House by the beach



Here’s another repost from my old livejournal. I featured this house in early 2011. This is Ana Rocha’s house by the beach in Batangas. She doesn’t like calling it a “beach house” though it sits right on the beach. She has created a space that’s more than that. This is her creative haven. She comes here to recharge, relax and entertain friends. Ana is an artist and entrepreneur. She owns a few restaurants and a jewelry store in Greenbelt 5; she designs jewelry and interior spaces as well. Architecture runs through her blood. Her grandfather, an architect, designed a building in UST – the extension of the main one, if I’m not mistaken. She is also related to Patrick’s maternal side of the family.

Here are some highlights from the Urban Zone shoot we did in Batangas. I brought my kids along, which I rarely do. But it was an out of town treat, and they got to meet a distant relative.


Anna Rocha's beach house
Ana and I at the entrance pavilion.


Anna Rocha's beach house
The other side of the entrance pavillion. I love that the foyer is in a separate pavillion.


Anna Rocha's beach house
It opens up to this…


Anna Rocha's beach house
One of the guest rooms. High ceiling. Lots of natural light.


Anna Rocha's beach house
Inside the main house. She had that table before she built this space.


Anna Rocha's beach house
Main house and pool


Anna Rocha's beach house
I love how the pool is raised.


Anna Rocha's beach house
Talk about attention to detail. Check out the way her staff raked the sand in the public beach.




Repost: 80-year-old house



This is an Urban Zone story we did back in 2009. I’m reposting it because I think we can all learn from this story. This was the home of  Brian Mangio, an architect.

The house was built in the 1930’s by a wealthy American family who lived in the Philippines. The main house was in the City of  Manila. They built this as a weekend home in a style similar to bungalows in Camp John Hay, Baguio. Back then San Juan was still “provincial.” They had stables for their horses in this huge property.

It’s has been subdivided since then. Some of the land had been sold and converted into condominiums. The house and the last 3,000+ sqm had been acquired by the Mangio family.


Garden Side - Before
Before: This is what the house looked like when they acquired it.


Mangio residence
After:This is what it looks like now after Architect Mangio’s restoration project


Tower Side - Before
Before: The side of the house facing the water tank


Tower Side New (1)
After: The side of the house was converted to be the main entrance


Mangio Residence
Inside. The living room (one side used to be the master bedroom). Brian tore down the ceiling, exposed the trusses, added clerestory windows and emphasized the natural colour and texture of the adobe stone walls.


Mangio Residence
The modern kitchen


Mangio Residence
How the kitchen looks from the outside


Mangio Residence
The enormous backyard. Brian’s parents live in the other end of the yard. (I love the idea of compound living, with extended family as neighbours. I’ve never been in this situation. What’s it like?)


Mangio Residence
The back porch. There used to be a view of the city of Manila from here (San Juan). Brian built a little pavillion for home spa services in the other end of the yard.


Original Water Tower
Original water tank from the 1930’s. Brian installed new pipes and a new tank. It’s a stunning feature. This is the only private water tower I’ve seen in Metro Manila.


Rare Philippine Eagle Owls (a mom and dad) made this tree their home
Rare Philippine Eagle owls (a mom and dad) had made this tree their home. They’re not held in captivity. They’re free to fly in and out. They come back regularly and one time they lay an egg that hatched successfully. Amazing. This property is a stone’s throw away from Greenhills, a highly urbanized area. It’s a good thing the Mangio’s are keeping the sprawling property as green as possible. Just next to their lot, a high rise development is about to go up. Hopefully the owls still find their way back to their tree. (Photo from Brian Mangio).


Baby Owl
The baby owl. Born in Brian and Annalou’s backyard tree. Somewhere between San Jan and Quezon City. (Photo from Brian Mangio).


BJ and Annalou Mangio
Brian and Annalou Mangio with me and Stanley Castro of UZ, back in 2009.


It’s great to have young architects, like Brian Mangio, who are enlightened enough to know the importance of preserving architectural/historical gems. More of this, please…






You guessed it, I’m bombarding you with design stories and house features from Urban Zone. We are doing some construction on the back end of my blog as I need to avoid crashing the server again despite the spikes in readership. It’s a great problem to have. Thank you, everyone, for reading my website religiously.

Here’s a house I featured back in December 2010. It’s one of those unforgettable homes that has the personal stamp of the owners in every corner. I learned a lot from the owners of this house – that you can live in a vast space even if your lot area is just 140 square metres; and that even a triangular shaped junkyard could be transformed in to the land of your dreamhouse; and that solar panels are totally accessible and affordable these days. I adored this house… designed and conceptualized by the owner himself, Mitch Shiver, an industrial designer.


House of Mitch and Shelly Shivers
The house has an irregular shape (acute triangle). One side of the house points in this narrow corner. That is the depth/width of the house… for real! The Shivers chose the smallest point to be the entrance.


House of Mitch and Shelly Shivers
I love how the space opens up like this.


House of Mitch and Shelly Shivers
And there’s room for a DJ booth under the stairs. It totally packs away and stores under the steps.


House of Mitch and Shelly Shivers
I. Love. Shelly’s. Kitchen.


House of Mitch and Shelly Shivers
Mitch and Shelly’s “Happy Couch” from Heima. I dont have a photo of his work table. It was a stainless steel kitchen prep table from a fastfood place that went out of business. Note the coffee table. It’s actually a trunk filled with Mitch’s audio equipment.


Solar panel
Mitch told me that this solar panel is very affordable. It’s big enough to power the exhaust fan in this corner of the house, which in effect cools down the place. (It sucks hot air out). For info on solar panel dealers locally, please check hardware stores or attend those construction expos.


House of Mitch and Shelly Shivers
Another solar panel and louvres that help hot air escape out (Remember, hot air rises. So you don’t want hot air trapped in your top floor.)


House of Mitch and Shelly Shivers
All this in a property that measures only 140 square metres! Amazing. Adorable.



Swiss and tropical



Here’s an Urban Zone story from 2010 that a lot of viewers fell in love with. I had posted this in my livejournal but thought it was worth digging up again. The architect of the house is Gilbert Lui.


Architecture by Gilbert Lui
The exterior of the house had to conform to the style of the subdivision. So the facade had a Swiss chalet type feel to it.


Architecture by Gilbert Lui
Faux trellis treatment on the ceiling upon entering. Gilbert wanted the owners to feel like they were entering a tropical space after going through the Swiss chalet facade. It gives the illusion of walking through a long hallway when in fact the space opens up to this…


Click “More…” for the big reveal


Literally, resort-living (repost)



I’ll be reposting some old (but timeless) entries from my livejournal blog. Here’s a story I did in mid-2011. This home was referred to me by my friend Dix Perez. He said it was unbelievable. A French couple decided to take resort-living literally. They have 12 kids. Instead of building a big house, they a placed a huge pool in the middle of their property and surrounded it with a few pavillions and cabins. It was almost like a resort! In a Metro Manila suburb.


French family in Manila with 12 kids
Interviewing the owner of the home, Veronique Legris. They built a pool in the middle of their property and surrounded it with cabanas instead of a “main house.” It’s genius. We should all live like this.


Click “More…” to see the rest of this house.