A Combination of Two Cultures in a Family Bungalow

Loud, bright colors and native wooden furnishings make for a cheerful home away from home for this Mexican family

Original Article: Amillah Rodil Photography: Miguel Nacianceno Styling: Gwyn GS Guanzon and Issa Villar Interior Designer: Vivian Gacad

With two young children and constant country moving, it’s no wonder that Rossana and Sergio want their home away from home to feel as much as their own country as possible. Originally from the Yucatan Peninsula, Southeastern Mexico, this family has lived in different countries over the years because of Sergio’s job. Now based in Manila, the family stays in a spacious one-level house in a quiet subdivision. The house is the perfect size for the Menendez brood, with a master bedroom, a kids’ bedroom, playroom, and study. The living and dining areas open out to a lanai facing a pool.

With the help of interior designer Vivian Gacad, the family made the clean, white walled house a home. Using bold colors reminiscent of Mexico, each room is painted with a different color (a common practice in Mexico), reflecting the mood for the space – the living and dining areas are painted bright yellow for happiness, the master bedroom a dark blue that’s easy on the eyes, the study and kids’ room in blue-green for focus and relaxation.

The couple wanted to fuse their Mexican-inspired home with Filipino elements and requested furnishings made from native trees and palms, like bamboo, narra, and rattan. The main furnishings of the house, including the custom-made beds, were 100% Filipino made.

Original article by Amillah Rodil. Styling by Gwyn GS Guanzon and Issa Villar. Photographed by Miguel Nacianceno.

 Read the original article (“Mexicans in Manila”) in the May 2006 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at


See the Filipino elements at play at first glance from the outside. Bamboo lines the facade of the house, acting as shades to keep the interior private. The dense green shrubbery that borders the house soften the sharp lines the structure makes, keeping the place welcoming.


The bright yellow walls immediately give you a warm welcome, along with the light streaming through the glass panels on the main door. A simple black table and a painting by Filipino painter Ivan Acuña complete the space.

Hobby Corner

The walls in the den are dark red, which reflects less light, making the space ideal for watching TV. The den offers a stunning view of the pool at the center of their home. The floor to ceiling windows let natural light shine through, which also makes the den a perfect reading nook, complete with a relaxing view.

Filipino Touch

Giving the Mexican red walls some Philippine flavor, the curtain rods are made of bamboo stalks bundled together.

Dining Area

To match the lively yellow walls, a painting by Filipino painter Ivan Acuña complements the color of the room and offsets the wooden furniture. The texture of the painting gives the room an extra dimension, keeping it from blending in or looking flat. Meanwhile, the furniture, a harmonious blend of narra, rattan, and wicker, keeps the loom from looking excessively bright, giving the room a perfect balance.


The walls are terracotta, bringing to mind the color of traditional oven bricks, immediately giving it a homey kitchen feel. Wide windows show the fantastic view outside, even when doing the mundane like washing the dishes. To liven the area, accents like designed candles and a plant adorn the sink.

Master Bedroom

Bring culture into your home. In Mexico, all houses have hammocks, something that the family wanted for their home in the Philippines. Hanging beside the bed in the master bedroom, the hammock is perfect for sleeping or relaxing. The dark blue walls heighten the tranquil atmosphere.

Kids' Playroom

Instead of painting the walls with a bold color, the playroom is painted with a neutral color. The room plays with various pops of color instead, with colorful lanterns hanging from the ceiling at different heights and bright striped orange curtains. With the décor this way, even the children’s toys match the room!


Since the bathroom walls are already red, it only needed a little accent. Indigenous woven textiles hung on a bamboo ladder gives the powder room all it needs to stay in theme.


An open sided porch or lanai faces the pool. Natural materials like wood, rattan, and wicker create a furnished set, with soft white cushions on the chairs, giving it a hotel feel. Beautiful flowering plants help give color and life to the place.

Swimming Pool

A unique feature of the house are a pair of wooden swings that hang by a roof beam near the pool.

Hidden Nook

Hidden in a corner outside the house is this cozy nook meant for a quick meal or quick work errands.


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