Nestled between two of Metro Manila’s busiest thoroughfares is a quiet retreat that seems worlds away from the city—a compound that is home to a family of artists, writers, cooks, and cultural enthusiasts. Lush with greenery, this lot is home to three separate houses, the first of which was designed by National Artist for Architecture, Leandro V. Locsin. The property then bloomed into a charming enclave, bursting with character that can only be described as truly Filipino.

This two-storey home in one corner of the property is a modern take on the traditional bahay kubo. Elevated a few steps up from the ground, the breezy home is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing for cool winds and natural light to filter through.

The house has a light quality—its wooden accoutrements give an organic, earthy feel to the spaces. Almost all of the windows and doors open up to a lush garden rendered almost mystical in its overgrowth. Though the house’s overall structure is contemporary at first glance, there are many traditional Filipino details, such as the wooden slat flooring, and the intricately carved callado (pierced wood) transoms over the passageways.  Meanwhile, a heady, eclectic mix of antiques and unusual Filipino artwork—most of which seem to have a life of their own—add wit and drama to the entire home.

(First published in
Real Living, Real Homes section, as "Art House" in May 2007. Photos by Miguel Nacianceno; styling by Issa Villar; adapted for use in Female Network)
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