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.



Gentrified Shanghai – Tianzifang



Taxi cabs are really cheap in Shanghai. Language is an issue if you don’t speak Chinese. So it’s best to ask your hotel to write your destinations/itinerary in Chinese characters. But I loved that the cabs were so cheap, we were able wander around without a real plan.

Every single person who knew we were going to Shanghai said that we should go to Xintiandi. And I agree, it’s not to be missed. It’s a very posh shopping, eating and entertainment district – which I didn’t really care much for because everything felt too international. At one point I felt like I was in Hazelton Lanes in Toronto. Xintiandi deserves it’s own post though (later), because it’s a great example of a gentrified redevelopment of what used to be traditional row houses/shikumen. It was beautiful and perfect. But on our first day, I was looking for charm and more local colour. So we went to Tianzifang.




Beautiful sycamore trees at Xintiandi. Why can’t we have tree lined streets?


My friend Lylah Juinio has been living in China as an expat for over 10 years. She was responsible for awakening my interest in Shanghai. On her list of recommendations was Tianzifang, knowing that I like artsy fartsy stuff. Here’s my impression of Tianzifang – the gateway entry and narrow streets reminded me of the Cashbahs in Morocco (from what I remembered when I was 16); the many hipster creative entrepreneurs had a very Williamsburg, Brooklyn vibe; the handcrafts looked like a fun 3D Etsy site; and the quaint small international restaurants at one point felt very Boracay D’Mall. It’s like Malugay’s The Collective if more hipster artists moved in. And I mean all that in a good way. It was a total contrast from the perfectly manicured Xintiandi. Though both redevelopments were planned by the government (nothing here is accidental, everything is perfectly planned), Tianzifang felt a bit more organic.


One of the many entrance gates into Tianzifang, along Taikang Road.


Taikang Road had buildings that looked like this.


Very interesting use of wire mesh/screen.


We wandered around Tianzifang’s narrow streets until night time.


Patrick went shopping in this quaint antique shop that specialized in eyewear.



Click “More…” to see my gazillion Tianzifang photos.


Our Spark day



Our SPARK cover is now on the stands. I hope you get your copy – any one of the three covers. It was a rare opportunity to be in a cover with my close friends Bryan and Ingrid. The fact that they were both in the Philippines when this shoot was scheduled was even quite a feat. I read my interview, and it’s felt different. Something happened, I don’t know (maybe age). But I feel so free to speak my mind now.


Here are some behind-the-scenes from the day of the shoot. Ingrid and Bryan already wrote about the outtakes. It was a wonderful day – great company, good food, wonderful architecture and incredible scenery. The SPARK House in Batangas was spectacular. I’m kicking myself for not making time to shoot this house for Urban Zone while we were still on air. I’m sure many urbanista viewers would be in awe. But all is not lost. We have some photos here and we’ll definitely make epic time for a reshoot of this house in the future.


The Spark House


Stunning property with a 360-degree view of the peninsula and the sea.


Beautiful staircase and lots of glass to maximize the view. It wasn’t a heat trap because of the generous windows that allowed the cross-ventillation of wind.


I finally got to wear my Rick Owens long dress. Ingrid, Bryan and I each had a solo in this field of weeds. Lovely.


The master bedroom has a glass roof with fully retractable blinds, so they have a full view of the sea, the sky and the stars at night. I was a little scared of wearing those heels on the glass floor/roof. That is a full shot of the dress I wore in one of the covers. It’s the same beaded dress I wore to Angel’s party. It’s from Antik Batik.


Click, click, click “More…”  to see more.