Monday, September 30, 2013

A Weekend of First's

The past weekend was very memorable for me.  I would compare it to winning a luxury vacation for 2 days.  It was a weekend of first's!

1. First time to ride a Helicopter

Saturday started with us getting a helicopter ride to our secret destination and was allowed to take the pilot's seat.  It took us 20 minutes to reach the place that would take 4 hours by land.  The view from above is spectacular.  Unlike planes where you are above the sea of clouds, on the chopper, you get to appreciate the aerial view of the ground with more detail.

2.  First time to see all the Bahay-kubo Vegetables in one garden!

The owners love for fruit and vegetable is reflected on their farm.  They group their produce into different sections.  Fruit bearing trees are in one area, and also the vegetable garden.  They keep them organic using natural fertilizers and avoid pesticides.  All of these crops are within 18 hectares of vegetation, using only a portion for the development of the rest house and cabanas.

3. First time to ride a family boat!

This boat is different.  It's the convertible of boats with a reclining canopy.  The seats are leather upholstered with carpeted floors!

4. First time to taste Chicken Kare Kare with Almonds instead of peanuts, and mascovado sweetened bagoong!

I missed out on taking photos of this one, but I'm sure you know that it tastes really good just by the description!

5. First time to have a lake side cabana to myself.

6. First time to ride a UTV
7. First time to windsurf!

All these happened in one weekend!
This is my new boss's way of getting to know the people that works for him.

Thank you Sir, for the generosity and the inspiration.  Letting us experience these things and allowing us to take a glimpse of your lifestyle makes us want to strive more to be successful in what we do.

Hopefully this wont be the last!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cant Get Enough of Crash Pad Art Bistro

Crash Pad Art Bistro is one of those places you just keep coming back to.

On this visit we tried the Gooey Mozzarella and the latest Pasta Dish, Bittchanesca (Spaghetti Puttanesca).

That's 8 items on our must try list!!!!
Visit and like their FB Page to get updates and promos:
Bittchanesca (150 php)
Gooey Mozzarella (195 php)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Santol Bowl Prawn Curry

My bestfriend, the famous event stylist Teddy Manuel is not only creative in executing dream parties but is also daring when it comes to meal preparations.

Here's the recipe for his Prawn Curry flavored and served in a Santol Bowl.   I was'nt able to taste the dish, but let me know if you ever did try preparing it yourself.

Picture and Recipe grabbed from Teddy Manuel of Flowers and Events!


Medium Size Santol
Yellow Curry Paste
Prawns, shelled and deveined
Salt and Sugar

How to prepare:

Slice the Santol from the top leaving the stem as the handle.  Prepare the Santol bowl by scooping out the meat and seed. Place the skin and lid in cold water to prevent discoloration. Sauté ginger and garlic then add the chopped santol meat and seeds.  Next, add water and let it simmer for a few minutes  before adding the yellow curry paste. Add the prawns and cook until tender. Season with salt and a little sugar.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I.S Restaurant, formerly Fharmiza Halal Food

Apart from my name, I know very little about our Muslim Brothers and Sisters.  But among the things I love about the culture and religion is their food.

I was first introduced to Halal food on my first visit to Zamboanga.  Ḥalāl is defined in wikepedia as any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law.

It's also the reason I am deeply saddened with the things happening in the province.  My memories of Zamboanga City is how multi-cultural it was and how they managed to live peacefully amidst the differences.  I know that this recent uprising in the city is a work of a few people and eventually peace will prevail.

I loved how even Christians are drawn to Satti, Tyulah Itum and Chicken Pyanggang.  I'm sure there is more to Halal Food than what I mentioned, but these three are my favorites.

Here in Manila, we are in the look-out for these rare dishes.  Before, we frequent a Satti house near the Lung Center in Quezon City named Vieva, but they soon closed down.  It was a segment in the local news where they featured Tyulah Itum that started our interest to look for the establishment in Ermita Manila.

I watched the video, and got a glimpse of the name of the restaurant, Fharmiza.  This morning, we left early to search for the establishment.  After a few rounds circling Mabini St., Padre Faura, and M.H. del Pilar, we found it along a side street named Sta. Monica.  It has a new name called I.S Restaurant.

We were a bit disappointed that our favorites was not available during Saturdays and Sundays.  They only serve Chicken Pyanggang from Monday to Friday, and their famous Tyulah Itum is available only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  We definitely have to go back.

For our visit, we settled on their Chicken Curry and Beef Caldereta.  We also ordered a bowl of Maggi Kari which reminded us of Zamboanga.

I.S Restaurant is open 24 hours. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

My Favorite Interior Design Project

This was an unexpected project.  Being employed, I have little time to myself and to take on personal projects seemed impossible.

Fortunately our renovation finished early, and we have more time during the last quarter.  I decided to place an ad in to advertise my Christmas Decorating Service.  I figured, this would not be as stressful as construction since you just come into the site, install their decors and and leave after receiving the payment.

For this building, I was originally hired to do the exterior and lobby Christmas Decorations, but when the owner found out that we are a team of Architects and Interior Designers, she asked us to design their house as well.

Te family occupies the top floor with individual units on both sides of the hallway.  The top floor was originally laid out for their house, but during the course of construction, they decided to convert it to 1-bedroom units and studio units.  After the partitions were built, they decided to use it again as their house.  That became the challenge.  One studio unit becomes the bar, another for the son who recently got married, the other studio becomes the kitchen and the last was the kids room.  The 2,- 1-bedroom units was for the daughters who have very different personalities and the the last was the Masters Unit.  I was only able to make improvements in the Master's Unit since it was furnished already, but the other rooms was built from scratch.  This was what we came up with.

The studio unit converted into a bar.  Mirrors were placed strategically to create the illusion of space.
The concept for this room was Punk Rock.  The dark colors were soften with the use of plush textures and pink as an accent.

The younger daughters room was sweet and dainty, with white and pink color scheme.
For the master's living room, we customized the entertainment cabinet and added the shelves on the wall.  The back side was converted to a full mirror.
The mirror frame came from the living room area.  The accent lamp and vases were added.
The kids room in blue and white color scheme.
A praying lobby right outside the elevator door.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

New Rules, New Rooms

Change is inevitable, and at times hard to accept.  That's what I experienced recently with work.  I have a new boss!  We'll, with my more than 7 years in the company, I have worked for different types of bosses and I thought by now I am used to it.

This is different.  Not only it's a change of management, but a total turn-around in terms of design direction.  Before, we were all about innovation and exceeding our competitors in terms of guest experience and wow factor.  Now, design is sidelined by practicality and function.  As a designer, and artist, its the environment that nurtures creativity that we want.  I thought it would be hard with the transition, but we just need to approach things positively.  

I just compare the transition as having a new client who has a different vision for the project.  As designers, this is what we have to deliver, but putting our touch to it.  During the last days, we have figured ways to make things favorable for us.  Whenever we present an incomplete proposal, it allows the client to manipulate our design as compared to a complete proposal.  Still, there are suggestions, but its mostly on function and practically as opposed to changing the look.

Just recently, I am given the task to focus more on design and let go of my leadership function.  I am embracing this new challenge, after all, I was hired to design being the Chief Designer.  I'm glad that my new boss still encourages creativity, and with his new chapter in my career, I have the opportunity to create original designs I can be truly proud of.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Our Room Made it To the Pulp Magazine Cover

This is not the first time that our room served as backdrop to shoots and videos.  Since it completion early 2012, Cirque has been popular to celebrities.  Regine shot excerpts for her anniversary concert and this was used in the filming of the controversial Bubble MTV of Sebastian Castro.

The most recent is the photo shoot for Pulp Magazine with artist ABRA in the cover.

Sebastian Castro's Bubble Video, with scenes shot at Cirque!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Meals for Today

Katsu Curry Ramen at Ramen Cool

Afternoon Snavk:
Grilled Chicken Sandwich and Soup

Monday, September 9, 2013

Designing a Small Space, Studio Unit at Hidalgo Place

Having worked for the Motel industry for more than 7 years, I am more comfortable in designing smaller spaces.  In 2011, It was not hard to convince me to agree  to design a studio-condominium unit at Hidalgo Place, Rockwell drive in Makati. 

My challenge was to incorporate as much day to day amenities on a 24 sqm unit.

It was clear that I would have to strategically use mirrors to create the illusion of space.  In this case I used it on the wall to the small dinette fronting the bed.  I added a double bed flushed to wall, but added wall padding on the side to make it more comfortable and not cold to the touch that concrete feels..  I had drawers built below the bed.  The foot board becomes a small seating for guests with drawers below.  All around the room were overhead shelves to store books, magazines and other items.  I have placed the microwave oven on top of the refrigerator on custom made shelves.

This was my proposed design and the finish product:
I have used 2 layers of Roman Shade, The Combi Blinds allows natural light and appreciation of the view while the Blackout provides privacy at bight.

Mirrors are placed along the same side of the wall doubling the space.  Stools that doubles as storage were used.
Wood grain wallpaper are a nightmare.  I should have just used ribbon grain plywood and stained.
I have added a small seating area fronting the TV
I have added mirrors between the top and bottom kitchen cabinets to make the counter space appear bigger

Given the opportunity, I want to be able to design more of this.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Crash Pad Bistro.. An Escape Within the Concrete Jungle

Judging from the picture, you would not expect that this place is actually located at the ground floor of one of the condominiums in Makati.  Crash Pad Bistro is at the upper ground floor of Palm Towers along Saint Paul St. San Antonio Village.

The mis-matched chairs and tables and the chalk board walls reminded of Mogwai (now closed) a favorite hangout in Cubao Expo, but this place has a charm of its own. 
While waiting for your meal, unleash your creative self by writing or drawing something on the freedom wall.

The menu consists of pasta, sandwiches, burgers and breakfast meals for tenants rushing to go to work.

We tried all the varieties of their pasta like the Hickory Pork (155php, a bit spicy and sweet), Chicken and Eggplant (150php, red sauce), but my favorite would be the Tuna and Veggie (165php) not only because its healthier but I am drawn to the slightly savory salty taste of the tuna muted by the vegetables. 
Tuna and Veggie
Chicken and Eggplant

We also had the Bird Burger (150php), which is a meal in itself paired with ice cold San Mig Light (40php) that they now serve.
Bird Burger (150 pesos)
Unfortunately, they sold out on their specialty burgers, but it just gives us a reason to come back.  Our dinner extended to 3 hours leaving the place at 1:00 AM.  With a great meal, friends and a quaint little bistro like Crash Pad, time flies fast.
Owner and Chef Mong, hard at work preparing our meal!
Crash Pad Bistro is Located at the Upper Ground Floor of Palm Towers along St. Paul St. Between Bagtikan and Estrella in San AntonioVillage, Makati

Day 5: Tito's Roadtrip Travel Guide to Bicol

Our last day in Bicol is dedicated to our long drive back home. We decided to leave early around 3AM in order to reach Manila late in the ...