by Shari Quimbo
photography by Oliver Echevarria
hair and makeup by Arnauld
This story is taken from our archives. Originally published in Zee Digital Vol. 2
A pair of Pekingese dogs greeted us as we entered the home of Blake Go and Divine Lee-Go for the photoshoot, excitedly sniffing at our feet before running across the black tiled floors. “He’s my eldest son,” Blake jokes as he reaches out to scratch the head of Pompeii, the older pet.
Cute as the canines are, the real superstar of the house is clearly baby Baz. Despite being just a few months old at the time of the shoot, he looks up at us with adorable wide eyes. “Having a baby really changes everything,” Divine says with a laugh. “We were lucky we got this place cleaned up in time for the shoot!”
Any apology the couple might have offered for the clutter was completely unnecessary—a sleek stroller was parked at one corner, but all in all, the residence remained a chic and cosmopolitan abode in the middle of Cebu City.
The home is done in shades of dark neutrals, with some bare concrete walls to perfectly showcase their art collection. “Our inspiration for the house is very modern, very hotel-like,” Divine shares. “Technically, I wanted a blank canvas, and we just put a lot of accessories to liven up the place.”
The young couple did most of their furniture shopping in Manila at such stores like Furnitalia. Most lot of the design elements were Divine’s choice as her way of coping with homesickness when she moved to Cebu. “If people see my house in Manila, it’s basically the same thing—the same materials, the same color palette.” She continues by saying, “For me, there was an adjustment period. So this made me feel like I was still home in Manila.”
Their unit enjoys an open layout, which allows the sunlight from the large glass windows to fill the interiors and create a sense of airiness. However, this wasn’t always the case. “We had to tear down some walls,” Blake reveals, sharing that the kitchen had been enclosed when the unit was turned over. Now, their open kitchen features a long counter and sleek cabinetry.
Just off the kitchen is the dining area, where one mirrored wall gives the illusion of even more space. There are sculptural benches interspersed with single-seater chairs to accommodate more people when they entertain. Choosing the dining table followed the same thought process—the glass-topped table extends on both ends to seat four more diners. The chandelier above it is definitely a conversation piece as Blake demonstrates how the lighted beams can be moved around to create a different design.
Strategically placed alcoves and cabinetry were installed to address the need for storage. The largest wall of the room, though, is covered in a beautiful tile that the couple imported from Europe and was the most difficult item to bring into the unit. “It wouldn’t fit in the elevator,” Blake says about the large slabs. Instead, they had to install a crane system in the stairwell so they could bring it up all the way from the ground floor. Admittedly, the work was worth it, considering the subtle but sophisticated touch it adds to the space.
In the living area is an oversized L-shaped sofa, the lightest piece of furniture in the room. It is punctuated by black and white patterned pillows, textured throws and rugs, and a rich butterscotch-colored leathered seat. “This is my favorite space in the home,” Blake reveals, “because I like to sit here and watch the Golf Channel and Formula One.”
The entire area is illuminated by something Blake admits he’s proud to have, a Zaha Hadid Aria chandelier. Its cascading fins cast a soft glow, while its sculptural shape and distinguished pedigree add a touch of luxe to the space.
Against the home’s subdued color palette, the greenery of the balcony and the view beyond are particularly striking. Aside from being in a building already perched high on Cebu’s Nivel Hills, the Gos also live on the top floor of their tower. Needless to say, the sweeping views of their surrounding vista are unparalleled.
The couple decided to echo the greenery from the outside into their own little outdoor space. A plant box lines the railings, while leafy vines climb up the far wall. “It’s not much because we live in a condo, but we thought it would be nice to still have an area out here where we can sit and get some fresh air,” Blake says. “Plus, the dogs love it.”
The master suite had been two bedrooms, which they combined to make room for his and her walk-in closets and a more spacious sleeping area. The signs of being parents to a newborn are particularly evident here, and somehow bring an approachable charm to the space—the crib in the corner, a collection of toys on the bedside table. The whole space is kept neat though and enjoys some pretty great bones, like the clean-lined bed and the large corner windows.
Baz, of course, has his own room, a nursery that the then-expectant parents had excitedly and stylishly put together before he was born. “It was very arranged—I had toys, books and even plants on display,” Divine shares, laughing. “But when Baz was born, everything got rearranged!”
Despite the lifestyle changes that came with having a new baby, it’s clear that Blake and Divine are near-blissful in their home. With Baz, the pair of pooches and a constant wave of visiting family and friends, this chic residence certainly feels like a home—if only for a few more years. “We’re definitely going to move into our own house, especially when Baz gets bigger,” says Blake. “Maybe in two or three years.”
Whenever the move will be happening, one thing’s for sure—the Gos will be enjoying a truly stylish and homey residence until they do.
5 Things We Love About Nailplay, a Luxury Nailspa
Tucked into a quiet area in the hustle and bustle of Banilad, you can find a haven where you can look fabulous and fresh in one go.
Nailplay is a luxury nailspa that was a brainchild of five ladies, who wanted a place that was clean, had a relaxing ambience away from the city, and basically, was their own secret getaway.
Upon seeing the studio, a lush landscape is the welcoming sight. To get into the nailspa, guests have to cross a little wooden bridge, above a pond filled with koi fish. Immediately, it’s obvious that a trip to Nailplay guarantees a relaxing experience.
Faye Louise Veloso, the woman who manages Nailplay, explains that the studio’s overall concept is more in line with wellness.
“It’s really a cross between an ordinary nail salon and a spa, so we refer to Nailplay as as Nailspa,” Louise says.
The nailspa, as it’s lovingly called, offers services such as their Luxury Urban Escape, which involves an hour of relaxation through their SpaPlay Mani and Footspa, followed by your choice of a deep back and shoulders massage, or their 30-minute hair treatment.
Of course, Nailplay also offers nail services, with a choice of regular or gel nail polish. For those who want a fancier take on nails, you may also get nail art done by their staff. To complement the massage and nails, try Nailplay’s Signature Mink Eyelash Extensions These are lightweight and natural-looking, as it comes in three different lengths to match one’s natural eyalashes. And, to round off the pamper session, they also offer eyebrow waxing and threading! There’s no need to hop from one place to another to get all these services done.
For those who want to have bridal showers or a pamper-filled birthday bash, Nailplay also offers packages that fit the client’s needs. The package includes the exclusive use of the venue for three hours, manicure and pedicure for all the guests and light catering for the event. During the event, guests may upgrade to any of the other services that the nailspa offers.
“It’s been quite popular with bridal showers, but we recently hosted a children’s birthday party,” Louise shares. “I’ve been told the kids had a blast!”
Louise believes that Nailplay’s venue plays a huge role in its success.
“The landscaping was done beautifully, and it doesn’t even feel like you’re in the heart of Cebu!” She says. “Our friendly beauty therapists are also what make Nailplay what it is—our top customer service is why our clients keep coming back.”
While Louise is often between Cebu and Sydney, she shares that treating herself is as simple as taking the time to eat well, do some exercise, or get a footspa—at Nailplay, of course. Her personal favourite service though, is their Signature Mink Eyelashes.
“One of the beauty therapists even thought I had naturally long lashes,” she recounts, “without realising I just had them done!”
While Nailplay has only one store in Cebu, Louise divulges that they have plans of expanding in the future.
“I think the wellness market in Cebu is ready for our luxury and boutique Nailspa services,” she states. “Hopefully within the next five years, you’ll see more Nailplay stores in similar unique locations.”
Check out the video below to know the 5 Things We Love About Nailplay, or visit their website at www.nailplayphilippines.com.
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These Four Women Show Us How They Empower Themselves Through Pole Fitness
Charmaine, Jane, Ginie, and Ant are four women who take women empowerment on another level. With their daily morning routine of working their day jobs and attending to other matters, they all meet up in the afternoon to do one thing – Pole Fitness. Inside their studio, Pole Sphinx, they practice and teach other men and women about the beauty and grace of Pole Fitness and how it has helped them achieve much of what they are today.
Zee takes you inside their studio to fully know how these women empower others through Pole Fitness.
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Rajo Laurel, Amina Aranaz-Alunan, and Bianca King Share Tips on How to Take Better Care of Your Clothes
To help keep your clothes in the best shape, check out these tips from Electrolux FashionCare Ambassador Rajo Laurel, along with the FashionCare Council members Amina Aranaz-Alunan and Bianca King.
Wear it well without wearing it out! That is the fashion philosophy shared by Electrolux, a
leading global appliance company from Sweden, when it comes to clothes. You don’t
need a lot of clothes to look stylish – just give them some TLC, especially when doing
To help keep your clothes in the best shape, check out these tips from Electrolux
FashionCare Ambassador Rajo Laurel, along with the FashionCare Council members
Amina Aranaz-Alunan and Bianca King. From washing to storing, these practical hacks
will help keep your clothes looking new for longer.
Check the Label
Acclaimed fashion designer Rajo Laurel shared that his number one rule when it comes
to caring for clothes is to check the care label, which teaches you everything from the
temperature, the kind of cycle and even instructions on drying, bleaching and ironing.
And if those laundry symbols look like hieroglyphics to you? Executive director and
teacher of SoFA Design Institute, and Creative Director of fashion accessories and bag
label ARANÁZ Amina Aranaz-Alunan’s practical tip: print out a guide that explains the
symbols for laundry instructions.
Caring for White Shirts and Tops
A staple in anyone’s wardrobe, the classic white tee is a great piece to build your
wardrobe around. It’s easy to dress up and down, going from casual to business-chic.
To keep your white shirt looking new, before washing, unbutton your shirt including its
cuffs and collar. Check the label recommendations for care guidelines. Use a laundry
detergent that contains bleach to really make your whites, white.
And if your white shirt or polo gets wrinkled easily, check if your washing machine has a
Steam or Vapour Care setting – this relaxes the fibres and removes odours to bring back
that soft, fresh feel to your white top.
Caring for Colours
Having coloured pieces is a great way to make a look pop but they are also prone to
fading faster than dark or white clothing. To help make sure your coloured garments
don’t lose their vibrance, sort your garments by colour before doing the laundry. Bright
clothes such as purples, reds and oranges can be washed together, so can bright blues
and greens. If a colour stands out on its own, consider washing it alone. Then check the
garment for stains and apply a small amount of liquid detergent to the stain and shake
gently in water. Turn your garments inside out to minimize rubbing of fibres. Choose a
low temperature and avoid hot settings that can cause fading. You can also use a gentle
Caring for Jeans
Denim is durable but to make them last longer, especially the coloured and printed
denims or anything with a deep indigo wash, you need to give them extra special care.
The key to a long life is to wash at a low temperature and avoid over washing. First off,
be sure to wear your jeans for as long as possible before they are first washed to give
them a comfortable shape and a natural fade. Separate your jeans from white or other
brightly coloured clothes because they might bleed colour. Turn them inside out before
washing as well.
Dealing with Stains
The FashionCare Council members all share that it’s best to deal with stains
immediately. Soak or try to wash them off right away. For food and wine stains, Laurel
shares that he uses salt and soda water on the stains before washing as these help to
lift the stains.
Here are some other helpful tips to remove common stains: For ink stains, blot the
stained area with alcohol using a clean cloth and rinse thoroughly. For coffee stains,
first try using cold water through the back of the stain for 10-15 minutes. If the stain is
not fully removed, use liquid laundry detergent and a little cold water, or try using dish
washing liquid. Gently rub the liquid detergent or dish washing liquid with your thumb to
loosen the stain for about five minutes.
The FashionCare Council members also shared that storage can play a role in keeping
clothes looking their best. Model and actress, Bianca King advised people to keep their
closets neat so you have a full account of everything you own and to know which items
should be hung or folded (if it’s a knit or weave). And speaking of hanging, Laurel and
Aranz-Alunan both mentioned the importance of using proper hangers – Laurel
mentioned avoiding those without foam defense as they could ruin the shape of clothes.
Another advantage of keeping a closet organized is it could help you plan your wardrobe
– you can rotate your pieces, as shared by Laurel, to help prolong their life.
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