All roads lead to food—this is true, especially so, in the journey of Chef Iñigo Arenal.

While the plan right now is to eventually get to Miami, Florida, in order to immerse himself in its highly competitive culinary atmospheres, this wasn’t the original destination that Iñigo set out for himself. Having finished a degree in Economics, his first professional stint actually began in the corporate world as a Financial Analyst, which is fitting given his degree. Soon, however, he shifted from the realm of budgets and costing towards the realm of handling and being with people, as he became part of Human Resources as an Executive Search Consultant. Alongside both, he was helping out the small family business of a Bed and Breakfast named The Coffee Farmhouse.

The trigger for this adventure was simple—since he was going to inherit The Coffee Farmhouse, why not educate himself about food? It was then that all the previous stops in his career itinerary made sense. He was after all already into the world of food, being the type of person to try out as many possible cuisines and restaurants. All these, along with everything he learned about the value of money and people, about respect and investments, pointed to one direction: why not go to the culinary world?

And so he went.


What’s it like to be a chef?

It’s great! Being a Filipino, I learned that the best way to bring people together is through food. We have this unusual love and respect for food. There was a different appreciation once I got to be behind the kitchen and be the one to prepare the food. Food, no matter how good it was already, just became more awesome when you prepare it yourself.


What made you decide to be a chef?

Honestly, it was out of necessity at first. I was going to inherit a business that was related to food and I thought to myself that it would only make sense if I educated myself with the culinary arts. I started with a short course of 4 months then upgraded to 8 months and eventually got to experience a whole lot of work as a culinary student. The highlight would have to be my experience of competing as a representative of the school in the Philippine Culinary Cup. Then everything just fell right into place.

What/Who are your cooking inspirations?

When I was young, my grandmother would be the only “Chef” I loved. Eventually my mom filled her shoes and became my biggest inspiration. I think that every Filipino would say that the best cook that they know would be their mothers and I guarantee my mother’s taste. Professionaly, Chef Ferran Adria would have to be the most influential chef for me along with Chef Massimo Bottura.


What can you say about our country’s culinary industry?

Sadly, I think that the culinary industry in the Philippines is so under-evolved. I think we have leaps and bounds to go before we can say that we are globally competitive when it comes to our culinary prowess. However, it is not strange because the culture of food reflects the culture of its people. That is to say it is not our fault because we lack our own identity as a people because of the many colonizers that came before us. Our culinary practices are a combination of our colonizers i.e. Spanish, American and Japanese. It is still very difficult to say that we have our own Filipino cuisine when much of the dishes we are proud of are not our own. Adobo comes from the Spanish word “adobar” which means marinade while Sinigang comes from the Malaysian dish Singgang. I dream of the time when we develop our own cuisine and establish our own identity in the culinary world.


What do you think is the most important thing about being a chef?

I think it’s very important for a chef to never lose their craving for learning. There are millions of ingredients available in the world and even more ways to mix, match and combine them to create something amazing. It’s important to never lose sight of why a chef wanted to become a chef in the first place. And I firmly believe that no matter what those reasons may be, a chef will never run out of ways to improve their craft of cooking.


What keeps you going?

What keeps me going is my thirst of learning everything I can out of this craft of cooking. The problem about cooking is that there are no short-cuts; experience is an absolute necessity. Any kind of craft only becomes worthwhile when you put your time and effort into it.


What is your biggest dream?

I have two big dreams – one that seems impossible and one that is less impressive but equally amazing and requires time and effort. One is that I hope to be the first Filipino Michelin-starred Chef. Another is that I hope to establish multiple restaurants that cut across the different classes of society. People may think that a chef is only great when they are able to put up a fancy restaurant with their own name. I want to be a great chef that caters to everybody and that means restaurants with different business models. I want a small fast-food place that caters to the low to middle-income citizens. I want a line of coffee shops that cater to the middle to high-income class and finally I want my own fancy restaurant that caters fine-dining for the society’s elite. Food is for everyone and everyone deserves good food no matter how much money they have.




It’s very clear that Chef Iñigo sees food not just as a utility and human need—food has the capacity to satisfy more than just hunger. When a meal can bring something out of a person, especially feelings of happiness and satisfaction, that is the experience that Iñigo wants to create. It’s that connection between chef and customer, customer and everyone else. Good food is not just about taste—it’s also about the person appreciating that taste, relishing that experience, and looking forward to the next one. That is indeed a special place of food appreciation.



If Chef Iñigo can take you that place, his trip may be very well worth it.

You can visit The Coffee Farmhouse at:

Gouache Featured Artist: Paola Santiago- Clarito

Mother, Artist…

A year ago, Paola Santiago Clarito was a housewife who was managing her home and taking care of a daughter. In her spare time, she would draw and paint and she would share these in her social media accounts, but she did not know what she wanted to do with all her finished artwork.
Then one day, a friend tagged her on Facebook which led her to a page on adult coloring books. It was a “lightbulb flashing over her head moment” because it gave her the direction she needed for her art and it helped define who she wanted to be as an artist. Paola released her 1st adult coloring book, Nostos, last August. It was one of the first few locally produced adult coloring books and it instantly became a big hit. It led to a featured segment for Paola in the TV5 show Happy Wife, Happy Life and a live guesting on CNN Philippines. It also landed her a feature in the Expat Magazine.

Paola Santiago Clarito is a 27 year old graduate of Physical Therapy from the University of Sto.Tomas. She started her career working in hospitals as a licensed PT, but there was always that lingering feeling she was meant to be doing something else, something that would stir her imagination, something that would unchain the limits of her fantasies and creativity. She eventually found her real calling not in the confines of a hospital but in the less constricting world of the arts.

She started doodling back in college when she had classes that bored her, but she began to take her craft more seriously when she became a mom to her daughter whom she named Lilo. She taught herself how to draw and paint, often turning to Youtube to watch instructional videos and practicing the things she learned during her spare time, which was usually after midnight when her little daughter and her husband would be snoozing in dreamland.


She has sold paintings, shirts with her own designs, and 3D butterfly clocks. She has also done commissioned artworks. But Paola has established her mark in line art and in the designs she has made for adult coloring. She even has gone international. She recently signed a contract to be a guest artist in the online coloring pages service Blue Star Inspire where her designs will be made available to subscribers. Blue Star is the San Antonio-based company that publishes the number coloring book in the United States and the top selling line of coloring books in the world. Paola also recently released a follow-up book, Nostos 2: An Out of This World Coloring Adventure, which she released this March and is available on her Facebook page, Art by Paola Santiago Clarito. Check out more of Paola's work: ART BY PAOLA SANTIAGO- CLARITO

Gouache Featured Artist: The Bloomfields

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Feature Article by: Viktor Austria

As our generation’s iPods and music players swarm with the newest tracks, it’s refreshing to listen to a band like The Bloomfields. Listening to their rendition of classic 60’s music always feels like home during the holidays – stirring, pumped, but at the same time cozy and comfortable. It used to be so taxing to find worthy old songs; good thing the guys of The Bloomfields are here to save our young necks from the chore.

The Blooming Years

It was back in their third year at De La Salle Green Hills that a group of friends thought of forming a band. Like every other band, The Bloomfields started small, playing in fairs and events within campus. Over time people saw how they clicked, like cogs would when they fit perfectly. That clicking sound grew to a shot that’s heard around the world, developing a loyal fan base within, and beyond, our nation’s borders. They have, in fact, played on stages set in Hong Kong, Macau, Kuwait, and even in the US. You can’t contain great talent to one place anyway. To date, the band has released a self-titled album and the latest all-original album entitled Hit The Ground Running. They also contributed a track alongside other local acts in Kami NAPO Muna, an album paying tribute to local legend, The Apo Hikings Society. Be it a cover or an original song, The Bloomfields will never cease to gift us with catchy tunes and even catchier eye candies, which we can see offstage with their quirky music videos, and onstage with their powerful live performances. Now, more than a decade later, after a small roster changes and a big frog leap towards refining their music and image (they’re actually a corporation now!), The Bloomfields continues to tear through the fabric of rock and roll with their energetic tunes with dashes of mesmeric ballads. If you see a group of charming individuals wearing the 1960’s chic of tight coat and ties, rallying a thrilled audience, there’s a good chance it’s these guys up on stage.

Excelling Across Fields

The local music scene is thriving with great bands, but being dubbed as “The Beatles of the Philippines” means that you don’t just play great, but you also come just as rare. To wit, you don’t often see a band in which every member can steal the microphone stand. Yes, while they can all play their gears effortlessly, each of them can also sing, and greatly, at that. You come to see one man singing and you get a show; you come to see four, like the men of The Bloomfields, and you get no less of a spectacle of sounds none else can replicate. If there still aren’t enough things to laud these guys for, maybe being social advocates can put the last feather on their caps. Senyas Kamay, a non-profit support organization for the differently-able and the hearing impaired, has worked closely with The Bloomfields. This is where music transcends its medium, and serves beyond pleasantry. By holding a benefit concert for Ondoy victims thru Senyas Kamay back in October 2009, the band solidified its commitment to help those in need, and when most needed. Indeed, a musician should be as eager in spreading his music as in instilling social awareness and responsibility to his listeners. And the best part is, everybody wins in that setup: the band gets to help people in dire need, and we, as their audience, get to fill our ears with infectious music. Nobody but The Bloomfields to thank for that!

Who Says Daddy’s Music are No Fun?

With Lakan Hila on keyboards and lead guitar, Louie Poco on bass, Rocky Collado on drums, and Dino Pascual on rhythm, any listener, no matter how old or how young they may be, can now enjoy the good old tunes of 60’s. Only difference is that, the guys of The Bloomfields are alive, complete, and they’re conveniently closer to home. If the classic tunes won’t convince you, go to their show, get your fill, and be part of the standing ovation, that is, if everyone wasn’t standing yet.

Know more about the band


Check out the videos:

Photos from:

Gladymae Angela Barañao

Tonchev Caballes

Gouache Featured Artist: Louie Arcilla

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We love engaging with extraordinary artists who channel passion and energy to their body work. Moreover, we love listening to their back story. We sit down with one of our favorite lifestyle photographers , Louie Arcilla, to learn more about his craft, tools and style.

What subjects inspire you the most?

I've definitely grown to love photographing people for weddings and lifestyle portraits, but my favorite subjects of all time are landscapes and seascapes, and the little things you get to observe while traveling--local culture, strangers and their habits, unique architecture, the colors and textures you find in markets and on the streets.

Being a part of someone else’s “Legacy”…

I got into photography because of curiosity (I got curious about finally owning a DSLR 6 years ago), and it's what drives me to this day. I'm curious about how things look from different angles, curious about how people are really like, curious about what beautiful scenery is just up ahead if I continue walking a bit more, curious about what I can shoot better, so I just keep shooting and trying out different things to shoot. I also love the perks that go with photography--not so much the "likes" and "follows" one gets on social media, nor being able to brag about the latest gear or having a "cool" job, but being able to explore new places, meet new people, work with talented individuals, and in some cases, be part of someone else's "legacy" by capturing their wedding and family photos. Such a great feeling!

What are some of your challenging photo shoots?

My first shoot with Maggie Wilson, because I was photographing Maggie Wilson! A sunrise shoot in Keelung, Taiwan in 2013 with a group of local landscape photographers I met online, because at 4am, we drove from one spot to another, got out of the car, trekked a bit up and down hills and forests in the dark, in search for good spots to shoot at. I did not know where we were going, and only one of them knew English. Then when we were shooting, they were all using a technique called the black card technique to take sunrise shots, which I wasn't aware of at that time, and I was just trying to play it cool and "trying" to copy what they were doing. Pa-simple! haha!
Portrait sessions with 2-3 year-olds, because they can just be all over the place! You not only have to be a good photographer, but you also have to be a playmate, a guardian, a clown, a yaya, and one that's physically fit and patient at that!

What was your career path? How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full time, for a living?

I never intended to be a professional photographer. Being one was never part of my "What I'd like to be when I grow up" list. In fact, I only first held a DSLR 2 years out of college. Back then, I was doing corporate events as well as managing a band. When I got my first camera, a 2nd hand Canon 400D, I got hooked instantly. I'd stay up all night reading how-to's on the internet, and when I'd finally go to sleep, I'd have my camera beside me on the bed! I started out like most newbies do--bringing my camera wherever I went and taking photos of all sorts of things. I'd bring it to family gatherings, when going to the mall, to dates with my then-girlfriend and now-wife. When I'd travel for leisure or for work I'd bring my camera with me, until on work trips, I started staying a day or 2 more just so I can explore new places with my camera.

I eventually wanted to get better and so I started a 52-week project, which required me to shoot every week and compile 52 favorite shots over the course of a year. It was while doing that 52-week project that I believe I started getting better skills-wise as well as attitude-wise--being more persistent, patiently setting up or waiting for the right shot, being more disciplined and working through snags, getting out of my comfort zone and pushing myself to become better. I did my first photo exhibit featuring my 52-week project photos in front of family and friends, and upon seeing my collection of travel shots, landscapes, street photos, portraits, and even still life shots of items around the house, I realized I can do more with my new-found passion, and that's when the thought of doing weddings popped into my head.

Luckily, I had friends who previously had a photography business, and we got to talking about getting into weddings. We started by just doing a couple of weddings for free, or by being backup teams, until we gained enough experience to market ourselves. Eventually we got more and more gigs, and 3 years after our first paid gig, I think we're doing more than okay. 🙂

Now a full-time photographer, aside from weddings, I've also gone into family, baby, and maternity portraiture professionally. I'm also trying my hand in fashion and sports photography. 🙂

Keeping it light and simple…

...I use a Canon 6D. My favorite lenses are the Canon 50mm f/1.4, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4, and the Canon 85mm f1/.8, whether I'm shooting weddings, exploring a new place, or covering a UAAP game. For landscapes, it's got to be my Canon 6D, a 17-40mm f/4, my Benro tripod, and some ND filters since I like doing long exposure shots. I use just Adobe Lightroom to catalog and process my images.

See Louie's Portfolio