Category Archives: The Tippi Point

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 Add Water!

It’s the beginning of the week and a stormy and very, very wet Monday. This morning was kick started with a super early morning workout and breakfast topped off with a strong espresso–needless to say, I had more than a little extra energy to burn today.

After working on some new ‘Modern Filipiniana’ designs for a couple of clients, I was left to while away an entire rainy afternoon and I thought, there’s water everywhere, why not add some to my fashion sketches. I had recently been inspired by all the amazing watercolor artwork of my good friend, Cynthia, so I dug up my watercolor sable brushes (from college!) and tried my hand at my first watercolor & pencil fashion sketch.

photo(1)First a quick pencil outline…

Here’s a short clip painting in the details–it’s funny, I hold the brush like a pencil!

photo 2The sketch is based on my piña silk barong tunic with lace bib design (& model Daniela Kocianova)

It was so much fun, I think I’ll try to make time to do it more often :-)

What This Picture Paints

Who doesn’t love surprises? I know I do :-) And I just want to share an unexpected treat that Ito and I received yesterday. My good, good friend and Fine Arts classmate, Cynthia Bauzon-Arre, surprised us with these dreamy watercolor renditions of our recent fashion shoot which she posted on her Instagram account
Now Cynthia also happens to be a prolific, multi-awarded graphic designer, illustrator and artist who has done countless artwork that have graced the album covers of some of our favorite Filipino bands (hello, Eraserheads!). What I’ve always loved about her work though, is its distinctive style–a combination of a soft-focus romanticism with a sharp eye for detail. Check out the video below of her at work!

Glazing in progress ???? #watercolor #wip #paintingvideo A video posted by Cynthia Bauzon-Arre (@arncyn) on

She has only just recently taken up her watercolor brushes again, although she has other equally beautiful illustration styles that still retain her point of view, like these gorgeous note cards that she gifted me with last Christmas which she hand-printed from her own sketches. So, so, so pretty! (I just had to gush)
It’s such a blessing to have people in our lives who are not only amazingly gifted, but are truly amazing individuals and treasured friends as well :-)

Putting It Together

Finally! After obsessing over my baskets (read Diary of a Picnic Basket) for the better part of the summer, we recently went on another road trip up North and got to put them to use. Preparing a picnic, like preparing an outfit, is best when it’s effortlessly–but not haphazardly–put together. Thankfully, even though weather forecasts predicted thunderstorms in Baguio, we were greeted with sunshine and cool weather for our baskets’ first foray.

L1160784The cool temperatures and scent of pine were a welcome change from Manila’s heat

DSC_0588These vintage-print denim culottes that I designed were perfect for lounging outdoors


For the simplest picnic with no cooking required, I packed cold cuts, cheese, fruit, a crusty baguette, biscuits, and some drinks–absolutely fuss-free! Oh, and linen table napkins, just because ;-) We also had our summer playlist and a deck of cards as we lazed about and enjoyed the weather (read Tips On a Picnic).

L1160834A small candle was a good way of keeping the bugs at bay

L1160822We found an idyllic spot that was peaceful and away from the crowds to settle down in

DSC_0635Our zip up coolers were packed with frozen water bottles which kept our drinks chilled

L1160823We took care of the food, Mother Nature took care of the ambience

IMG_7327It’s never truly a picnic without a visit from this little guest

DSC_0617Life’s little pleasures can be found anywhere you can set up a picnic ;-)

*Photos by Ito

Tips On a Picnic*

Dining al fresco is probably one of my most favorite things to do and with Ito’s and my fondness for road trips, a picnic just takes it a step further by allowing us to literally dine al fresco anywhere.

So what are some of the things to consider when planning a picnic? First thing would be the weather, and it’s not just the rain we need to watch out for. Extremely hot & humid days make for a very uncomfortable experience as well. A weather app is our BFF when planning to dine outdoors!


Next, when choosing a picnic spot, we shouldn’t limit ourselves to designated areas with hourly-tables-for-rent. Any place that isn’t off-limits, and preferably with a good view, is a possible choice for a set up. A shady spot in a park, a rooftop garden, a grassy field out of town, a sandy beach…the options are as varied as our moods.


What to pack? It depends on the kind of picnic we’re planning, but my personal preference is to pack food that tastes good at room temperature and doesn’t need too much prepping. A picnic blanket (and a roll-out rubber mat in case the ground is rocky or uneven), and maybe even a couple of throw pillows in case we find ourselves wanting to nap after the meal.

Other items to bring along are a good book or a deck of cards (I have this lovely, vintage, still-wrapped-in-plastic-til-I-opened-it set of cards that used to be my Lola’s). Also, practical things not to forget are garbage bags and wipes for cleaning afterwards.


And last, but not least, it’s important to prepare a good playlist! (I love fun, lively mixes that include lesser-known, quirky music which set the tone while still allowing us to enjoy the sounds of our surroundings.)

What about you? Do you like picnicking outdoors? If you do, what are some of your favorite tips?

*Silly pun for “Tippi On a Picnic” ;-) / **Photos by Ito


Diary of a Picnic Basket

It all began in a little open-air store by the side of a road…

Little did I know back then, when Ito pulled over so I could take a peek at the ubiquitous baskets on display, that taking home that one picnic basket would get me started on a summer-long personal project/obsession to customize it!

IMG_7278Sturdy rattan baskets being made in the mountains of Benguet

Here’s what I did to custom-design my picnic basket (in case you’d like to do the same). First thing was to line it with something pretty–I found some leftover toile de jouy in my old fabric stash (I also put a thin layer of fiber padding backed with some nude-colored fabric so that the basket lining could cushion the items inside, as well as be removed and washed if it got soiled with food).


Next was to match it with some utensils and picnic ware. I always love playing with contrasts in my designs, so I thought that some sleek, modern plates and glasses would work perfectly with the rough textured rattan.

I fashioned a board on the cover of the basket wrapped in the printed fabric and this served as the base for holding the lightweight picnic ware and utensils. I had to play around with the arrangement for a bit to find the best layout, then I pinned grosgrain ribbon to hold the items in place and to mark it for sewing.


I also added a slim pocket in the side to hold items (Ito had this little portable solar panel that fit perfectly. It could be used for charging phones, or an iPad and also for powering a music player!).


Over the summer, when we went island hopping, I came across another store in Palawan selling lovely woven crafts and baskets.

IMG_7075Lighter, airier baskets in the islands of Palawan

This time I found a lightweight basket that made the perfect complement to the first one (I didn’t want the baskets to be too matchy-matchy)…


…as it could be used to carry additional items and even turned out to be the perfect size to hold two zip-up insulated containers for any food and drinks that needed to stay warm/cool.


Now the only thing left to do was to fill the baskets with goodies and enjoy an actual picnic :-)

*Photos by Tippi Ocampo

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 :-)


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.



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.





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 :-)



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 :-)






*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!

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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