Giulio Cappellini



It’s hard to believe that it’s already been almost two years since I hosted the launch of Cappellini in Manila. It felt like just a year ago. The Cappellini showroom in One Parkade Bonifacio High Street houses some of the most beautifully crafted furniture from the world’s top designers.


Me and Mr Giulio Cappellini at the Nov 2012 launch of the Cappellini showroom in Taguig, Metro Manila.


Cappellini was brought to Manila by Studio Dimensione of Suyen Corporation.


Founded in 1946, Cappellini has become synonymous with contemporary, avant-garde design. Over the years it has launched some of the world’s greatest designers, producing innovative and high quality furnishings. Photo above is of the Showroom at Bonifacio High Street.


Last Nov 2012, Mr Cappellini signed a few key pieces.


A couple of Saturdays ago, Bryan Lim of Suyen Corporation invited me to dinner with Mr Giulio Cappellini. He said it would be a small intimate dinner. It was a wonderful evening with the country’s top architects!


I was seated beside Lucy Torres-Gomez and Anthony Yupangco on this end of the table, across from Ben Chan and Bryan.


My “good-girl” friends from Summit – Alicia Colby Sy & Yvette Fernandez with Kai Lim and Becky Kho of Elle Decoration. I say “good-girl” because Yvette always points that out when we are together. Haha.


With the most beautiful couple in the land, Lucy and Richard.


Ed Calma, Bryan Lim, Ben Chan and Miguel Pastor. These photos (except for the low light phone cam pics) are all from Miguel.)


With Kai, Barbie Pardo and Alicia. (Thought bubble, Kai’s earrings are gorgeous. They look to me like emerald beads. I’m sure they are.)


Mr Giulio Cappellini and me. He signed a miniature paper replica of a Cappellini chair. How I wish my Cappellini chair at home was signed. But I actually have a signed certificate from Marcel Wanders, c/o Studio Dimensione. But that’s another story.


The kindness sandwich – Ben Chan and Lucy Torres Gomez. I am not exaggerating. They are the kindest people I know.


Bryan and Chut Cuerva


Mr Cappellini with architects Ramon Antonio and Gil Coscolluela


Conrad Onglao and the gorgeous Zsa Zsa Padilla


Blackbird at Nielson Tower.


01  Meltdown Floor Lamp by Johan Lindsten;  02 Peg Letto by Nendo;  03 Jacob Wagner ‘s Branch bronzo table;  04 Jasper Morrison’s Monforte.


01 Nendo’s Peg Column;  02 Piero Lissoni’s Lochness;  03  Shiro Kuramata’s Steel Pipe Drink Trolley;  04 Nendo’s Peg Sedia.


01  Jasper Morrison’s Cap Chair;  02 Giulio Cappellini’s Brest uva e champagne; 03 Jasper Morrison’s Thinking Man’s Chair Limited.


Cappellini is at One Parkade, Bonifacio High Street, Taguig, Philippines.



My day at Google



I was in Silicon Valley a couple of weeks ago to attend the BlogHer conference. Since I had a few days to spare and shopping wasn’t really the goal of the trip, I thought, why not try to get a tour of Google Campus? It is, after all, said to be one of the best companies to work for. And who hasn’t seen the movie The Internship?

So I did some research and found out that one has to be an invited and registered guest in order to get a tour of Google Campus in Mountain View, CA. The setting of the Google offices are spread out like a university campus, hence the popular reference as the “Google Campus.” It is huge. Like in North American universities, anyone can drive or walk through the campus and see the buildings. But you can’t gain access to the buildings unless you are a registered guest.

I found my way to Google through my friend Eliza Romualdez Valtos, who, through her husband Billy, asked a friend in Silicon Valley for a Google contact. One thing led to another and I got connected with Shrikand, who works for Google Chrome. My childhood friend Nina Carino drove me to Mountain View and joined our little tour. Security was strict. We needed to sign in and agree to some conditions.



Google Building 43, part of Googleplex.


The Google Campus is set in the quiet town of Mountain View, California. Lots of big trees and bike lanes.


We walked through so many buildings. Here’s a section of Building 43.


Googleplex Map1
I met my host at Google Building 1950


Googleplex Map2
The compound sprawled further. We walked up to the pond area. Then rode the bike on our way back.


So here’s the real “Google Drive”


Very bike-friendly.


Everywhere you look, you see the Google colours.


Adirondack chairs everywhere. I think it’s to get the Googlers’ mindset into a more relaxed state.


With our very patient host, Shrikand.


This is Googleplex. It’s exactly what they showed in the movie The Internship. Here there is a sculpture garden and outdoor cafe.


Public art everywhere. Here is the famous Google dinosaur statue. Apparently the Google founders bought it as a reminder for Googlers not to let the company become extinct like a dinosaur.


Plastic pink flamingos strewn all over the dinosaur.


More public art.


Don’t let those yellow and blue Muskoka Adirondack chairs fool you…


It’s THIS big.


We went to the Android building.


This is where all the Android operating systems are created. There is a sculpture for every Android operating system like Cupcake, Honeycomb, Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich.


There’s the newest Android baby, KitKat. At this part I saw a lot of visitors. Some were probably kids from the nearby houses. Though it seems to be a destination for curious tourists, there are no official tours as of yet. It’s not exactly open to the public, so like I mentioned above, you still have to be an invited and registered guest.


In my few days in Silicon Valley I was so dependent on car rides from friends like Nina and Gari Camaisa (more on our sightseeing at later posts). California and mass transit don’t really mix. So naturally, a lot of Googlers drive to work. Good to see that a lot of them drive electric cars. Here’s one of the many electric recharging stations on the Google Campus.


Of course I would like to highlight this. One of the Google employees told me that they have very good daycare facilities for employees kids.


We also saw one self-driving car!!


The sight of Googlers on bicycles made me giddy. Gosh that movie. Stop it already.


In keeping with the brand’s identity, all the Google bikes had the bright Google colours. They were just parked outside every building. No one owns a particular bike. You are free to use one to get from A to B.


So of course I had to get this photo for the books. Initially it was just a photo op. But really, after having walked the entire stretch of the campus, I asked Shrikand if we could just bike back to our initial meeting place.


So this is me in the real bike that I rode. I loved it! I wasn’t exactly dressed for it, wearing a dress and French Sole flats. But I had to get from A to B. Loved the feeling!!


These bikes were so much fun.


Saw this conference bike parked outside. It’s a circular bike for 7 people. One person steers and six pedal (or not).


Yes there really is an airplane/space ship inside one of the buildings. These next few photos are by my friend Lylah Juinio, who went to visit with her family a day after I did.


And yes it’s true, all Google employees get free food and drinks. All meals are free. All. Photo by Lylah Juinio


There are over 40 cafes in the Google Campus. My friend took us to the biggest one in Googleplex. This one had various themed cuisines – Italian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian, Mexican, American grill etc. And don’t expect your typical cafeteria food. They have gourmet chefs designing the menu.


My lunch. After getting a slice of ham and really good gourmet pizza, I lined up for a burrito.


Sorry for the shaky photo. I was balancing my tray. The pizzas were so good.


Pho soup and some dumplings


This isn’t the first playful office space I’ve seen. Locally there was the P&G head office that had sleep pods and spa treatments. Google had all that too. Here’s one with a pool table. Photo by Lylah Juinio


Some of the services for employees. Photo by Lylah Juinio


They’re big on composting and segregating waste. Yes!


The Google store where I bought some Tshirts and pens. It isn’t open to the public. You need an employee to bring you in. But if you really want Google merchandise you can purchase them all online in the Google shop.


So that’s how my Googliest day went.



* My trip to Silicon Valley in California was sponsored by EVA Air. Travel arrangements by Jeron Travel.

All my photos are taken from a Samsung Galaxy Camera 2. I love that it is directly linked to the Google cloud and all my photos are stored automatically.



nawwTy with O&M Home



Home of Trish Panlilio


Last week I received an invitation for lunch at Trish Panlilio’s home. Unbeknownst to many, the very fashionable Trish has developed a love for cooking. It began as a simple hobby of cooking for friends and as a daily labour of love for her sons. By October 2013 Trish introduced “nawwTy’s kitchen” to her public with home cooked meals on order-basis. nawwTy’s kitchen not only offers homemade a mix comfort food like roast chicken and decadent meals like crab fat paella and prime rib roast, they also can deliver straight to your home and custom cater your events of up to sixty people. For info on how to order, see directory at the bottom of this post.

Trish’s luncheon at her home was also the setting of lovely tableaus showing pieces from Oliver & Maude Home, an online seller of all things monogrammed — acrylic trays, carved tangile cheese boards, pillows, placemats and napkins.


With the pretty hostess, Trish Panlilio, who was hands-on at the kitchen while making sure all the guests were comfortable and well-fed.


With Javi Martinez, Tessa Valdes and Vicki Zubiri


This is the only photo I have of the ladies at the table. Sorry if we all look like we are attacking the paella. Haha. Seen in photo, Grace Barbers Baja, Cheryl Tiu, Rory Manzano and Rica Lopez de Jesus of one of my favourite local blogs heart2heart. So, about the paella, from left to right, crab fat paella, paella valenciana and paella negra.


The very aromatic T’s pollo arrosto


Prawns thermidor


Prime rib roast


Herbed butter logs


I couldn’t resist taking snapshots of Trish’s homey place.


I loved her accent pieces such as this wing chair


I was charmed by all the little pops of colour


That blue chair!


Every woman needs a glamorous reading corner.


Interesting mix of textures


Her pool bar and garden was the showcase for Oliver and Maude’s pieces.



Acrylic tray


Julia Morales of O&M Home


Personalized napkins, glass


Placemats and napkins can either be monogrammed or have your whole name embroidered on it. Same goes for the wooden boards.


So ya, in my future next home, I want an outdoor bar (as well-stocked as this).


More monogrammed placemats, napkins and hand towels


The acrylic trays are sturdy and can be engraved with any design or logo.


Monogrammed glassware. This season O&M Home also has a gold santol bowl.


Wooden chopping boards were a very popular gift item last Christmas. I received a couple with “PAEZ” carved on to the boards. Now I have a “Daphne” and a “D”. Next on my list is to have a couple of those acrylic trays.


Thank you Trish and Julia for a lovely lunch!


For more information on nawwTy’s kitchen check out their Facebook page here, email or call (0918) 936 9854 or (0920) 907 9122

To order O&M Home, email or call (0917) 809 7287

Designers help out post-Haiyan



It is so touching to see many people from different sectors find ways to help people affected by Typhoon Haiyan. My personal facebook feed was burning with so many impromptu ideas for relief that came into fruition within days. As in all the recent emergencies – Ketsana/Ondoy, Washi/Sendong and Bopha/Pablo – it was amazing to see the private sector act quickly.

Haiyan happened just as we were closing the transactions for Auction for Action. We haven’t released the official report from the 7 day online auction but I am happy to announce that we raised P3.1 Million for UNICEF’s Supervised Neighbourhood Play Programme. I saw this programme firsthand when I visited the typhoon-ravaged towns in Davao Oriental after Bopha/Pablo hit last year. It helped children get a sense of normalcy back into their lives, especially after experiencing an emergency. I will be sharing more about the program and Auction for Action proceeds at a later date.

Our artist donors who have supported Auction for Action are finding more ways to help out communities affected by Haiyan. Immediately after Haiyan struck, Vito Selma was on the ground planning a feeding program. He had also been actively helping out Bohol right after the earthquake. It’s all informal, no big organization or fancy names. Vito plans to build chairs and tables for school children in Bohol.

Here’s how some of our artist friends are helping out.


From Vito Selma’s Instagram – “A reading nook in the showroom. Please watch out for my online auction in the coming weeks. All proceeds will be going to our little project — Soup Kitchen // Cebu. Our target is to regularly feed the 1,100 affected people in the town of Tabuelan every saturday until they finally get back on their feet. Proceeds of this auction will also go to our other project — CLEAN WATER PROJECT. We will be providing the people with materials and teaching them how to transform dirty water into clean,drinkable water.”


More from Vito Selma’s Instagram – Deconstructing, simplifying and redesigingn the traditional Philippine school chair for the rehabilitation and rebuilding of the schools destroyed by the typhoon. Kindly email if you would like to sponsor a few chairs for a school!


New York-based designer Inigo Elizalde who produces some of his weaves from Cebu is hosting an online sale of his woven graphic pillow covers. 100% of the proceeds go to a Philippine organization responding to the needs of Haiyan-affected communities.


Shop Inigo Elizalde’s boutique 100% of proceeds will benefit relief efforts in the Philippines.


Our longtime supporter Aranaz is also setting up a special bag made by their suppliers in Bicol to help weavers in Samar get back on their feet. The bag will be sold in all Aranaz shops and will be available online by next week. Find out more about the Aranaz fundraiser here.






Prettiest toilet



Remember the Kohler 140th anniversary party in Kohler, Wisconsin? I really love traditional classic-looking bathrooms. I’m obsessed.


Last spring, I was able to immerse myself in the world of Kohler – in New Orleans, Chicago and Wisconsin. There I saw all the models of Kohler toilet and bathroom fixtures. I also got to see their original factory and witnessed how the toilets, bathtubs and sinks are still being made the same way it was done with the artisanal touch of human hands updated with robotic technology.

Even before I had a professional relationship with Kohler and they sponsored my cast iron kitchen sink, I had already been a fan. Our bathroom is fitted with vintage-looking Kohler fixtures. So it brings me so much joy to be able to share this wonderful world of Kohler via our Auction for Action to benefit Unicef programs in the Philippines. Kohler has generously donated an Artist Edition toilet and countertop accessories. You can view and bid here til October 27th.


This is our tiny bathroom which I renovated in 2008. I used Bisazza tiles all over the walls and floor. Then I had to have a vintage-looking pedestal sink so I chose Memoirs, which meant I had to get the matching toilet. And yeah, you can see the pipes from this angle. Our mirror is my mother in law’s antique piece.


Last April 2013, the chairman and CEO of Kohler Co., Mr Herbert Kohler, Jr. on stage at the 140th anniversary in Kohler, Wisconsin. Behind him is a wall of toilets representing the heritage of their family business.


With Kohler's Chairman & CEO Herbert V. Kohler Jr and wife Natalie at #Kohler's 140th anniversary party in Wisconsin.
I got to meet Mr Kohler and his wife Natalie at the Kohler anniversary party.


More traditional-looking bathrooms from the Kohler showroom in Wisconsin.


At the Kohler store in Chicago  I got to see a wider range of modern and contemporary styles.


But I still gravitated towards the pretty traditional set called Revival.


kohler briar
Well, as it turns out, Kohler donated our our Auction for Action this same Revival toilet, but in a special Artist Edition print called Briar Rose. “Inspired by the graceful beauty of climbing roses, Briar Rose features a bramble of English roses in soft shades of pink, green, and brown. The enchanting pattern adorns a Revival two-piece elongated toilet, which displays the rolled edges and elliptical shapes of vintage 1930s design. With a powerful 1.6-gallon flush, this two-piece toilet makes a striking and practical addition to your bath or powder room.”


Is this pretty or what? Bid now on this Kohler Artist Edition Briar Rose toilet and countertop accessories. The price is way below retail price. Links will take you to our Unicef eBay site. It’ll stay live til October 27th at 8pm Manila time.