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The Homes of Zee

You Can Rent This Beautiful Bahay Kubo on AirBnb, and It’s in Cebu!

A rental property in Carmen couples the rustic charm of a traditional Filipino hut with modern comforts for a unique and authentic local experience.

“Bahay kubo, kahit munti ang halaman doon ay sari-sari,” goes the old Filipino folk song that depicts how the traditional native housing, although small, can host a wide array of produce. The kubo’s bamboo walls and thatched roofing has hardly changed over the past years, but it’s certainly given a facelift in Mark Simpson’s latest property.


With two rental properties already in the area, Hong Kong-based Mark decided to provide tourists with an authentic local experience. “The original idea was to house my wife’s family, who lost their house during Typhoon Yolanda,” he explained. “They stayed for a short while, then decided to rebuild and continue farming, so the house was left unused.”


The circumstances allowed Mark to orchestrate major upgrades to turn the house into an attractive vacation spot for travelers who want to stay in more traditional accommodations. Of course, this Bahay Kubo is given a more luxurious spin. Designed by architect Gene Taatjes, the house features the usual bamboo walls and cogon grass roofing, but in a more modern shape.

Inside, the furnishings were custom-made by driftwood sculptor James Doran Webb, who takes Spartan pieces and adds unique touches—goat skin seats on the bar stools, dried bamboo stems to accent the windows, and chandeliers of cascading capiz shells. “All the tugas (molave) wood used in the frames and throughout the property is reclaimed from driftwood, hence complying with our policy of cutting no trees to make our furniture,” Mark says, adding that they’d taken their environmental sustainability a step further. “All the electricity is generated by 2.4KW solar panels.”


The house has no air conditioning, something that Mark says they won’t need when they’re on the property. “It’s an experience of being a little close to nature, perhaps. By using these natural materials, coupled with the design of allowing the free-flow of air, there really is no need for air conditioning, even in the summer.”


The experience continues gastronomically, with the properties’ chef and her team offering Cebuano and Filipino dishes. “Our focus is always on freshly prepared food, using as many local ingredients as possible,” Mark states. “Fish and seafood play a massive part in the food served, whether it be tangigue (Spanish mackerel) in a kinilaw, or fresh yellow fin tuna as part of a salad nicoise. We even use fresh mozzarella cheese (mozzarella di buffalo) made from local carabao milk on pizzas that come out from our wood-burning ovens.”

Already with a lot to offer, the property will soon have more to entice guests to experience living local. “We’ll soon have seating around our jackfruit trees, and a plunge pool in the garden,” Mark says of expansion plans. For now, though, there are a number of experiences that this Bahay Kubo has to offer. “I personally enjoy sleeping in the upstairs room, under the mosquito net and seeing the beautiful light that comes through the capiz windows as the sun rises,” Mark admits. We can see why going native might actually be a great idea.


Luyang, Carmen, Cebu

(852) 9162 5321


Photography by Jon Unson


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The Homes of Zee

The Homes of Zee–Holiday Edition: Christmas House No. 12

Christmas House No. 12 – Heart-felt Holidays at the Hofers’

Check out why this holiday home is on our list of 12 Cebu homes this season. offers a glimpse of Cebu’s holiday homes from far and wide. Please follow our series as we bring you a different home in the next few days!

Nestled in Banilad, Cebu City, the George Hofer residence stands as testament to enduring elegance. Constructed in the late sixties to early seventies, the mansion exudes timeless charm with warm brown molave wood panels and pristine white marble floors.

Stepping into this grand abode during the Christmas season unveils a journey into a beautifully storied past. This season, Molave wooden entance, intricately carved with the Hofer couple’s monogram, are adorned with opulent yuletide garlands. White velvet poinsettias and persimmon peonies alongside mother of pearl camellias are interspersed with pearlescent berries. Archangel Michael showers the guests with  blessings from above, while a macassar ebony wooden effigy of Saint George (slaying the dragon) pays homage to the house owner’s namesake.

Adjacent to a private elevator, a grandiose Christmas tree stands tall, welcoming guests into a sprawling waiting hall. Here, an angel in teal and gold lamé cloth grouped together with exotic blooms gracefully plays the lyre; seemingly entertaining those who await entry.

Further down the hall is an ecru grand piano, where the lady of the house, a skilled pianist, performs Monti’s Czardas, Schubert’s Ständchen, and other rhapsodies on special occasions. A commissioned portrait of George and Dulce hangs on a wall above a console table that separates the hall from the formal dining area.

The Hofer home exudes old-world elegance that is seldom found today, yet its true charm lies in the joyous laughter and warm greetings of the Hofers, who gather annually to share Christmas cheer and delightful yuletide stories in this vibrant space.

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The Homes of Zee

The Homes of Zee–Holiday Edition: Christmas House No. 11

Christmas House No. 11 – Christine Pelaez

Check out why this holiday home is on our list of 12 Cebu homes this season. offers a glimpse of Cebu’s holiday homes from far and wide. Please follow our series as we bring you a different home in the next few days!

Designed by the noted Cebu architect Teng Jacinto, this expansive residence stands as a testament to the artful curation of Jun Pelaez. Over the years, he has meticulously assembled a collection of artworks, transforming the home into a gallery that reflects his discerning taste and appreciation for the aesthetic.

As the holiday season graces the air, the residence undergoes a festive tone under the artful touch of Jun’s wife, Christine. Embracing tradition, she bathes the home in the classic Christmas palette of reds and greens, infusing each corner with warmth and seasonal charm. The interior becomes a canvas for the holiday spirit, adorned with wreaths, ornaments, and the timeless glow of twinkling lights.

However, the true heart of this home lies in its welcoming spirit. There are two dining rooms, with chairs adorned with red bows and festive centerpieces,  where family and friends converge for an equally sumptuous meal.

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The Homes of Zee

The Homes of Zee–Holiday Edition: Christmas House No. 10

Christmas House No. 10 – The Hudsons’ Christmas Chronicles

Check out why this holiday home is on our list of 12 Cebu homes this season. offers a glimpse of Cebu’s holiday homes from far and wide. Please follow our series as we bring you a different home in the next few days!

The Hudson’s household buzzes with enthusiasm each time the holiday season unfolds. The heart of their Tokyo home, the  Hudson Christmas tree, stands tall and proud, adorned with tinsel and cherished trimmings that span the years of their family’s growth. Each ornament tells a story, marking the arrival of a new family member with the annual addition of baubles bearing their names: Mary, George, Victoria and Charles.

Charles, the youngest Hudson at twelve, beams with joy as he proudly places the Christmas star atop the tree. No longer reliant on his father’s shoulders, Charles revels in his newfound height and the welcomed responsibility that comes with it.

In addition to the twinkling blue lights, the festive icons and the white-and-silvery ornaments, another cherished tradition had been completed at the beginning of the joyful season. The Hudson’s much-anticipated Christmas cards, an exciting accountof  the family’s adventures, had been creatively crafted by Rose and Karl. The lively narrative chronicles the milestones and quests of each family member, with Karl’s animated storytelling and Rose’s artistic touch bringing the tales to life.

Rose shares, “by mid-November we print two hundred post cards of the Hudson family chronicles. The entire family, from the oldest to the youngest, gathers around to sign each card. Envelopes are lovingly addressed, and the kids lend a hand in labeling.”

In a heartwarming shift of roles, the Hudson parents, Karl and Rose, prepare to pass the baton. The careful planning and distribution of the Christmas cards are soon to become the responsibility of the eager younger generation. 

With laughter, love, and a touch of adventure, the Hudson family embraces the season, creating and sharing memories that they and their friends treasure for life.

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