Out of the Ordinary: Balay da Blas Function Room


Literally floored, I haven’t seen anything like it in Laoag — the 4th floor Function Room of Balay da Blas Pensionne House (the venue of the recent MUD class in Laoag). There’s that apparent Spanish-Ilocano influence in the older southern wing of the hotel, yet as soon as I walked through the gateway to the top floor, a feeling of Morocco fences in.

Warm Tones
Shell LanternShell Lanterns

The Ilocos-made shell lanterns and the Vigan tin latticework on the ceiling complement the neutral palette, with touches of terracotta and vintage-y tones. Sammy Blas, the owner, is a natural decorator. He outshines himself everytime.


Ain’t that pretty?

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013

A stop by The Silahis Center

Silahis Arts and Artifacts

After the DOT-Globe “It’s More Fun in the Philippines and Pinoy Homecoming convergence program press con/launch, I used my extra time in Intramuros to relax and fully internalize the culture of tourism at the The Silahis Center showroom of the Silahis Arts and Artifacts Inc. Little did I know that the place would satisfy my curiosity as a non-Manila resident. Practically revisiting cultural heritage. I enjoyed passing an eye over the large selection of finely crafted traditional and primitive Filipino arts and crafts, Asian ceramics, artworks, indigenous fabrics, maps, old and new books about the Philippines, Asia and Pacific, among various others.

Not only for tourists, the museum-like store is also for locals who are into homegrown decor.

Philippine arts and craftsFilipno basketsSarimanok

Sarimanok, (artipisyal na ibon) is a totem bird of the Maranao people. The legendary bird has become a ubiquitous symbol of Maranao art and a symbol of good fortune.

Traditional Filipino arts and craftsIkat weave

Various ikat weaves.

Philippine seashellsFilipino home furnishingsFilipino dining setsFilipino bamboo flutes

Filipino musical instruments. Above is a display of bamboo flutes and below is a metallophone known as sarunay in Muslim communities.

Sarunay, Muslim musical instrument

The Silahis Center Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila

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

Saturday Night at The Stone House Cafe

Stone House Cafe (the garage)

Alexa finally gets to eat at The Stone House Cafe before the start of a new school year on Monday. The English cakes we were expecting to have were not available, but tomorrow is Eugene’s birthday, so I’m surprising him with two cakes owner Pat Albano Maranan promised to bake. Can’t wait, one tangerine and one coconut, 2 birthday cakes to blow!

Stone House CafeWarm ColorsBricked Concave Ceiling

Pat has a knack for interior design. Ilocos bricks on a concave ceiling, a lovely nouveau way of using locally-made products!

The Stone House Cafe in LaoagWhite CornerDalandan Honeydew Slush

Dalandan (Citrus aurantium) is a local sour orange some Pinoys enjoy eating with salt. At Stone House Cafe,  dalandan juice is mixed with honeydew to make a mildy tart slush.

The cafe is known for coffee and chocolate beverages, but beer or wine with pasta or panini are the most frequently ordered menu items.

Balikbayans, tourists, young and not-so-young professionals are the cafe’s typical diners. I asked Pat if he enjoys the coffee shop, his work and everything that concerns day-to-day operations, and without batting an eyelash he says, “Eh, kasi ang daming sosyal. I get to meet them.” Cute!

Stone House Cafe Pasta AlfredoGrilled Eggplant Panini

As usual, no chocolate cake so it’s got to be pasta for Alexa. Pasta Alfredo. A bit on the spicy side, but she ate more than half of it and brought home the rest for “puppy” Brandon, hahah.

My hot melty grilled eggplant panini (sandwich) was humungous. Had to share it with the hubby who wanted only brewed coffee. I’m glad ciabatta wasn’t used; otherwise that would be pigging out.

Enjoy the weekend, peeps!

The Stone House Cafe Airport Road, Laoag City, Philippines

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