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House on the Hill

What makes a house into a home? This young family breaks out from traditional room placements and make their space adjust to their lifestyle.

What makes a house into a home? This young family breaks out from traditional room placements and make their space adjust to their lifestyle.

It it amazing that seven years ago this family-centered home was once a corner bachelorette pad unit in the hills of Cebu City. Transformed into a spacious house with five bedrooms for a young family of four, you might say this is the house that the kitchen built. When a restaurateur marries an Italian chef, where else would the entire house revolve around? It becomes the heart of the home and explains why guests are welcomed by a huge dining table for 12, instead of the usual living room.

The couple loves to entertain. The open kitchen from Mobelhaus displays industrial-grade appliances and allows them to prepare dishes without shying away from their guests. The wife even shoots her local cooking show in it, recognizable on TV by the marinus walnut cabinet faces and aluminum handles, topped with white synthetic stone. As a stark contrast, the backsplash was made of natural stone to give it an earthy feel. Interesting to note also is the large picture window above the sink, overlooking the mountains to let a lot of natural light in.

Planning the expansion of the house started early last year. The husband and wife were very involved in planning and designing of the spaces, with help from a look-book they created as their guide throughout the design and construction stages. Functionality and flexibility were key factors in a lot of their design decisions. From the heart of their home, a hallway clad in wood paneling conceals several secret doors to different areas – one opens to another refrigerator, another to an herb garden, and the door to the left opens to a powder room. This hallway then transitions to a glass-enclosed hall with travertine-stone columns and LED floor lights, which opens to a fun and open office that the couple shares. Standing prominently behind their suitcase-shaped desk on a sawhorse stand is this Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired bookshelf that they built all the way to the ceiling to store files, recipes, menus, books and framed pictures of the family. An accent rug flown in from Italy completes the space. Hanging on the wall is a reproduction of “The Kiss,” a souvenir from the Klimt exhibit, which according to the lady of the house is a representation of their lives and passion since a kiss seals it all.

Further down the hall are the children’s rooms. Keeping the walls and floors in neutral tones, the beds, rugs, curtains and other furniture pieces add color into the room in shades of pink and aquamarine, the girls’ favorite color of the moment. “When they get older and their preferences change, it’ll be easier to redecorate this way,” says the lady of the house.

Drawing inspiration from a photo in her look-book, the winding stairs that lead to the lower ground of the house is a showcase of fine, hardwood steps. To break away from the coldness of a metal banister, the handrail was covered in real leather hand-sewn for closure by a local craftsman.

The lower portion of the house is dedicated purely for guests, and not just because the guest’s room is on this level. A showcase of the couples’ artwork collected from vast travels abroad, it opens to an al fresco bar and the garden, where the couple entertains at least thrice a week, playing host to a couples’ life group, ladies night and a movie night. With a house this centered on food and entertaining, if home is where the heart is, they’ve definitely found the way for guests to feel at home: through the stomach.

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Entertainment

Arcane: League of Legends: Netflix Review

Rating: *****/*****

League of Legends a very popular video game that’s been around for over a decade has now been adapted into an animated series on Netflix.  The series, Arcane: League of Legends was just released on November 6, 2021 and starring Hailee Steinfeld.  As a person who doesn’t play LoL, I was very surprised by Arcane’s story and the quality of the animation.  The title theme song is by Imagine Dragons and soundtrack is very cool.

Rottentomatoes gives the series a 100% score!  Here’s what they say:

“Newcomers should be equally enthralled by Arcane’s compelling narrative, richly developed characters … “

 Critics Consensus

“Arcane makes an arresting first impression, combining a spectacular mix of 2D and 3D animation with an emotionally compelling story to deliver a video game adaptation that could become legendary.”

Well then, this is a must see for me!  Now out on Netflix

… zen

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Entertainment

ALBUM REVIEW: Red (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift

RATING: ★★★ / ★★★★★

You probably don’t need to be reminded of why Taylor Swift has decided to release re-recordings of her previous albums, starting with Fearless (Taylor’s Version) last year and now with Red (Taylor’s Version). However, if you somehow missed one of the biggest music controversies in recent history, here’s a quick summary: in 2019, talent manager Scooter Braun acquired the record label Big Machine and as part of the deal acquired ownership of the master recordings for the first six studio albums by Taylor Swift. Swift has been trying to buy the masters to her songs for years but she’s been offered nothing but unfavorable conditions — therefore, as a countermeasure, she is re-recording all of her six albums and so far has released two.

It’s a bold move on Taylor’s part, but lucky for her, the re-recordings have done incredibly well especially with the re-recording of her 2012 album Red. On its first day of release, Red (Taylor’s Version) has broken two Spotify records: one for the most-streamed album in a day by a female and another for the most-streamed female in a single day both in Spotify history.

It’s hard to review an album like this when Red (Taylor’s Version) is, for the most part, just a recreation of the songs of Red. There are new songs, of course, but the majority of the tracks are simply re-recorded versions of her already existing songs. The Immaculate Collection by Madonna, this isn’t — save for All Too Well, there are no new instrumentals or parts of the song here, just plain re-recordings of her previous songs.

Unfortunately for Taylor Swift, some of the songs don’t really benefit from being re-recorded. The original version of We Are Never Getting Back Together, for instance, while far from Swift’s best song at least had the energy and emotion you’d expect a bitter break-up song like it to have. In the new version, Taylor Swift just sounds lifeless and bored, especially when it comes to her spoken lines.

It’s difficult to blame her when she’s expected to still give convincing performances of experiences she’s had over a decade ago. How do you expect a singer in her 30s to sing a song about how excited she is to be 22 and still make it sound as convincing as she made it when she was actually 22?

That being said, some of the songs also benefit from being re-recorded. There’s a sense of nostalgia added to many of these songs. Taylor Swift sounds older and, in a way, that adds even more emotional depth to some of her tracks. And for anyone not wild about these songs simply being re-recordings, Swift has six new “From The Vault” tracks which should be enough to tide you over.

All in all, Red (Taylor’s Version) doesn’t always work, but for Taylor Swift fans, it’s a way to listen to versions of her songs that are hers. It’s why the “(Taylor’s Version)” at the end of these songs are so important and it’s great to know Taylor Swift finally has versions of the songs she wrote which she can call hers.

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LADY CYCLISTS HIT THE ROADS AND SLOPES OF CEBU.

Cycling has been a growing sport and hobby for many years but it’s popularity has erupted since the Covid pandemic.  People biking to work and for recreation is an everyday sight in Cebu.  More and more are joining the ride.  Many are quite serious about cycling.  I know three ladies who are among those who’ve gone long distances across Cebu.

How did you get into serious cycling?  What was your motivation?

Blinky de Leon.  Event Host, Product Endorser & Influencer

“ I’ve been into cycling since I was a kid. A little backstory, I was around 10 years old when my dad surprised me with my first custom-made mountain bike. I still keep it until now, in fact I had it refurbished. It’s the most sentimental thing I ever received since it was his way/gesture to catch up with me after not seeing each other for almost 6 yrs. My dad is based in Germany and he also loves cycling and makes his own bamboo bike.”

 

“Just a year ago though, my friend Gazini randomly, out of nowhere, picked me up from home to bike with her to the South of Cebu. I felt really excited and motivated to get back on track because it’s very nostalgic and brings back so many great memories. And since then, the rest was history. We’ve been joining different groups, tried different routes and conquered different heights. I’ve met so many cyclists with very inspiring stories in the bike community who kept me feeling motivated too. I also look forward to the sights and the adventure that comes along with it.”

 

Yumz Mariot. Branding & Marketing Consultant

“I used to bike along with rock and wall climbing. I am lousy with ballgames which is why. Our usual route were Talamban and Mactan but one time, managed to ship gears all the way to Dumaguete for a quick ride to Valencia, the next town located at a higher elevation. Those were days when I did it for fun and what bike I was using did not matter.”

“Fast forward to 2021, a year after the pandemic lockdown began, I realized I have been lazy to do any fitness routine. Too caught up on juggling between house chores and Work from Home deliverables (I work as a Branding and Marketing Consultant), I started to feel my body needs to move as much as my brain does. A hysical fitness routine is as important as what I eat, or what I read or watch. So I decided to invest on a decent MTB, just very recently and got myself a much necessary restart. What motivates me even more is the area where I currently reside at. It is vast, fresh, green and safe for solo bikers like me.”

 

Prime Sarino. Digital Media Creative

“I started biking as a young teenager and I got the idea to start it as an adult hobby 3 years ago. I was already into running and I thought it would be great to venture into another outdoor activity to keep me occupied after work hours and weekends. I was set to travel for a year so I had to put aside the idea first but came pandemic. We were all forced to stay put and everything was put on hold. Cycling became my diversion. My cyclists friends invited me to quick and short rides. I enjoyed my first 50km ride and the sceneries and routes most of all. It also helped channel a positive mindset during the hard hit season of the pandemic. Not to mention it’s also another way to stay fit when we were forced into inactivity during the quarantine.”

Next in Part 2, we ask the ladies about their cycling experiences and memorable moments…

by: Zen

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