Play houses



We’re  getting back to normal at home. This is the week kids are back at school. I will slowly be settling into a routine of picking each kid up from school, organizing their things, checking their homework and missing them while they’re at school. Or maybe not too much. I do have a lot of work to catch up on. This summer was crazy busy for me with their activities. So I welcome this when I will have some alone time at home. Meaning, all of two hours.

We cleaned house over the weekend. Decluttered bookshelves and toys. But the “stuffs” are just never-ending. Made me wish the kids had their own place filled with toys because a play room is not enough. Or at least a little cottage or shed. Who am I kidding? I will forever have that house with a piece of Lego or small Polly Pocket waiting to be stepped on by me.

I ended up googling images of dream play houses. These are all so adorable.


I’m afraid to show this to Lily. She will go nuts over this Victorian Wood Playhouse.


Too cute! Pennfield Cottage Wood Playhouse.


modern childrens playhouse design
From Smart Playhouse, the Hobikken model – a rustic playhouse made mainly of wood for a warm, cozy feeling.


Also from Smart Playhouse, the Illinois playhouse is inspired by the Modern Movement from the middle of the 20th century. My kids won’t like this because it’s completely devoid of any adornment. Sophia already proclaimed that she doesn’t like things “too modern”. Another old soul like me. But I am loving this so much.


From Kanga Room Systems, this shed is so adorable. This company actually makes outdoor sheds for adults. I’ve always dreamed of having my own shed – for writing and my pretend home office. Because we all know that home offices don’t really work when you have toddlers.


I think the best play house for our climate is still the Bahay Kubo. Our neighbour’s kid has an adorable one.


Museo Pambata
The one in Museo Pambata was cute too.



Free playgrounds in Bonifacio



Let me get this out of the way. For the record, I think the name “Bonifacio Global City” is complicated, reduntant and too long. I’ve always known that area as just plain old “Bonifacio”. Then when the new development came in, we all called it The Fort. Somehow that name stuck. My friends and I still say “The Fort.”

The new developers have invested in rebranding the place as BGC. For the life of me, I find it too hard to pronounce those three letters. Can’t imagine how everyone else copes. And although it’s a highly urbanized area, it is not a city in the sense that it has no local government of its own. It is “private property” – and they have signs to remind you. And the term “global”. Really? Can’t they just call it Bonifacio? One word?

That’s just me nitpicking. Can’t shake off the urban planner in me. Now that that’s out of the way, hello BGC. The upside is, Bonifacio’s management does try to do some pretty amazing things. I have long been a fan of their public art and open spaces. They plan to keep 15% of the land development as open spaces for outdoor activities. Wish there were more trees though…

BGC recently opened theme parks, Terra 28th, Track 30th, and Turf BGC. And here’s how awesome BGC is – Terra 28th and Track 30th are open to the public FREE OF CHARGE. This makes me want to take up running.

Terra 28th is a playground for kids and families who simply want to hang out together and have fun. It has creative installations for hands-on outdoor play. Track 30th is designed with lush greens, eco-friendly functional installations, and areas for exercising and meditating. In Turf BGC, the publicly-accessible football field frequented by Azkals and UFL teams, the exciting sport found a new home and attracted new legions of fans.

BGC sent me photos of the parks. They heard that I’m passionate about the need for public parks, playgrounds for kids and kids at heart and public art. All photos from BGC Press Kit.


Interactive art. This Color Me Chameleon changes its skin color with the turning of its colorful glass beads.


Back to outdoor basics at Terra 28th’s Larong Pinoy area where traditional Filipino games of piko, habulan-taya, holen, luksong baka, and patintero can be played.


Terra 28th’s colorful Rest and Play Ribbon playground set has monkey bars, swings, and see-saws. Unfortunately I do not see any trees. I don’t think kids can play here ’til 5pm. It’s just too hot. I love the play sets though. Wish my little park project in my community can get something like these. (I am struggling with that, by the way.)


Track 30th’s Raised Running Disc helps track the distance the runner has covered. It is made of recycled shredded rubber.


Yoga practices at Track 30th. Specific Gravity yoga school in BGC guides the guests in their stretches.


Made from old telephone posts, Pole Position is a functional installation for stretching, push-ups, sit-ups, and other fitness routines.


This is Turf BGC, a publicly accessible football field in a highly urbanized area. Turf BGC uses Max-S artificial turf made of ternate yarn, produced by Limonta Italy, a FIFA-certified Preferred Turf Producer.


Terra 28th and Track 30th are open to the public free of charge daily from 6 AM to 10 PM. For Turf BGC reservation and schedule of activities, call 816-2372. Visit for more information.



This house in the country



I was going through my archives and found this house that we featured in UZ a few years ago. It was one of my favourites then. And I still love it now. This has actually influenced us to plan for our own (imaginary) country home some day.

This property was huge. It was the family’s weekend home. The owners had some farm animals, a beautiful courtyard, amazing antiques and the most comfortable kitchen. I loved how the structures felt perfect in its locality yet they reflected a mix of styles like  tropical, Filipino, mission-style and Mediterranean architecture. The plants were thriving. The art collection, superb. Charming place.


From that Farm House we featured in UZ
Lush greenery surrounding the house, personally tended by the owner.


From that Farm House we featured in UZ
Entrance to the private quarters.


Wide walkways
The house was set-up with different “pavilions” connected by this wide walkway. It was stunning.


More from that Farm House we featured in UZ
A pop of colour in the dining area.


From that Farm House we featured in UZ
The bedroom of one of the sons.


From that Farm House we featured in UZ
The living room


Master's bathroom
Master bathroom


Who is the artist?
Who is the artist? Is it Santi Bose? Ventura? Anyone…anyone?


I love this painting
I fell in love with this painting, and I still don’t know who the artist is.


There was a mini-courtyard surrounded by the bedrooms.


I want this courtyard.


The upper deck


From that Farm House we featured in UZ
There was a breezy play room on the second floor of the main house, accessible from the upper deck.





The Urban Zone story



Here’s something my old UZ team (Manny Segunto, Denmark Alejandro and Maila Cuevas) made for me. I know a lot of you miss Urban Zone on television. So I will try to show you some fresh new webisodes of awesome house tours here in I hope you stay tuned for those…

I’ve missed UZ and I know you Urbanistas are still wanting… This one is for you.




Host & Producer: Daphne Osena Paez
Segment Producers: Denmark Alejandro & Manny Segunto
Researcher: Maila Cuevas
Videographer of interviews: Paolo Ruiz
Location of interviews: Marriott Hotel Manila
Clothing sponsor: K&Company



Shanghai, skyscraper city



All my friends who lived or still live in Shanghai highly recommended we skip going up the Oriental Pearl Tower. Too touristy – they knew we’d hate it. Add to that the river cruise, unless you enjoy crowds. So we skipped both and instead we went up a few skyscrapers in Pudong and had drinks at hotel bars.


That’s Pudong on the other side of the river across from the Bund. Development only started in Pudong in 1995. Before that, everything was pretty much in the Shanghai (Bund) side. This is me in our hotel room at the Waldorf, which was as much about the river view as it was about the luxurious service. Being a lover of architecture, I had to see these landmark buildings.


Our first stop was Flair, suggested by Lylah who’s been living in Shanghai for over a decade. Flair is the rooftop bar of the Ritz Carlton.


Click “More…” to see more skyscraper stories.