Army & Navy Club



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I got this disturbing update from our friends in Coconuts Manila. What is happening to the Army and Navy Club building?


I have wonderful memories of this place. As any of the old members of the Army and Navy Club will remember, we used to swim, play tennis, attend parties here. My dad was a member and this was our weekend hangout. It was beautiful then. There was a formal dining room where I learned how to eat with multiple forks and knives. The waiters used to wear white jackets and white gloves. When I was a small girl, my dad would tell me that I would celebrate my 18th birthday at the ANC. Fancy. Grand. It never happened, of course. Because in life, not everything really goes as planned. We ended up staying in Canada for good.

When I came back to visit the Philippines, one of the places I had to see was the old Army and Navy Club. In the mid 90’s it was already starting to look decrepit. When I was a reporter for ABS CBN, I took special interest in this building and did a few reports about it. I recall back then that the City of Manila had declared it a condemned building. And despite that, it housed the Museum of Manila. In the early 2000’s there were plans of converting it into a restaurant/casino complex by the Estrada government. It was never really clear to me who had ownership of the building and why it was allowed to run itself to the ground.

In 2006, Janine Dario, former editor in chief of People magazine featured me for the antique jewellery that I was designing and reworking. I had requested that we do it on location at the Army & Navy Club so we could also channel some attention to preserving the building. A big surprise to me, my photo ended up being on the cover. The publisher, the late Max Soliven, chose to put me on the cover with the lines “Cultural Chic: Preserving Our Heritage in Style.”

Here are photos from that shoot at the Army and Navy Club in 2006.


They will tear down this building!!!!
Beautiful main foyer


Army and Navy Club
The octagonal dome above the main foyer.


Main foyer
The main foyer/lobby had two grand staircases around it.


Above the main foyer
The second floor decaying balusters


It was leaking everywhere and it wasn't even raining
Leaking roof


Army and Navy Club
Old wall sconce


Army and Navy Club -- what used to be quarters of American military officers
Corner office. It used to be the quarters of American military officers.


I love these hanging lamps!


Spook fest at Army and Navy Club
During our shoot, my colleagues and I played spook-fest.


Second floor
More leaks and puddles inside. Why it was allowed to get this way, I will never understand.


"This building is DANGEROUS". Because they allowed it to be!
The only sign that said someone actually cared.


Spooky Army and Navy Club
One of the side stairwells where we shot my photo for People Asia.


Iron balusters.


Army and Navy Club of Manila
The list of members in brass plates.


By the 1970's select members of the Philippine military were invited to join Army and Navy Club
My dad’s name was still on the board. (One of the Manila councillors asked me if I wanted to take it as a souvenir. I told him, “No thanks. It should remain in the building as part of its story. Please do not take it down.”)


Tatum and Sara Black
People Asia’s creative director Tatum Ancheta and photographer Sara Black.


Cover, People Asia, Oct 2006


Army Navy


If anyone has accurate information about what’s going on at the Army & Navy Club, please share the info in the comments section or send me a private message. I just want to know what’s going to happen to this beautiful building. Is this a restoration or demolition project?


EDIT: Apparently it’ll be turned into a boutique hotel.



Yahoo logo



I’m so glad Ghost Month is over. I never even knew it existed. But because of the new things I’m doing, I was made aware of it. I was told not to start anything new, sign contracts, or build anything during Ghost Month. Well, I broke all the rules and did all that. And I’m still alive. And hopefully my projects are all successful.

Yahoo! did the same thing. Is it just a coincidence, or did Yahoo! purposely use Ghost Month to tease and try out 30 different logos every day? Those were cringe worthy days, I tell ya. Then on the last day of the dreadful Ghost Month, September 4th – they unveiled the new Yahoo! logo.




It’s a bit more precise, without looking the quirk. There’s still a yodel in the end, so the playfulness is still there. I like that there are no real straight lines. As Yahoo! CEO Marissa Meyer puts it – “straight lines don’t exist in the human form and are extremely rare in nature,” explaining all the slight curves.

It’s the first time Yahoo! updated it’s look in 18 years. I guess change was inevitable. I will miss the serifs and chubbiness of the old Yahoo! but I think this one isn’t so bad. It could have been worse, if you remember those 30 days. I don’t know if I like this, but I don’t hate it.

Be like Yahoo! CEO Marissa Meyer and geek out on every detail of the logo here.



Conversation with Carlos Ott



Just edited an old taped interview with Carlos Ott, an Uruguay-born Canadian-resident architect who built landmark buildings like the Opera de la Bastille in Paris back in 1983. He also claims to have created the original concept of the Burj al Arab which was adapted by another architect.

Carlos Ott is the architect of Rockwell Land’s The Proscenium.



I have a few video taped interviews with other interesting design personalities still to be edited. Let me know what you think of this video concept.



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…


Louis Vuitton Architecture and Interior Design



Wow. Friends at Louis Vuitton Manila just sent me this book. Louis Vuitton Architecture and Interior Design. (It’s like… they know me so well. Haha.)

I’m not at liberty to say who, but someone close to me was involved in the sales/selection of metal skins that envelop most of the new U.S. stores. The person never told us until all the work was done and took us inside the store and told us the story. Now everytime I enter an LV, I always look at the metal skins.

I love it. I’m not sleeping early tonight. I’ll be reading this. In my work, I’ve had the privilege of interviewing a couple of the world’s top architects and designers. That’s my most favourite part of my job (and I’m still dreaming for more). So I’ll be reading the notes of Peter Marino, Moshen Mostafi and Jun Aoki. And soaking in all the beautiful branding, imagery, and architecture.



Thank you LV!