley fiasco. My 7 year old Rudy Project RX frames had died on me, one of the titanium arms (brackets) had finally given up after years of bending to get my desired fit. As this was again an emergency for me, I had to rush and get me a new pair. I thought I’d still go for an established make especially since I have no time to keep going to the mall for replacements and whatnot if something is to go amiss. I grabbed me a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarer RX frames from The Optical Shop in SM. All went as expected of it up until 5 months or so… The top of the frame SNAPPED while I was cleaning it and a little bending for adjustment! That’s PHP 9,000 (US$200) that just snapped on me in less than half a year of use (not even abused)!

RayBan Wayfarer Broken

RayBan Wayfarer Broken

RayBan RX Wayfarer Original Receipt

RayBan RX Wayfarer Original Receipt

RayBan Philippines Reply to my Complaint - DENIED MORE THAN 6 MONTHS!

RayBan Philippines Reply to my Complaint – DENIED MORE THAN 6 MONTHS!

Then I questioned its quality again. I did my research and boom! People have been led wrong again for these glasses to be made in Italy as they are now… You’ve guessed it! Made in China! Took it to The Optical Shop and they took pictures and made a report about it and sent it to their Manila head office of sorts. After a week, a letter came in saying my frames are OUT OF WARRANTY or beyond 6 months. Check the letter for yourself. Worst? They didn’t even try to REPAIR my frames! I could have felt better if they at least tried to say, “What about let’s just put some heat to that snapped frame to glue it back again and make it somewhat usable…”. Nothing! As if I hadn’t given them money! Lolz

What Eyewear to Buy Instead

Given we are in the Philippines and the corporate/retail return and warranty policies here aren’t as great compared to developed countries, I have one advise for everyone trying to get them eyewear: Stay away from LUXOTTICA. Luxottica is the company that owns eyewear brands the likes of Ray-Ban, Oakley, and almost 80% of the eyewear brands that we can find in this country. Although I’m not sure if all of their brands are made in China or that they are made of great quality regardless of where they are made, I think my experience with 2 of their products in less than a year is more than enough to tell you something is wrong. We are paying this company Italian or American labor for products made in China and worst, at a standard way below the price tag they carry. If you’re in the market for performance/sports eyewear, I’d say look for something else rather than Oakley. If you just want something to conceal your eyes just as celebrities do, by all means by cheaper alternatives – even the knock-offs you see all over the streets of the Philippines. If your one of them concern about image, just where a PHP 50,000 watch and believe me, nobody will even think you’re wearing fake eyewear or fake anything for that matter.

Other Horror Stories

To make things more interesting, I’ve talked to an eyewear technician acquaintance of mine about these 2 brands and asked if he’d had issues with them as well. He said he never did but his other technician friend broke an Oakley while trying to install lenses on them. Another friend who dons eyeglasses also heard of such stories from his friend whose in the know in terms of eyewear. Of course these are just their stories so I can’t attest to them in anyway but as the old adage says, “if there’s smoke there’s fire”. So help others out by sharing your stories on these by commenting below. Pics will do wonders too! I for one can say Rudy Project gave me 7 years, so you might want to check them out. They are made in Italy. Although I hate the fact that I couldn’t buy new arms/brackets for my frames but given the fact that my Ray-Ban didn’t even give me a year, I’d say this is negligible. If you’re in the market for designer eyewear, then you’re better off with say Spyder or any other make that will tell you exactly where they are made and they come with a more reasonable price tag. What about you? Please share your eyewear experiences so others may be better informed….

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6 Responses

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  1. ledwino says:

    i am lookin for rudy project sports utility prescription frames

  2. Marian says:

    Hello, I usually bought mine at Executive Optical, do they sell the authentic sunglasses? There are many imitation sunglasses and it make me confused which store sell the authentic. I visited their website and I notice that they are now selling eyeglasses online. What do you think?

    • says:

      Hi Marian and thanks for dropping by. I personally wrote this guide, a Luxotica user since the 1990s. 🙂

      Luxotica owns most of the designer brands of eyewear like Ray-Ban and now, even Oakleys. Unfortunately, just like with other corporations, this one is majorly concerned about getting more profit IMHO. That’s why RBs and even Oakleys nowadays are made in China (although not all, but if you don’t see “made in Italy or made in “USA on the eyewear frames, I’m sure when you check on the boxes and leaflets that come along when you purchase any of them Luxotica eyewear, you will see “Made in China”).

      That said, EO and other mall eyewear shops are authorized dealers of Luxotica so you should be more or less guaranteed they are real ones, however, the issue with these eyewear IMHO is not if they are counterfeits or otherwise, the issue is in the fact that these eyewear are not made the way they used to be. They just don’t last. And of course, we are still paying Italy/USA prices for something made at 90% of the cost (although I wouldn’t mind this as much had the quality remained the same).

      With this, I seriously would advise everyone to avoid committing the mistake I did, giving these brands the same trust I did back in the 90s. I now have 1 RB Wayfarer prescription frames that’s broken near the center while I was rubbing cloth on the lenses. This happened less than 6 months after I bought it. That’s 12k down the drain. Then there’s 1 Oakley frames that I bought for wifey that’s colored bronze, after 2 months, no more color left but silver and the Oakley logo on the temple is gone. That’s about 15k right there. Then there’s a Dior frame as well that got busted in less than a year or so.

      I recommend checking other brands and for some reason, Rudy Project is where my family is on now, cheaper and better quality made in Italy frames. You should check out other brands as well just stay away from anything from Luxotica. You can buy them online if you wish but I for one want to see how the frame fits me first before buying them.

      • Marian says:

        Have you visited the EO’s online shop? Here I visited them before entering this reply.:) Anyway, I notice that many optical shops offer those brands. I’m not familiar with Luxotica but I’ll do research about it. About Rudy Project, they have a shop located in Trinoma, right? I thought they were a sport accessories shop. Anyway, I’ll visit their shop.

  3. says:

    Hi Marian. The only reason I know luxotica as the company behind 90% of the eyewear we see everyday is because I used to work for a huge eyewear online store before.

    Please don’t misunderstand too, I’m not promoting RP or any other brand here but I do want to warn people that there’s no value in buying any luxutica made eyewear for premium prices.

    That said, RP focuses on eyewear and they expanded to other sports related merchandise as well. You can check on their history before buying to be sure.

    Anyhow, hope you land a great eyewear that will last you many years to come! 🙂

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