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Bea Zobel, Jr. and daughter Paloma create a home filled with love for all things Filipino

By CHRISTINE DAYRIT, The Philippine STAR Published May 24, 2023 5:00 am

A lot of love went into this home.

“It was a great team effort to make this project come true,” says design-entrepreneur Paloma Urquijo Zobel de Ayala about creating the impressive Bahay Artisano in El Nido. 

This Filipino-themed home surrounded by a lush rainforest was originally meant for visionary mom Bea Zobel, Jr. and her daughter Paloma to live in. “But there’s only the two of us who will be sleeping here,” they realized. 

In early 2022, they decided to make Bahay Artisano a part of the Kalye Artisano ecosystem by turning it into an Airbnb for everyone to enjoy and appreciate Filipino architecture at its finest.

Bahay Artisano is the perfect “eat-pray-love” retreat.

The amazing mother-and-daughter tandem from one of the country’s most illustrious families, Bea Zobel Jr. and Paloma, have successfully created the impressive Kalye Artisano—a collective of community-based businesses, The Earth School and artists featuring artworks, woven items, paintings, baskets, jewelry, and more with sustainability as their advocacy.

The mother-daughter team Bea Zobel, Jr. and daughter Paloma Urquijo Zobel de Ayala envisioned a dream home (right) by the beach.

Their Bahay Artisano is a stunning property that merges local talent and ingenuity. “It is a house that was inspired by traditional Filipino architecture but with a contemporary twist,” adds Paloma.

Today, this magnificent two-villa property, which is their home in El Nido, is now open to those who would like to stay in this special space that offers a calm and tranquil experience. The property also features a lap pool with a bar, a beautiful kitchen for whipping up delectable dishes, a loft for children, and dining rooms beside the pool. It is a space where families can truly enjoy quality time together.

Bea Zobel, Jr. knows the best seats in the house are proudly Filipino.

Your stay at Bahay Artisano includes daily breakfast and accommodations for eight. The collective team of local chefs can specially curate your other meals, offering a variety of local and international cuisines such as Thai, Continental, Spanish, and more.

While staying here, you can also immerse yourself in various crafts and skills, including pottery, weaving, cooking, and harvesting produce. You can even engage in yoga and other calming activities on the yoga deck.

Stepping outside Bahay Artisano, you can embark on a forest hike to the nearby Lio Beach, explore the local cafes and shops, or visit other places of interest, like Seda Lio.

This reminds us of the many paradises that are found in our El Nido resorts.

AirSwift Airlines Philippines connects you to some of the archipelago’s most iconic destinations. There are direct flights to El Nido, Palawan, and this boutique airline assures travelers of worry-free flights.

In Seda Lio, they have luxurious rooms and facilities and you are located along the longest stretch of Lio beach.

Seda Lio covers a four-hectare property that opens out to the Lio Tourism Estate’s main centerpiece, a four-kilometer stretch of beach with fine sand. The sprawling, three-story hotel is surrounded by lush greens and a pristine beach. Beautiful sunsets can be enjoyed here, together with several hip bars and cafes.

Seda Lio covers a four-hectare property that opens out to the Lio Tourism Estate’s main centerpiece, a four-kilometer stretch of beach with fine sand. The sprawling, three-story hotel is surrounded by lush greenery.

A quick, 30-minute speedboat ride on the smooth, glassy sea takes you to Pangulasian Island Resort with its pristine white sandy beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Its luxurious villas offer stunning views of the beach or the lush forest. El Nido Resorts now have new menus and an enhanced and upgraded look.

“The vision for Bahay Artisano was to create a ‘stay’ component for the Kalye Artisano ecosystem. For over six years, my mother and I have been building the Kalye Artisano community to offer visitors a truly authentic and immersive experience into the daily life of El Nido,” shares Paloma.

Furniture and accessories were done by skilled Filpino designers and artisans.

Bea explains: “There are enough mattresses for eight people. We want everyone to be comfortable. There is an air-conditioned loft on the second floor. I did not put curtains anymore on the glass window in the loft, though I’m worried that if the sun shines brightly in the morning, the children might wake up at 5:30 and disturb their sleeping parents.”

Paloma continues, “We were fortunate to work with a lot of creatives and artisans on this project, starting with architect Deo Alrashid Alam, who pieced together the functionality of a traditional torogan house with all the contemporary amenities travelers and guests would need for a comfortable stay.

“We worked closely with Nuno Finez, one of our artists in residence at Kalye Artisano for all the woodcarvings and rattan and bamboo cladding. We worked with local artist Frances Mendoza for the murals and hanging art and a lot of the furniture comes from Mom’s close friend, Milo Naval.”

Cozy bedroom in the charming villa

I was pleasantly surprised to see my dear friend Antonio Garcia, who owns Mabolo flowers, while touring the house. The lush gardens, towering plants and beautiful landscape inside and surrounding Bahay Artisano was done by local landscape team, Greenscape.

At Bahay Artisano, we were warmly welcomed by Bea herself, a woman so kind, down to earth, and gracious. She offered us a delightful spread of cakes, pastries, samosas, local rice cakes, hot chocolate, and refreshing fruit juices, like ice-cold passion-fruit juice with mint leaves. She said these dishes were made by the local folk who cooked the kakanin, brewed the batirol, and prepared the savory dishes.

A charming bathtub in shades of pink in Bahay Artisano

Bea and Paloma emphasize that Bahay Artisano is not just a rental villa but also a place for guests to experience the best of everything Filipino: architecture, cuisine, class, heritage, legacy, creativity, and craftsmanship.

“The most special part of this process for me was being able to be part of a team that was able to identify what we wanted to showcase from the past and how we could bring that into a modern-day setting,” says Bea. “We were able to study old Filipino architecture and craftsmanship and create a new house that will still tell an important story of our past and hopefully inspire others to look at our rich culture and craftsmanship when building.”

A lush landscape for Bahay Artisano is inspired by rainforests.

Bahay Artisano is located in the picturesque landscape of El Nido. Like Kalye Artisano, it is part of the Lio Estate of award-winning developer Ayala Land, Inc.

This two-villa haven is the perfect place to experience the retreat of “eat, pray, love,” where nutrition for the body, mind and soul is offered.

Paloma proudly notes, “My mother has a history of working on projects to preserve ancestral homes. This is a new direction but it is her second project where she was able to take elements of the Filipino architecture she loves and respects so much but really making it her own. I’m learning from her along the way.

“It has been a real pleasure and honor to work alongside her on such projects and to see her love of country shine through. Her energy and enthusiasm when discussing Filipino design is contagious.”

Paloma adds: “We hope guests and travelers feel the love we put into Bahay Artisano.”

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For reservations for Bahay Artisano, call Sheila Evano at 09175339719.

AirSwift has direct flights daily from Manila to El Nido: