I’ve always wanted a home in Tagaytay! So when I collaborated with Avida Land Corp on the second Home Gatherings event in their Serin location in Tagaytay, I secretly wished and added to my vision board that I would one day own a holiday home there. (It can happen, right?)

For the second event, I tied up with my lovely stylist-cake master-“party-in-a-box”-friend, Maricel Mendoza of A Sweet Cottage, and with Gourdo’s for the dinnerware that would be used for the table styling tutorial. Maricel’s portion was super helpful! She shared her home party styling tips with us, using her handy “Party in a Box” as her tool. “It’s handy to have a box of decorating tools so you can make simple decors when you need to,” Maricel advised. She went on to demonstrate how to set a table for an intimate part of four people, and used a variety of dinnerware and props to create a charming tablescape. “These make your guests feel special, like, ‘Wow, this place was really prepared for me,'” she added.


A full house listened intently to Maricel — around 30 or so bloggers and media — as she gave her talk on homemaking and making home gatherings beautiful. Such practical tips! Her party in a box was part of the “challenge” for participants that afternoon, who were all tasked to make tablescapes using the props that were laid out for them by our sponsor and partners, Gourdo’s, a household name in home gatherings, naturally!



In addition, Ton and Shophouse Coffee team did a full coffee demo for everyone, especially the media who had never been introduced to the specialty coffee scene. (They sure had lots of questions, which Ton gamely entertained — good job, babe!)


We generally followed the same format as the previous Nuvali event for the workshop portion, with the addition of a short talk by me on “creating a meaningful home.” I shared three tips that I learned from my own mother on how to make a home, at least to my mom. I see how much sense her wisdom makes now that I have my own family to make a home for.

(By the way, here’s me assisting the hubby in his coffee demo.)


Basically, my mom’s tips are:

1. Your family should be the real “guests of honor” in your own home. We always had nicely-kept homes growing up. Not fancy, not luxury homes, but comfortable homes where things all seemed to come together nicely. That’s because mom always believed that the “nice things” in our home should be for us, those who lived there. Things weren’t meant to be kept in glass cupboards, to be viewed as decor or untouchables. We always had nice plates and flatware to use everyday, because what’s the point of keeping them locked up for company or for show? “Nice things are meant to be used,” Mom says.

(Speaking of nice things, I’m so glad Gourdo’s was our partner for this run, because my mom is a huge Gourdo’s fan and shopper! So appropriate!)


2. Always make sure you are ready to welcome people in to your home. Growing up in her family, my mom’s siblings were used to welcoming people to their homes. During her teen years, she recalled their home always being the place of choice for family reunions and get-togethers, mainly because it was fairly large. (She was the fourth out of 11 siblings.) Their home would host all kinds of barkadas, naturally, and was always ready with merienda for guests. When my mom made our home in Hong Kong and got heavily involved with women’s counseling in church, our home was often visited by Filipinas who came for sessions, or by other fellow expats. “Always have something to offer, even if it’s just biscuits and water,” mom always instilled in me. So today, I always have something small to offer to those who want to visit us. I may not have much, but you’re always welcome to drop by my teeny-tiny home! It’s what my mom taught me.


3. Teach your family tips 1 & 2, and they will be prepared for life. This is more about passing on a mindset of giving and gratitude. I can’t say I’ve done this perfectly, especially in they days I went through my “hermit phase” as a mom and homemaker, when I would escape into my home and not really want to see anyone. (I still struggle with those days sometimes, honestly.) But mom said that if we learn tips 1 & 2 and really live them out, we’ll be able to get through life and put up a decent home. I believe her!


Want to see what the guests that afternoon came up with?

Wine & Cheese Night theme

Wine & Cheese Night theme

Tea Time Theme, using powder pink and floral

Tea Time Theme, using powder pink and floral

Filipiniana Theme

Filipiniana Theme

Nautical Theme

Nautical Theme

We’d also like to thank our Blissful Brands & Businesses Group on Facebook, for their gift contributions for this special media event. Here are their Instagram handles so you can look them up!


Shophouse Coffee (bottled cold brew): @shophousecoffee | Neutra Organics (skincare): @neutraorganics | KSigns & Designs (acrylic trinket trays): @ksignsanddeisgns |Chunky Chewelries (custom necklaces): @chunkychewelries | Blooming Hobby (succulents/flower buckets): @bloominghobby |  Nanay Dulces (cookies): @nanaydulces  |  Treen Manila (tealight blocks): @treenmanila  |  A Vanilla Story (room spray / bug-off spray): @avanillastory  |  The Paper Menagerie (postcard/print): @thepapermenagerie  |  The Drunken Florist (fragrance diffusers: @thedrunkenfloristph  |  Gourdo’s (small vases): @gourdos

Thank you to Avida Land Corp for this opportunity. For more details on Avida’s options for homeowners, please visit their website and Facebook pages to talk to an Avida associate.