Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte’s Simple But Charming Condo

Check out the Asian-bohemian home Joy lived in before becoming Quezon City’s second-in-command

Original Article: Amillah Rodil Photography: Ava Lugtu Pictorial Direction: Rachelle Medina

Not many know this, but Joy Belmonte—the current Vice Mayor of Quezon City—is an archaeologist. When her visitors find this out, they wonder: Where are the artifacts? Where are the skulls, bones, and the Indiana Jones hat? “We’re not allowed to take them home,” says Joy with a smile.

More than ten years ago, before she got married and filed for public office, Joy lived in this simple, two-bedroom unit in a high-rise condo. It was a modern space, but the homeowner’s fascination with the old and exotic was seen in every corner. Each room had its character: the living area was Asian; the dining area was Filipino, the master bedroom was Zen, and the guest bedroom was young and hip.

“When I was in graduate school [at the institute of Archaeology at London University], I studied Southeast Asia and South Asia [culture] and did my internship in Thailand. The living room contains most of what I collected during my travels.” While the main living areas were distinctly Asian, the guest bedroom was whimsical with prints from the cartoon series Adventures of Tintin. “Tintin was a journalist, an adventurer,” explains Joy. “I liked the idea of travel, adventure, and looking for artifacts.”

Even though Joy has since moved on from her archaeology past onto the more hectic government arena, she still continues her adventures, albeit focusing on women’s rights and the good of the general public. 

Master bedroom

“I prefer low beds,” Joy admits. “I like their air of simplicity and tranquility.” The condo’s floor-to-ceiling windows keep the master bedroom calm and bright. The mother-and-child painting at right is by National Artist HR Ocampo.

Guest bedroom

Joy got the embroidered bed quilt from Janpath Street in New Delhi, India. Abstract paintings by Christine Amador and Adventures of Tintin prints dot the wall. “It was designed so I can work here,” says Joy. On the other side of the bed, books on archaeology, history, and art fill a wall of shelves (not seen).


Simple cubular and streamlined shelves corral Joy’s various artifacts and 19th-century paintings. The 19th-century Madonna painting reflects her interest in women’s issues (Joy is a supporter of the women’s rights group Gabriela).

Living area

Joy’s living area exhibits a mix of cultures. “My parents [former Speaker of the House Sonny Belmonte and the late Betty Go-Belmonte] are very humanities-oriented. My father likes collecting art and old things.” The pillows and door hung as wall art are all from Thailand.

Lounge and Dining Areas

Designer RB Montes helped Joy set up her space. The lounge area is in a casual, laidback setting with a low cushion for a sofa, triangular Thai floor pillows, and tribal rugs. The dining set is vintage.

A Mix of Cultures

In one of the hallway shelves is a bust of St. Francis of Assisi. The old wooden panel to its left is a carved relief of miniature Buddhas. “Fusing elements of different cultures fascinates me, like when people integrate Christianity into their local customs,” says Joy.

Read the original article ("Fusion Digs") by Amillah Rodil in the October 2004 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details. 

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