A Rustic Filipino Rest House in Tagaytay

An architect builds his family home using excess construction materials and Pinoy elements

Original Article: Sunshine Selga Funa Photography: Miguel Nacianceno Styling: Issa Villar and Paula de Guzman

Homeowners Raul and Maribel live in a rustic retreat home on a pineapple plantation just off the road to Tagaytay. On sunny days, the couple can sit on the porch and appreciate the postcard-pretty view of rows of pineapple set against a crisp, blue sky. This idyllic setting adds charm to the family home.

Raul, an architect by profession, explains that he acquired the property in 1990. In 2003, he built the 350sqm structure using leftover materials from his various projects. He also made use of things from old houses. For example, the pillar at the porch is made of excess Vigan bricks and the coffee table bases are made from unused rebars. 

Five years ago, the couple started receiving inquiries regarding their rest house. In line with this, they decided to turn a part of the property into a bed and breakfast called Casa Mara. 

For inquires about Casa Mara bed and breakfast, call 0922-831-6341.

Read the original article ("A Slice of Heaven") in the September 2014 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details.


Raul and Maribel's rest house is a warm, cozy, and comforting space. Since it is now occasionally used as a bed and breakfast, guests can see the beauty of the property in person.


The plant-covered trellis is made of old wood bought from a store along the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Road.


The porch offers an unobstructed view of pineapple fields. It is furnished with a daybed assembled using wood from old houses. 


Just like the rest of the house, the porch features an interesting combination of old pieces. 

Capiz window

This rustic Capiz window from Ilocos is paired with bul-ols from Palawan and Baguio.

Dining Area

The pieces in the dining area came from different places. The wooden dining set was purchased in Tagaytay, the dramatic capiz chandelier was a gift from a friend, and the artwork was saved from one of Raul's projects.

Vigan bricks

Raul uses Vigan bricks to add a Filipino touch to all of his projects. He thinks that these bricks serve as a link to our Philippine culture and heritage. In this living area, he used it to create an accent wall.

Living Area

In the living area, the Vigan brick-clad wall is complemented by a center table from Pangasinan and a wooden seat that Raul designed. It was built by a Tagaytay-based furniture maker.

Customized TV cabinet

The customized cabinet with a swiveling base allows the family and guests to watch TV from the living area and the anteroom.

Customized TV cabinet

Raul decorated the TV cabinet with  glass "bull's-eye" stones. You can also spruce up your old pieces with a few interesting touches.

Capiz chandelier

Since the living area is simply furnished and decorated, the eye is drawn toward the draping chandelier.

Capiz chandelier

Raul shares that they purchased the chandelier and other Pinoy-made pieces because they love to support local suppliers. Maribel adds that everytime they travel, they buy something to help the local industry.


The deck is another ideal spot for resting, relaxing, and simply appreciating the beauty of the space. A guest can come out here with a glass of iced tea in one hand and a favorite book in the other. 

Guest Room

In this guest room, a wall is decorated with a painting by artist Elaine Navas and shadowboxes built using excess wood from Raul's projects.

Master Bedroom

Unlike the rest of the house, which are defined by brown shades, the master bedroom is a vision in white. The bed is adorned with a delicately cascading canopy from a Tagaytay store. To make the space even cozier, it has woven pandan ottomans from Laguna and simple rugs from Narda’s in Baguio.

Narda's is located at 151 Upper Session Road, Baguio.

Master Bedroom

On one side of the master bedroom is an old cabinet from one of Raul and Maribel's friends, an Ifugao chair, and another painting by Elaine Navas.


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