Time stands still at the Don Antonio Bautista Mansion in Malolos


The Bautista-Uytangcoy Mansion on Sto. Niño in The Camestisuhan District (the old enclave of rich Sangleys and Ilustrados) in Malolos is a beautiful oddity in this day and age when bygone residences and buildings are one by one being torn down, letting remnants of the past vanish into thin air. This 1850s neoclassical mansion, redecorated in 1877 in French Art Nouveau style was witness to multifarious conversations, including classified, for the most part near the turn of the century after Jose Rizal returned to Manila to form La Liga Filipina and before his exile to Dapitan (when he met the 21 women of Malolos), and the different periods when the house was converted as a municipio, and then as a Japanese barracks, until current resident, famous film set designer Dez Bautista (filmography includes Katorse, Nympha, Diosa, Stepsisters, Tatarin, etc.), restored his ancestral home and added touches of Chinoiserie, blending gracefully with Filipiniana and colonial-style decor, and his vast collection of antiquities, among them artworks from the masters like Juan Luna, Fernando Amorsolo and Hidalgo.

The Bautista MansionA Maloleño MansionFilipinianaChinoiserieOriginal Fernando Amorsolo Sketch

An original sketch by Fernando Amorsolo from his younger days as artist.

Touches of ChinoiserieMemorabiliaVerandahGramophoneDEZ with FVR

Dez Bautista founded the Production Designers Guild of the Philippines (PDGP). He is also a food historian and a professor.

Remembering History

An original Juan Luna sketch hangs on the wall. The Ilocano in me got wild a little inside:)

Original Juan Luna SketchColonial CeilingEmpanada de KaliskisHamon BulakeñaHeritage Bulacan Dishes

The most bracing atsara (atchara) ever! Made with dampalit, indigenous to Bulacan, usually found in fish ponds. Awesome with Dez’s yummy sweet and saltish Hamon Bulakeña!

Meeting Dez Bautista

My brief convesation with Dez Bautista

Do you cook yourself?

I tell my cusinera… I direct.

How would you describe Filipino food in 3 words?

Varied, original, fresh. When I say fresh, it needs to be cooked agad.

If you were gone tomorrow, what would you have for dinner?

We’re having crabs tonight. Whatever comes.

VintageTime Stands Still

Thanking the FoodPrints hookup for making this post possible. Did you watch FoodPrints on the Lifestyle Network last night? How was it? Make it a habit every Saturday, 8:30 PM.

Photographed by Melanie de Leon and Blauearth
© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013

Indigenous Finds at Tropical Living


If coastal style is your thing, there’s one place I know in Laoag for native coconut shell art, shell decor, local pottery/basketry pieces and other uncommon objects. Lots of decor inspired by the sea at Tropical Living on (eastern) Rizal Street.

It’s also the same location for native Ilocos Putopao, the owners own creation of a mixed breed puto and siopao (Chinese pork bun), which means there’s pork asado and salted egg on a bed of rice cake. Had it with buko shake. Coconut shakes are suddenly so in; the new lechon manok🙂

Coconut Shell ArtPotteryCoconut Shell Art 2Buko ShakeIlocos Putopao

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

The Umali-Fariñas Nest

Oriental Touches

Nestled in familial warmth is the fine fusion of Raffy and Kristine (Teenie) Fariñas’ own dwelling. The home grew as the young family grew bigger and when city girl Teenie (Umali) decided to completely stay close to Raffy’s roots after working for the father’s companies in Manila. “I love it here, I’m more peaceful.” she says about Ilocos provincial style living. (Raffy’s dad is former Laoag mayor, businessman Roger Fariñas, and Teenie’s dad is self-made tycoon Ruben Umali, former mayor of Lipa, Batangas, and now a proponent of biomass renewable energy.)

Fused with Oriental elements — like pieces collected through their travels and the irreplaceable old-old China porcelain handed down by Teenie’s mom (Girlie Sheker Umali) — the contemporary abode, refurbished with the help of Ilocano craftsmen, articulates one unique harmonious story.

Things From the Past

– Portraits of the teen Teenie done by masters such as Cesar Legaspi and Romulo Olazo adorn one wall. A former Miss Lipa, handpicked by a distinguished committee, Teenie is a personification of refinement. She is sophisticated and quietly cool, yet bubbly around family and friends. I can say the same for Raffy, who seems reserved. The couple, in contradiction, loves to entertain guests at their beautiful nest. The two met while in school at the University of Sto. Tomas. “We have Brian [Fariñas, Raffy’s first cousin] to thank,” Teenie recalls the introduction.

Red CornerNatural TouchesTuneTablescapeDining RoomFish  Tank

– Raffy’s fish tank.

Autumn Colors

– The Balinese door is from Indonesia.

All that Glitters

– The colors of autumn on a Christmas tree.

Animal Instinct

– Animal instinct.

DetailsPerspectivePlay and Relax

– The butterfly-shaped pool echoes blitheful moments with the brood and cousins on the Caballero-Fariñas side. A cabana houses the shower room and a sauna. Macopa trees planted by Raffy’s lolo Fred leave an incessant memory of the grand patriarch of the Fariñas clan.

Below are commissioned works of Ilocano painter Mike Kairuz, who shares the same Lebanese blood running in the Shekers’ veins. The lavender room (with black and white furnishings) overlooking the pool is eldest daughter C’s room.


– Next is the master bedroom. Teenie’s own pet fishes keep her company when Raffy goes to the office and the little ones are in school. She quit her day job (with the in-laws’ family business) only recently to be a fulltime homemaker and doting mom to C, Rigo, Ram and Julia. When in Manila, Teenie visits Tiendesitas, Dimensione, Regalong Pambahay and the like, while Raffy checks out the gadgetry stores.

Master BedroomUmali-Fariñas

– Collaged photos of the gorgeous family courtesy of Teenie.

With many thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Raffy  C. Fariñas  for sharing with us a part of their story.

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