BluPrint Magazine
by Juana Manahan

photographed by Emilio Esguerra

Approaching Puerto Galera on a bangka, one can already spot this sanctuary of four casitas. The Popi Laudico designed thatched-roof cluster cuts a distinctive silhouette against the famous port’s verdant backdrop.

Linked by white pebbled walkways and made in perfectly cylindrical shape, the casitas create an illusion of a bigger space. The use of large windows enhances the illusion of openness. Factor this into the shape of the casitas and you get a panoramic view of the beaches below and the hills that surround the property.

A T-shaped pool is accessible by going through a white-pebbled walkway, lined with beautiful native flowers, and then down a set of stairs. It is from this vintage point that one can truly appreciate the view of the entire house and the landscaped property with the oceans and mountains on either side.

The floors of the main house are built with a deep mahogany-colored wood, while the walls done in a lime finish provide a clean bright surface. All the furnishings in the living room are by interior decorator Yola Johnson. Known for using native materials in her furniture, Johnson incorporates them into modern shapes and when one sits in a chair that she designed, one does not get up. This is the entire feel of the whole living area where comfortable couches and large pillows are strewn across the room.


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Laudico’s villas with thatched roofs and cylindrical configuration recall to mind our ethnic roots. They lend an organic feel and blend well with its environs.

The living are descends into the dining are, which turn, opens out to a large terrace with views of the beach below. It seems then, that the living casita was placed right in the middle of a beautiful view. A small passageway connects the living are to the kitchen, whose fixtures in their modern and stainless steel glory cast an ironic twist when juxtaposed with the native delicacies prepared inside.

One finds two themed guest rooms downstairs. The first is built as if a Badjao princess lives there. The main bed has a frame of what looks like an old southern Badjao boat Canopies cover the beds, as there is no air-conditioning in the rooms because of the cool breeze that goes through the entire property. The second room, on the other hand, is smaller and is primarily built for a single guest. This room has raw silk drapes with a gold and green weave. Both rooms are infused with an enticing scent of sampaguita that draws one to sleep amidst the greenery.

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The T-shaped pool nestled amidst lush greenery

The master bedroom is a structure on its own. A curvilinear concrete wall stemming up almost, three-fourths to the ceiling separates the bedroom from its bath area, which comes with a freestanding bathtub set in rattan. The bathroom floor here, as with the other bathrooms in the house, is in stone making these area cool.

Despite the normally windy conditions of the area, the house remains stable as its main frame is built with solid stones. The vaulted roof, on the other hand, is thatched with beams made from coco lumber. And on a clear day, one can truly see forever (or at least to the cost of Batangas) from this beautiful mountaintop sanctuary.


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An infinite view of Puerto Galera from one of the villa’s balconies.








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The bathroom of the master bedroom with its innovative treatment of the freestanding tub set encased in rattan.












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Occupying one whole villa is the bi-level dining and living area. Its deep mahogany wood and simply constructed furniture pieces add warmth and rusticity to the design.