SOFA Designer’s Creed




“As practitioners, we know that design is a marriage of aesthetics, functionality, intellect, economics, necessity and of course, loads of imagination. Design is transformative. It moves culture and society forward. However, it is something often unappreciated, undervalued and misunderstood by many.

SoFA Design Institute recognizes the need to empower people on the power of design. The college is committed to promoting design as a positive force in the society, economy, and in people’s lives. It is part of our mission to propagate a true appreciation of design to unite, empower and encourage designers, creatives and artists from all walks of life.

One of the ways we aim to do this is through a common battle cry. SoFA has written and produced a short video entitled “A Designer’s Creed”, with the participation of Rajo Laurel, Kenneth Cobonpue and other creative professionals. It is an inspiring statement of what it means to be a designer. Whether you are a design student, design practitioner, or creative professional, we hope to give you a voice,  a testament and expression of your convictions as a creative person.”

Amina Aranaz
Founding Partner, SoFA


I love what Amina Aranaz and Loralee Baron-Soong have done with SoFA. I’ve seen it grow from an idea, to a small school and to the design institute that it is now. Today, SoFA is hosting their 2014 Graduation Show at 6pm, Rockwell Tent. Admission is free.

This summer, SoFA continues it’s short programs for kids and teens. Check out the photos from past summers.










5-yr old Lily at skirt-making class at SOFA (school of fashion & arts)
Lily and Sophia did a session of fashion and crafts at SoFA one summer.


Here are the programs offered at SoFA this summer. Sessions start on March 31st, so call soon as slots tend to fill up fast.




summer 2






For information on SoFA programs, check Sofa College on Facebook or

G/F Enzo Bldg Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue
Makati City, Metro Manila
Tel 4784611

Bali with Samsung



I went to Bali a couple of weeks ago. It was a treat from my Samsung family. As brand ambassador, I got a preview of the latest gadgets and appliances at the Samsung Forum 2014. I’ve got lots of stories to share about the products.

Here are some photo highlights of the four-day trip. All photos taken using Samsung S4 and Samsung Galaxy Camera.


Jimbaran beach


The beach was very empty during lunch. Gorgeous. It was low season; it rained every day. But Jimbaran gets the crowds at night. There is a reason I am walking like an idiot…


We had a lot of seafood. Sadly I couldn’t risk eating shellfish anymore. But I really loved the fish, chicken and veggies.


With ANC’s Tony Velasquez and Jim Paredes.


Jim was demonstrating the Drama feature of the Samsung S4. I’ve had my S4 for a year and didn’t know it had this amazing feature.


My turn.


I didnt know my phone could do this. Thanks to @jimparedes for showing us. Photo by @kakanturing. In Jimbaran, Bali.
This is what we were trying to do.


Bali has these lovely flower offerings all over.


We snuck in some batik shopping. Love the blues.


With journalist Jimmy Calapati, Samsung’s Chiqui Torres-Tan, Jim Paredes, Bridges PR’s Annie Ringor.


Cute scene, like the Philippines.


The family motorcycle. Glad the baby is wearing a helmet.


I was able to check out Seminyak. I enjoyed the shopping scene. It’s less about local handicrafts and more about international contemporary designers. I loved everything in Magali Pascal. In fact, I bought that dress.


And the fitting room of Magali Pascal. The apple glass on those doors. Peg for my future cottage. Haha.


Sweet Indonesian “askal”


I was on the look out for ikat weaves but they were mostly done in another island (Timor I think). So whatever I saw at our hotel was so expensive. Like this was almost 500 USD. They’re so beautiful though!


Like this throw pillow in my hotel room. Love.


Those carved wooden panels in my room. Nice!


We stayed at the newly opened Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort. It had just opened in December 2013.


It had this stunning and impressive lobby designed by WATG.


The lobby was surrounded by these wooden relief sculptures above. It reminded me of buildings in 1970’s Manila.


The centre of the lobby has these huge curved timber columns that support the entire roof. The columns symbolize a banyan tree, which represents the centre of social life in Balinese villages.


The lobby at night.


Here’s how they dealt with the limited ocean view. A part of the lobby opens to this pond and garden. Jim Paredes took this photo.


That space in the lobby at night.


The Sofitel buffet.


The hotel’s club lounge.


Loved this mini-break. Bali always inspires me.


More Samsung stories coming up…





Evita Peroni’s 25th Anniversary Sale



Hair accessories


Ever since I played dress up with my Evita Peroni hair accessories in 2009, I’ve had a great relationship with the Philippine distributors of the brand. They’ve sponsored by blog and have become my friends.

This year EVITA PERONI celebrates its 25th year this year with a month-long SALE event in all stores. Sale items are up to 70% off. Regular items are ALL given a special discount as a way of saying thanks to all Evita Peroni customers. So if you are looking for a little treat-to-self, now is the time.

Here are some of my own Evita Peroni pieces and how I’ve worn them…


I wear Evita Peroni accessories all the time. It’s the easiest way for me to look “put together”. I don’t always have time to have my hair done in a salon. Here, hosting the Repetto launch, I had my hair in a simple ponytail and a crystal-embellished claw.


I heart India.
My original caption when I first posted this in 2011 was, “I Heart India”. I think this was at the Red Fort in Agra. I wore these Evita Peroni sunglasses from their Handmade luxury line and received so many inquiries about it.


This is that pretty crystal claw.


I rarely wear headbands because most of them hurt my wide head. Haha. But these are rather soft. And I like how the wide fabric makes it look like a scarf instead of a band.


This claw comes in various colours but I like the more discreet black and blue flowers. This can hold my entire head of hair in a neat French twist.


The costume jewellery are really pretty too. I like this floral ring because it has a sculptural effect. Plus the band is made of soft elasticized metal spring. So it can fit any size of finger.


This I use for low ponytails or half pony tails.


This can’t really hold all my hair but it’s so so pretty I just had to have it. I stick it the back part of my ponytail or French twist as a single embellishment.


Royal wedding viewing party at home
A little throwback of Stella. She wore my soft headband when we watched the royal wedding of Kate and William.


From an Urban Zone shoot. I love this silk headband. I wore it high up on my head so it had a bit of height. From a distance it looked like a pillbox hat.


Marcia Adams
And my gold leather flower comb. Most of these were acquired over the past five years. Some may no longer be in stores. But they always have new ones that are equally as pretty.



Inorep NEW
For the whole month of March, Evita Peroni sale items are up to 70% off. And regular priced items are ALL given a special discount.



10 Awesome Summer Activities for Kids



Philippine summer is almost here. It’s weird because mornings still feel like the January cold spell but by lunch time it’s so hot again. I am so scared about how hot it could be this summer considering the strange weather we’ve all been having – Polar Vortex there, sweater weather here. Good luck to all of us.

Since classes are almost over for traditional Filipino schools, I made a list of 10 awesome summer activities your kids may enjoy by the end of this month. I didn’t include swimming and theatre since those are pretty much standard.

My criteria for awesomeness includes one of all of the following — a) I’ve tried them for my kids and they loved them, b) my friends kids have done them and loved them, c) My friend own and run the activities/camps and I trust them.


1. Soccer with the Younghusband brothers

The pool of coaches that will handle the summer clinics is spearheaded by James and Phil Younghusband of the Philippine Azkals, together with Technical Director Nate Burkey.


Chelsea FC Summer Camp 2014 organized by the Younghusband Football Academy (TYFA) through their training arm, the Chelsea FC Soccer School Philippines (CFCSSPh) will begin on April 1, 2-14.

Anyone can participate in this Summer Camp. Kids as young as three (3) years old and even adults are welcome to join the training sessions at the Gatorade Chelsea FC Blue Pitch at Circuit Makati (the latest artificial football field and the first FIFA-sized blue football field in the country) and at Ayala Alabang Country Club.

Blue Pitch, BGC: Tuesdays & Thursdays 5-8PM and Saturdays 2-5PM
Alabang Country Club: Wednesdays 4-6PM and Saturdays 8-10AM

For registration and inquiries, please call: 807-0278, or 0918-837-8019 or 0917-538-7589. Or email or For more information,


2. Fashion courses at SOFA



This summer the School of Fashion and Arts Design Institute has a number of programs for kids of all ages. For younger kids aged 4-7 there are arts and craft classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Fashion Design for Kids aged 8-12 . For teens there are short capsule series in Interior Styling, Fashion Design, Fashion Film Making, Fashion Immersion, Packaging Design and others.


5-yr old Lily at skirt-making class at SOFA (school of fashion & arts)
Lily and Sophia did a one-day fashion camp at SoFA a couple of years ago. They still remember how much fun they had.


Lily made this skirt at SoFA kids fashion workshop.
She “designed” this skirt and put embellishments on it.


To reserve a slot, contact 478-4611 or 478-4622 loc. 115. SoFA Design Institute is located at the Ground Floor of Enzo Building, 399 Sen. Gil Puyat Ave, Makati City.

Check out for a full listing of courses.


3. Modern Dance

MDS GRAD5 march 2 2014


If modern dancing is something your kids would like to try there’s Movement Dance Studio. They have two locations listed below. Also check out their programs for adults. This is a place that mixes dance with fitness.

Register before March 15th and you get 20% off.

Makati:  2nd Floor, Three Salcedo Place, Tordesillas St. Salcedo Village 392-6220 / 0922-886-8343

Podium Mall: 4th Floor, inside Kidsville Play and Party Center 788-6527 / 0933-360-5344


4. Sewing Classes



Last year, I made a big leap and enrolled myself in sewing classes. I had owned an electric sewing machine for years and never knew how to operate it. On the first session, I successfully made a pouch bag. And on the second day, a sling bag.

This school is located in BF Homes Paranaque. It is actually a very cute sewing school for kids and I found out about it through one of my readers. The owner and instructor, Anne del Rosario, had some slots for adults when I enrolled last year. This summer, she has organized a number of sewing camps for kids.


This is the bag I made on the second day. It was a bit tricky because it had a lining inside. But I did it in a couple of hours!


For more information of kids’ sewing camp this summer, check out Sew Easy for Kids or call 0919-999-4009. Tell Anne I sent you.


5. A real summer camp… away from home



I’m sure many of you have heard of CISV or Children’s International Summer Village. It is an international organization that’s been around since the 1950’s. After World War II ended, many peace initiatives were created through the UN. CISV is unique for it believes that the ultimate source for lasting peace is in the hands of children.

The first CISV Village was held in 1951. It continues on to this day. CISV Villages are international camps that inspire 11-year-old children to imagine a more just and peaceful world. Children come together from 10-12 different countries to take part in a variety of educational, cultural and fun activities. There are local mini camps as well.

Click here to see activities of the Philippine chapter of CISV.


6. Art classes

These were the works created by children who were going through trauma. They had undergone art therapy with art educator, Bambi Mañosa of Creative Kids Studio. It was shown at the Ayala Museum during the 25th Anniversary of Consuelo Foundation.


Bambi and Creative Kids regular classes.


Creative Kids Studio runs beautiful art programs for kids in the Alabang area. I describe their activities as very “Art Attack” or “Hi-5” but in a more original way, and sometimes inspired by Filipino culture. Lots of bright colours, textures and shapes. Art therapy is something Bambi does as a special program in addition to running the regular art school. Creative Kids Studio caters to children of all ages.


summer 2014 workshop schedule


This summer Creative Kids Studio’s theme is all about Filipino Fiestas! They have arts and crafts classes for kids as young as 2 years old up to 12 years old. There are two new classes this year that look interesting- Interior Design and Paper Theater.

To reserve a slot for your kids contact 917-872-5307 or email


7.  Ice Skating

May 17, 2008
Sophia when she was 5.


Lily when she was 5.


If you want to raise the next Filipino winter olympian like Michael Christian Martinez, you better start sending your kids to your nearest mall ice skating rinks. We’ve personally used the one in SM Mall of Asia and at the old SM Megamall. They have guides (some real athletic coaches, some just people who know how to skate) on a first come first served basis. Or you can buy a set of classes and reserve the coach of your choice.

The fee for use of the ice skating rink already includes use of skates and helmets. If you have your own skates (like we do), you still have to pay the same amount of the use of ice-skates-helmet package. There were some stressful rules like each kid can only bring one companion inside the rink area. But if you have two kids you can’t have two adults come in, only just one. Strange, but manageable. Just check in separately in two batches. Sigh.

Anyway, Sophia did lessons for a few years. Lily did one season. But I have to admit, we weren’t as dedicated as the mother of Michael Martinez. And school got in the way. Haha. Doing regular morning weekend mall sessions were tough – and you wouldn’t want to do it in the afternoon either because the rink is just so full of people. So the girls hung up their skates last year. Now we have skates in all sizes which Stella will eventually inherit. But I’m glad Soph and Lily know the basics of ice skating.


8.  Ballet with Danspace Manila



My two older daughters have both done ballet over a few summers, but poor little Stella hasn’t had her turn yet. We hope to find time this year between swimming lessons.

If you’re in the Makati area, try your kids at classical or modern ballet in Danspace Manila under the direction of Maritoni Rufino-Tordesillas, the Principal Dancer for the Philippine Ballet Theatre (PBT). Danspace trains children from 4 years old and above. The school uses the Australian Conservatoire of Ballet (ACB) syllabus which adapted the 8-year Russian Vaganova method into a 12-year training and examination program. The program emphasizes correct placement, dynamics and performance quality.

For more information, or check them out in Facebook.


 9.  Archery

Young archers at Aim Right Archery Range.


For something new and different, have your kids try archery. It can give your child enlightenment, help her develop discipline and self-confidence, and give her some exercise. It can encourage your child to focus, set goals, be respectful of others, and even be a better student.

The Aim Right Archery Range is at Longos, Malolos at The Garden Pavilion, The Cabanas. Price for the range is only P150 per hour. Rental of bow and arrows another P150 per hour. Coaching 200 per hour. A beginner can use the range and rent with coaching for 500 per hour. Summer classes are for 5 sessions discounted at 10% off. At Aim Right, they can teach Olympic recurve and barebow.

Contact Doods Tanabe at 0932 654 9221 or check out Aim Right Archery Range in Facebook for more information.


10. Crafting

Watercolour sessions with Alessandra Lanot


I stumbled upon Alessandra Lanot’s world while planning for Sophia’s birthday last month. My niece Bea recommended her. Soph didn’t want a party. She just wanted a hangout day with her school friends. So I asked Alessandra to host a little crafting party. Alessandra prepared a wonderful morning filled with activities that the tweens really enjoyed making – plush toys, greeting cards, tote bags. I promise to blog about that event.

In real life Alessandra does graphic design and runs a vegetarian restaurant. Crafting is her thing and she does it so well. Check out a the listing of Alessandra Lanot’s “crafternoons” in her blog Life After Breakfast.


So what are your awesome plans for the summer?



Singapore Diaries 4: River Safari



Philippine summer is just a few weeks away. We’re planning trips, short courses and summer camps. Unlike last year where we spent 10 weeks in Toronto, we are staying put this year. I’m looking forward to the activities my family and I will be doing around town.

So I was organizing my photo files and realized I hadn’t shared this part of our Singapore trip. Some of you may be be planning trips to Singapore. Here was the itinerary for our four-day trip. You can click on these links to see my stories on shopping and dining, Gardens by the BaySEA Aquarium and Universal Studios. On our last day before heading to the airport, we spent a few hours at the newly opened River Safari.


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The River Safari is fun and educational for kids of all ages

The River Safari is the newest addition to Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s wildlife parks near Singapore Zoo and Night Safari. Over here it the park is inspired by the world’s most iconic rivers. It features a giant panda exhibit, the world’s largest fresh-water aquarium and an impressive collection of freshwater fauna with over 6,000 animals including 40 threatened species.

Unfortunately when we visited the Amazon boat tour was under maintenance. But the entrance fee was all adjusted because of this. We didn’t feel like we missed out because we saw everything else, including the usually shy resident pandas JiaJia and Kai Kai. If you plan to go, make sure you are there during feeding times of the pandas. We were there in the morning and saw the pandas come out at around 11am.


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Fascinating river creatures. Photo by Andrew Chua STB


Of course I had forgotten which river and which fish these are. The entire park represented all the significant rivers in the world like –  Mississippi, Congo, Nile, Ganges, Murray, Mekong, Yangtze and Amazon rivers.


The Mississippi paddle fish.


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Photo by Andrew Chua STB


The Mekong giant catfish.


Stella and the piranhas. We actually call this kid “Piranha” because of her teeth.


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Photo by Andrew Chua STB.


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There was a fascinating indoor zoo where the pandas lived. Photo by Andrew Chua STB.


Upon entering you see a couple of red pandas first.


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The two pandas are usually shy. We were very lucky to be there during feeding time. Both pandas came out to play. Photo by Andrew Chua STB.


The kids were ecstatic. It was hard to keep them quiet.


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Even we were ecstatic. The giant pandas were so adorable. (I love all the photos that STB photographer Andrew Chua took of us.) Photo by Andrew Chua STB.


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After the Giant Panda Forest, we couldn’t help but stop for our lunch there — all the food had panda theme. Photo by Andrew Chua STB.


We especially loved the panda siopao.


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Of course we couldn’t resist shopping for souvenirs. Photo by Andrew Chua STB.


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Panda everything. Photo by Andrew Chua STB.


Glow in the dark room.


One of the major attractions in River Safari is the Amazon Flooded Forest, which houses the world’s largest fresh water aquarium. For six months out of every year, rain causes the Amazon River water level to rise. The water overflows, causing flood and creating a beautiful water ecosystem “wonderland” in which the forest is submerged in over 10 metres of water. This aquarium replicates that underwater world.


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We spent a lot of time here just staring at the manatees. This is a mommy and baby manatee calf. I even witnessed it breastfeeding. Photo by Andrew Chua STB.


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They are such gentle creatures. Photo by Andrew Chua STB.


And to make our experience even more exciting, we witnessed the feeding of the manatees.


After River Safari we went straight to Changi and had enough time to shop and do these kiddie activities.



Thank you so much, Singapore Tourism Board, for this wonderful treat for my family. And thanks for providing us with a professional photographer to document our trip. The photos are so precious.

To plan your next Singapore trip, please visit