A Bali-Inspired Seaside Sanctuary in Cebu

An interior designer goes for a home that maximizes the majestic views

Original Article: Tom Castaneda Photography: Dairy Darilag Styling: Dagny Madamba and Tala Singson

With a breathtaking view of Camotes Sea, Magellan Bay, Mactan, this homeowner knew what she wanted from the get-go—make the most of the vista and build a seaside sanctuary where she and her family can relax and unwind. And as an interior designer, she had plenty of ideas in mind. She immediately translated her vision into floor plan sketches that were eventually handed over to an architect-friend to formalize the house plans.

The homeowner’s wishlist for her home by the sea had a few items. One, she wanted the home to blend into its natural environment. Wall-to-ceiling glass, sliding glass doors, and a rail-less staircase allowed for a seamless flow. She also wanted the swimming pool to be a couple of steps away from the house, inspired by a home she visited in Bali during a trip to Indonesia. Injecting a bit of warmth and a personal feel into the space are family heirlooms from their old house in Cebu City.

Apart from the huge effort put into ensuring the view as the focal point, the homeowner did not lose sight of what’s important. She expresses this sentiment well in this statement: “I wanted to have that same sense of having everything nearby, of being able to see and hear all the goings-on, even if I was upstairs and everything was happening downstairs. The home is big, but you still get the sense that the space is cozy and small because everything seems to be so close.” And this closeness, pertaining to both the physical and familial, makes their house with a spectacular sight a home—a cozy yet welcoming space not just for the family, but for their guests as well.

Read the original article ("By the Sea") in the April 2016 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.


The home’s entry point is located at the side. The homeowner insisted on this so that their guests would immediately notice the view. A foyer bordered by an indoor pond welcomes guests before opening to the main living areas, seen here. 


A large version of Cebu-based designer Kenneth Cobonpue’s “Constellation” chandelier lights up the foyer. This stunning piece chosen by the homeowner’s husband is comprised of 24 hanging glass-lamps wrapped in woven buri and suspended from metal rods.

Living Area

Warm hues dominate the elegant living area. The Balinese daybed, the Indonesian lounge chair, and antique sewing machine repurposed into a lamp are just some of the antiques that the homeowner decided to showcase in their seaside dwelling.

Dining Area

More pieces came from their old Cebu City home, like these striking pieces in the dining area: the 10-seater magkuno (ironwood) table and crystal chandelier.

Master Bedroom

More antiques from their old home fill the master bedroom, such as the four-panel antique wood and capiz window shutters. The red Pout chair is by the homeowner's friend designer Debbie Palao; you can purchase it at Holicow in Cebu. 

Master Bedroom

An ensuite bathroom is adorned with ylang-ylang windows, evoking a traditional feel to the space. The homeowner originally had this in her previous home. "It's exactly what I needed as an accent on the wall that separates the bedroom from the bathroom. And I can open them up while taking a bath and still look out to the sea." 

Outdoor Living Area

A variety of wooden seating options are available for those who want to breathe the fresh air by the poolside. This patio overlooks the beach. 

Outdoor Seating Area

In one corner overlooking the pool are several repurposed pieces. The sofa was crafted from railroad ties, while the small wooden chair in the foreground was originally a birthing stool.

Outdoor Seating Area

The spot near the pool has a refreshing vibe, thanks to this pair of lounging pool chairs in a sunny shade of lime green that’s decidedly brighter than the other pieces in this home.

Powder Room

With its open-air pocket garden, this powder room is the closest the owner can get to having an “outdoor” bathroom. It features a low wooden magkuno wooden counter and an antique Balinese window frame. The toilet area at right is divided into "his" and "hers" cubicles.

Wall Detail

These old-fashioned, white and green glass floats at the indoor pond make for a great conversation starter. These decorative objects never stay in the same place, according to the homeowner.

Decor Detail

A handmade Turkish ceramic bowl—a gift from the homeowner’s niece—blends perfectly with the house’s aesthetic. The homeowner purchased these hand-carved stone eggs at the foot of Mt. Sinai during a trip to Egypt. 

Seaside View

Nothing beats this incomparable view after a long day. Aside from serving as a welcoming break, it's also a perfect backdrop for family get-togethers and parties.

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