Many times, he is mentioned as the man behind the beautifully landscaped gardens of the who’s who of Cebu. Now we take a peak into the private escape and not-so-secret gardens of noted Cebu landscaper, Architect Jaime Chua.
Nestled up in the mountains of Busay sits a 1.7 hectare property which Jaime Chua has been using as a nursery for his landscape business for over a decade. It was only in 2010 when he decided to build a weekend home in the middle of all the lush greenery. With the help of his friend, self-taught landscape artist from Laguna, Ponce Veridiano, they planned the layout of the house. His cousin, Modern Architect Alex Medalla designed the exterior while Jaime had his touch on the interiors. By November of 2011, a beautiful Tropical-Asian contemporary house emerged.
From a distance, it looks as if the house is floating on a bed of lotus flowers, that is because it is built around a man-made lake teeming with koi and lotus flowers imported from Thailand. The path leading to the entrance of the house is made of random cuts of granite slabs on green grass. At first glance, you would have to guess which architect mastered the project but then the cube-like, concrete and modern, structure that jots out from the Tropical Asian style of the house gives a distinct Alex Medalla signature. As you enter the imposing solid wood doors, a small foyer welcomes guests into the house. To the left is a door that opens to a modern, well-appointed kitchen, while to the right is the bedroom and bath. His bedroom is equipped with a state-of-the-art entertainment system to make watching movies a pleasure. Inside his room, cantilevered stairs made of tugas hardwood lead to a loft that can sleep several people at a time, perfect for when Jaime has guests sleeping over.
The kitchen, bedroom and bath are the only areas with four walls. Laid out like a letter ‘T’, the kitchen and the bedroom are adjacent to the longer, larger and cental portion of this weekend home. The central area is an open structure that resembles an oversized gazebo surrounded by wooden railings that double as long benches for sitting or propping planters up. In the middle of this central space is a 20-feet-long dining table; a solid slab of magkuno or ironwood lays on top of Piedra Pinoy stone that holds the table in place. A collection of titanium-colored Dedon chairs in different designs surround the table. This is the perfect gathering place when the homeowners entertain during weekends. Another favorite piece of Jaime is the Obelisk from Dedon, an impressive work of art, made out of four chairs and a table. Together, the Obelisk gives the impression of a long, spreading stone, which is a stand-out in any setting. He also has a couple of Leaf Beach Chairs, also from Dedon, placed on the opposite side. With careful attention to detail, hanging tea lights are suspended on every corner. One side showcases a wide collection of beautiful orchids in bloom, while the rest of the area is surrounded by foliage in all shapes, colors and sizes, placed in planters, pots and even an old wooden Bangka.
The entire house is creatively done. The cool mountain breeze and the lush greenery, make it the perfect weekend getaway. But to Jaime, this is the place where he can work, play and be inspired over and over again.
by Hannah Lim photography Genesis Raña sittings editor Katsy Borromeo assistant editor David Jones Cua