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Subject: Kuh’s Tagaytay retreat

mmJ- Kuh news on-line
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Date Posted: 08:56:44 01/25/07 Thu

Kuh’s Tagaytay retreat

By Bayani San Diego Jr./ Inquirer
Last updated 11:25pm (Mla time) 01/25/2007

SHE HAS A FARM … in Tagaytay.

As a kid growing up in congested Manila, singer Kuh Ledesma says,
she dreamt of living on a farm.

“I bought this in 1997, a year after we arrived from the United
States,” she recalls.

But the land stayed idle for the longest time. “I was very busy. I
didn’t have the time to even visit, much less to develop it.”

She almost sold the four-hectare property. “But I kept hearing from
Christian friends of the need for a retreat place. There really is a
purpose for everything.”

She envisioned Hacienda Isabella, named after her daughter, as a
sanctuary for the soul.

“It’s a ministry, a retreat place for prayer and fasting. It’s a
good place that I like sharing with other people. Lately we’ve been
getting inquiries for team-building seminars, parties and weddings.”

She built the main house in 1999. In 2005, 14 cottages followed. Now
it is a B&B complex.

She hies off to the hacienda whenever she’s free (she’s currently
working on her Valentine show “Love Is … ” and recording a “modern
kundiman” album, “K,” and a gospel album “Walking on Water”).

If the main house is occupied by guests, Kuh gladly stays in any of
the other cottages or rooms, named after beloved aunts, cousins and

It is not a “rest house” in the traditional sense for the hard-
working Kuh.

“When I’m here, I’m always running around, supervising stonemasons,
carpenters and landscape artists,” she says, chuckling. “I’m a
gardener at heart. I keep adding new flowering plants. The farm is a

She is also an avid home stylist. She did the interiors of the main
house and the cottages named Casa Rosa, Azul and Agua, among others.
(She also designed her city home in Pasay City.)

She sums up her style as “fusion—a combination of the Pinoy and
Mediterranean, the traditional and modern. It’s eclectic and rustic.”

She has put in lots of bricks, antique wooden furniture pieces, and
Mexican and Vigan tiles. She also hung paintings by daughter
Isabella, T’boli photographs by Neil Oshima and pieces by her Music
Museum painters Mang Mio Babatuan and his son Yeye.

“They’re former movie billboard painters,” Kuh says of the
Babatuans. “For me, they made replicas of (19th-century Filipino
artist) Damian Domingo’s paintings.”

Expectedly, she keeps rearranging the furniture and decor. “The
place is always changing,” she says.

Just like Kuh herself.


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