Novamobili opens in Bonifacio High Street

They say it’s more fun in the Philippines. And now there’s more furniture in the Philippines.
When I moved into my own place around 15 years ago, I swear there were no decent furniture stores in the country.
I had no choice but furnish my home with locally made, extremely heavy wooden and wrought iron furniture from the mall.

Now with so many furniture stores opening in Metro Manila, I can’t keep track of them all—mostly Italian I might add.
The latest Italian furniture brand to open in Manila is Novamobili in Bonifacio High Street.
Located at the 3rd floor of Fully Booked, you must enter through the book store, up to the third floor, and find a walk way that leads to the art, fashion and design books—leading to the 400-square-meter Novamobili showroom.


Last Thursday, Chris and Jaime Daez of Fully Booked and now, Novamobili, invited me to a sneak peek inside the showroom.
I met (L-R) Dario Reicherl, Novamobili’s Director for Asia Pacific; Mario Battistella, President of Novamonili S.p.A.—Battistella Group with his son and office manager, Alberto Battistella; and Novamobili Bonifacio High Street manager, Alberto Segalla (imported from Italy).


I got the full tour where Dario proudly showed what Novamobili offers, starting with the closets.
A mirrored closet is a great way to make a space seem larger, aside from checking one’s outfit.


The sliding door opens up to this


The Plissé closet was inspired by pleats. Gorgeous in person, it doesn’t look anything like a closet from the outside.

TEMPO ARMADI 2010_pag_096

Inside, you can customize it according to your preference


My favorite closet is the walk-in variety. Novamobili makes them so stylish—at 30-50% less expensive than other Italian closet makers I’ve seen.


Dario demonstrates how a clothes rack drops down for easier access


Here’s a bed with a secret storage


Most of them open up this way


But I’ve never seen it do this. Have a backache? Imagine tucking in the sheets this way.


Here’s a great bookshelf that also hides a TV


For small spaces, there are easy-to-transform couches


and tables


And a couch whose back can go from low-to-high


Established in 1967 by Alfredo Battistella, Novamobili, or “new furniture” is 100% Italian-made and combines cutting-edge technology with manual processes to ensure top quality products.
To know more call +632-7382430 or email

Chef Sumet Sumpachanyanont comes back to Manila!!

Chef who???
Only the renowned Thai master chef from the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok.

Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok’s Thai master chef and TV culinary show host  Sumet Sumpachanyanont

According to the Michelin guide, a restaurant with three stars means “exceptional cuisine and “worth a special journey.” (It is also “often extremely expensive, and with an extensive wine list.”)
Don’t know if the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok has any Michelin stars, but in my book, the food there is definitely worth a journey.
I’ve been dreaming of coming back ever since my last trip there last June 2012.

Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
Louis Vuitton dinner in Bangkok

Ever since that trip I’ve been wanting to go back just to eat!
I can’t tell you how delicious the spicy beef salad was, how perfect the mango with sticky rice.
Or how heavenly the hotel buffet was.

Yaam Nuea Yaang
Mango with sticky rice

Oh, but yes I can! Because Chef Sumet Sumpachanyanont returns to the Mandarin Oriental Manila this March 4 to 10, 2013—as Paseo Uno brings back Tastes of Thailand in partnership with Thai International Airways.
Chef Sumet Sumpachanyanont will be accompanied by three other Thai chefs, who will prepare traditional and innovative Thai dishes and drinks that will be incorporated into Paseo Uno’s daily
lunch and dinner buffets.

Thai buffet at Mandarin Oriental

Enjoy delicious homestyle Thai favourites such as: Yaam Mamuang Nuea Poo (Spicy mango salad with crab meat), Gaeng Phed Moo (Red pork curry with sweet basil), Pla Nueng Manow (Steamed fish with chilli lime sauce), Phad Woon Sen Gai Goong (Stir-fried glass noodle with minced chicken, shrimp, egg and vegetables), and Khow Niew Piak Lam Yai (Sticky rice porridge and longan with coconut cream).

Deep-fried chicken wings marinated in fish sauce
Golden crispy prawn rolls
Spicy market mushrooms and prawn salad

The buffet is priced at PHP 1,990+ while the Luxury buffet, available for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays and lunch on Sundays, is priced at PHP 2,450+.
Buffet prices include a glass of traditional Thai drink, with a choice of lemongrass, sugarcane, Thai iced tea and coconut juice.
As an added treat, on March 10, 2013, one senior citizen family member receives a complimentary buffet meal when dining with at least four paying companions.

Also on March 9, Chef Sumet will hold a cooking class on how to prepare authentic Tom Yaam Pla Gub Goong (spicy fish and prawn soup with lemongrass and straw mushrooms), Gai Ob Khamin (oven-baked chicken marinated with yellow turmeric yoghurt), and Khow Niew Mamaung (coconut sticky rice with mango).
The class fee is PHP 3,500 nett inclusive of a three-course lunch and a light breakfast preceding the class. Attendees receive a certificate, a recipe booklet with Chef Sumet’s autograph, and an apron. Class starts at 9 AM.

Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok’s Thai master chef and TV culinary show host  Sumet Sumpachanyanont

Thai celebrity chef Sumet Sumpachanyanont is the culinary ambassador of the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok’s famed Thai restaurant Sala Rim Naam.
Besides teaching at Mandarin Oriental’s Professional Thai Chef Programme, he also hosts a popular TV cooking show in Bangkok.
The 42-year old master chef has travelled to Australia, Hawaii, England, Japan Macau, France, Malaysia and Hong Kong to lord over various Thai food promotions and trainings. He also presided over the first successful Thai festival in Paseo Uno in 2008, and again in 2012.

For reservations and information, call Paseo Uno at 750-8888 ext 2411 or email

Troian Bellisario in the Philippines

When I heard Troian Bellisario of Pretty Little Liars was going to be in town for ETC, I told Dinna Vasquez of Manila Standard I wanted to be there.
Dinna hooked me up with Ed Uy who invited us to the press conference at Marriott Resorts World this afternoon.

Troian Bellisario

Truth to tell, I watched and enjoyed Season 1 of Pretty Little Liars. Not sure if I finished Season 2, but I stopped because the show was stressing me out. When I watch a “whodunnit” show, I want to know who did it. I don’t want to keep waiting in suspense. I just can’t.
Admittedly the show’s target market is about half my age—from teens to 20s.
Based on the popular book series by Sara Shepard, Pretty Little Liars is about four friends trying to solve the mysterious disappearance of their queen bitch frienemy, Alison DiLaurentis.

Pretty Little Liars cover
(L-R: Shay Mitchell, Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale)

Of the four cast members, only Ashley Benson (the blonde) hasn’t been to the Philippines.
Last year, Lucy Hale was here to promote Bench

Lucy Hale for Bench

Shay Mitchell is currently in Manila to open American Eagle at Bonifacio High Street tomorrow!

Shay Mitchell tweet

By coincidence, Troian Bellisario is traveling in Asia with her boyfriend Patrick Adams who is here to promote Suits on ETC.

Patrick Adams in Manila
Photo: Dinna Vasquez

Of the four, Troian Bellisario is my favorite. I prefer her character, Spencer Hastings, the straight-A student and overachiever from a family that expects the best, as she discovers are far from perfect.
I prefer Spencer’s boyish wardrobe and her choice of men (Toby) to the other characters’.
I also think she’s the prettiest.

Troian Bellisario

Standing 5’7″ with much ligher hair in person, I spotted her at the hallway leading to the Marriott’s Garden Room.
Though she was already being ushered in, I saw her take time to accommodate some eager fans asking for a photo op.
She wore a little sleeveless dress with pumps. Her oval face really reminds me of the Virgin Mary.

Troian Bellisario in Manila

Troian said she is really lucky to have met her boyfriend Patrick Adams before both of them became famous in their respective hit shows.
She answered the requisite questions about Filipino food. As a vegetarian, she couldn’t try anything with chicken or pork, but said she enjoyed durian after getting over its smell.
Asked if she had plans to meet up with Shay Mitchell at some point, she said, “Yes, because how can you not see each other if you’re both halfway around the world?”
Also on her itinerary is to visit one of the country’s beautiful beaches with her boyfriend.

Troian Bellisario in Manila

I was just thankful the press they invited today seemed to be real fans of the show. They asked all the right questions and avoided asking anything Manny Pacquiao or Charice.
At one point they ushered in the Bellisarians of the Philippines.
“Now where did you get that name?” Troian asked her most loyal fans in the Philippines.

Troian Bellisario in Manila

At first I couldn’t help but laugh at how cute they were trying to behave around Troian when we all know they just wanted to scream (they all got hugs from her). Blogger Rod Magaru was cracking me up in the next seat.
But when one of the fans read a heartfelt letter to Troian, I found myself smiling and crying at the same time.
Even Troian looked very touched by the words.

Troian Bellisario in Manila

Now on its third season, Pretty Little Liars airs on ETC every Saturday at 8PM. It is match-aired with the U.S., which means the series is up-to-date as it is shown.
While the season finale will air on March 23rd next month, fans will be happy to know the show has been confirmed for a fourth season.

Janina Dizon’s TATE clutch for Spring/Summer 2013

Following the success of her color-blocked TATJANA clutch, comes Janina Dizon’s TATE clutch for Spring/Summer 2013.

Tate in garnet

The versatile clutch can easily go from day to night. It’s made of soft lambskin leather and the finest stingray sourced from the same supplier of exotic skins to the houses of Louis Vuitton and Fendi.

tate in steel reflection

The clutch measures 11″ x 7.5″ x 2″ (it can fit and iPad) and features an outer and inner pocket slot. It also comes with an adjustable lambskin leather shoulder strap.

tate in topaz

Choose from topaz, citrine, olivine, tourmaline, jasper, coral, onyx, lapis, amethyst, quartz, and garnet—all with a signature three-pointer diamond in sterling silver at the center.

tate in jasper

The clutch is available at JANINA for Jul Dizon at the Peninsula Hotel, Jul B. Dizon Jewellery at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel, and CURA V at the Powerplant Mall.
For more information email or call +632 845-0140.

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