Inside A Classic, Art-Filled Country House In Tagaytay
A cool and crisp southern breeze welcomed us as we made our way to this delightful house in Tagaytay. Pine trees lined the wide avenues leading to the country-style structure. The property is encircled by a well-manicured lawn, the bright green colors a perfect contrast to the monochromatic white of the house’s facade.
No high walls are present in this space, only the garden and the main house. The modern country house design is perfect for the cool Tagaytay weather. The whitewashed walls are paired with dark hues, positively moderne in aesthetic, but the house retains the hallmarks of a classic country house.
The two-storey structure features a gable roof and French windows and doors. A lovely porch is adjacent to the garden area, a perfect spot for parties and merienda. The veranda, which wraps around the house, is also accessible through the garden.
The veranda is partly enclosed by a railing, and extends across the front and sides of the structure. Upon entering the house through the porch, one immediately perceives the thoroughly modern aesthetic of the space, a stark contrast to the seemingly classic country house facade of the exterior.
Whitewashed walls dominate the interior design, lending the space a clean pristine look, a fitting canvas to be adorned by the hosts’ numerous artworks.
The living room is an airy, open-space loft, with part of the second floor exposed to the guests on the first floor. Wooden beams are exposed on the ceiling, amplifying the beautiful gable design of the roof.
The entrance through the main porch is one of the favorite spots of the host in the house. “When you stand right on this spot, in the foyer, you can see this striking tableau of the living room framing the entrance to the dining room. It’s like a framed painting.”
This welcoming tableau is a prelude to the impressive collection of artworks displayed inside the house. “We’ve been collecting for years. Many of the art pieces here are from local artists, and a few are from our travels abroad,” confides our host. “I like paintings about harvest, prayer, and thanksgiving. It’s just a personal passion of mine. It reminds me of the blessings my family has received, and of the good things present in this world.”
When asked about his favorite art piece, the host points to the exquisitely carved wood on the wall by the staircase landing. “My wife’s gift to me,” the host says to us with a smile. The artwork was made by renowned artist Luis Acac, noted for his great skill in wood sculpting.
The sala also features a plethora of sculptures gathered from travels abroad. One can spy a few sculptures of Buddha from travels in Southeast Asia, while an Orlina piece takes pride of place in the center of the living room. Also in the living room are paintings by Fidel Sarmiento, noted for his distinctly Filipiniana-theme artworks featuring colonial period houses.
Scenes of everyday life in Yangon are also displayed in the sala. The host notes how the sceneries of everyday life in that country resemble ours.
A piece by noted painter Mario Parial is also seen above a French door in the living room. The piece is distinctly a Parial in aesthetic, and features children playing with kites.
Paintings of Juvenal Sansó are also a favorite of the host. Works from the Spanish-born artist are proudly displayed in the dining room, which holds a 10-seater table. Adjacent to the dining room is the kitchen and breakfast room. From the dining room, one can also access the outdoor dining area, with its wonderful garden view.
‘Nude room’ and ‘long-neck’
The study in the first floor also features plenty of artworks. Jokingly called the “nude room” by the host, the space contains beautiful works featuring the human body. At the center is a work by National Artist Benedicto Cabrera, better known as BenCab.
At the second floor, one is immediately struck by the stark red sofas and dark brown coffee table diorama. Above this is a work by popular painter Dominic Rubio, renowned far and wide for his distorted “long-neck” figures, and consistent theme of colonial Filipino life.
To the far right of the second floor landing is a prodigiously sized artwork by Guy Custodio. The art piece is perfectly placed above a collection of antique idols, since the renowned artist’s work always hints at the divine.
Custodio is an expert in recreating the aesthetics of Spanish colonial religious art pieces. The artist often uses molave wood, and his works use Byzantine-like color schemes and often features scenes of piety and prayer.
In the second floor, one can also find the bedrooms. One is colored in gaily designed shades of pink, while the other features a more masculine color scheme of ocean blue, white, and dark brown.
After exploring this country style house, our host completes the charming countryside experience by treating us to a delightful merienda at the garden porch, where we while away the long afternoon with iced tea and delicious Filipino delicacies.
*This article was originally published in Metro Home & Entertaining magazine.
Photographs by Paola Aseron for Metro Home & Entertaining