Keeping It Fresh

There’s always something exhilarating about a new year, a clean start, a fresh outlook. 2017 promises to be whatever we make it to be, and the same goes for our fashion. Clean lines, fresh silhouettes, and a meticulous eye for details allow us to step forward into whatever awaits us, confident that the past is behind us and there is everything bright and vibrant to look forward to.






Modern Filipiniana striped piña-cotton cropped barong top w/ lace appliques and jersey A-line dress: Tippi Ocampo/ Model: Kelly Misa-Fernandez/ Make-up: Iya Yujuico/ Photos: Ito Ocampo

PASSIONista: Kelly Misa-Fernandez

There are more sides to fashion, and many, many more sides to the people in fashion, than meet the collective eye. Beyond the shows and catwalks, we discover people with a myriad of interests and dreams who aren’t just fashionistas, they’re passion-istas.

As befitting the new year, Kelly Misa-Fernandez is a passion-ista that welcomes transformation. She may have started out her career as a model, but she certainly didn’t end there. Over the past years, she gracefully and easily transitions from top model, to beauty columnist, to host (of “Trending Now”), to lifestyle blogger (on her own website) without missing a beat. But her most profound change came with becoming a wife and doting, hands-on mother to adorable baby Tristan, that led to yet another passion-project as part of a threesome (along with good friends, Patty Laurel-Filart and Nicole Hernandez-de los Angeles) on a new web series called “Eat, Drink and Be Married”. Whatever transformation Kelly goes through next, we can always look forward to watching her fly.

*For more beauty tips, mommy tips and fashion tips, or to see the daily adventures of Kelly, visit

**Click here to watch an episode of “Eat, Drink and Be Married” on finding your passion!







 Black taffeta & beaded lilac lace butterfly dress, white jusi with shell beadwork : Tippi Ocampo/           Model: Kelly Misa-Fernandez/ Makeup: Iya Yujuico/ Photos: Ito Ocampo

Going with the Flow

After island adventures in Coron and Borneo, Ito and I wanted to step out of our comfort zone and in the process ended up in Siargao, the “surfing capital of the Philippines”. Neither of us surf, but we both wanted to give it a try, and the cool, laid-back vibe of the island seemed extra enticing in a season of overcrowded beaches. Siargao sits in the Philippine Sea in the province of Surigao del Norte, and as soon as we booked our flight, we realized we were in for more than we planned. For one, the island turned out to be much bigger than we thought and places to visit were spread out, so after a few trips around in a habal-habal (a motorcycle that you flag down and ride behind the driver), we decided to rent our own motorbike for the freedom to explore the island at our own pace.

“Going with the flow” literally became our itinerary for the next few days, because most people in Siargao plan their days around the tide. On the times when the tide was low, people who weren’t surfing would just swing from hammocks reading a book, or hang around Cloud 9 enjoying a shake and watching the surf. Instead of following planned activities, we took to making our own, discovering delicious places to eat, exploring empty stretches of beach and riding until we had to fill up on gas using a Coke litro bottle filled with petrol. We rode past plantations, and mangroves, and crocodile reserves, and houses on stilts to swim in the stunning Magpupungko tidal pools. Or we lazed about our villa and cooled off in the sea, and feasted on freshly caught mahi-mahi grilled by our ‘chef’.

So what did we discover beyond our comfort zone in Siargao? That while we only learned the basics in surfing a wave, we quickly became proficient at letting go and going with the flow…

Have you been on an adventure in Siargao? What do you think of stepping outside your comfort zone?












*Photos by Ito

Borne(o) Identity

While revisiting old favorite places is always fun (read about our Coron adventure here :-) ), making new discoveries are always part of the excitement of travel. When Ito and I flew into Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, this summer we didn’t know much about the island of Borneo. We were simply looking for a relaxing beach getaway that wouldn’t be too crowded! As it turned out, Borneo pretty much fit the bill. The largest island in Asia, Borneo is shared by Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, and is home to wide stretches of beach, ancient rain forest jungles, and an incredible diversity of wildlife. Since we were just there to chill–not go diving in Sipadan or climbing Mount Kinabalu–we took our time strolling around, satiating our appetites and our wanderlust.

Before heading for the beach, our first day around Kota Kinabalu reminded me of going around Manila more than a few years ago. The similarities were even more apparent in the small stores selling various handicrafts (we didn’t visit the ‘Filipino market’, although we heard about it), and our shared Malay ancestry showed itself in the fabrics, carvings, and even the dances and musical instruments that we saw. It was a little strange seeing things that seemed so familiar, and yet not easily understanding what people were saying.

The next few days Ito and I spent enjoying nature, admiring the colorful, exotic wildlife and soaking in a little more of the Malaysian vibe. We woke up early to explore the loooooong stretch of beach at sunrise, enjoyed our overflowing breakfast buffet with several stations including, of course, laksa (but no pork bacon!) and had teh tarik (Malaysian pulled tea) made with much ceremony at our table. We explored rocky coves where the jungle met the sea, feasted under the stars after a traditional ceremony played out at sunset, and discovered our Malaysian server’s fondness for Pinoy teleseryes. In the end, we found out that within our 7,100 islands or beyond it, we are all not that much different from each other.

It’s truly wonderful how travel takes us to different places only to bring us closer to home! Have you been to Borneo? What were your impressions of it?

My next travel blog post will be sharing some of our adventures as first-timers in Siargao :-)









*Photos by Ito

Follow Your Heart

Ahhhh, Coron! Ito and I just can’t get enough of this lovely corner of Palawan. It is, without a doubt, one of the places that we love most. Last February, we once again found the lure of the islands too hard to resist and made our way back to stay for a week. On that visit, we were hoping to catch a glimpse of the endangered dugong (or manatee) which had eluded us in our previous trips.


The dugong is a gentle herbivore, said to have been mistaken for a mermaid by fishermen in the past, and can often be found peacefully grazing at the bottom of the ocean. The recent typhoons had apparently wiped out much of its usual feeding grounds, so we were told that our chances of seeing one was hit-or-miss. After a delicious Valentine’s day buffet breakfast at dawn, we set off as the early morning fog still crept through the mangroves and clung to the coastline. It was early enough that the sea was still unmarked and as smooth as glass–we could see right to the bottom, where we caught sight of a pawikan (sea turtle) swimming by.




As we headed off into open waters, the surface was suddenly marked by a small cluster of bubbles, and to our surprise, we found ourselves beside a mid-sized whale shark! We quickly put on our snorkeling gear and jumped in to swim with the gentle giant as it feasted on plankton. Back on the boat, we were getting ready to head off again, when a pair of sting rays glided past. Then as if that wasn’t enough, we had continued on our journey for only a few minutes when the spotter on our boat suddenly called to us and pointed to a large fin emerging from the water–it was a minke whale! They cut the engine of the boat and guided it closer to the whale as it swam around us for a while. Off in the distance, we saw another minke whale swimming further out.



Finally we arrived at the feeding grounds where the dugongs had moved to, and as we snorkeled with our guide, we finally caught sight of a murky figure on the ocean bed. The adorable dugong was munching on sea grass, enjoying a mid-morning breakfast while we happily looked on. And although the water in the feeding grounds wasn’t clear enough to take any pictures, we were positively thrilled. We finally said good-bye to the dugong, and as a farewell treat, a squad of translucent baby squid swam by.


What a magical adventure! We had set off a few hours earlier holding no expectations and ready to just enjoy the boat ride, with only a slight hope of catching sight of a dugong. Instead, we had come across an abundance of sea creatures, big and small, that left our hearts positively brimming with wonder at the amazing world we live in (I even hashtagged it #COEURon since coeur means heart). It’s amazing what presents itself to us when we allow ourselves to be surprised :-)


I will be sharing more of these serendipitous adventures with you in the next posts (our other summer trips took us to the islands of Borneo and Siargao). What about you, have you had experiences that weren’t planned that blew you away?

*Photos by Ito

The Spirit of Adventure

It’s the first week of August, and it feels like an appropriate way to welcome the month is with the things we love to celebrate–and one of those things, based on the number of hashtagged Instagram posts, is #adventure. But what is adventure? Is it only about ticking off bucket-lists or chasing after impossible-to-reach places? Is it always about somersaulting off cliffs or falling head first into extreme experiences? Maybe. But to me the spirit of adventure is about so much more.

Adventure to me connotes an openness to trying something different, a fresh way of seeing the world, a willingness to step outside what feels comfortable. It involves discovery, and a surrender to the surprises of the unknown. Adventures don’t always have to be epic–they can be everyday ones, like experimenting with a new look in the morning or taking a different approach to a daily task.


These past months, Ito and I purposely took a step (or several!) back, and while unnerving at times, the new vantage point gave us an altered way of viewing–and doing–things and a revitalized eagerness to explore and uncover new things from the old and familiar. While big-ticket adventures are always exhilarating, we found out that a day doing something creative, or heading off on a simple road trip, or revisiting places we hadn’t been to in a while, could unearth something awe-inspiring. The important thing was learning to keep our hearts and minds wide open to whatever came our way.





So as we move forward into the year, we hope to continue carrying this spirit of adventure into everything we do. And while we may not always know how or where things will end up, we hope to share things with you and take you along for the (sometimes bumpy) ride anyway! :-)


*For fashion, style, and simple everyday adventures follow me on Instagram @tippiocampo :-)

**Photos by Ito

Be a Little MaArte

It’s been a while since my last post (over four months!), and summer has come and gone. But even with the rainy season here, I’m always in a sunny state of mind as far as my fashion designing is concerned :-) So apart from being kept busy with design work in my drawing room–and taking time over the summer to explore some of our beautiful islands (which I will post about next time)–immersing myself in our local crafts and culture has been something I’ve been enjoying lately.

Which is why, when I was invited once again to a sneak peak of this year’s upcoming MaArte Fair, I was only too happy to indulge in an afternoon of previewing artisanal pieces from one of the best, most prominent craft fairs in the country. Currently on its 8th year, the MaArte Fair is a fundraiser for the National Museum organized by the Museum Foundation of the Philippines. Headed by Maritess Pineda, the MaArte Fair aims to not only raise funds, but more importantly, to raise and evolve the Filipino craftsman–and, not to mention of course, raise the bar for the discerning shopper.


As a fashion designer, I know only too well how important developing and elevating our local crafts are to the fashion industry. The cultural heritage and painstaking handwork that go into our crafts, combined with our savvy design sense, are what elevate and differentiate our products from the flood of run-of-the-mill, mass produced items.

With this in mind, I happily made a mental list of all the cool, drool-worthy pieces that caught my eye, telling myself it wouldn’t really be considered shopping, it would be considered preserving our culture and helping maintain the National Museum–natch! ;-) I’m sharing just a few of the items on my wish-list with you, although I’m pretty sure that with 70 retailers joining the fair, everyone will be spoiled for choice…

L1040404Dreamy watercolor artwork from Baguio digitally printed onto 600 thread count sheets by Tara Designs ( I think I’d be tempted to turn these sheets into a lovely dress!)

L1040407Gabby Sarenas tells stories beautifully by craftily embroidering local folklore onto the piña sleeves and panels of her wearable pieces

L1040422Textures abound and contrast wonderfully with the structured tailoring of this sleeveless duster coat by Joel Escober

L1040425Vivid colors and patterns inspired by the vintas above the ocean and the vistas beneath it are found in Ken Samudio’s gorgeous accessories

L1040421Graphic renditions of the traditional Maskara are hand-carved and hand-painted into hip, cool & very chic minaudiéres by Joanique

L1040419Originally from Mangyan basket designs, these wonderfully patterned bags and accessories by prolific designer Zarah Juan are on my personal wish-list :-)

L1040412This amazingly intricate Tboli hand-embroidered jacket by Filip + Inna is one of my favorites (imagine it with faded jeans!), especially when combined with this beaded leather bag by Rhett Eala & Zarah Juan. Winner combo!

Have you been to past years’ MaArte Fairs? What were some of your finds? Let me know what you think of my picks :-)

*By the way, this year’s MaArte Fair will be from August 26-28, at 8 Rockwell Penthouse

Just Chill (No Freon Required)

There’s no doubt about it, summer is definitely upon us! I’ve found that the past few months were the perfect time to cool our heels, but as temperatures rise (and the globe warms) it’s time for fashion that moves and breathes, and allows us to feel as cool as we look.







Modern Filipiniana piña, jusi & lace patchwork bib, jersey lounge pants, Japanese cotton patchwork print jacket & cullottes: Tippi Ocampo/ Model: Anja-Vanessa Peter/ Hair & makeup: Iya Yujuico/ Photos: Ito Ocampo

K.I.S.S. (Keeping It Sleek & Stylish)

In a world seemingly obsessed with ‘peacocking’, sometimes the best way to stand out is to keep things uncluttered and streamlined. Simplicity has always been part of the Filipina’s DNA, but the modern Filipina carries it with sleek, stylish, and highly-polished aplomb. She intuitively understands that superfluous excess is often not necessary in order to make a striking, lasting statement.







Beaded nude lace gown & black jersey ‘barong’ gown with piña bib: Tippi Ocampo/ Model: Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez/ Makeup: Iya Yujuico/ Photos: Ito Ocampo

PASSIONista: Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez

There are more sides to fashion, and many, many more sides to the people in fashion, than meet the collective eye. Beyond the shows and catwalks, we discover people with a myriad of interests and dreams who aren’t just fashionistas, they’re passion-istas.

If there’s a model who’s done it all, it would be Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez. From when she started as an ingénue model, to product endorser, to actress, to designer, and most recently, to Project Runway Philippines’ unflappable host, she’s remained a force in fashion. To top it off, she’s a wife and a mother to a beautiful brood that’s ready to join her–if they can be cajoled–on Manila’s runways. So what’s left for a Superwoman to do? Apparently, if you’re Tweetie, a lot more as she plans to further hone her passion for accessory/industrial design and add yet another feather to her (very fashionable) cap.





Dove gray caped jersey gown: Tippi Ocampo/ Model: Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez/ Makeup: Iya Yujuico/ Photos: Ito Ocampo

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