Welcome to our studio, Part 2
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Dear Rob,
It took us ages to renovate the apartment for several reasons:
1) I had to find the right designer.
2) The Philippe Starck toilet was so much cheaper from Amazon and had to be shipped here.
3) Kellyn and Rex, the designers, had to leave for Australia for a few months.
4) The TV cable had to be relocated.
5) The lamps had to be relocated.
6) The wallpaper was ordered from the UK.
7) The lamps came from Hong Kong.
8) The beds had to be specially ordered from Kristine Dee. Etc.

Here’s the work in progress:
The ledge had the least problems—except when the cushions we ordered were too big and had to be redone.

Window and ledge

I’m happy with our small kitchenette. Though we don’t want to cook inside. We do have a microwave oven, coffee maker, and rice cooker, just in case.


This study area was inspired by a stay at Hong Kong’s former JIA Hotel (now J-Plus). My idea was to create a hotel feel—therefore, no cooking, just minibar, refrigerator and simple appliances


The bed area had to be redesigned. I felt the wooden board made the place look smaller, so I had it removed and turned into a ledge.


The bathroom had to be re-done three times before it was chuva-approved. The workers broke the sink by accident so I had to buy another one

shang condo

After two years, it was time to move in! Yes, it took that long. I’m not a trained interior designer so it was hard to make decisions.

Shang studio

The amber sticker was ordered from Amazon, for bathroom privacy, in addition to blinds.
The idea I got from Singapore’s Quincy Hotel

Putting up the amber sticker

The wallpaper was ordered from the UK, inspired by yoo by Philippe Starck

Shang studio

This is my work area, with books, knick knacks, and a portrait of Chloe Sevigny by Terry Richardson

Shang studio

The lamps are by Innermost UK. The animal stool is from Dimensione, and the Kartell Mademoiselle chairs by Philippe Starck were purchased from Dexterton.

Shang studio

Only 38 square meters. I want to design spaces for a sideline!

Shang studio

The bathroom is tiny, but chuva-approved, with counter sink, wall-mount Duravit x Philippe Starck toilet, and glass enclosed-shower

Shang studio
Shang studio

Unfortunately the bathroom emits a funky smell—perhaps because it isn’t used often?
Someone please tell me what to do about it.
My hubby waiting for me to finish taking pictures for my blog. Not only is he hard-working, he is an angel.

Shang studio

Here’s a funny selfie we took some time ago. We plan to have movie dates/sleepovers here with the boys and popcorn.

Jeroen and I mini-selfie

One day I will list our apartment for rent online. Here’s the key to my one-room hotel.
In the future, maybe I will have my own little hotel.


Love, Me

Welcome to our studio, Part 1
Posted on

This post is dedicated to Rob Bryan de Jesus, who has been eagerly waiting for my next blog entry.
The truth is, I’ve developed asthma, and have been trying to catch up on work after my trip to Japan, which still has to be blogged.
Sometime in 2008, Jeroen and I walked into a showroom and I fell in love with a small studio space at Shangri-La Place. At that time it looked like this.

Model unit
Model unit

Jeroen was so skinny 🙂

Jeroen and The Secret
Model unit
Model unit

There was even a small kitchen

Kitchen in the model unit

We could only afford a studio apartment at that time. Jeroen decided to make it an investment. We made the payments and in 2009 we got turned over our unit. Much to my disappointment, here’s what we got:


Completely different layout. Kitchen is exposed on the left.

entrance inside

Cheap-looking cupboards


Unacceptable bowl toilet and shower

shower 2

Substandard closets


This is the only corner of the room I liked

Inside unit

We decided to hire Kellyn See and Rex Gapuz who I met online as Kellyn reads my blog. I hired them on the basis of their bathroom designs. Kellyn trained under Ed Calma while in the Philippines, and the couple spent a few years in Milan studying and honing their craft.
They are currently living between Sydney and Manila. We are still working with them on our home renovations.

(To be continued)

Meet Hamzah Marbella, Promil art prodigy
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How do you bring out the best in your child?
A former classmate of mine got pregnant early and gave birth during college. She became a mom before most of our batch mates, and after four children she told me she believed children are born with their own personalities. Your job as a parent is to enhance the good in them and suppress the bad.

Ben's drawing

I don’t believe in pressuring a child to become your idea of perfection. Nobody’s perfect!
I do believe in unconditional love. Some children may be easier to love than others, but you don’t give up on your child. Even if the child seems distant or troublesome, you love them anyway.
Because I believe love is an action word. If you love your child, your child will feel that love and give it back to you many times over.

The kids drawing

I’m not a stage mother or a hyper mom who likes to fill up their kids’ time with activities. I believe in quality time and quantity time with the kids. I don’t pressure them to get the best grades, they did that on their own. But even if they’re aren’t honour students now, I believe they are growing up to be fine young men we can be proud of.

Boys drawing at Vincent van Gogh museum

Recently Promil sent us art kits containing paint, brushes, a palette, and sketch pad.
I gave these to the boys before leaving for a quick trip to Japan, and one day they got bored and made these paintings on their own.


Ben, 12, painted a farmhouse

Ben, 12

Markus, 10, anticipated our arrival from Tokyo at night

Markus, 10

and Christian, 6, drew a house.

Christian, 6

Since the kids were very young, I always made sure there were art materials around. They don’t have to be the next Picasso, I just want them to feel confident in expressing themselves through art. Though truthfully they are more into basketball, Legos, and Minecraft.

More passionate about art is child prodigy Hamzah Marbella, whose mom Elma made sure he always had books to look at. “He would use books as sources of inspiration. I bought him crayons and sketchpads, which became his toys,” said Elma. Hamzah’s first canvas was a ‘magic slate’ that Elma bought for him.

Hamzah Marbella

At 12, he is already a multi-awarded artist, with more than 50 national and international awards and recognitions, including a special citation from the National Commission for Culture and a Certificate of Recognition at the United Nation International Children’s Art Competition.
He is also the youngest member of the Artists Association of the Philippines.

Hamzah Marbella

Hamzah was also recently named Promil Pre-School’s Outstanding Child Artist.

Hamzah Marbella

He inherited his talent from his father Renato, who is also an artist.
“He would watch me paint from his crib,” says Renato.
When Hamzah was bigger, he would look for stones, bottle caps, clothes pins and other things and transform them into art pieces like butterflies and flowers.


While their son was growing up, Renato and Elma also made sure that they provided him with superior nutrition.
Promil Pre-School, a powdered milk drink for children ages four to seven years old, was designed to help kids achieve optimal growth and development. The milk contains a unique combination of essential nutrients, like vitamin A to support healthy eye development, Iodine and & Iron that support brain development, Biotin and Zinc that support normal growth and help maintain a healthy immune system, Niacin that aids in healthy digestion and promotes normal appetite as well Potassium that promotes healthy muscles to support various activities of your children. All these are found in Promil Pre-School’s Nutrissentials.
It also has DHA, an important nutrient for cognitive and eye development, and AA which helps your child’s body absorb DHA better.

Hamzah Marbella
Hamzah Marbella

Promil recently launched the Paint like Hamzah promo to encourage parents to nurture the talent of the kids with the right activities.
“We hope that in sharing Hamzah’s exceptional talent in painting we can help mothers nurture their child’s creativity and talent so that it may become exceptional as well,” adds Villareal,” says Rhea Villareal, Promil Pre-School product manager, Wyeth Nutrition.
Those who buy Promil Pre-School 1.6kg and 180g packs will receive limited edition canvas bags inspired by Hamzah Marbella’s artworks with art materials. The bags are available in three collectible designs.
Promo runs until March 31, 2014.


To know more, go to

HBO GO launches in the Philippines!
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What’s your guilty pleasure? Mine are TV shows I watch when everyone at home is asleep.
It’s my quiet time, and my current favourites are The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Scandal, and Girls. (I wonder what these shows say about me?)

Some of these shows I watch on iTunes, and some I download. Girls is my favourite HBO show, even though I’m not a fan of TV nudity. I’m a mom who prefers to keep the young ones innocent.
At first it seemed like Girls Season 3 was getting boring, but the last three episodes when Hannah and Adam got jobs and their lives began to improve, the show became exciting again.


For those who enjoy Girls like me or other HBO and Cinemax original series such as Game Of Thrones, True Detective, Veep, and Strike Back, you can now watch them twelve hours after they premiere in the US—even before they air on HBO, as HBO Asia launches its broadband streaming service, HBO GO, in the Philippines, exclusively on SKYcable.

HBO Go - Girls

Subscribers of HBO GO can watch over 1,000 hours of uncut, award-winning HBO and CINEMAX Original content on computers, tablets and smartphones (iOS and Android) anywhere, anytime.
They’ll get unlimited access to an extensive library of original movies, concerts, documentaries, and series, including complete seasons of all-time favorites like Sex And The City, Band Of Brothers, The Pacific, The Sopranos, Entourage, Angels In America, and John Adams.
Special behind-the-scenes content of HBO Originals such as Boardwalk Empire, True Blood and Banshee is also available exclusively on HBO GO.

HBO Go - Banshee

The HBO GO service is free for SKYcable subscribers of the HBO PAK.
The HBO PAK subscription includes the full suite of HBO channels: HBO, HBO Signature, HBO Family, and HBO Hits (in either SD or HD).
Subscribers of the basic HBO channel on SKYcable can subscribe to HBO GO for only Php 199 a month, while select SKYbroadband subscribers with SKYcable subscription of HBO can enjoy the service for free or at Php 99.

Magalonas copy
Pia Magalona and her daughters Maxene (L) and Saab (R) get to try the HBO GO service first on their favourite devices

To subscribe or know more about SKYcable’s digital cable TV plans, go to, or call the 24-hour customer service hotlines:
(02) 381-0000 for Metro Manila, CAMANAVA, and Rizal
(046) 484-4701 for Cavite
(049) 534-2814 for Calamba and Binan, Laguna
(02) 520-8560 for San Pedro, Laguna and Carmona, Cavite
(04) 693-5877 for Bulacan
(032) 421-1818 for Cebu
(082) 305-5456 for Davao
(074) 442-4841 for Baguio
(034) 431-0051 for Bacolod
(033) 300-1210 for Iloilo
(035) 225-1010 for Dumaguete
(083) 301-3134 for Gen. Santos City.

Download the HBO GO App for free from App Store or Google Play or go to

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