An Eclectic Filipino Home in Batangas

An array of treasures and select art pieces find a new lease on life in an unpretentious house in the province

Original Article: Chinggay Labrador Photography: Ocs Alvarez Styling: Gwyn GS Guanzon

Architect Gil Castillo – together with his siblings Victor and Manny, realized their parents’ home in Mabini, Batangas through recycling. The breathtaking abode is just a stone’s throw away from Anilao, a popular dining haunt in the area.

A petite-sized foyer that is chockfull of furniture welcomes guests as they enter the front door. The family’s eye for art is very evident as various artworks are seen throughout the house. From the foyer, a 16-foot cathedral ceiling living room will surely leave guests in awe. The yellow walls work well with the wooden ceilings – giving the space a comfortable and relaxing vibe. The living area opens up into the dining area which is highlighted by pieces from the family’s ancestral house.

Intricately carved wooden balusters, grillwork, and Capiz windowpanes, as well as art and other objects make up the new Castillo home, which possesses a refreshing mix of the old and new in its richly decorated spaces.

Original article by Chinggay Labrador. Styling by Gwyn GS Guanzon. Photographed by Ocs Alvarez.

Read the original article (“Eye for Art”) in the August 2007 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at


Choosing to be low key has its advantages. The quaint U-shaped bungalow lies unassuming and friendly, its well-landscaped entrance and cheerful yellow gate are testimonies to the secrets hidden inside.


Walking through the front door leads you to a petite-sized foyer that is chockfull of furniture, each belonging to a different style, but all coming together to create an inviting space that is full of character. Comfortable couches can be mixed with aluminum-and-glass coffee tables set in interesting angles, and topped with everything from woven decorative balls, a pretty bonsai, and a stack of hardcover art books.

Foyer Detail

A dark and robust wood console may be used to define a space across the seating area. Create a tableaux that incorporates varied works of art: from three-dimensional accessories to framed paintings. The foyer's high ceiling allows the hanging of a simple Japanese paper lantern. The grillwork was recycled from an ancestral home.


From the foyer, one is given a peek of the living area with its yellow walls.

Living Area

The foyer leads to a 16-foot-high “cathedral ceiling” living room, which is markedly the house's most surprising feature. Its walls are painted in a yellow that is strong yet fresh, and its ceilings are modestly simple, done in an unpretentious wood finish. This is the canvas where most of the recycled stuff can be seen. Many parts of an older ancestral house can now be found in the new home, such as recycled terra cotta tiles on the floor and carved wooden balusters now seen above the sliding door.

Living Area Detail

To cut the monotony of a one-surface floor plan, recessed floor areas that can be navigated by steps were integrated into the living room. Decorations and other finds sourced from regional travels populate the place into an eclectic whirl of activity.

Living Area Detail

Aside from eclecticism, bringing the outdoors in was deemed important. Potted plants in the form of bonsais and topiaries add a whiff of verdant green air.

Living Area Detail

A semblance of formality in the living room can be maintained by using one predominant color for upholstery. Meanwhile, the room should also become the repository for grand and formal furniture. A drop-down lamp may offer accent and task lighting.

Living Area Detail

Aside from natural light, one must also opt for various light sources. An overhead chandelier can provide ambient light.

Living Area Detail

Wooden accents and different pieces of art accentuate the living room.

Living Area Detail

As if to blend in with the surroundings, a control panel was placed in vintage looking piece then attached to the wall.

Living Area Detail

A show of eclecticism, different pieces and different themes can be seen in the living area. From wooden accents to oriental-inspired jars -- they all come together in the space.

Table Accents

Catching anyone's attention are these white and majestic Chinese-inspired table accents. White balances out the red tray and yellow walls of the area.

Dining Area

The living room opens up into a dining area that is decorated by pieces from the family's ancestral house. The eclectic style can be used to merge in a single settee various objects ranging from antique Chinese paper scroll screens to a turn-of-the-century Batangas-style buffet console, intricately carved wooden balusters and Capiz windowpanes that were recycled and have found new uses in the home.

Dining Area Detail

High ceilings encourage ventilation and makes a house look airy. It's also energy-efficient. Meanwhile, a mirror frames the head of the formal dining table and bounces off light from a nearby window.


In the master bedroom, no-nonsense accoutrements are placed, such as comfy bed, noise-absorbing wall hanging and a full-color photograph of a well-loved family.


An interesting garden wall can be constructed from various stones. This garden wall incorporates round rock and flat slate.

Garden Detail

Create your own Boracay beach by turning an outdoor garden into a beach scene. Add character by creating quaint arrangements that mix gravel and round stones with attractive plants. The curves break the straight lines and soften the landscape.


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