art & design, costume design, filmmaking, food trip, interior design, movies, set design

i am love (io sono l’amore)

one of the most gorgeous films ive seen in recent years is practically unknown on this side of the world and i wonder why. tilda swinton stars in I Am Love (2009), a sweeping melodrama directed by luca guadagnino, production design by francesca balestra di mottola, set decoration by monica sironi, costume design by antonella cannarozzi, cinematography by yorick le saux and features previously produced music by john adams.  this film is just exquisite, from the opening titles that evoked classical italian cinema to the magnificent modernist interiors of villa necchi and the impeccable tailored costumes by fendi (sylvia venturini fendi is an associate producer) and jil sander (with raf simons) plus the elegant plating and emotion of carlo cracco’s culinary masterpieces.

the deliciously stylish film, set in milan in the year 2000, follows a haute bourgeoisie family through changing times and fortunes, and its disruption by the force of passion. the title is taken from a line from the aria La mamma morta, which is explored in the film philadelphia (starring tom hanks and denzel washington), a scene of which emma is watching while in bed with her husband, during the film. wiki source

the detail that went into the film is beyond words. it was a beautiful showcase of family, tradition and the unmaking of it. every frame of this film is a masterpiece and every scene just breathtaking.  i love the real time take on the opening sequence where the whole family arrives and sits for lunch while swinton, gorgeous in a burgundy dress, orchestrates the household serving the perfect meal from her seat.

the opening titles had me at hello. it is reminiscent of many old films by visconti, hitchcock and the like

much of the film was set at the villa necchi campiglio in milan, which is a character in itself. the interiors, reckoned the producers, were a wonderful mix of home, museum and prison.  i marveled that the director highlighted the house by showing us not just the main rooms of the villa but also its kitchen, staircases, sitting rooms, entryways and even the househelp’s private quarters.


“I wrote a script that called for a cube of marble with a big staircase and sharp surfaces,” Guadagnino says. “I was banging my head trying to find a home that suggested great wealth but also a restrained sensibility.” After searching for years, he saw Villa Necchi in a book and immediately knew that it was the one. “It shows the obsession with perfection and details that the Milanese bourgeoisie have,” he says. “Old money always comes with great charm. Their real success is making others believe that money doesn’t exist — and luxury, as most people perceive it, doesn’t really exist in this house. It’s very severe, and feels almost unmovable, like a piece of rock.” source

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art & design, costume design, filmmaking, interior design, movies, musings, set design

60s love on the x-men

i was excited when teaser clips of this film were circulated.  what’s not to love? a younger batch of x-men in the 60s? it’s like porn. and rightly so, with the magnetic chemistry and undeniable bromance between professor charles x xavier and erik lehnsherr, played by james mcavoy and michael fassbender.

this may be the best x-men film out there for me. the pacing was right and fassbenber’s performance is just killer. he owned the film actually.  online reviews reflect a more mixed feedback but im all for this film. weak link was probably january jones, playing the white queen, because she doesnt seem to know how to act.  she always had this blank stare and looked like she’s eternally bored and it’s not a very convincing bored look in the first place!


but the biggest selling point for me with this film is the 60s look. i thought it was an obvious route for director matthew vaughn to take this movie to that era because he also did the 60s advertising tv series, mad men.  i apparently have mistaken him for matthew weiner haha.  vaughn, a totally different guy, produced lock stock and two smoking barrels with director guy ritchie (ex-mr.madonna) before he went on to direct stardust and kick-ass, among others.

credit for the gorgeous set design go to the production designer chris seagers and his team of art directors led by john king and dawn swiderski plus set decoration by erin boyd and sonja klaus. costume design is by sammy sheldon. i just love anything 60s-70s.  they’re so much fun to look at and do.  full info at  i do not take credit for the photos below.  details on the photos were taken from architectural digest.  im just a fan  🙂


more after the jump.

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art & design, costume design, interior design, musings, set design

bongga villa

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this was my first time to work with pokwang and she was very nice, even ordered lechon all the way from cebu (sabrosa) for the staff and crew. the costumes were care of ien beltran, a stylist friend who worked with us in brillante mendoza’s up coming movie, prey.  in saying this, im glad i only had to do props and set here because we only had about 2 days to prepare.  doing the costumes with everything else would have been crazy so im glad they got ien to handle all of costuming.  jeorge agcaoili was directing and so i had the privilege to work with him and the fun people at provil again.

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originally the director’s board featured a dark banquet hall and we decided to push the style a bit. i pulled inspiration from black swan’s production design.  i liked the woods backdrop in the dance hall and the modern design in the ballet director’s house (not pictured here– i dont normally put everything out in the pegs presentation because sometimes it doesnt work, and when it does it becomes a pleasant surprise)


wanted black, white and glass in the design with elements of twigs and small flowers.


however, we were later on informed that client wanted french or victorian so we had to drop black swan and went for something traditional.  although i loved my original design, i had to go with the higher echelons so i compromised and gave them this new set of pegs.

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art & design, costume design, interior design, set design

gawin mong light

shot the new emperador light tv ad with erik matti as director and featuring celebrity endorser ryan agoncillo and singer johnoy danao.  gawin mong light, goes this lovely ditty penned by johnoy. previously, my less than 6 degrees of separation from him is due to jerrold tarog’s high school fare, senior year, where johnoy’s music is featured.  thrilled to have worked with him, albeit now up close.

the set design was relatively easy to accomplish as i had my showroom favorites i wanted to feature in this tvc.  my pegs and design werent far off from what i eventually got for the shoot  🙂  here’s the location (below) in tagaytay.  apparently, manny pacquiao shot scenes for his wapakman movie here previously.

presented these pegs (below) to agency.  we were trying to make an eclectic mix of modern and pinoy furniture, like a butaka, but i later thought it didnt gel with the rest. what we retained though was the round synthetic abaca daybed, which i decided to put in another area of the room.


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art & design, costume design, filmmaking, interior design, musings, set design


probably one of the most fun shoots we did this year was working on the currently airing lola techie commercial for bayanDSL. lyle sacris directed all tvcs for bayanDSL’s lola techie ads and this would be my first working on this campaign with him. i had to recreate every detail of continuity from the previous commercials but the bedroom and kitchen were new ground so i was able to play around with it. it helped a lot that the location we shot in was amazing, with authentic vintage 70s furniture and gorgeous detailed work on ceiling and wall panels.

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had to introduce a few more elements to the house to push the lolatechi-ness in the design. i always love playing up the 70s feel in my designs and this was another opportunity to do so  🙂  i always get inspiration from amelie (directed by jean-pierre jeunet, design by aline bonetto (art director) and marie-laure valla (set decorator), and of course top photographer erwin olaf.  a lot of the toys in lola techie’s house are from direk lyle’s own collection, including worlds of warcraft and the matrix’s sentinel (which we wanted to put on her bed’s headboard but was taken out eventually).

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art & design, filmmaking, interior design, set design

SRR XII: Punerarya

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i know as a kid ive dreamt of doing a hollywood movie, or at least a star cinema one. but never in my wildest dream did i ever think id be doing a regal movie until it happened.  and i had to do a shake rattle and roll movie at that!

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joann banaga has always been telling me ill never know my full capabilities until i try doing a regal movie. this may be some sort of rites of passage for filmmakers like myself.  my affiliation with the monteverdes was always with dondon, mother lily’s son, who owns reality entertainment (of which i did a shelved project with chito rono eons ago) and revolver studios, where i do most of my tv commercial work.  there became a running joke on the set that goes: “weh, filmmaker ka? nag-regal ka na ba?”

i always had apprehensions when regal comes to the picture but i couldnt pass off the opportunity to work with jerrold tarog for his first mainstream movie. we’ve done 2 indies so far (mangatyanan and senior year) and it’s always great fun working with him and his motley crew of a staff.  so i blocked off september and october of 2010 for this movie.

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jerrold calling the shots from the bedroom

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dop mackie galvez

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me (still with braces), bianca balbuena assistant director, benjamin tolentino script con and sid lucero

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carla abellana, cited for an acting nomination for her work here at the metro manila film festival

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mercedes cabral sporting a preggie tummy on top of the film crew while bianca looks on

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our awesome cast sid lucero, jess evardone, anna vicente, gaby dela merced and the lovely ms. odette khan

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art & design, interior design, set design

set design photos

i like this new blog theme. i can post photos larger than 450 pixel-width sizes (the limit of my old blog theme) 🙂 that’s geekspeak for photos larger than 450 pixels wide  hehehe still confusing you? let me just show you. these are some photos of my tvc prod design works in the last year or so. the photos are 700 pixel-width! exciting! im such a geek

datu puti’s muhkasim festival

ufc’s tomato guisado. had to build a whole neighborhood street in studio

replicated pizza hut’s kitchen in the studio

lola techie channeling queen elizabeth in eq diapers’ shoot

that’s all the gold left in the kingdom.

i love this set. it’s my “amelie-in-balara” set for a meralco ad.

here’s another side of the room for the meralco ad. esp love the 70s lamp. the wall frames are tita tems’

the wood panel wall is an homage to my grandparents’ house in mindanao.  note their photo on the left. also tatems’ on the right.

felipe flores for viva mineralized water

modern chika for vicky morales’ living room

how’s this for a bedroom?

talk show set for tintin bersola-babao and anya’s eq diaper shoot.

evoking santorini in batangas

wake up to hundreds of balloons

candles galore for san marino tuna paella

romantic candle votives from SM and fake champagne. roses are from dangwa, of course

kitchen for another eq diaper shoot with vicky morales

dolfenal’s “bakit pa” mock film trailer shoot

a set-up of a room, which could very well be mine. those are all my books. and my sheets

onions have layers. my set for kremil-s

recreating tokyo tokyo restaurant in the studio, featuring the lovely AD christine blando

ufc banana ketchup. “bogart!”

deli shop for san marino


palagi nalang si pearl. shooting in caliraya river

kfc’s bucket of fries

sm-modern old house studio shoot

trudis liit before she was ubber famous. for ufc banana ketchup

alam mo na

basta ako, champion

ako din, champion.

benjamin padero

art & design, food trip, interior design, musings

van gogh is cuckoo

had a very interesting night at van gogh is bipolar. FA classmate egan jimenez held a photo exhibit that opened today at the cafe.  took me a 2nd tagging of his invites on FB to haul my ass off and go (i dragged jhem manalang along with me).  i missed the company of egan and van gogh owner jetro, plus sir tats enriquez (missed cesar hernando by a half hour) and had a wonderful night of conversation over beer and tea.

at the back wall are egan’s photos enlarged on plywood canvasses. i especially loved his amsterdam photo and the steps of the sistine chapel. jetro here decided to take off his shirt and wear the michelangelo’s david apron he got from italy.

listened to jetro’s stories in europe. his new motto in life is apparently hakuna matata. somewhere in scandinavia he met this old man with a thick white beard and long hair. he looked like a bum but jetro found out while talking to the guy that he was 1 of 3 remaining artists in sweden or something. And he plans to move in here in the philippines in november on fulfilling a life-long dream of retiring and dying here. and that he’s planning to buy an island and stay there. oh, and he has a pinay girlfriend.  i say, there’s no place like home.

flags of countries from jetro recent euro trip hang outside the cafe.

how is a tea party without tea pots?

jetro’s teas are grown from his own yard out in isabella. with the storm he tells me his trees have been uprooted. i asked, how was his family.  well, they have still have a roof, he says.


we dined at next-door black soup cafe but finished here in the red wall boudoir. the piece of knit hanging above i loved.  later i find out it was from gilda cordero. much later jetro tells me it was chinchin gutierrez’s costume from the stage musical, luna (aswang romance).  so much cooler.


jetro did not serve dinner that day but his cafe became a soup kitchen of sorts.  on the foreground is his chicken soup (lovely); in mid ground is his travel journal (which includes an unsent letter to oprah).

jetro confesses his trip eventually became spiritual. by the 3rd week in europe he unloads most of his stuff and sends it back to the pinas. along the way he’d leave behind some of his clothes, realizing he doesnt need so much material stuff. by the 3rd month in europe, he’s left with a shirt, his jeans, shoes and bag. he even gave away his cellphone. he’s slept on floors, in bus stations, dined with the rich and convened with the poor.  he tells me his life in manila is complicated, realizing people can live on less and be happy. and he realized he was afraid of so many things. he says, by learning to let go of all anxiety and fear, only then can we really live.

this lace umbrella, used as a shade, was sourced from belgium in jetro’s recent euro tour.

a lot of us have wild dreams of being rich and traveling all over, experiencing what the whole world has to offer. he’s prodding me it’s time to resume pursuing mine. jetro declared to robert he was leaving for europe then. robert asked when, to which he replied soon. jetro surmises if he didnt leave now then he might never will. so off he went, just like that.

if only we could be as adventurous with fate and destiny, we will realize we were always meant to be where we only thought we’d go.

and just like that, i became more inclined to take that trip back to europe to live out a fantasy.  ever since carlo was invited to go to europe (for work) in february next year, i wanted to go back there too.  my first euro trip 5 years ago was only 5 days long. now i wanna stay for a month or two!  i want to go back shooting my short films and a bit of photography so im vying for a good DSLR (how about a canon 550D for now?).  my finances will need to brace itself but maybe i need to live off the edge a bit.  otherwise i wouldnt get to where i need to be.  you only live once.  no day but today.

art & design, interior design

scandinavian chic

i swear on hamlet’s dad this is absolutely charming.

to be able to attain this kind of quasi-minimalist clutter here in the philippines, you gotta have a huge house. then add crazy big windows (which we have in mindanao btw) and you’re almost there. except that you’d be insane to put glass on your windows because it’s so hot here. and the sun never gets to this angle in the house. oh well.

omg eames chairs! and a coral! i know right? bad bad bad. but i love it! have one in my room.  and the big letters! hahaha im crazy cray cray over text i havent decided what to put on my walls!

the next two photos have darker walls but nevertheless charming.  and it can work in so many houses in the philippines who cant afford to do final plastering and paint their bare cement walls. all you need is a cheese cloth table cover and frame invisible pictures and you’re all set!  🙂

you can get more swedish love from emma’s design blog, so much love!

art & design, interior design, set design

kitchen! i love

how cute is this? i want a kitchen like this. exactly this much light exposure, contrast and pseudo grit. first i need a house.

then again, maybe i really just like that grocery signage they put above the shelves. i love text, i love type faces. i swear i will be tattooing “i love arial over verdana” on my arms one of these days.  reposted from country living