Tag Archives: dream home

a flower and garden show

now I have proof that my husband is a bigger flower lover than I am. no wonder I never got flowers from him.


Turo and I spent a lovely Thursday morning at the Los Banos Flower and Garden Show. We consider visiting garden exhibits among the cheapest indulgences and we’re lucky that we have regular exhibitions like this one right here where we live.

seniors' social garden

The Los Banos Flower and Garden show is held twice a year at the UPLB Seniors’ Social Garden. The main attraction inside the hall this year is the Iligan Fern (below). This is about the largest sized fern I’ve ever seen up close, and also the most beautiful. While I love flowers, I am also equally attracted by wild and diverse foliage plants. I believe that leaf patterns, textures, shapes and hues, more than the blooms, are what makes gardens more interesting and alive.

iligan fern

Throughout the exhibit visitors will find an interesting array of ornamental plants and flowers. Plenty of new varieties, but a lot of the well-loved favourites found in Filipino homes and gardens. Bougainvilleas, orchids, petunias, gerberas, the list goes on.

variegated bougainvilla
variegated white bougainvilleas
wild orchid
wild orchid
colorful gerberas
colorful gerberas
indoor foliage
indoor foliage
bed of blossoms
bed of blossoms
bright and cheery blooms
bright and cheery
a floral feast indeed
a floral feast indeed

In a later post I will tell you about the designs featured in the horticultural landscaping contest of this year’s garden show. But for now, I leave you with Turo and his precious anthuriums. Anthuriums are obviously Turo’s favorite plants. He even came close to ordering imported anthurium varieties from Holland.

turo and his anthuriums
turo and his anthuriums

So yes, we bought some white and red anthuriums for our new garden at home. These shade-lovers are perfect out front, where they can get plenty of morning sunshine but stay safe in the afternoon shade. This time we’re moving beyond just edible plants and herbs for our garden. We can’t wait to welcome our guests with splashes of colour from ornamental flowers and plants in our new home very very soon.


we have moved (but with clothes still in suitcases)!

It took us half a day, from 5pm til midnight, to haul all our stuff to our new apartment, using one pick-up truck and our sedan. Not bad e?


We are officially 5 days into our new home. I am still quite disoriented not knowing where to find what. Worse, a lot of our stuff are still boxed up and have not found their home inside our new home.

We gave ourselves this week as “transition period” as Turo puts it. But I still have a long list of things that we need to buy, from chairs to wall tacks to plastic shoeboxes, and my moving in budget is thinning rapidly. Frames and storage racks are waiting to be hanged in their rightful place. The garden is a disaster. And our clothes remain outside closets. After five days, I can safely say that moving house is, in fact, the easy part. It is the “settling in” that actually requires a lot of work and creativity.

behind closed doors

Our only consolation is that we have a much bigger space now and I am confident that I would be able to find the perfect little corner for just about everything. Speaking of corners, the kids have found their rightful space. While I miss our old screened porch from time to time, we now have a basement that doubles as yaya’s room and our bahaySKUL room (and my home office on downtimes). What’s great is that this room is separate from the kids’ play area, which is also where the TV is. And so far, having a “serious” room effectively screens out all distractions not related to either work or school. Sweet.

@ work in the bahaySKUL room

As with everything else, our home is a work in progress. But this is the kind of work that I would lovingly put together, no matter how long it may take.

moving house: the second time around

the last time, it took me six months to finish packing. now I have three days total for packing, moving and settling down. oh what a busy start of the year!

the moving bunch
the moving bunch

We moved to Los Banos on June 2011. I can’t believe it’s almost been two years. We all love living here in LB and in our apartment–our first real home. But wonderful memories and all, we had to find a new place for 2 big reasons: first, because of the ventilation problem in our current apartment which is not at all helping with Uri’s allergy attacks; second, because we need a bigger, brighter space as we get ready to homeschool Ari starting April.

Late last year, we discussed with our landlady about our plans to move. We have a great relationship with our landlady, and we are a bit sad saying goodbye to them after they shared their beautiful home with us. Turo and I both have our sad moments thinking that we have to leave soon. We will miss our garden, our vegetable plot, our porch. Small as it is, we have grown attached to every nook and cranny of this apartment. Here was where our love affair with a provincial life all started. Here was where we spent learning the most during the toughest year of our family life.

capiz windows

But with all goodbyes come new beginnings. Today is Day 1 of the three-day move. We are moving to an apartment that is conveniently located inside the sprawling UPLB campus, and even closer to Mt. Makiling. It is much cooler in our new apartment, airier, and much more light is coming in. We have a small space out front where I plan to place an outdoor set where Turo and I can enjoy our morning coffee, or where I can work and write in the afternoons. We have a small backyard where we plan to put up an inflatable pool and get ready for the sizzling hot summer here in LB. When the summer’s over we’ll convert it to a vegetable patch.

Our new landlady is a rather successful woman who had been working from home most of her married life. She is fast becoming an inspiration to me. Seeing her makes me think that maybe I can do it (work from home while I raise my kids) too over the long haul.


As I’ve said, today is Day 1 of moving. We have already brought in some of our stuff earlier this morning, although we have not placed everything in it’s proper place because the painting inside the unit is not yet completely finished. Besides, I still have the rest of our stuff to pack. Packing is a very stressful activity, especially to me. I pack to unpack. I have a list of all storage areas in the new apartment and I sort and pack all things moving according to where they will be stored. It can be such a headache but that’s the way it has to be done.

ilog maria finds

And I continue to be a sucker for everything local, natural and hand made.


Ilog Maria is a honey bee farm in Silang, Cavite. Just a few minutes drive from our in-law’s home in Dasmarinas. We’ve been seeing signs of the place each time we head to Tagaytay via Aguinaldo Highway but never really took the effort of going there. That was until last January. And then suddenly, we were honeybee lovers.

beeswax bars
beeswax bars

We already have a local source of wild organic honey at the Bee Project here in UPLB’s Institute of Biological Sciences. But Ilog Maria opened our eyes to a whole range of useful, everyday products made from all things bees.


They have handmade soaps made from honey, beeswax and propolis, with variants like lavender or rosemary which are supposed to be great for energizing morning showers. Or charcoal which has a deodorizing effect.


This time I bought the calamansi, sandalwood and charcoal variants, all three are supposed to have some kind of antibacterial or deodorizing effect. If it was just me taking showers in my household I would have done with just about any organic soap you can find in the market. But with my 2 rowdy boys and a farmer-husband, I need an everyday soap that has a good dose of antibacterial powers to keep my boys clean. So far I’m still on an active search. Let’s see how Ilog Maria soaps fare with respect to the germs in my boys’ bodies.


They also sell beeswax candles. These are all handmade and when you hold them, the texture is just glorious. They are a bit expensive but the quality of the product easily speaks for its price. It was good thing I didn’t bring extra cash or we’d end up with going home with a manger-full of beeswax statue candles. But I swear, I’m going to buy candles on our next visit here. And if I can afford to, give them away as gifts for Christmas.


Because it was a weekend of getting something for myself, I bought this handmade, beaded curtain which I plan to drape around the smallish entrance to our new kitchen (did I mention we’ll be moving to a new apartment?). The curtain wasn’t made from bee products or anything, but I did validate that it was made by a local community also in Silang. Still local, which is a good thing.


I think I’m doing a good job of converting my household, and my extended family, into fans of all-natural products. Or maybe it’s just a matter of finding organic products that are of really good quality. Turo is now a huge fan of Ilog Maria’s Honey & Propolis Shampoo which he uses everyday together with 2 slices of calamansi as his conditioner.


Just in case you’re headed for Tagaytay, you may want to pass by Ilog Maria farm and take a look at the range of honey bee based products they offer. You just might find something you can use everyday, and take the first steps to a chemical-free lifestyle.


To all things natural and crafted by hand!

big boy plates and an addiction to stoneware

finally had my dose of retail therapy, my fingers crossed the entire time that Turo wouldn’t mind considering that we had budget restraints and these weren’t life or death purchases. but he didn’t. yay! it was one of the happiest30-minute shopping sprees of my life.

This week marked the second dinnerware upgrade of the year for our boys. They’re growing fast and eating more. They actually need bigger plates and bigger utensils that’s commensurate to the amount of food they now are capable of ingesting.

Well this was a darn good excuse for buying new plates. Of course the children can eat on just about any plate and still eat well. Still, I thought a couple of teal-bordered plates can make rice toppings look more appetizing. These plates looked like they were a crossbreed of a plate and a bowl—big boy plates as we like to call them.

When we had guests over just recently, I realized we had a couple of dinner plates missing. One I think I broke, the other I couldn’t remember. We only had a few dinner plates and they had to be replaced because we, adults, practically eat on them every meal. Just my luck because I found huge and heavy olive stoneware plates at a mall’s outlet sale. They were factory rejects, had scratches and blemishes on them which was why they were being sold at a bargain. I checked each piece of plate on the pile, lining up my fingers on the surface for unwanted scratches and cracks until I arrived at the three least damaged ones.

I’m a fan of stoneware and lovely plates. I couldn’t say that stoneware is sturdier than ordinary ceramic plates, even though they’re so much heavier. When I’m too tired I literally postpone washing dishes until the next day because I just might drop and break our stoneware plates. They’re that heavy.

For reasons I would not be able to explain, I just have a thing for stoneware. These new dinner plates I just bought are even larger and heavier than the adult plates we’re currently using. They could even pass for serving dishes. So there you go, double duty. For less than 250 pesos for five pieces of dinnerware, I have beautiful plates, zero stress and my shopping delusions gone for the moment.

the big move: ten months after

If there’s such a thing as the equivalent of postpartum depression after moving out of your birth nest, I can safely say that we have passed that stage with flying colors.

So it’s actually been ten months since we’ve moved to our new home in Los Banos. It’s also been a couple of months since I last checked on my blog, and even longer since I posted anything in here. Finally, I got around to writing here again. I have a lot of news, lots of stuff going on with me, and our new life in our new home, the farm, and the kids. But the most important stuff I really want to share right now are the things we already thought we knew, but are learning over and over, especially since we went on our own. Continue reading the big move: ten months after

when green gets greener

And so we live a stone’s throw from a forest reserve. We are forever in awe each time we roll down our car windows and see through the tall trees outside and breathe the fresh forest-y air. And all these happen each time we try to avoid traffic and take the PCARRD shortcut. We may have the worst traffic this side of Laguna, but, we have the best shortcut in the world.

UPLB sits at the foothills of the Mt. Makiling Forest Reserves. It is a science community that is up in arms when conservation and preservation is concerned. The environmental consciousness of the UPLB community is one of the many things that has been very exciting for me.

Continue reading when green gets greener

this provincial life

We have not stepped into a shopping mall in two months. Riding a jeepney has become such a luxury. And remembering to bring an umbrella is a blessing in disguise under the sizzling Los Banos sun.

We have moved into our new home and realized that the process of  “settling down” is indeed very long and tedious. We spent our first weeks painting floors and shelves, buying furniture, installing appliances and finding a new home for all of our stuff… clothes, books, toys. We had to get used to so many things in such a short time–Ari starting school, Uri having a new yaya, the longer trip to the office.

The kids suffered the bad end of this entire adjustment phase. They started getting sick, losing weight. Ari slept through his classes for an entire week before he kicked out the afternoon nap altogether. Uri had a recurrence of separation anxiety because he was never used to not having Kuya around. He suddenly felt really lonesome especially with a new yaya that he barely knew and he would cry his heart out every time anybody stepped out the front door.

Continue reading this provincial life

a first look into our first home

This is going to be our last week in the city. And I’m getting some moving day jitters. Are we really ready to leave the comforts of old home behind?

It’s the last weekend before the big move on Saturday. We’re supposed to be moving some of the big stuff today but the moving party (Father & his truck, Buzz lightyear) called in sick. So it was just Turo and I and our trusty Mojito (we just have this thing about naming our cars) and all the moving boxes that we could fit in.

A beautiful Sunday morning drive led us to Los Banos before 10 am. I had to eat otherwise I’d get all cranky, so some Papu’s siomai and bottomless buko juice from Manong Buko powered us up. His buko juice had the same exact taste from 6 or 7 years ago, so much like everything else. LB we are so home!

Continue reading a first look into our first home

belittling interiors

Yaya is losing space in the guestroom. We have moving boxes, appliance boxes, toy boxes all stacked up. Two more months of home stuff collecting then we’re outta here.

We have found our house! It’s the second of a two-unit apartment, inside a secure family compound owned by Turo’s relatives. A small, two-bedroom, two-storey unit, with a narrow covered porch and huge open area outside for gardening and play space, walking distance to UPLB. We so love it.

We haven’t really had the chance to sit down with the owners of the unit for the terms. We’d like to propose some renovations, both inside and outside, so that our new home can conveniently match our current lifestyle, and the fact that we don’t really have a lot of big-time home stuff to begin with. Fingers crossed. Continue reading belittling interiors