Keepsake charms



keepsakes links of london
I love personal jewelry. The ones with meaning. That’s the essence of DAPHNE® Jewellery. I make them for people who find their own meaning in them. I’m also a fan of cute charms from other brands like Tiffany’s, Pandora, Links of London and even the most random unbranded charms. I got this “Home is where the heart is” locket from Links of London Keepsakes collection.


Links of London ss13



A Chicago house



Last April, I attended a dinner party hosted by Rachel Kohler, Group President of Interiors at Kohler Co. This was part of the one week tour of the US that Kohler Co. hosted for an Asian delegation.

This is one of the loveliest homes I’ve seen. It was amazing to see a lot of contemporary and Eastern art worked into the place. Understated luxury. Muted tones. Sophisticated living spaces even for children. She welcomed us to see every corner of this beautiful home.


A courtyard, bricks and a lovely magnolia tree.


With the gracious host, Rachel Kohler, Group President of Interiors at Kohler Co.


The family room in the top floor.


I loved artwork of kids are displayed. Been meaning to do this for years.


With our hosts from Kohler Co., Dorota, Andrew Windsor and Jen. I am with Bea Ledesma of Philippine Star and Leanna Siron of Kohler Philippines.


The living room. I love the double height ceiling.


The formal dining room had two round tables.


The washroom near the homework room. All Kohler. I borrowed my daughter Sophia’s small camera. I need a tiny flat camera that kicks ass. I can’t bring my OMD to events when I’m trying to balance a clutch and a drink.


The den.


I need a home office like this so I can blog more efficiently, haha.


Easiest travel “event” dress, knits from Cos. It was still cold and rainy in mid-April Chicago. I wore them with my amazing Celine boots, a red snakeskin clutch from Accesory Lab, cuffs from Joyce Makitalo and the sapphire earrings I designed.



Chicago in a day



I had two hours to spare one morning in Chicago. I did some crowd sourcing on Twitter and asked readers what I should do. Almost everyone recommended the boat tours. I found one perfect for that morning, a 75-minute Chicago River Architecture Tour. The station was within walking distance from our hotel.

Since it was my first time in Chicago and probably the only free time I’d have during the trip, the river tour was the best way to the the city and get the big picture. I was knocking myself in the head — why, an urban planning grad like me, had never been to Chicago, the birthplace of the skyscraper. Prior to this all my US trips had focused on New York City only. It took Kohler to bring me to Chicago.



The Wendella boat tour started here…


… at the foot of this building. (So I lost my notes).


I took photos of me. 958th reason for missing my husband. I didn’t have a photographer. Haha.


Style notes: I wore my Burberry trench coat and H&M pants I got on sale for $14.


Selfie under a bridge.


Selfie without aviators… and makeup.


One of the Japanese tourists finally felt sorry for me and offered to take my picture.


It’s not called the Windy City for nothing.


More photos of architecture and bridges from different periods and styles. Some of the most important buildings in modern architectural history. I played with my Olympus OMD and used some crazy filters. It was overcast and it actually started raining halfway. But the camera is weather-proof so I wasn’t worried about it getting wet.

Promise, no more selfies.


Click More…


Shaw’s Crab House



I spent a couple of nights in Chicago a few weeks ago. So sorry for the late posts. Been so busy living real life that I get too tired to blog at night. Notice, I haven’t even written anything about Toronto and we’ve been here since March! Yikes.

Chicago. Beautiful city. After three nights in New Orleans, the Kohler Co. team brought us to Chicago to see their design showroom and meet Rachel Kohler at her house. Everything was lovely. I shall post separately.

For now, another one of our unforgettable meals.

P4235387 Had dinner at Shaw’s Crab House. While waiting for our table at the dining room, we had cocktails at the Oyster Bar.


P4235382 The Bloody Mary that was so good, it almost tasted like a Bloody Caesar (Canadian version). It must have been the dill pickle and the fact that they used celery salt instead of the usual salt. Mmmm.


P4235393 What I had for dinner! Surf & Turf. 8oz Maine lobster tail and 6oz fillet mignon, Oscar-style (with additional blue crab and that crabmeat topping on the lobster). It was insane!


P4235395 Seriously.


P4235397 Thank you Kohler Co. Yum.


More Chicago stories coming up. What are your favourite restaurants in Chicago?



The Joy of Adoption



Motherhood is the one thing I was so sure I always wanted in my life. Since I could remember, I always included it in my prayers. In my 20’s whenever I would see babies, I wouldn’t be able to help it, I’d talk to the parents and ask if I could touch or hug them. I was like this crazy woman who wanted a child of her own and didn’t know how it would actually happen. Haha.

In 2000, I almost died. I was on a live-aboard dive trip in Puerto Galera. After our first dive, I felt severe pain in my abdomen. I bore the pain for as long as I could. Since doing other dives was impossible, I stayed in the yacht. After 8 hours of lying in pain, my friends noticed that I looked seriously different (pale and passing out). There were angels on board. Three doctors – one a female obstetrician and two male surgeons. Turns out I was internally bleeding. The yacht turned back and to make a long story short, I had surgery in St Lukes QC. Imagine the ordeal of traveling by yacht, banca, ambulance and all that to get from Batangas to Quezon City. By the time I had my surgery the next day, the bleeding had almost reached toxic levels. One of my ovaries erupted while I was under water.

There I was, in severe pain, with doctors in the emergency room. I literally was dying slowly. If you have been in a near-death situation, you’d know that it really is just between you and God. So I kept praying. I didn’t stop praying. I asked God to guide the doctors to find a way to a) make me live, and b) allow me to still have a child in the future. Those were my last words to the surgeons. I begged them and told them that I want to have children in the future.

When I woke up, the doctor whispered, “We saved a part of your broken ovary. You’ll be ok.” And two years later, we got pregnant with our first child, Sophia. And two more beautiful little ones, Lily and Stella. I was blown away by the depth of the love, commitment, devotion and happiness. So much emotions and surprises. And continues to be so.

I’ve been a mother for 10 years now. Every day is a learning process. It is wonderful and it is also frustrating. There are daily little stressful moments. But I like to see the big picture. This is our family. We are kind to each other. We fill our home with love. I had long forgotten about the broken ovary. The birth stories are celebrated when I get nostalgic. For the most part, being a mother is about the every day little nothings with my kids. That’s parenting.

A few days ago I came across my friend’s Facebook post on adoption. I have a handful of friends who have adopted children. I was also involved in a friend’s adoption process in the past- vouching for their characters. Parenting is a gift that comes in many forms.

Watch these stories of some amazing families…


For more information on the adoption process, contact Norfil Foundation.

Happy Mothers Day to all those who love children and all who hope to love one or more.

It takes a village to raise a child. To my village – thank you for supporting me and allowing me to be the kind of mom I want to be. And to my siblings and friends, thank you for making me a part of your village.