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Editors' Picks

This Chic Apartment Has the Best View of New York City

In the middle of the big city, Jude Jowilson and Larry Manogue dream up a vision of rustic luxury in their picturesque home.


Jude and Larry spend most of their spring and summer evenings in the balcony enjoying hors d’oeuvres and cocktails and watching the sun set. Here, Jude’s  DIY accent pillows in geometric and chevron print are in full display.

Bridal designer Jude Elardo and husband Larry Manogue, Director of Sales for a major broadcasting network, weren’t looking to fall in love when they stumbled upon an open house in a high-rise building down the street from where they lived. But the views it offered—from the George Washington Bridge, down the Upper West Side to the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center—made a compelling argument. They had just remodeled the bathroom of a three-story townhome they owned and they weren’t looking to buy a house, but they just couldn’t resist.

“We made an offer for less than the asking price. The realtor said they’d never accept the offer—it was, after all, in a high-rise with unobstructed views and a doorman—but they did,” says Larry. “It is located in West New York, a part of New Jersey that is underrated. People may know Jersey City and Hoboken, but not a lot of people know where West New York is, and they are surprised by our views and close proximity to NYC.”

The condominium in itself was in a sorry state of pink walls and nondescript interiors, and they were intent on doing a complete remodel. They had a mere 11 weeks to work with, from the time they closed on their new high-rise purchase until the time they had to move out of their old home. With the narrow timeline, Jude and Larry made sure that they had all the supplies the contractor needed (such as tiles, lighting fixtures, faucets, and the like), so there was no delay when they completed work in one room and moved on to the next.

The fireplace anchors the living area, giving the space a cozy fee

Being in a high-rise building with a co-op, there were a lot of restrictions too. Jude shares, “There were load-bearing walls we couldn’t remove, and plumbing and gas lines that had to stay where they were. So we incorporated those things into part of our design aesthetic.” They also had to replace the original floor with new hardwood floors throughout the apartment. Both bathrooms and the kitchen had to be gutted and customized to their tastes.

The bar is a popular spot in Jude and Larry’s home. The martini is their drink of choice.

In the end, it was all worth it. Situated on the 11th floor, you enter into a space of over 500 square feet that opens up to the living room, kitchen and dining area. There is a terrace overlooking NYC and the Hudson River right off the main living-dining space. The sun-flooded living area frames the Manhattan skyline perfectly. Off the great room is a spare bedroom, where they changed the entrance to pocket doors so it can be used for additional entertaining space when needed. Down the hall are the guest bathroom, guest bedroom and master bedroom with an en suite bathroom.

White on white, texture on texture; Their bed adorned with quilted duvet covers and  matlassè coverlets. The pillows lend a pop of fall colors

Framed with crown molding, the walls were set in tabula rasa of white and ivory.

“I would never choose to live in a house that is mostly white, but that was Jude’s vision,” Larry laughs. “He is the designer, and it turned out beautifully.”

Color crescendos as the seasons change, and Jude meant for the decor to reflect the romance of the evolving city. He adds pastel accent pillows and fresh blooms for spring, and for the past summer, he has incorporated a lot of blues and nautical stripes in the decor. The furniture, mostly from Restoration Hardware, is traditional, mixing in elements of different eras—Victoria, Neo-classical and Contemporary. A fun piece that subtly pushes the envelope is a sculpture of Larry hanging in the bedroom. “In 1993, I commissioned Brooklyn-based artist Avi Zuckerman to create a sculpture of myself from the waist up,” Larry shares. “I had to be covered by the plaster for over 45 minutes, breathing through a straw.”

In the dining area, they had a butler’s pantry custom built. It houses Jude’s collectibles which are, and compliments the handmade linen table cloth.

When asked about the style of their home, Jude quips, “Rustic Luxe, but not in an obvious or too literal sense.” Mongolian lamb furs, linen and cotton fabrics are mixed in with brass and metallic accents. He conceived the plaid and striped tablecloth, and the living room’s other upholstered pieces to mix and match. It’s Country Charm meets City Chic.

Although busy with their respective careers (Jude with his burgeoning bridal line and Larry with his corporate job), the couple loves to entertain whenever they can. They throw annual parties during the summer, Christmas and Thanksgiving, Jude’s favorite holiday. They configured the layout to have an open and sociable floor plan, where the kitchen is the heart of the home.

Jude’s gowns take weeks to create, and so he loves the instant gratification he gets from cooking for his friends and family. Crowd favorites are his pies and more recently, he’s discovered that edible centerpieces are a fun way to get the conversation started.

Jude and Larry have been married for three years and this is the second home they share together

Some people choose to splurge on name-droppable artwork and furniture—Jude, the consummate host, prefers to invest in fine china, flatware and silverware from Tiffany’s. His Le Creuset collection would make Ina Garten proud. “I’m obsessed with the butler’s pantry—it functions as storage, but I can also display my vintage china and milk glass collection,” Jude shares.

Larry, on the other hand, steers clear of the kitchen and prefers to entertain guests through music. “I love EDM—dance music—or the remixed versions of pop tunes. Kristine W is always featured on my playlist,” he shares. Coupled with a well-stocked open bar, and an easygoing and unpretentious way about entertaining, their guests can spend hours enjoying the view while sipping their drinks and chit-chatting.

From the vantage point of their sparkling home overlooking the big city, it’s tempting to arrive to the conclusion that this is the home they will spend the rest of their lives in. Larry reveals, “I’d like to stay close to NYC, and rent a home or apartment in different places around the world every year. Maybe we’d buy a guest house or bed and breakfast somewhere and Jude can run it.” Maybe not.



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Beauty & Wellness

What Makes Your Coffee Truly ‘Guilt-Free’? Let’s Delve Into the Details.

Coffee, for most people, is an essential drink to kickstart or fuel up their day. There are probably more coffee lovers around the world compared to those who can’t tolerate this popular beverage. According to webmd.com, coffee is a drink made from coffee beans, which are the roasted fruit of the Coffea Arabica bush. People most commonly drink coffee to relieve mental and physical fatigue and to increase mental alertness.

Although coffee has gotten some bad raps due to the side effects of its main active ingredient ‘caffeine’, which is a stimulant, it is believed the good side of it weighs more than the bad. Of course, everything boils down into not having too much of this beloved drink. ‘Drink moderately’, as the popular tagline goes.

According to Aaron Carroll, a professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine and health research blogger at The Incidental Economist, is taking a stand in a recent New York Times article: “It’s way past time that we stopped viewing coffee as something we all need to cut back on,” he writes. “It’s a completely reasonable addition to a healthy diet, with more potential benefits seen in research than almost any other beverage we’re consuming. It’s time we started treating it as such.”

Well, not all coffee are created equal. Some are carefully formulated so that you will be able to enjoy without the worry. So, what makes your coffee truly ‘guilt-free’? Aside from great taste, we are eyeing two important factors:

  1. It must be sugar-free. We’re all quite familiar on how too much sugar intake wreaks havoc not only to our inner health but also to our outside appearance. It can lead to some serious health problems like obesity and diabetes, not to mention how it destroys the natural collagen in our skin that is responsible in making us look young and wrinkle-free. Certain drinks opt for natural sweeteners like stevia, which is a healthier option.
  2. It must have benefits for both beauty and wellness. A lot of brands around the world has concocted unique formulations to amp up the benefits of coffee in terms of beauty and health. Natural and organic ingredients were used to provide benefits to the skin hair and nails and to the overall physical fitness of the human body. Most of these added natural ingredients contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to fight oxidative stress and provide boosted energy levels. Some of these claim to have therapeutic benefits and may help alleviate some health conditions.

EDITOR’S PICK. Good news for all local coffee drinkers! You can now indulge in your favorite morning brew without the guilty feeling! A local brand from Cebu, Philippines, Lumiché, has recently launched their inaugural product–’guilt-free coffee’, a carefully considered and researched beverage that promises all-day energy, with added benefits that will help you glow and flourish.

Long-time friends Michelle Lim-Cu and Janice Escario King started Lumiché in 2019.

These benefits are as follows:

  • Sugar-free
  • Helps maintain energy levels
  • Strengthens hair and nails
  • Acts as an appetite suppressant
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Helps improve skin texture
  • Aids in fat-burning and weight loss
  • Aids in better bowel movement

Lumiché guilt-free coffee is able to provide the above-mentioned benefits due to the natural ingredients it contains:

  • Collagen
  • Spirulina
  • Ginseng
  • L-Carnitine
  • Mangosteen
  • Garcinia Cambogia
  • Moringa
  • Stevia
  • Non-dairy creamer

Lumiché guilt-free coffee is indeed a must-try!

Lumiché  is available for online buyers on their official website www.lumiche.ph, as well as on Lazada and Shopee. Starting April 6, 2022, lovers of coffee may also purchase in either take-home packs or ready-to-drink hot or cold cups in SugboMercado IT Park.

For more information and updates, like and follow their Facebook Page.

Lumiché is also looking to partner with resellers within Cebu Province, and distributors in major cities in the Philippines. For inquiries, call (+63.917.707.5279 or email them at hello@lumiche.ph.

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Editors' Picks

Bask in Tranquility & Relaxation in this New Hotel within the City

“A” for ASMARA

by Allain Dumon Fonte

In this very fast-paced world that we live in, we find ourselves in a never-ending race of deadlines, submissions, and to-do-lists.  However, when things become too much to take, we need to pull out the plug and reboot ourselves.  It’s fine to pat your own shoulder and tell yourself that you have done enough; and so, you should stop, take a deep breath, and drop everything.  I usually take myself to a quiet and remote place, and with a whole new scenery.  I want to be lost somewhere where nothing can remind me of work. Yet, the challenge for many of us is time. Some of us only have one off-day from work in a week; while others are lucky to have two days.  Hence, travelling to the Bahamas or to the Caribbean is no longer viable. Even travelling to the world-class resorts in Mactan, to the mystic islands up north, and to the serene beaches down south of Cebu takes so much time because of the traffic situation.  Time is of essence and spending it wisely will be our best investment.

Then, I discovered a new haven just a few minutes’ drive from Cebu’s central business district. The ASMARA Urban Resort and Lifestyle Village is a hidden gem.  Even driving up to the main doors of the resort, you can already feel the exclusivity of this place. Stepping out from the car and walking to the main lobby with a view of the pool to the left, I feel being transported to a whole new world.  The architecture, the interior, the furniture, and the total design concept of this hideaway has created an ambiance comparable to that of the Leadwood Lodge Safari Resort in South Africa or to the Escondido Villas in Acapulco.  I sat in the lobby as I waited to be served.  I listened and listened very well; surprisingly, I can only hear the birds chirping, the wind gushing down the valley, and a few guests having fun at the pool.  Imagine having this tranquil experience in the heart of the metropolis is extremely amazing with a capital A.


Because I got intrigued with the interior, I asked the hotel staff who the architect and the interior designer are; and she gladly introduced me to the owner, the architect, the interior designer, the design concept master, and even the furniture artist of this fine establishment, Mr. Carlo Cordaro.  This is how casual and relaxed the environment is; you will get to meet the owner and converse with him.  I am struck to meet someone with multi-talents but with such humility.  Mr.  Cordaro indulged my inquisitive mind by showing me how he conceptualized and then started building this former racetrack into a perfect haven.

Mr. Cordaro explained that as an artist he keeps four important things in mind.  First, the location and the environment.  ASMARA sits in the valley with the hills of Maria Luisa Estate to its east. Thus, the location is gifted with the cool breeze from the hills, and Mr. Cordaro took advantage of this by creating an open-space restaurant and recreation area.  The restaurant is also part of the village’s recreation space where guests enjoy yoga sessions, or a dip in the pool, or even a tennis match.

Second, Mr.  Cordaro wants to make use of the local raw materials and create a venue that is distinctively Cebuano; and this is what makes Asmara remarkable and unique.  The quirky hotel doors are diagonal and lined with banana skin fibers, the modern-designed furniture are all made from high-quality wood, the walls are lined with abaca fibers, and the tall coconut trees entwine with the rooms’ viewing decks.  Guests have an exquisite panorama of the sunset and the recreation space in the village.  I told Mr.  Cordaro that the rooms have already soothed my stressed thoughts.  This brought us to the third concept that Mr.  Cordaro considers in designing, “the emotion”.  He wants his design pieces, from furniture to spaces, to convey emotions to the guests.  He said that before finishing a masterpiece, he always puts himself in the shoes of other people and asks himself if the art pieces exude emotions or connect with him.  He believes that any work of art must connect with the people to be appreciated.  ASMARA Urban Resort and Lifestyle Village is very well thought of because every space and every corner can deliver emotions of relaxation and ease.  

When I asked him for the fourth element, Mr. Cordaro smiled and answered, “sustainability”.  He wants ASMARA to be as green as it could be.  The open-space restaurant uses less electricity because it maximizes the natural light and the cool breez. The glass pyramid in the middle of the dining area does not only manipulate the natural light but it is also a gigantic rainwater collecting facility. The use of indigenous local materials for the interior of the hotel and the pillars of wood that support the three-story hotel building make ASMARA one of the most sustainable establishments in Southeast Asia.  Mr.  Cordaro has not only made ASMARA an asset to the economy and tourism, but also an asset to the environment.

Since we were already in the dining area, Mr. Cordaro offered that I should try their authentic Italian dishes.  I took the liberty of ordering the pizza rolls, and it refreshed my memories of Palermo at Frida Pizzeria.  I shall not disclose how many pieces I ate that afternoon because it was just divine.  The chicken skewers became special with the restaurant’s secret sauce.  They were heaven to my taste buds.  Please do not let me start with the healthy options for their beverages.  Every fruit juice is freshly squeezed and very well-concocted.  

After the very delightful conversation with Mr. Cordaro, I finally settled in my room and enjoyed my four seasons drink on my room’s balcony with the scene of the orange sky, the breeze brushing my face and the sounds of water from the pool. With Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s book “One Hundred Years of Solitude” in my hand, I felt great that very moment.  Asmara Urban Resort and Lifestyle Village is a gift to mankind.  

A for amazed…A for astonished…A for awed…A for ASMARA.

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Editors' Picks

A GREEN CHRISTMAS: Eco-friendly Holiday Gift Ideas

Seriously, who wants a blue Christmas? Go green when gift-giving with our curated list of sustainable gift items that are perfect for your loved-ones AND the environment as well.

It’s Christmas Deer Knot Wrap from LUSH (Php 495)
For the practical yet fashionable mom, this reusable organic cotton Knot Wrap from Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics is ideal. With an endeeringly bright and nostalgic design, this can be used to wrap gifts or add a touch of festive charm to any outfit.

Lush has introduced Knot Wraps 10 years ago, in 2009, as an alternative reusable packaging. This Christmas, Knot-Swap, a new scheme will launch in all Lush shops. Freshen up your Knot Wrap game without wasting a stitch. Swap in your pre-loved wrap and get 50% off a Lush design of the same size. The Knot Wraps for Christmas 2019 are made from either Organic Cotton or Recycled waste bottles. Waste not, want knot! For more information, please visit www.lush.com.ph

Abaca Pillowcase in Green from ANTHILL (Php 849)
This Abaca Pillow Case from Anthill Fabric Gallery is fabulous for the meticulous aunt and can enliven any room. It is made of Abaca pinanggabol (handloomed natural textile) from the Daraghuyan Tribe in Dalwangan, Bukidnon. The handloom process creates a slightly looser weave that leaves a comfortable texture and softness that deepens over time. The Abaca pillowcase is available in 5 colors.

Bag of Treats from ECHOSTORE (Php 629)
Filled with Theo & Philo Artisan Chocolates and variations of Malagos Dark Chocolate, this “bag of treats” from ECHOstore Sustainable Lifestyle is the ultimate present for the kids and the kids-at-heart!

Bamboo Tumbler from ECO HUB CEBU (Php 720)
A nice fit for the on-the-go dad or the adventurous brother, this double-walled insulated tumbler keeps any beverage hot or cold for up to 8 hours. You can have it customized and engrave a name on the body or the lid at an additional fee of Php 50 per piece.
Order via Facebook: Eco Hub Cebu

Gifts of Comfort and Joy from HUMAN HEART NATURE (Php 509)
Give the gift of natural goodness to grandma with this set from Human Heart Nature which includes Lavender Oil and balm with Rose Bouquet Hand & Foot Salve for her relaxing and pampering needs!

Glass Skin Glow Set from ELLANA MINERAL COSMETICS (Php 1,148)
Now available in a special bundle, this best-selling item from Ellana Mineral Cosmetics is an essential addition to your girlfriend’s purse! It’s skin care and a setting spray in one, which contains rose and Mandarin orange extracts.

Lazy Boy Dry Shampoo from PARALUMAN (Php 130-160)
Perfect for the vain boyfriend, this dry shampoo from Paraluman is lightweight. It contains cocoa, patchouli and seaweed to volumize, add shine, heal, reduce oiliness and dryness, and promote hair growth. It also comes with a sleek black aluminum tub that you can reuse over and over!

All products featured on zee.ph are independently selected by our editors. 

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