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This gorgeous resort is just two hours away from Cebu

Patricia and Nicolas Moussempes open up their properties to Bohol’s visitors, presenting a getaway that’s all about sharing their passions and creating a tranquil escape.

The road heading to Tarsier Botanika and its owners’ residence was a nondescript one—bumpy, framed on both sides by rural homes or tall grass, and pretty much like most roads on islands around the country. Entering the gates almost seemed like being teleported to another world.

“We both wanted an open-style house with lots of space, surrounded by an exotic garden with a view of the sea,” explains Patricia Moussempes, who owns the property with her husband Nicolas. Remarkably, the simple statement is the perfect description of the home now. From the gate, the road is enveloped by lush foliage before ending at the porte cochère, which shares a pitched roof with the spacious living area. Open on all sides, the space overlooks the bright blue pool against the grass and the sky and ocean beyond.

The facade of Tarsier Botanika in Bohol (Photography by Maitina Borromeo/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, November 2015)

The open-style structure of Tarsier Botanika in Bohol is part of its appeal. (Photography by Maitina Borromeo/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, November 2015)

“Nicolas worked on all the plans, layouts and designs, and we just had it implemented by a local architect,” Patricia continues, adding that Nicolas is a designer who had worked on many projects in Hong Kong. The home definitely takes advantage of the property’s stunning views as all rooms face the sea. The living area—which has the dining area and kitchen—is the central space of the home, with bedrooms and private rooms located on separate buildings on either side.


An ornate Chinese ivory ship is the centerpiece of the Moussempes’ art collection. (Photography by Maitina Borromeo/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, November 2015)

One of the rooms is the library, where an ornate ivory Chinese ship complete with ivory figurines of its passengers is showcased. The couple has amassed an incredible art collection from their years of traveling, including the work of European masters, curated and on display in a gallery in the resort.

Hints of the couple’s wanderings are seen throughout their home and the resort—the design is an eccentric but homey combination of traditional art, modern furniture and a tropical appeal that comes together in a space that’s very inviting.

Sculptures of crabs add a whimsical touch to the resort. (Photography by Maitina Borromeo/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, November 2015)

Sculptures of crabs add a whimsical touch to the resort. (Photography by Maitina Borromeo/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, November 2015)

A tropical feel pervades primarily from the thriving greenery, which Patricia had worked on for years and had opened to the public four years ago. “I worked on the garden myself, working with a local gardener who followed the style that I wanted,” she recalls. Blooming with flora and fauna, Tarsier Botanika has several paths that venture through its gardens, occasionally punctuated with sculptures of animals, stone fountains and a large reclining Buddha in the midst of a small pond. “These pieces are some we picked up around the world,” Patricia points out. “Nicolas and I travel everywhere in Asia. Some of those come from Bali, others from Thailand and China, and some from the Philippines.”

The garden is currently closed to the public, in preparation for the villas that will open on the property later this year. “Nicolas wanted something local, so he opted for the northern provinces’ Ifugao-style houses,” Patricia explains. “It has slanted walls. It’s a complicated design as we had to work with modern windows and the structure was quite challenging.” From what we saw, the challenges are going to pay off—the shape, along with the woven walls, gives the villas an interesting visual.

A large reclining Buddha adds contrast to the lush greens of the garden. (Photography by Maitina Borromeo/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, November 2015)

A large reclining Buddha adds contrast to the lush greens of the garden. (Photography by Maitina Borromeo/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, November 2015)

After a quick walk through the grounds, Patricia walks us to Tarsier Paprika for lunch. The restaurant has become a popular venue for weddings with its spacious wooden deck and sprawling lawn that sits on a cliff overlooking the inviting azure sea.

Freshly-baked breads are just some of the specialties among Tarsier Botanika's impressive menu. (Photography by Maitina Borromeo/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, November 2015)

Freshly-baked breads are just some of the specialties among Tarsier Botanika’s impressive menu. (Photography by Maitina Borromeo/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, November 2015)

The lunch dishes prepared for us were incredible, taking seemingly simple ingredients and bringing them together with a burst of flavor. “Like in the villas and the garden, Nicolas and I worked hand in hand in coming up with the menu,” Patricia tells us. “We chose the dishes which were interesting, and only use fresh ingredients—herbs and vegetables from our garden, fresh seafood. Our bakery also has freshly baked products like bread, of course, and cakes and pastries.”

Patricia had studied at Ecole Lenotre and the Ritz Escoffier in Paris, and created many of the desserts on the menu herself. “I love our tarte au citron (fresh lemon tart),” she admits.

After lunch, Patricia leads us to her stables, Tarsier Equestria, a part of the resort that is very close to her heart. It’s evident in the way she talks about her horses and the programs offered at Equestria that this is truly one of her great passions. “We do corrective training and classical dressage,” she says. “Corrective training means developing the horse into an athlete, using his back and stomach muscles to carry the rider with ease; the slow process of bending, stretching to allow full flexibility and calmness. When the muscles are stretched and supple, the horse’s reaction is that of a genuine willingness to work with his handler. Obedience is the key to proper training, but can only be accomplished through patience, positive training and reward.”

She is adamant in the proper way of training, sharing that she has seen many horses in bad shape because their owners and trainers were not properly oriented. “No horse can work properly when training involves force and pain. Positive training is intelligent training, using techniques from the old masters. It is a classic tradition of being one with the horse, a partnership built from respect and harmony with one another.”

The programs hope to help with training a young horse, helping an older abandoned horse recuperate, training an injured horse that cannot be ridden, and transforming the horse physically and psychologically. “Our work is backed by classical dressage clinics and straightness program courses attended in Europe, constant research on the theories of the classical dressage masters, and research on causes of crookedness and lames. The practical work with our own horses helps them recuperate from the old mistakes made by former owners before coming to us. This is a testimony of our work. Our aim is to be able to help other horse owners ride their horses again with ease, avoid unnecessary accidents and be aware of the technical causes of lameness, rearing, bolting, disobedience and the like,” she continues. “Too many horses are put down unnecessarily for not cooperating or being unable to perform. Most often, the horse is blamed and never the ignorance of the rider. We believe that every horse deserves a chance.”

One of the stunning white horses at Tarsier, the couple's stables. (Photography by Maitina Borromeo/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, November 2015)

One of the stunning white horses at Tarsier Equestria, the couple’s stables. (Photography by Maitina Borromeo/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, November 2015)

We watch Patricia spend some time with the Lusitanos, their beautiful white horses that gallop gracefully through the field, then we make our way back to their home to watch the sunset from their living room. The day showed just how much the property has to offer, and Bohol visitors can look forward to so much more. “Our resort is different as we pay attention to every detail which is directed towards a love for nature—gastronomy, wellness, the arts, and care and appreciation for the natural environment and the animals that live in our park,” Patricia shares. “We hope our guests can forget their busy lives in the big city for even just a short moment and enjoy nature at its best.”

KM16 Hoyohoy Tawala, Panglao, Bohol
6338. 510 8472, 63. 917 526 6001
website | Facebook

photography Maitina Borromeo


Find Your Summer Spirit in Shangri-La Mactan, Cebu

Breathe in the tropical atmosphere, as you find summer joys through sight, sound and taste at Shangri-La Mactan, Cebu. Poolside fun during the day, spent serenely and luxuriantly—a refreshment in hand. While the evenings are for outdoor family movie nights, with the ocean waves rippling in the background.

Summer is all of that, and more! Plan an extraordinary weekend with an array of exciting activities that await your arrival. Discover your #ShangriLaSummerSpirit from 15 July to 30 August.

Tiki Bar at Buko Bar

Epicurean Delights by the Pool

Keep yourself fueled up as you splish and splash with the whole crew. Take a quick break from all that summer jazz with Mediterranean and Polynesian-inspired bites exquisitely crafted for your palate. From rice balls and pastas, ice creams to sliders—indulge in tastes and aromas that transport you to a world of endless, golden summers.

Mediterranean Selections at Acqua

A Whimsical Touch

Make it a colourful summer for the kids! Let them explore their own version of paradise with whimsical floaties, sure to keep them happily afloat. Your little ones can now freely kick and play in the water with fun and fascinating, animal-shaped inflatables.

Pleasant Sundowner Tunes

Bid the sun adieu and embrace the sunset hues with live acoustics at the Main Pool from 4pm to 6:30pm.

Tiki Cocktails at Buko Bar

Champagne Bar at Acqua

A Toast to an Endless Summer!

Unwind and savour the tropical vibe as our expert mixologists craft refreshing Tiki cocktails and serve chilled bottles of exquisite champagne by the pool! With a backdrop of swaying palm trees and stunning ocean views, sip on delightful beverages and toast to unforgettable summer moments in paradise.

Family Outdoor Movie Night

Gather your nearest and dearest for an enchanting evening as we set up a large outdoor screen by the pool under the starry night sky. Cozy up as you enjoy a family-friendly movie that will delight both those who are young and young-at-heart at Treasure Island from 7pm to 9pm.

Surrounded by lush greens, let the experience bring you to a world of joy and laughter, creating cherished memories for you and the family. For more information on Shangri-La Mactan, Cebu, you may contact (032) 2310288. You may also follow them on Facebook and Instagram or visit #FindYourSummerSpirit #FindYourShangriLa

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LONDON IN FULL BLOOM: An Exclusive Look at the recent Chelsea Flower Show

Dame Judy Dench (center in white) with gallery owner, Jerry Sibal, Edwin Josue, writer Eva Gullas and artist James Doran-Webb.

The Chelsea Flower Show in London, one of the most prestigious horticultural events in the world, returned in full glory in May 2023, captivating visitors with its stunning displays and landscape designs. Held annually on the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London, this year’s show proved to be a true feast for the senses, showcasing an array of breathtaking gardens, vibrant floral arrangements, and innovative landscaping. The 3-day event showcased 36 outdoor gardens, including four balcony gardens for small spaces. Inside the giant pavilion, blooms compete with each other, exotic flowers, roses, and many more.

Princess Kate Middleton walking the booths at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Dame Judy Dench, who owns several of Webb’s pieces in her garden, with James Doran-Webb and Jerry Sibal discussing the works of James.

One of the flower arrangements competing at the show.

The 2023 Chelsea Flower Show embraced a Nature’s Harmony theme, with a strong focus on sustainability and mental health. The show’s organizers emphasized the importance of sustainable gardening practices and biodiversity conservation, inspiring attendees to create beautiful outdoor spaces while preserving and protecting the environment.

One of the floral gazebo displays recycled chairs and salvaged materials.

Shops at the Chelsea Flower Show are mostly from sustainable materials.

What’s Cebu got to do with the Chelsea Flower Show in London? One person. James Doran Webb (, an Englishman working with driftwood, has been displaying his artworks for several years. James collects cast-off driftwood and shapes them into beautiful animal shapes that find places in some of the most iconic gardens. Leaping horses, owls, reindeer, and the occasional dragon, James Webb’s creations are avidly collected by landscapers to add accent to gardens in all sizes, using cast-off wood, fitting perfectly with the sustainable element—something Mr. Webb has done quite well for the last decade.

The impressive dragon of James Doran-Webb


The Philippine International Flower Festival will be held at the PICC in Manila from January 14 to 18, 2024. Watch out for more info from our website!

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Club Serena: A ‘Serene Luxury’ Experience in the Heart of Cebu’s Diving Mecca

photography by GPA Art and Photography

A three-hour drive, or more, depending on traffic, the fishing town of Moalboal in the southwest of Cebu Island is an extremely popular destination for divers and weekenders who love the white sand and pink sunsets. It is also a favorite place to stay for expats looking for a laid-back life of endless coffees or cocktails.

Thankfully, the big chain resorts haven’t discovered it and places to stay are mostly small family-run resorts. But if pampering is what you are looking for, there is only one hotel to book in Moalboal. Club Serena Resort is a 1.7-hectare beachfront property perched above coral rocks, presenting a unique union of luxurious accommodations and a host of activities to be enjoyed. This hidden gem is reached through a dirt road away from the main highway. Fronting a wide swath of white sand beach, it is an easy walk past several smaller resorts to reach the main town.

Recently renovated by noted architect James Jao, the new Club Serena has 17 rooms, three swimming pools, a restaurant, and a beachfront event space, all designed with modern Filipino aesthetic. On the drawing board are more rooms to be added, an expansion of their modern dive shop, and their popular Kids’ Club program. Their food outlet, Mira, offers all-day dining, favorite among visitors and locals, as well as the growing expat community that has settled in Moalboal. 

Club Serena offers diving courses for adults and kids by their resident operator, Seven Seas Aquanauts Phil. Corp, a PADI 5 accredited diving facility operating since 1988. For a complete list of the courses and their rates, please call (+63) 917.872.6367 or (+63) 905.459.5307.

The resort encourages above-water activities as well, and they have several paddle boards and kayaks available for guests to use.

For rates and more information, visit or email or (+63) 917.872.6367 or (+63) 905.459.5307. You can also visit their Facebook page for updates.

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