Friday, June 25, 2010


I like rainy days. Apart from the all-too-rare-moments of rest that it gives people like me, I also like the feeling of the chilly, moist morning wind that wafts into the room from an open window. Nothing beats a rainy day. I like wearing long sleeves and putting on a jacket while imagining myself to be somewhere else like, say, London or Chicago.

I like the grayness of the skies & the occasional lightning (which gives the dogs a reason to snug closer to me). What I like best, however, is the new forms of life springing from the dead - quite literally. In this series, we capture fungi and shrooms coming out of dead trees here at the Farm. In this day and age where we always look at the bigger picture, it sometimes helps to look closely at the smaller details.

Here are photos from our home. :-)

Photos by Dylan Yap Gozum using a classic Canon 10D.

The Mango Farm is home to Vatel Manila.
For wedding venue reservations, you can call us at
+ 632.645.6993 (land line) or
+ 63.908.882.3929 (mobile phone)

You can also email us your inquiries at:

Office Hours:
Monday to Sunday, 9AM to 5PM

Visit the Mango Farm today!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


We have worked with Arch. Edu Cortez of Extreme Details Photography many times before and he's really one of the nicest people around. Down-to-earth, easy-to-talk-to kind of guy, but when it's time to work, he's focused as a laser beam.

I remember this particular wedding because of a most amusing (& irritating) incident: when the bride's parents were about to walk towards the altar, I noticed that the bride was nowhere to be seen. It turned out that the "coordinators" (for the lack of a better term) forgot to fetch her from the dressing room. Sir Edu and I made the 190-yard dash to the Bridal Salon to fetch Janne, who was totally unaware of what was happening outside, ha ha ha!

Here's to more seamless, problem-free weddings in the future, sir Edu! :-)
Location Guide:
The Mango Farm Glass Pavilion (E-session)
Avenida, The Mango Farm (Garden Wedding)

The above photo won the Top 9 spot at the 2010 WPPP Photo Contest. What are the odds that while shooting the rings, a Ladybug enters the frame? Ha ha!

Edu & Mherl Cortez
{mobile}: 0921.261.1005; 0918.351.9065
{office}: 02.382.7659
{office}: 14A, 2nd floor, Unit 2, Hon. B. Soliven Avenue, Cainta Greenpark (Near Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


We're going to start featuring engagement sessions here at the Vatel Manila blog to allow our readers to take a peek into the preparations our couples go through prior to the wedding. E-sessions are like windows into the couple's souls; the props they use & the theme they choose show us what they are really like as people, and what they both like as a couple.

Oftentimes, e-sessions also allow the couple to become someone they aren't. They play dress up, do wacky stuff. Why, even the non-romantics are lulled into doing things they thought they'd never do in their entire life! Ah, the magic of the e-session. :-)

For this series, we discuss the shoot with Daniel Lei Studio.

Tell us about the concept of this shoot:

We aim to showcase their black and yellow theme, chess being Leo's interest and yellow being Mitch's favorite color.

Favorite elements?

We'll definitely remember the yellow and white balloons and the big chess board.

How do you make couples feel comfortable?

We spend around 30 minutes doing test and warm up shots and show them how they look on the camera and it's also important that we don't make them do anything they're not comfortable doing.

Highlight of the shoot:

Shooting at the Pan de Amerikana.

Favorite memory of this day?

Playing around with the huge chess board and what we can do with it for the photos and video. It was also our first time to shoot at the sought-after Mango Farm.

Your wish for the couple?

We wish Mitch and Leo a happy life together and of course, babies, and we hope to see them again on their 25th silver wedding anniversary!

Tips to couples on how to prepare for an e-session:

a. Scout for a good location and secure permits if needed
b. Spend time to look for inspirations and concepts
c. Brainstorm together with your photographer/videographer
d. Have at least 2-3 outfits depending on the concept

Location Guide: Pan de Amerikana Bakeshop & The Mango Farm

Daniel Lei Studio
Landline: 334-9037
Globe: 0906-2722320 (Primary)
Smart: 0920-5016209
YM: wsi_lei

Monday, June 21, 2010

REAL WEDDING: CHRIS & ARMI (April 30, 2010)

You guys probably wouldn't believe it when I say that as of this writing, I have not met Armi yet, our bride for this wonderful summer wedding in Boracay (our very first!). I think Armi and I started communicating some time late February. It started with an SMS inquiry. I immediately noticed that she spelled out every word and I felt some sort of immediate kinship because not many take the effort of doing that (SMS, methinks, says a lot about a person's character).

The bride had only one instruction for her bouquet: it must reflect the reggae colors of green, yellow, black and red. This was to reflect the groom being a rasta. I agonized over this for a long time because as is our aesthetic, we never wanted to do anything so literal as to actually use anything related to the reggae theme. I admit I was tempted to use a reggae bonnet as the bouquet's handle ribbon, LOL! In the end, good sense got the better of us and we stuck to the classic idea of a bridal bouquet without pushing the envelope. The bride's bouquet (above) used yellow Ecuadorian roses mixed with chartreuse Cymbidium orchids, red Hypericum berries, and ended with a base of seasonal Jerusalem berries. A black lace applique covers the handle, and is adorned by a brooch and a black tassel. The bride eventually described her bouquet as "joyful". :-)

Yep, yep. Joyful indeed was the mood for this wedding! One can almost feel the party vibe pulsate through the pictures. I suddenly miss the island - and binging on mojitos! I wish to thank you, Chris & Armi, for making our first foray into the Boracay wedding scene possible. You believed and trusted in me even if you haven't met me at all. For this I am forever grateful. I also wish to thank the bride's friends who brought the flowers to Boracay; I forgot who actually hand-carried the bridal bouquet (as the rest were in a box) & I am sure she didn't sleep during that dawn flight for fear of dropping her fragile cargo.

And as always, A.M.D.G. :-)

Below, Pat Dy's photos and the bride's thoughts on the preps & the wedding. Happy viewing (& reading)!

How did you two meet?

Wow. It was ten years ago when I began dating (a late bloomer!) and after several dates with different guys, I agreed to meet Chris after chatting and talking to him over the phone. (Yes, I met him through the internet - during the era of ICQ and when there were still no internet cafés yet.) There was something about him and me that clicked plus it also helped that I was telling the universe at that time that I was ready to go into a relationship. Ha ha!



Tell us about finding your wedding dress:

I looked at the internet and magazines for inspiration. In Style, Wedding Essentials, Style Me Pretty were my favourites along with the website of Jose Villa, a wedding photographer from the US who only uses film (really!). I narrowed down the look according to what I felt fit my height, body structure, skin tone, and the theme of the wedding. Then I looked for designers to see what designs appealed to me.

I saw Debbie Co’s gown in Wedding Essentials and liked her aesthetics-clean lines but always with an accent that make it very feminine and classic at the same time. I used to visit her shop in Astoria Plaza but I didn’t know she did gowns. I sent a pdf file of my overall vision for the wedding and over ten gown pegs with my annotations. I did this with three other designers - met with them and compared prices. The most efficient was Debbie and it was pretty much a smooth experience from that first e-mail. I ended up having my mother and the mother of the groom, the flower girls’ tutu dresses, the ring bearers’ kaftans plus the bridegroom’s outfits done by her as well. It was a very enjoyable experience.

My favourite memory of the day was:

Walking down the aisle. They were all telling me to take it slow, to waltz my way and to enjoy that moment which is the bride’s alone. I heeded the wisdom in this, and as I walked I remember all the beaming faces as I passed them by, the smile and the cameras all raised and hovering around me. All that love was powerful and it felt grateful to be loved. As you know, that’s when I got teary eyed, and my girls, too.

Another highlight is the reception when we were watching the SDE photo and video coverage. Here is what I wrote in my blog,“At first there was clapping, a lot of oooohhing and aaahhing, then peals of laughter, tears of joy...and then finally shrieks. The photos and videos totally captured the tone, the mood, the colors, the vibe, the loveliness of that special day.”


Anything DIY for your wedding?

The entire planning was DIY. I only had 4 months to plan a destination wedding. It hinged on my Maid of Honor’s [experience with her] previous two-wedding coordination for her sisters and her stint as a wedding coordinator for a Boracay wedding sometime in 2005. However, Consuelo suddenly went MIA when she transferred to SG in the middle of the preparation. Good thing I planned everything from the start and had a lot of good help from family and friends (plus she did the coordination on the day!). Here is a list of our DIYs:

1.) Our Save the Date info was sent via MMS and email- a photobooth rendition of 4 shots seemingly taken from a photobooth but was taken at home using Chris’ Canon DSLR.

2.) Instead of monograms, we decided to use the photo taken by our friend in Serendra with Chris’ Vespa as a sticker for the invites and the misalette, which helped create the overall theme of the wedding.

3.) The Boracay sunset postcard, two photos of the famous sunset with the words Thank You and our names, date and location of the wedding inscribed at the back were also DIY- all we had to do was to send it to the printers. The postcard then became personalized thank you cards and souvenir at the same time.

4.) The directional signages with our names hand-painted on them using the same font as our stickers were also made by a friend. They were lovely!

5.) The flowers at the church were set-up by Chris’s relatives from Iloilo. The flowers were bought in Dangwa and were hand-carried by my family.

6.) Because I only had 4 months, and this is a first wedding planning for me, there were many details missed but this is nothing compared to the joy of that day.

(VM: The dried starfish boutonnieres were DIY, too! Our first time to use a glue gun! Ever! LOL!)

Tell us about your photographer:

What can I say? Pat Dy is among the best wedding photographers in the country, but he is also very nice. During the wedding preparation, I told him my friend wanted to have a photo shoot with him and he obliged (which made my friend really happy). He helped me find my best angle and guided me gently to pose “Love yourself” for the camera. (Those are the ones with the dramatic shots). When happy with his shots, he’d let me take a peek. He captured so many emotions of love and joy during that day - from my mother as she was looking at me with my veil on, to a father walking down her flower-girl daughter who was shy and sleepy, to the toothless grins of Chris’s Dad and our 3-year-old ring bearer. Some of the shots were directed, but many of my favourite shots were raw emotions captured as they unfolded. Bravo!

What was your biggest splurge?

Choosing Discovery Shores and Pat Dy. The 4-month planning for a wedding was only made possible because Discovery took charge of everything when it came to the reception. I thought I could not afford Pat Dy, but girls, this is a sage advice: pictures last a lifetime. I would have gladly paid him more. (Rhetorically, of course. I brought him cake and serenitea when I visited him after the wedding, hehe).

What was the design inspiration for your wedding?

With Boracay’s White Beach as a backdrop, we knew that our beach wedding would be a cinch. Initially it was a Sonya’s Garden meets Boracay theme but when Chris saw this, he said where was he in that wedding? Oo nga naman. My guy is a rasta; he was non-compromising on the beach wedding, on the rings, and wanted a reggae theme. This started the whole vibe and wedding look book. Of course all of it had to be done tastefully - no to shabby chic or rustic vibe.

How does it feel getting wed on the beach?

We were married at the Holy Rosary Parish in Boracay because we wanted the solemnity of the mass and the tradition that went along with it. But this is Boracay! As soon as one stepped on the island, the whole feel and pace changes you, and so it felt like everyone could let loose, be on vacation but instead of just you and the barkada or you and the family, it was you with ALL your family and closest friends. It turned out that way and more, as we were going to one party after another, our friends and families were having their mini reunions, and there was a lot of eating and partying that weekend. When I asked both of our parents to recount their weekend in Boracay, their grins were from ear to ear and there were many stories to tell. That was what we were going for!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding?

The budget. We had to make do with what we could afford. Our entire decision had to fit the already over budget. In the end we had to cut down on some things, and had to prioritize our non-compromises. We could not serve beer even if we wanted to; it cost P120++ per bottle at Discovery Shores!

Tips to brides to be:

Enjoy the planning, but let go on your wedding day. As my BFFs wrote to me the on the day of the wedding, “All shall be well.” That was very heartwarming and made me smile for the rest of the day.

Photos by

Pat Dy
2nd floor, Wilson Square Building,
Wilson St. corner P.Guevarra St.,
Greenhills, San Juan,
Metro Manila, The Philippines
Email: patdyphotography[at]


-- We distinctly remember this day: we had five (5) weddings (two in Metro Manila, one in Cainta, one in Cagayan de Oro, and another in Bora...