AwAy from the busy center of bAguio city is A house thAt’s A sAnctuAry to storied pieces And strong fAmily ties
I t’s not hard to feel at ease in this house. Warmth abounds—from the pleasant family milling about to the wooden furniture pieces that are rich in history.
Take, for instance, a small table that greets you on the loft: the top was originally the luggage of homeowner Aischa Bangaoet’s great-grandfather, an American, who took the suitcase with him as he was escaping the Japanese during World War II. The piece was preserved by Aischa’s mother Pynky Gomez-Magsino, owner of PNKY Vintage Collection (see our "Shop of the Month" on p. 18). There’s also a set of drawers that was originally owned by Aischa’s grandfather. This was passed on to Aischa’s mom, who used it as storage for her daughter’s baby clothes; it now sits quietly in a corner.
Having a mother who loves collecting and refurbishing antique and heirloom pieces obviously has its advantages. For one, Aischa and husband Bong already have the big pieces they needed when they moved in to this home more than a year ago. And more importantly, the passion and appreciation for old things rubbed off on Aischa, giving her a clear idea on how she wanted her home to look and feel like.
“My mom is my mentor. Actually, I think it’s an inborn gift for my mom and me,” says Aischa, who turned her back on being a medical doctor (her husband is a practicing surgeon) to pursue a more creative career in events styling. (Check out her work at www.thirtyoneevents.com.ph.) That gift was further nurtured by a special tradition that Pynky would practice for each of her children’s milestones. “She would gift us with a piece of furniture,” Aischa narrates. Turning 10 means getting a being 13 means getting a small side table, and so on.
But that’s not to say that Aischa has the exact same style as her mom. This 380-sqm property is a testament to a seamless coexistence of vintage pieces and modern trimmings. Aischa explains, “I really don’t want a completely antique house because we grew up with everything antique. But then, you know, through the years, people were able to make a fusion of modern and antiques, and it turned out really well.”
Awash in white, the whole house is a perfect backdrop for the big wooden pieces from Pynky’s furniture and décor shop PNKY. In the living area, leather sofas sit side by side with wooden tables. While the pieces are generously proportioned, the high ceiling and natural light from the big windows render the space airy and refreshing—even the family’s 10-year-old Golden Retriever, Coco, loves to plop down here to soak up the afternoon sun.
Right across the living area is the kitchen and dining area, the star of which is the richly grained kamagong dining table that’s on loan from Aischa’s mom.
On the same floor as these common areas are the bedrooms. Aischa and Bong’s room has the same feel as the living area—with big windows that keep the generally neutral space light and airy. Across their door is nine-yearold daughter Sofia’s room, which, of course, also sports PNKY pieces mingling with Sofia’s toys and accessories. Meanwhile, next-door is Rafael’s (Aischa and Bong’s eldest son) room, which is also dressed in vintage furniture.
A staircase leads you to the Bangaoets’ loft, which houses Rafael’s study area and a den. Opposite the den is a small space for the family’s pet supplies. Aside from Coco, the Bangaoets also have feline family members: Chili, an American Shorthair; and Charcoal and Ash, which are of Himalayan breed. Right under this space is a catwalk— a private playground for these furry cats.
Touring the Bangaoets’ house may take quite some time, but it’s time well spent, what with all the interesting things that will pique your curiosity. Aischa is more than happy to tell the story of each piece. Occasionally, daughter Sofia excitedly interjects. The young girl jovially announces that she’s soon turning 10, hinting at the possibility of being gifted by her lola with an heirloom piece of her own. Apparently, in this family, furniture pieces get passed on from one generation to the next. And as they change hands, each piece gets a new story that makes it more precious than it already is.
Aischa and husband Bong originally wanted a bungalow, but Aischa’s mom suggested that they go for a high ceiling. To take advantage of the vertical space, Engr. Rionel suggested adding a loft, to which the couple agreed.
The den, while enclosed in low ceiling, does not feel stuffy nor is it cramped. Here, you’ll immediately notice an unusual asymmetrical bookshelf that lends a more playful vibe to the space, breaking the seriousness of more pieces from PNKY. “I was looking for a bookshelf that’s unique. I saw something similar, but we kinda made it slanted... So I just had our engineer copy it, and he got it,” says Aischa.