Latest Stories

Dynamic couple redefine provincial living

Jinggoy and Mutya Buensuceso build a ‘black cube in the forest’ and turn it into a work in progress


BUENSUCESO home is a cluster of boxy sculptures linked by bridgeway, painted in black, which to the sculptor denotes kinetic energy.

JINGGOY and Mutya Buensuceso at their dinner table laden with fresh produce and passion-fruit juice. ALANAH TORRALBA

A house painted in black should be easy to spot, but visitors to Jinggoy and Mutya Buensuceso’s new home in Cavite, will have to keep their eyes open or they’ll drive right by it.

Despite its nontraditional color and retro-modern blueprint, the compound somehow manages to blend in with its rural surroundings.

The house follows a visual concept: It is as if “a giant dropped a black cube in the forest,” explained Jinggoy, an innovative visual artist and member of Kenneth Cobonpue’s design team, the Hive.

Instead of a traditional single structure with rooms, he conceived separate boxy structures with large windows to draw in floods of natural light.  Oversized glass doorways slide or pivot wide open, blurring the border between indoor and outdoor spaces.

BUENSUCESO’S “Moth chairs” or “Conching” chairs’ inspired by the sculptor’s grandmother

In place of hallways, these “rooms” are linked by open breezeways where family and friends can gather for conversation in fresh air.

“You can step out (of the room) still talking, but you may never get around to leaving,” he teased.

The residence is still under construction, but the creative couple’s touches are already evident, starting with Jinggoy’s unusual choice of non-color.

Black is positive

BUENSUCESO’S “Doodle Library”

“Black for other people is full of negativity,” he acknowledged. “But if you put all colors together, the result is black. It is full of character, ideas and concepts, so for this family, it is full of positivity.”

The finished main living space, which includes the kitchen and dining area, has crisp white walls and cool stone-tiled floors, in contrast to the rough textures and earthy tones found outside.

“He wanted a ‘push and pull’ of polished areas versus industrial or natural areas,” explained Mutya, as her husband pointed to the breezeway’s ceiling, where he had used plywood to mold the concrete with a natural wood grain pattern.

The dwelling is also multi-functional. Aside from being a home for the couple and their children, 3-year-old Mayumi and 18-month-old Malaya, it will also serve as a de facto art gallery, showcasing the works by Jinggoy and fellow artists.

The house already holds several of his sculptural furniture, such as the angular “Linear Birds” garden installation, created for an upcoming pop-up shop of hip home store Bungalow 300, and a quartet of wing-like chairs beckoning from the patio.

He named them “Moth Chairs” for the insect they resemble, but Jinggoy said their graceful design also reminds him of his grandmother.

“From the back, you’ll notice [the silhouette of] a very singkit eye. I was inspired by my lola’s eyes, so I also call it the ‘Conching Chair.’”




JINGGOY Buensuceso’s “Linear Birds” sculptures

The pieces will have a new home later this year, as they have been donated to lifestyle doyenne and children’s advocate Daphne Osmeña-Paez for her annual Unicef “Auction for Action” benefit.

Inside the house, arranged around the dining table, were other pieces, such as his award-winning “Spider Chair” and a pair of vintage looped metal frames covered in goat hide and converted into stools.

However, easily the attention grabber was his “Doodle Library”—a  tangle of bright-red, powder-coated aluminum that functions as a bookshelf. The Doodle collection, with its playful lines, includes chairs and lamps. Jinggoy got the idea for this when, in Cebu on a visit to a school for special children, he spotted a young boy’s drawings on a  blackboard.

While Jinggoy answered questions about his art, Mutya bustled between the kitchen and dining area, preparing  lunch.

An incomplete house is no obstacle to stylish entertaining for this equally creative woman, who juggles domesticity with a career as country manager for Luxasia Philippines. With no fancy linen or silverware, this beauty queen-turned-corporate executive (Mutya Crisostomo was Mutya ng Pilipinas in 1990) imaginatively made use of the meal itself as lovely table décor.

Fragrant herbs tumbling from delicate white cups flanked a fresh bouquet of ruffled lettuce leaves in a wooden bowl. Enormous fuchsia dragon fruit and small condiment dishes of pungent kimchi provided vivid pops of color.

The centerpiece was Jinggoy’s rustic presentation of pork belly, perfectly pan-roasted with a knotted thatch of lemongrass and whole garlic bulbs, and served with generous spoonfuls of creamy coconut sauce.


Chunks of crunchy skin and juicy pork were dabbed with choice of dips and sauces, garnished with herbs, and then wrapped in lettuce leaves.

Finally, wedges of pitaya and juice from fresh passion fruit procured from a neighboring farm capped off the marvelous meal.

Leaving the house painted in black, one might wonder how the Buensucesos could seem so comfortably settled in their unfinished residence. The answer is simple: They envisioned a home that essentially will never be complete.

“The rusting of the gate, the finish of the walls—it will all change. Not deteriorate [but transform],” mused Jinggoy. “I believe in kinetic things. Days pass, years pass—you don’t stop at one particular time. The soul is always there, but the character around it will always be developing and moving.”

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Home , House , Jinggoy Buensuceso , Lifestyle , Mutya Buensuceso , Provincial Living

  • Commentator


Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  2. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  3. This is not just a farm
  4. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  5. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  6. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week?
  7. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  8. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  9. Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  10. The truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, eggs benedict, chicken leg confit are excellent
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  4. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  5. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  6. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  7. France makes work beyond 6 p.m. illegal
  8. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?


  • Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled
  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • Sports

  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Entertainment

  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan