Room with a view



Remember that awesome view of the city of Manila through my Olympus PEN?  This is the condo where I shot from.

It’s a 75-square metre two-bedroom condo unit that interior designer Nina Santamaria converted into a one-bedroom. The second smaller room was turned into a closet. The owner, Lyndon Cayco, loves collecting art. Nina found enough space to highlight his pieces and even created a gallery wall.


Upon entering you see a wooden pedestal that holds Lyndon’s precious antique saints. The pedestal is made by VIto Selma. This was from his Bahia collection where he recycled old train tracks from Bacolod. It’s upcycling, converting waste into new objects. Vito Selma is exclusively available (in the Philippines) at KISH in Nicanor Garcia St, Makati.


This serves as his altar.


Because space is always a limitation in condos, Nina kept the kitchen visible from the rest of the space. This counter functions as a buffet serving table as well.


Click “More…” to see the rest of this condo with a great view.


Manila through an Olympus PEN filter



Before the holidays at a shoot for Urban Zone in Manila, I dared sit out on the balcony of the owner, Lyndon Cayco’s condo. I hate balconies. My knees get weak. But I played along because I’d never seen Manila from this angle.


This was Burnham’s Manila, with neo-classical government buildings in Luneta Park


And Dewey (now Roxas) Boulevard. It was a good day. Moderate/usual haze and pollution, light traffic. Hard to believe this was just days before Christmas.


Then it dawned on me that I could finally use the Diorama art filter built in to my Olympus PEN EP3.


Everything popped out! And cars looked like toys.


The colours were more vibrant.


Manila looked like a dream!


This is how it looked like without the art filter.


And with the Diorama art filter. I love my Olympus PEN.


I have major issues with my server again. Every time I have spikes in my readership, my server crashes. Good problem to have. At least I know you’re all here with me. It just means I really have to get a bigger/private server. Thank you for sticking around. Will post this condo, designed by Nina Santamaria, in a bit.

I hope you have a good day today, folks. If your day looks a little hazy and polluted, just put on your imaginary art filters and try to brighten up your life.



Littlest models of Daphne®



It brings me great joy whenever I get tweets, emails or photos that one of my products is happy in its new home. And I’m not talking about monetary pleasure. (Folks, I don’t own the businesses. These are all collaborations with partners.) It is just so wonderful to see families enjoying something from Daphne® products – whether it be furniture, linens or jewellery. I feel very connected. Thank you!

Here’s an example…


This Daphne wingchair in Rustan’s…


I love this chair. If I had a bigger home I would get this myself. I like the irony that my team translated. It has a hefty size but delicate carvings. The ivory and whisper blue paint feel feminine and soft yet the uphostery is in a neutral almost manly fabric.


Mariana Dominguez
And here is its new lovely owner, Miss Mariana Dominguez, daughter of Sarangani Governor Migs Dominguez and wife Tisha. I’d love to see little Mariana grow into this chair.


Last year, my friend Mia sent me this photo of her little daughter Arie in her Daphne chair. She said she will photograph Arie in this chair as she grows.


My nephew Alexander on Helsinki by Daphne Linens


From a Daphne Linens shopper
My friend Jenny’s daughter jumping all over Retro Squares.


Stella, iPad, Cobonpue & the new Daphne Linens.
Stella and my newest, Flair linens.


Soph sleeping in her new Daphne beddings
Sophia and Retro Squares in her room. That pink bolster pillow was 79 pesos in SM supermarket. I got that just to pad the side of her bed temporarily when she was a toddler (pre-Daphne Linens). It wasn’t meant to last forever. But it’s been 7 or 8 years since we bought this. It is 70% dead with no stuffing. But it’s the pillow she got attached to, her security pillow. Do your kids have a security blanket? Lily has none. Stella has two – a blanket with my mom’s lace tatting around it and a little bolster pillow with Daphne baby linens prototype (which we did not actually put on the market).


Daphne Furniture
Daphne Furniture® is currently not available in Rustan’s. We are in the middle of some restructuring and planning. It’s either we go full blast or we trim down and specialize. I will definitely let you know as soon as we come to a final decision.


If you are an owner of any Daphne® product and you’re willing to share photos of you or your family with it, please send it to me at I’d love to see it’s new home and owners. Thanks!






Everyone’s talking about fun. Here is a board game that celebrates all things fun about being Pinoy. It was created a couple of years ago but I just received my game this season from one of the creators, Roby Alampay. Created by six Pinoy expatriates in Bangkok longing too much about too many things back home, Mismo! literally comes with its own supply of adjectives that capture every conceivable name, word, or concept in the Filipino psyche.




Spin the wheels, which spell out unique questions (“Ano ang Malamig na Malagkit?”, for example, or, “Ano ang Maalat na Matibay”, or, “Walang-kamatayan ng Pang-Araw-araw?”). Players then match wits and sharp humor to play the answer cards that remind of all things Pinoy: from “Lolo” and “Lola” to “Boracay”, “EDSA”, “Galunggong”, “Nora Aunor”, “Durian”, “Cory Aquino”, “ChocNut”, “Pagkakaibigan”, “Sinigang”, “Siopao”, “Aswang”, “Ati-Atihan”, “Bahay Kubo”… and the list goes on. Mismo! has no less than 600 of these answer cards — words invoking touchstones of popular culture and long-standing Philippine traditions — to deliver in every box guaranteed laughter, learning, memories, and a celebration of the big and small things that define the collective Philippine comedy.


On why they created the game: We miss the Philippines. We miss so many things and everything about it. We’re basically three couples here in Thailand, all OFWS, and everytime we get together we can’t help but just talk about everything that we had, tried, ate, etc. growing up.


From Roby – One day (more than one and a half years ago), we were joking around a table, and one of our partners couldn’t think of a word for some food. “Ano nga yun ulit?” he finally said. “Yung malagkit na matamis?” We kept guessing, until I blurted out: “Malagkit na Matamis — Pagtitinginan yun eh.” Everyone laughed, and that became our running joke everytime we got together. We kept asking/challenging each other: “Eh ano naman ang __________ at _________…” And invariably we were laughing at each other’s jokes. Pinoy eh. After that it was just a lot of brainstorming, a lot of research about boardgames, and then we scouted for a manufacturer in the Philippines. Needless to say, this took up way too many of our weekends over the last 18 months!

Mismo! is available nationwide at Hobbes & Landes, National Bookstore, Powerbooks, ROX @ The Fort, Papemelroti, Kultura @ MOA and Megamall, 1/of Gallery @ Serendra, Handog Gift Shop (UP Diliman Shopping Center), Little John’s Cafe @ Camp John Hay, and select branches of Books for Less. For more info email



Moroccan-themed house



Here’s something from my archives. I shot this in 2010 with Urban Zone. This is a house owned by a young couple who loved Moorish architecture. They built their house in a traditional way like most southern homes do – with Mediterranean touches. But years later they added decorative embellishments to reflect their love for Moroccan architecture. This is not your typical modern-Asian home.

The home owners worked with Gretchen Torres Ronquillo for the interior design. I will try to remember as much as I can from the shoot but most of the details escape me now so I can’t give any technical information. As well, here’s a gentle reminder that all photos belong to me. Please, no grabbing or reposting. Linking and sharing are welcome and of course Pinterest is fine.


Every nook and cranny of this house was embellished with Mediterranean and Moroccan details. Here, the side entrance to the pool area, is a small set up for an informal lunch.


The door knocker.


We started our shoot outside the house. Here, Gretchen Ronquillo  shows me the lounge-type set up they prepared by the front gazebo.


The foyer.


The formal dining room with beautiful lattice-work sun screens on the window. (I forget whether this was made of wood or metal).


Click “More” to see the rest of this very interesting house…