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Inside Michel and Amparito Lhuillier’s Sprawling Home

Zee walks you through the house of Cebu’s high-profile personalities, Michel and Amparito Lhuillier.

As the Honorary French Consul in the city, Michel Lhuillier, together with his wife, Amparito nee Llamas, entertain extensively, whether at home or at any of their restaurants in town. They have been, after all, for the last twenty years, active leaders in La Chaine des Rotisseurs, an international gastronomic society founded in Paris in 1950.

Although leading a hectic social life, the couple also yearned for the warmth and intimacy of family and home. They were ready to build their dream house when they realized that their sprawling home of thirty years in the heart of the Cebu City was being hemmed in by high-rise developments.

They turned to the venerable architectural firm of Unson and Jacinto to turn what was the former site of the well-known Salakot House, owned by former Governor Lito Osmeña, into their new residence.

Hunkered on top of Maria Luisa hills, open to the breezes, the Lhuillier house rose on this site, a hectare and a half of land commanding a spectacular 180-degree view of the metropolis below. The Lhuilliers could not have gotten farther away from it.

A long driveway runs to the front of the house, and solid- Wood double doors open to a grand foyer. Inside, the house is divided along the lines of the couple’s strong personalities. The west wing on the main level is where the master suite is located, accessed through an expansive study cum library. The east wing houses the more public areas: the formal dining room and the service hall composed of several well-appointed kitchens, the lanai with several entertaining sections, and a beautifully landscaped garden with a pool and its own entertaining pavilion. On the second level are three elegant, monochrome-coordinated guest rooms for the visiting Lhuillier children—Monique, Yvette, and Charles, and their respective spouses. Michael, the second son, lives in a nearby house with his wife Joanna.

The décor throughout the house is stately and traditional but with an eclectic approach. The antique and art collections are of superb quality and demonstrate how, when a piece of art or furniture is isolated to reveal its true form, it takes on an energy of its own in a contained explosion of style. But in the end, as Michel and Amparito have admirably demonstrated, the most ideal discussions are personal. “I worked very closely with the architect Teng Jacinto and the interior designer Conrad Onglao, so that there is not one single area in this house that does not reflect my personal taste,” Amparito says with pride.


The Lhuilliers’ art collection was acquired over a span of several decades and encompasses many styles and periods. The prized piece, however, is hung in the master’s bedroom: a portrait of Amparito by her uncle Don Antonio Garcia Llamas. Done in oil in 1963, it was acquired much later from the Luis Araneta art collection. It defines the beauty and charm of the lady of the house. Amparito and Michel’s daughter Monique is a renowned fashion designer who now has her own stemware and china-service line. For the tea setting at their house, Amparito proudly uses Monique’s creation for Royal Doulton.


Dining Out? This Restaurant in Busay Offers Modern Filipino Cuisine with a View

Balay sa Busay is a new modern-Filipino food destination that offers an unhindered view of the city landscape, providing a pleasurable dining experience.

Balay sa Busay is a new modern-Filipino food destination in Busay, Cebu which offers an unhindered view of the city landscape and ocean view with a cool breeze, providing a pleasurable dining experience.

Specializing in modern Filipino cuisine, Balay sa Busay serves our favorite comfort food, with a taste of home and a unique Cebuano touch. House specialties include Adobong Binisaya ni Bebe, Hamonada sa Among Bukid, and Paboritong Sisig Ni Tatay.

Other bestsellers are the Chickenillo, a tender roasted whole chicken so tender that it can be cut using a platito; Pomelo Salad with toasted coconut with calamansi dressing; Pochero Rice; Banana Cue Ala Mode with sugar-coated cardava topped with vanilla ice cream; and Shrimps in Buko.

Dining with a splendid view
Whether it’s a casual day out or a special celebration with family and friends, Balay sa Busay provides a much-desired breather for busy city folks.

The restaurant is inspired by old Filipino ancestral houses in the province with a perfect blend of old and new elements–a transitional style featuring traditional and modern furniture and fixtures. The spacious interiors give diners the option to dine in the air-conditioned room or open-air veranda which provides a panoramic view of Cebu.

Balay sa Busay has an air-conditioned function room for special occasions, private events, and meetings which can accommodate up to 50 guests and can be split into two and seat 25 each. An open area at the second floor is also available and can also accommodate up to 50 guests.

Balay sa Busay is located at Cebu Tops Road, Busay, Cebu City. It is open from Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Walk-ins and reservations are welcome.

For more information and updates, like and follow Balay Sa Busay on Facebook at @BalaySaBusay. For reservations, private meetings and events, call (032) 354 7169.

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This French-Filipino Family Home Perched Atop a Hill is a Beauty

Zee gives you an exclusive look at this family home owned by French businessman Gilles Pochiet and Filipina wife Cielito.

This story is taken from our archives. 
Originally published in the coffee table book, Inside Cebu.

French businessman Gilles Pochiet and his Filipina wife Cielito, with their three children, have made a home for themselves in the hills of Northtown Homes. When they started with it, they had a few items on their wish list: 

First, he wanted to indulge his passion for art and his penchant for a quiet, cultured lifestyle. Thus, the house had to provide ample and appropriate display space for a continually growing collection of contemporary art. Then the importance of family, best expressed through a close arrangement of family spaces, had to come into the picture, too. And yes, they also love to entertain friends at home. 

Their house, designed by Architect Ed Gallego, took over two years to construct and six months to furnish. Finished almost entirely in white and glass, the exterior of the house cleverly utilizes line, angle, and shape to achieve geometric elegance. It opens to the outdoors through full-length, clear-glass panels and retractable walls, permitting generous amounts of the incomparable tropical light to pour in. 

From the lounge and dining areas, one can enjoy pleasant views of the hills of Cebu. The minimalist theme is emphatic in the dining room, where the square table and the eight chairs around it are enhanced only by water flowing on a floor-to-ceiling stone façade. The sound of trickling water is the perfect accompaniment to life’s best moments. 

At first glance, the house may not seem family-oriented, but that is only at the ground level. The family bedrooms are located on the second floor—all with cleverly designed storage cabinets disguised as decorative framed walls. Each of the children’s rooms has its own carefully selected set of artworks, strongly indicating how their parents would love to pass on to them an appreciation for art. 

The guest pavilion, uniquely located at the poolside, is fully self-contained, and is actually a smaller version of the main building. It shows the importance that the owners place on privacy; they prefer intimate gatherings of their closest friends, where conversations flow over fine wine and good food. 


The homeowners are totally dedicated to contemporary art. Their collection includes paintings by Ouattara, Lindstorm, and Maryan; carpets by Garouste and Bonetti; vases by Gaetano Pesce, and sculptural pieces by Ettore Sottsas. The white walls set off the artworks. The surprising combination of minimalist sophistication and design savvy is achieved throughout the house.

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A Pastel-Themed Afternoon High Tea with Kate Anzani

Zee takes you on a journey of elegance and beauty as we look into the fresh themes that Kate Anzani created for her Afternoon High Tea.

Zee takes you on a journey of elegance and sweetness with Kate Anzani’s latest themes for her Afternoon High Tea.

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