About Urban Zone



OBB of Urban Zone


I owe many of you an explanation.

Since Friday, January 6, 2012 Urban Zone® hasn’t been airing in ABS-CBN Channel 2 and The Filipino Channel (TFC). I have read all your comments of support both here and in the UZ Fan Page. As much as I wanted to answer all your questions last month, please understand that I just couldn’t.

The pulling out of Urban Zone was purely a business decision by our producers. As you know, Bayan Productions was a block-timer on ABS-CBN.

Despite being a small independent production, UZ earned the respect and support the design, construction and real estate industries. UZ has become a very influential medium – for that I thank our loyal advertisers and viewers. Because of the continued support that UZ enjoys from the market, I am energized to keep working on the UZ brand. Though UZ as you knew it doesn’t exist anymore, it may be back in another form, another medium.

To the many loyal fans of the show, thank you for your support and appreciation of our work. Thank you for finding inspiration in the weekly stories my team and I did. Because of you, our creativity and quest for “scoop” homes never stopped.

I am grateful to Bayan Productions who trusted me with a concept that was new in a territory that was then uncharted. Thank you for trusting me and giving me the independence to produce this show.

To my team – Manny, Denmark, Stanley, Maila, Princess and all our technical crew, we had a great run! You are the best in the industry and I am looking forward to the day we can work together again. Thank you for the friendship and good times.

To ABSCBN and TFC, Maraming salamat! I will always be grateful that through your network, we were able to reach millions of Filipino viewers abroad – many of who are working hard, away from family, in order to give them a better life and a new home. Thank you for giving UZ the opportunity to inspire a huge market, promote Filipino design and to help drive an industry forward.

To all the Urbanistas, I hope you like the homes that I’ll be featuring in this blog in the meantime.

Thanks, all!


UZ repost: Modern classic



Here’s another repost. These photos are from June 2011. We featured  two adjacent homes that share a connected lanai. The separate houses belong to two sisters. Interior designer Frenjick Quesada worked on both projects. Unfortunately we only have photos from one house.


Interiors by Frenjick Quesada
I wore a printed and colourful K&Company dress. My shoes are plastic. Got them from Melissa. I designed my earrings. They’re made of blue sappires and diamonds but no, I didn’t set them like Princess Diana’s and Kate’s ring. This is the lanai of the first house. A small fence separates the two houses but they remain accessible by a gate. Visually the space appears as one.


The first house was designed in a more classical way, with a muted palette. Frenjick used machuca tiles to create the appearance of a rug. That’s the side entrance which leads to the lanai.


Hallway leading to the bedrooms.


Interiors by Frenjick Quesada
The master bed uses one of my favourite styles of Daphne Linens. I love this set because of the texture of the ruching. Frenjick lined the walls with wallpaper.


The daughter’s bedroom. She wanted something glam and inspired by Audrey Hepburn.


Interiors by Frenjick Quesada
Country-style kitchen. The island counter was once a simple desk which they upcycled.


Interiors by Frenjick Quesada
See the island counter? Brilliant. I was wearing a striped dress from Muji with a faux coral necklace and wedge Melissas.


Frenjick gave this living room a pale palette using classic furniture.




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.




Mega Endorsement





The other day, over Twitter, I received this from Sharon Cuneta! Out of the blue. Is that a mega endorsement or what?

I thanked her in my timeline. And she tweeted back. “Meant every word! Stay awesome!”

I’m giddy. Thanks Sharon!



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…