The Opulence of Nature

Luxury has always been defined as a state of great comfort, extravagance and a sense of the excessive, so in that case nothing inspires a feeling of luxe quite like the overflowing abundance of nature. On our recent trip to Palawan we discovered lavish natural wonders both above ground and beneath the seas.

In Dimakya Island, we swam with three full-sized sea turtles and a small sting ray even before grabbing breakfast. While on the beach, we lazed around enjoying the sumptuous stretch of powdery white sand and listening to a cloud of bats and a multitude of brightly colored birds perched on the trees all around us.

In the house reef just a few meters from shore, we snorkeled over lush coral gardens teeming with fish and literally came across a school of over a hundred thousand of them (around 8 inches each!) packed tightly together and forming the Great Wall/Ball of Fish. Amazing! It’s no wonder that in places like Palawan, the only thing we never have enough of is the luxury of time :-)

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Swimming in the wild with gentle sea turtles and a shy stingray

 

Enjoying our lively company before breakfast

 

 

One of the most amazing sights we’ve seen! The Great Wall of…Fish!

*Photo & videos by Tippi & Ito Ocampo

Getting Wet & Wild

Since our past visits to El Nido and Coron, my list of favorite experiences in Palawan has grown. With its abundance of white sand, palm fringed atolls, one of the most unique islands to visit in Palawan is Calauit Island, where the only wildlife sanctuary and game reserve in the Philippines is found.

A morning boat ride took us to the island (Fashion tip: Bring a hat! Take a water bottle! And wear a swimsuit under lightweight, quick-drying clothes, both for the trip at sea and the sweat-inducing ride around the park!), where we were briefed before boarding a charmingly rustic jeepney that drove us to where the animals were roaming freely.

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Spread out over 3,700 hectares, the sanctuary is home to a variety of wildlife, like Calamian deer, Philippine crocodiles and wild boar, but most strikingly the zebras and giraffes which were originally brought in in 1977 to help save endangered animals from Africa, and which flourished and bred so that we saw a good number of them walking around with their babies trailing close behind.

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Fashion has always taken inspiration from beautiful animal prints, but these unique markings do more than look pretty since they function as identification marks for each animal (much like our finger prints). I got to admire the markings up close when we had the opportunity to feed the giraffes their favorite leafy acacia branches–although in this case we were the ones fenced in and the giraffes were the ones free to approach us :-)

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Cheers to the care and preservation of all animals and kudos to the wonderful caretakers of Calauit’s wildlife sanctuary!

*Photos by Tippi & Ito Ocampo

Finding Neverland

There’s always been something incredibly enchanting about Palawan, and something particularly magical about the Calamian Islands. With its many coves and islets, hidden lagoons and virgin beaches, sunken wrecks and coral gardens, exotic animals and wildly colorful marine life, it always reminds me of the fairytale island Never Never Land and never fails to bring me to the happiest of places :-)

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*Photos by Tippi & Ito Ocampo

PS- If you’d like a list of some of my personal Palawan must-sees, as well as gathering other “Travel Tips” to Palawan, check out the very helpful site Let’s Palawan. And as a little treat to anyone hit with wanderlust who is thinking of hieing off to Palawan on their own, just enter the coupon code: tippiocampoc008 (careful, it’s case sensitive) when filling out the “Get a Quote” page, and you’ll get a US$30 discount off your Palawan adventure–perfect for an additional island hopping trip :-) Happy traveling!

Inspirational Photo of the Day

Fields and flowers, birds and butterflies, a cool breeze and the sound of chickens clucking, and in addition, sunlight streaming through a curtain of perennial vines. Could anything be more idyllic? We don’t need to travel far to come across picturesque scenes since there are many all around us. Fashion is often the perfect vehicle for fantasies of far off, exotic places, but oftentimes the dreamiest of summer inspirations can be found much closer to home.P4160316

White Nights

Magical and mystical, the power of white is in its ability to illuminate. Incandescent in its beauty, it  lightens up everything around it, lending its radiant, luminous glow to even the darkest of nights.

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White silk organza textured top & satin skirt/White jersey & tulle gown/Off-white & silver lace top & ballgown skirt: Tippi Ocampo (metal flowers: Ming Ong Moya)/ Model: Pau Alberto/ Make-up: Maws Francisco-Diaz/ Photos: Ito Ocampo

Renaissance of Timelessness

It’s a rebirth of the timeless, a throwback to the pristine and ephemeral. For what could be more revolutionary in a time when trends end even before they begin and things change in the blink of an eye, than a revival of effortless elegance that is eternally now?

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Ivory jersey, silk and tulle gown with gold and silver beadwork: Tippi Ocampo/ Model: Pau Alberto/ Make-up: Maws Francisco-Diaz/ Photos: Ito Ocampo

 

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 ;-)

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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*

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*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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