Inspirational Photo of the Day

Sometimes, things happen by accident that turn out to be better than what was originally planned. This photo that I snapped with my iPhone as we zoomed along the TPLEX highway seems almost like an ode to a Mark Rothko painting, the ‘brushstrokes’ created by the blur as we sped by. In design, we must allow ourselves these creative ‘accidents’ from time to time in order to bring something new into the picture. After all, in the bigger picture, nothing really happens by chance and everything happens for a reason ;-)

IMG_6660My highway photo

magenta-black-green-on-orangeMark Rothko painting (image from http://www.markrothko.org)

Head In the Clouds

Over Valentine’s weekend, Ito and I headed up North to celebrate and enjoy the lovely Benguet weather, as well as visit some of the places that we missed the last time we were in Baguio. We took a “Before Sunrise” Friday drive, catching the sleepy and misty paddy fields along TPLEX at its most picturesque, before reaching The Manor in time for an early check-in and a second breakfast.

We then headed for the ‘museum in the clouds’, BenCab’s museum and artist’s haven set amidst woodcarvers’ nooks and basket weavers’ tiny workshops along Asin Road twenty minutes from Baguio’s center. The museum houses an impressive selection of BenCab’s masterpieces, as well as contemporary work from other local artists, in addition to a collection of indigenous arts and crafts from the Cordilleras.

It was interesting for me to note the bold, primal energy that characterized most of the work on display which was highlighted by the museum’s setting overlooking a dramatic gorge. This was also the backdrop for our lunch fresh from the museum’s on site garden/farm (I wonder if the duck flakes I had were from the ducks in the pond!). After that, the only thing left to do was to enjoy the view! :-)

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Fashion Tips: Modern Filipiniana

Why Filipiniana? Why not?? Wearing fashion inspired by our cultural heritage doesn’t need to happen only when attending government functions or ‘Filipiniana attire requested‘ weddings, because Filipiniana can actually be fun and fashionable to wear on its own–for no other reason than simply because you want to :-)

photoBlack sleeveless jersey gown with sheer back panel and embroidered piña bib (photo from Sense & Style magazine)*

photo(1)Beaded and appliquéd French lace on piña silk barong tunic/dress*

IMG_6140Calado embroidery on oversized linen barong shirt dress*

*All gowns/dresses Tippi Ocampo modern Filipiniana designs

Inspirational Photos of the Day

Racy, romantic, rebellious–whether slipping it on, or off, there’s just something about lace…

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Hit the Road Jack

When the new year began, Ito and I hit our stride by hitting the road. It had been quite a while since our last road trip and with all the fantastic new highways that recently opened up plus the temperature cooling down a bit (and gas/diesel prices going down!), we thought there wouldn’t be a better time to do a little exploring closer to home.

While we hope to discover more new towns and rediscover some old favorites this year, we started things off with a few short trips–first we headed North with a drive up to Baguio (after way more than a decade!), then we headed South with a first-ever drive down to Lumban, Laguna. Thankfully the weather right now is perfect, so I’m looking forward to letting Ito enjoy the drive while I sit in the passenger’s side and enjoy the view!

Sharing a few of my Instagram photos on the road…

IMG_20150104_154119Beautiful–a highway with not a single billboard in sight!

IMG_20150104_112309Roadside fishponds and a view of the mountains
IMG_6454After over a decade–back to visit the City of Pines!

IMG_6463A visit to Baguio’s markets for some big, fresh strawberries

IMG_6491The all-important Good Shepherd staples

IMG_20150105_083753Enjoying the 11 degrees Celsius morning chill

IMG_6459Clear skies and a gorgeous sunset

IMG_20150116_115943Plants lining the roadside as we head South

IMG_20150116_120407A quick stop at a peaceful ‘palaisdaan’ for lunch

photo(1)Maria Makiling welcomes us with open arms

IMG_6513Visiting the town of Lumban, the embroidery capital of the Philippines

IMG_20150116_142805The stone church of San Sebastian, built in the 1600’s

IMG_20150116_144234The wide and beautiful Lumban River

IMG_20150116_160006Roadside guardian looking over us during our drive

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Happy 2015!!! After cleaning and clearing our home in preparation for 2014’s year end, and the rain that cleared the air and washed the entire Manila on the first day of the new year, the sun is shining today and everything is sparkling and feels brand new!

It’s a clean, blank page we’re facing, the pure potential of designing the next 365 days ahead of us. Our dreams, our passions, our visions, are all things we can begin to sketch out and happily bring to life. Our page is our own, and the possibilities of what we can fill it with are endless. When it comes to the future, there’s no day like today to begin discovering and creating what it holds :-)

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Inspirational Photos of the Day

It’s the end of the year, and looking back, my favorite things about the-year-that-was were the little things. We always celebrate the big moments in life, but it’s the tiny surprises that often slip by unnoticed that really bring us back into the moment and keep us there.  May the coming 2015 bring more of these everyday treasures into our awareness, and may the joyful little moments add up–a  bit at a time–into an amazingly grand year ahead!

IMG_5848Spread the love! Entranced by this woven ‘graffiti’ found on a sunny park bench

PA140260Guardian angels–looked up and saw these playful cherubs watching over us from a high ceiling

IMG_5873Music to my eyes :-) These park grills, when seen from the side, looked like they could carry musical notes

*Photos by Tippi

Chocolates, Waffles…& Sprouts?

Whew, made it…final post for 2014! Ito and I spent the final leg of our trip, and celebrated my birthday, in Brussels before flying back home to Manila. We stayed in a beautiful 190-year old art nouveau townhouse, in the stylish artist’s district Dansaert, a cobbled area filled with chic restaurants, trendy bars, artists’ shops, and just a short walking distance from the Old Town.

Strolling around Brussels, I couldn’t help but remember my all-time favorite childhood hero, Tintin with his faithful dog Snowy :-) So much of the Old Town seemed vaguely familiar from the illustrations I knew by heart, and much of the street art around Brussels is obviously inspired by Hergé’s style as well. Of course, a visit to Brussels wouldn’t be complete without indulging in its rich, decadent chocolate which we had as my second birthday breakfast at the Salon de Chocolat in the beautiful Galerie de la Reine, as well as the most mouthwatering waffles in Maison Dandoy later in the day.

From the stunning Grand Place with its gilded edifices boasting chocolate shops in nearly every corner, to the winding alleys filled with the delicious scents of freshly-made waffles in the Old Town, to the fresh seafood on display in many of the restaurants & bistros in our area near Sainte-Catherine, food was never far from our mind as we explored the city (brussel sprouts notwithstanding). We tried the local favorite, moules et frites (mussels and fries) washed down with some Belgian beer, as well as catch-of-the-day seafood specials of lobster and sea bass with some sparkling wine. It’s a good thing there were as many things that we could feast our eyes on, without the added calories!

L1150669Flowers bloomed at the Grand Place, the resplendent centuries old market square in the center of Brussels

L1150856The splendid square held court and glinted majestically in the sunlight

L1150707Alleyways filled with the scent of freshly made waffles

IMG_5906Birthday breakfast that started with an orange pressé  in the well-appointed art nouveau breakfast room

L1150679The ornate, glazed 19th-century shopping arcade, Galerie Royales Saint-Hubert

L1150745Pretty cafés lined the Galerie de la Reine, or Queen’s Gallery

L1150756Got our chocolate fix (and second breakfast) after we walked around the square

IMG_5919Rich, dark and silky-smooth, just the way I like it :-)

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L1150788Street art depicted the street that it was located on–clever!

PA160273Walked around and reminisced about my favorite childhood comic

L1150806Seafood galore in the market square that fronted Sainte-Catherine’s church

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L1150824Celebrating with some delicious off-the-menu seafood specials at a chic little restaurant in the artsy Dansaert district

IMG_5929The stunning Hôtel de Ville de Bruxelles was a sight to behold at night

IMG_5931The Grand Place was all lit up and bustled with activity

IMG_5925Even the metro stations displayed different styles of artwork–this one was lined with large format photographs

L1150821Ended our trip with a visit to the unique Atomium, created by the architect André Waterkeyn in 1958

*Photos by Ito

The Spirit of Bavaria

When Ito and I arrived in Munich at the tail end of Oktoberfest, we immediately headed out to commemorate it amidst revelers in Marienplatz, the beautiful city square, with a Bavarian brew. Our next few days would be spent exploring Munich beyond its traditional beer festival, trying out its delicious food and fresh produce at the Viktualienmarkt, visiting its museums, and walking around its numerous expansive parks (the famous Olympic stadium and Olympiapark alone were massive!).

Between the day we visited the behemoth, tornado-inspired BMW Welt & museum and the weekend we found the inspiring, up-close-and-personal Richard Avedon exhibit, Ito was in his element (while I learned a little more about automobile design as opposed to fashion design, LOL!). We also wandered around the city and spent a sunny afternoon enjoying the open spaces of the Englische Garten (or English Garden) and discovering Universität–the university belt–where we came across interesting little shops & cool, hole-in-the-wall coffee joints.

On our last day in Munich, before we left on the final leg of our trip, we walked through the palatial Residenz and felt full with the spirit–and the brew–of Bavaria.

DSC_0916The lovely city square, Marienplatz, has been the site of festivities, jousts & tournaments since the middle ages

L1150369The moon rose over Munich in the middle of the day

PA110229Relaxed under a tree in one of Munich’s numerous parks

L1150331Enjoyed the verdant, rolling landscapes of Olympiapark

DSC_0917The Old Town Hall, Altes Rathaus, was straight out of a children’s picture book!

L1150441Looked out over a pristine Neoclassic style inner square

L1150297Checked out the art cars & learned about a different kind of design at BMW Welt

DSC_0837BMW’s museum was where all the boys went to be inspired!

DSC_0788I hate wires, but this funky installation/window display I liked!

DSC_0793Stumbled upon this small and incredibly well preserved German Baroque church, Asamkirche

PA140264Marie Antoinette would have felt right at home with the beautiful, over-the-top opulence of Residenz

L1150412Inspired by the lovely grillwork, pastel shades and pretty details!

L1150439Played around while touring the museum grounds

L1150393Created our own favorite itinerary of wandering around…

L1150408…and people watching

L1150569Art students sat around sketching buildings in the middle of the square

L1150566Watched and observed the hipster scene, Munich style

DSC_0891Our weekend brunch was followed by a museum date

DSC_0871Enjoyed a leisurely afternoon at Museum Brandhorst

DSC_0883Loved the museum’s ultra cool façade

 *Photos by Ito

Drizzly Day in Dresden

Continuing on…

Before Ito and I left Berlin for the next leg of our trip, a day trip to somewhere-we-never-thought-of-beforehand beckoned, and the German city of Dresden fit the bill perfectly. When we had searched our map and researched online to decide on where to pop in for the day, we found the picturesque city of Dresden which was only a (slightly over) 2-hour train ride away.

It was a drizzly day when we set off, but the gray skies did nothing to diminish the beauty of the “Jewel Box”, as the city center of Dresden is known. Situated a short walk from the Dresden Central Station, we found a beautiful city center ‘encrusted’ by Baroque and Rococo style buildings and monuments, with the majestic River Elbe (close to the Czech border) running beside it.

Despite the wet weather, Dresden was definitely an enchanting sight to behold…

PA080197Walking around the city–view from under my umbrella

L1150134The city has a long cultural and artistic history…

DSC_0622…as it was the capital and royal residence for the Kings of Saxony

DSC_0627Too bad many of the outdoor cafés by the gardens and the River Elbe were closed due to the wet weather

PA080203We came prepared for walking in the rain…

L1150126Dresden Castle has been the home of kings for nearly 400 years

DSC_0634The breathtaking Fürstenzug is a 335 ft outdoor artwork made of 23,000 Meissen porcelain tiles!

*Photos by Ito & Tippi

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