A few years ago, Tesoro sold her house in San Juan City, Metro Manila and moved to a three hectare property in San Pablo, Laguna where she maintains her work shop, as well as a small BnB (bed and breakfast), and restaurant called Patis Tito Garden Cafe. “I moved here 40 years ago but I never lived here. I was always working as a dressmaker in Manila but now that my husband is gone and I’m 68, turning 69, and this is the life I have,” she says.
She tells her story as she gives a tour of her garden, which is composed of pathways that wind around different plants, some of them ornamental, most of them edible. She knows each and every one. “This is talinum. There is no pesticide here. It’s like spinach,” she says, plucking a leaf and offering it to taste. “I grow plants that I like to eat or I like to use.”
The designer is known for championing Philippine fabrics, most notably piÅˆa, and taking inspiration from traditional Filipino design elements. Her designs are colorful, flamboyant, and unmistakably Filipino. This is reflected in her home and garden, and in the BnB that also sits on the property.
WORKING WITH NATURE
She practices permaculture, which revolves around the design philosophy of working with nature and treating plants and animals as a whole system instead of separate parts. “I always seek for what’s the best. In permaculture, it’s so ric