Plains and Prints Creative Director Rhett Eala paints Ilocos red

Red Dot Window Display

Although not as wild as the previous African collection, but perhaps as chimerical as the City Series in the Plains and Prints holiday collection 2012, Rhett Eala arrived and left Sunshine City on the same day yesterday.

Setting foot in Norte for the very first time, Rhett made the Plains and Prints loyalists like myself and Red Dot happy. Being the Creative Director of the clothing company, he has personally been to Cebu before Laoag for a meet-and-greet. He was cool, no kiyeme at all whatsoever. Like Marianne, Vince and me, nagka-cam o nagi-Instagram every now and then, just as normal as anyone else who’d photograph every dish on the table.

Red Dot’s big boss and ever gracious host, Mary Ann Cua-Macaraeg,  squeezed in a whirlwind tour after a scrumptious Ilocano lunch, which included poque-poque (he must have liked it so much ‘coz I saw him reaching for more), and before going to Red Dot to handpick outfits for the Red Dot contest winners.

Plains and Prints patrons

Asked Rhett what made him say yes to the Farillas couple behind Plains and Prints and accept the position of Creative Director and he said, “It’s different. I wanted to go back to ladies’, where I stated.” If you remember, his first line was Due at Rustan’s. There was also Wink, popular with the it girls at that time.

The new energy of Plains and Prints is perceptible like its fresh vibrant prints and tones.

Plains and Prints promo winners

 -The two deserving winners of the Plains and Prints contest. Makeup guru Mara Manuel (in white, below)  also gave the winners a makeover as part of their prize.

Mara Manuel joins Rhett and co.Bloggers Christine and Marianne

-Two of my blogger friends Christine Alejandro and Marianne G. Pasion. Marianne’s wearing a skirt from the City Series/Manila. In the next photo is Mary Ann Ang also a P and P regular patron.

Rhett and AnnRed Dot Plains and Prints Crew

-My favorite Red Dot crew. There’s the Ashley (center) that I get to mention a lot. And what do you see below?  A whole mix and match wardrobe that centers around an offbeat print on print skirt and top that Rhett handpicked, which I tried on and liked. Btw, the digital (as I’d like to call it) animal print mullet dress is from a previous collection. I so love the new ladylike cut of the new P and P blouses, sort of retro Brit, imo.

Picture 488-02

Rhett’s picks. You have to check out the Manila city light and bokeh -inspired  prints.
photo by Marianne Pasion.

Lunch TableLunch for Rhett Eala

-The spanking new Saramsam restaurant inside Balay da Blas Pensionne House, baptized via this luncheon. The place is shabby-gorgeous, Sammy Blas’ signature. 

We had spanner crabs locally known as kusimay, bagnet with KBL (kamatis, baggoong, lasona), poque-poque (tangy eggplant with egg salad), marunggay (moringa) ice cream and saba, kamote, and bilo-bilo inkalti (fondue). (Thanks Me-Ann and Bernard!)

KusimayBagnet and Poque-poqueVinceMarrungay Ice Cream at BallpenRed Dot Ladies

-Me-Ann with Mafe and Mylene.

Saramsam at Balay da Blas 2Saramsam at Balay da BlasAjo

-As fierce as Mulawin, Visionaire’s Ace Rumbaoa. Took a macro shot of his wings, and they looked like they were his earrings:) Ajo makes his own fab, unique accessories and I adore his oversize, as in enormous, flower pins.

The next 3 shots are by in-demand photographer Marianne Pasion. (Thanks,Marianne!)

Saramsam's Sammy Blas

-The Sammy Blas of the famed Saramsam. He sort of triggered why I went back to blogging and started Blauearth.

Balay da Blas

-The retro vibe of the  new wing of Balay da Blas

Below was the quick spontaneous tour around the Malacañang of the North, built by former president Ferdinand Marcos and used as a vacation house whenever he was in town.

Ferdinand Marcos RoomMarcos BooksJoe Salazar and Imelda

– Super museum-material, a Joe Salazar terno for former first lady Imelda Marcos. The superb craftsmanship of Joe Salazar is renowned.

Malacanang of the NorthPorchPaoay ChurchRhett Eala  and Me-Ann Cua-Macaraeg

-Mary Ann’s own wedding gown was partly done by Rhett in collaboration with his good friend Patrice Ramos-Diaz.

There goes the red-letter day. A blessed Sunday to everyone.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012

Loafing around Balay da Blas Pensionne House

Balay da Blas lobby (new wing)

If you desire a homey place to stay in Laoag, Balay da Blas just might be for you. It’s owned by the same ingenious Sammy Blas behind Saramsam Ylocano Restaurant. It’s been awhile since I stopped by the place. The great news, it’s got more rooms now. The adjacent modern house right in the corner of the street was acquired by Balay and is now part of the thriving pension house.

I was clearing my cam’s memory, when something serendipitous happened. Reny was on the phone and he didn’t know that the guy he was talking to is a guest at Balay da Blas and he was right there in one of the rooms. And so they meet face to face. He is a tourist who’s heard about Adams and it so happened that he read one of my posts about the town for the LEAD Movement blog, which made him call the group’s posted contact number. It’s a small world after all:)

While they were getting serious about extreme biking routes and mountaineering, complete with a map, I went over to the new wing. I was supposed to check out the function hall, but everyone was crazy busy tending the full-packed little restaurant by the garden. I didn’t want to disturb Sam in his room, so I was able to take only a few photos at the lobby.

Balay da Blas (new wing)Koi FishiesMilk glass collection

So jealous of Sam’s milk glass collection. His eclectic decor, the way he puts things together, even the menu at his restos, remind me so much of California. Even Ericke, who went to high school in LA says the same thing. Yet there’s still that unmistakable Ilocanoness to everything he does. Uniquely Sammy Blas.

white flowersPicture 007-02

I asked Bunny what made him choose Balay da Blas without even seeing the place, and he said that it seemed family-friendly based on what he’s read. Here’s the Balay da Blas website if you need to know more.

I can’t believe we’re getting close to the middle of the year. June is officially the start of the rainy season in the Philippines. Wishing a kinder second half of the year.

Balay da Blas Pensionne House 10 Gen. Giron, Laoag City Tel: 077 770 4389 Website:

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012