A Relaxing Tropical-Asian Home In Zambales

Much like a resort, the 3,000sqm Zambales compound has a main house, three gazebos, a patio, and a swimming pool

Original Article: Katherine Lopez & Paula de Guzman Photography: Miguel Nacianceno Pictorial Direction: Tala Singson

Who wouldn’t want to rest in a quiet place after a busy week or after years and years of working? Homeowner Mina has found her sanctuary in Botolan, Zambales, a quiet town that is around four hours away from Manila. Her husband is from Botolan, and they have stayed in the town for three years when they got married in the ‘80s before moving to Manila.

“It’s considered our probinsiya, and then, when we had the chance, we thought that a retirement house would be nice to have in Zambales,” says Mina. Although there are plenty of beaches in Zambales, Mina did not want a vacation house on the beach because it is hard to maintain. When Mina and her husband saw the potential of this property, they bought it in 2003. “It’s his gift for our 20th wedding anniversary,” says Mina.  

Each area in the house reflects Mina’s love of decorating and her preference for Asian style. “The whole property is a personal expression. It’s all about me,” she says.Mina was very much involved throughout the whole decorating process–from choosing the big-ticket items up to fixing up the smallest details. She furnished it with bespoke furniture by Cainta-based furniture maker Focolare, while old pieces were given new life.

Mina says this house is a nice place to go home to. “I like that it’s quiet. You get to enjoy the mountain breeze. It’s relaxing. Time is slow,” she says. “It’s very rural to me.” And she likes it that way. For her, having a vacation home in the province is something to look forward to. “It is to provide an alternative to your kids, that life isn’t all about the city. I think it’s very important to have that.” 

Garden & pool

On the 3,000sqm lot stands the main house, three gazebos, a swimming pool, and a tiled patio—all these serve as lounging spots for Mina’s family and their friends and relatives, especially during Holy Week, when the house is full of guests. In fact, these Holy Week sojourns with the whole family and with the househelp are what Mina considers remarkable. “Those are memorable. We saw our nieces and nephews grow up, and they still enjoy it the way they enjoyed it then,” she says.

Tiled patio

Mina says they usually have breakfast here in this patio when they stay in this house in Botolan. A swing suspended from a tree adds an idyllic charm and makes this area more appealing for lazing around. For a similar hanging lounge chair, go to Jungle Vines Furnicraft at Granada Street, San Juan. 

Blue gazebo

Sheer white curtains shield this gazebo from the afternoon sun and give this outdoor area some privacy. Like in the main house, red is used here as an accent. You can similar lamps from Decor.

The white sleigh bed belongs to Mina’s daughter Candice when she was young. Now, it functions as a daybed for relaxing afternoon naps in the gazebo.

Asian gazebo

Relatives and guests usually converge here for gatherings during Holy Week. This gazebo comes complete with sofas for lounging and tables and chairs for dining. Like the other gazebo, curtains add privacy and help filter the harsh rays of the sun.

Japanese gazebo

Tucked in a corner of the property is another gazebo. Its thatched, hut-like structure is very rural-looking, but the sitting area inside is Japanese-inspired, with its low tables, floor pillows, and Japanese Noren curtain panels.


The Asian theme continues into the main house, which is designed in a modern-contemporary style.

Living & dining areas

On the first floor of the main house is an open space that includes the living area, dining, area, and kitchen. Pops of red—one of Mina’s favorite color—can be seen. “I like red as an accent. It gives life to a space, no matter how dull,” she says. Meanwhile, she had the kitchen painted yellow because for her, yellow is “very warm, very pleasing.”

Reading nook

On one end of the hallway upstairs is what Mina calls her reading corner. “In the afternoon, you just open the windows and it’s so cool. The afternoon sun is at the back kasi,” she says.

This article originally appeared in the travel feature "Center of Attention" in the April 2015 issue of Real Living magazine. 

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