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raison d'être

Russel Lazaro 23, Philippines, Architect, photography enthusiast, and a frustrated
chef. This blog is a hodge podge of everything that I live for thus the title "Raison d' etre".

All posts under the tag russellazaro and or own are mine and if you're planning to use it, kindly notify me first.

For more details, inquiries, and collaborations you may contact me via email:

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The biggest ordeal of working at home is pushing yourself to work considering that your bed is at very close proximity.

What’s inside my Murse (man-purse) #vscocam #vsco_ph

Tagged as: vscocam, vsco_ph,

Applied a gray base paint to my reclaimed palochina planks. Gonna sand them down when they dry then apply a brush of diluted white paint over. :) It’s looking great so far. Excited to see them up on my wall! #DIY #design #interiordesign #whitewash

#DIY : age your furnitures by white whashing. :) #homedecor #interiordesign #tips #whitewash

There’s a creep on the foot of my bed. #vscocam #vsco_ph #decor #vignette

Room makeover 3.0 I now have a workspace inside my room. :) #eclectic #kitsch #design #decor

Capisnon-Mendoza Nuptials

(Nikon d3000 x VSCOcam)

You know you’re old when you start getting invites for your friends’ weddings. Hahaha!  Seriously though, I feel old. Okay.

The bride, Carol is one of the closest friends in high school and she is the last person I thought that would get married first! Back in high school Carol was the tomboy of the group; she’s butch, she loves basketball, and she has mad guitar skills, I mean at some point I thought she was a lesbian but somehow in college things turned around for her and before we know it, she’s handing out invites for her wedding. 

I brought my camera with me because I have always wanted to shoot a wedding. Although I was competing with the other 2 professional photographers that they hired, I still captured some nice shots. The bride and the groom actually told me that they like my shots better than those of the pro’s (LOL, bitches), so I think I did pretty good. ;)

Photos are all mine, post processed the photos on my ipad using VSCOcam for faster sharing.  

Pasyal Sundays

Finally people are starting to make a move towards the revitalization of the City of Manila; organizations like Viva Manila and 98 B are pioneering the move into buffing the “Pearl of the Orient” back to its former luster.

Pasyal Sunday is one of the projects of Viva Manila that aims to regenerate the soul of the city by means of art and culture accessible to anyone. Did I mention that it is for free? Yeah. For 2 Sundays of every month Intramuros closes one of its major arteries (General Luna) to give way for street performers, artisans, and local businesses to showcase what Manila is all about. There is absolutely something for everyone here, regardless of how old you are, regarless of whether you’re from Tondo or from Bel Air, you will never feel out of place here. Diversity, people.   

So, next Pasyal Sunday, ditch the malls and drag yourselves down Intramuros. ;) 

Tappiya Falls

Batad, Ifugao


Gateway to Batad: Saddle Point.

After 2 hours of that intense jeepney ride (good thing I didin’t succumb to Matt’s challenge of riding on top of the jeepney),  we started preparing for our descend to Batad. We did some stretching, and bought some last minute supplies for our hike.

Oh, here are the things that you may need for your hike to Batad:

1. A Raincoat

-If you are planning to go during summer, it might not be necessary but if you are going during the wet season, you may want to bring a sturdy raincoat. Buy the heavy duty one. It’s a lesson learned for me because I didn’t bring one and I just bought a huge laundry bag and made  into a make-shift raincoat, and it only lasted, well for a couple of hours. 

2. Water Bottle

Like any strenuous activity, you need to stay hydrated during the hike. Rather than buying from the store at Saddle Point, I advise you to please just bring a water bottle with you, fill it up with water in advance. It would save you money and it would be one less plastic water bottle on the trail.

3. Mosquito Repellent  

Oh boy,did Matt came prepared with this one. He brought mosquito repellent lotion, stick-ons, a can of insecticide, and mosquito coils. If that’s not a mosquito/ malaria/ dengue phobia, I don’t know what is! 

4. First Aid Kit

Rough terrain, rain, mud, and sharp rocks could be a concoction for disaster. During the hike you may get bruises, cuts, and whatnot so you may want to bring a simple First aid kit. Some band aids, cotton swabs,and a travel size bottle of Isopropyl  alcohol will do.

The hike from Saddle point to Batad Proper could take from 2-3.5 hours depending on how fast you move. Our group made it to Batad in 3 hours because we had to stop for 20 minutes at a rest stop because the rain was unbearable.

En route to Batad

One of the most amazing perks of travelling alone is that you get to meet new interesting people. I’m usually very shy when it comes to meeting new people, you know, my social skills are like -43, but on this trip, i tried to take things differently.

On the way to Banaue, I met Matthew and Mel, a couple from London and we clicked right away and since we’re all headed to Batad, we decided to go as a group. They’re really nice; Matt and I shared a lot in common because we are both architects, we talked a lot about Filipino Architecture and the practice.

Anyway, the trip from Manila to Banaue take 8 hours by land, the original plan is to go straight to Batad from Banaue, but then the 3 of  us were so exhausted from the 8 hour bus ride that we decided to stay overnight in Banaue to rest so we can go to Batad the next morning, fresh and well rested. Matt and Mel went to a different lodge (People’s Lodge) because there are no more available private rooms with Toilet at the lodge that we first visited but I decided to stay at the first Lodge (Green View Lodge) because I didn’t mind using communal toilets and baths.

We had breakfast at my lodge then the two took a well deserved nap because an 8 hour bus ride can really take a toll on your body. I couldn’t sleep so I went for a walk/hike. I went to the Banaue Museum and did some sketches then I felt tired so I  went back to the lodge and took a nap. I woke up around 3pm, grabbed a book at the my lodge’s lounge and read, after an hour I fell asleep on the wooden sofa and Matt and Mel woke me up because it’s already time for dinner! We had dinner and a couple of beers at my lounge and then they headed out. I stayed at the lodge’s Dinner for a while to just chill and sketch some more. A retired art teacher from Florida (Keith) approached me because he saw me sketching and he gave me some pointers on sketching. After a while, 2 ladies from Holland (Michelle and Milek) joined us at the table, they were so funny, they let me guess what country they’re from, I said Poland (CLOSE ENOUGH, Milek actually has Polish roots). I thought the night would be a little mellow, but then here come the Koreans, 2 Korean guys (Jun and Dae Hyun) joined our table and they are Hilarious, the 6 of us moved to the Lounge and Dae Hyun pulled out a suspicious looking bottle of water, IT’S TEQUILA! After a couple of shots, we played truth or dare and Keith dared me to buy something from the store with a fake British accent (I was pretty convincing BTW). After a few more shots, we decided to call it the night.

I woke up around 6 am the next day all refreshed and ready for the hike to Batad. I recieved a message from Matt to meet me at their lodge for breakfast. I prepared my things, took a shower and headed out. It’s just unfortunate that I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to my new friends at the lodge. While waiting for me, Matt made arrangements with the tour guides for us 3 and we paid a total of P 1700 each (inclusive of the transfers, the tour guide, and overnight accommodation in Batad)  

Matt, Mel, and I boarded the jeepney en route to Saddle Point with other backpackers around 7:30 am. Let me tell you, that was one hell of a jeepney ride. I’m talking rain, falling debris, and super narrow road networks here people. 

-To Be Continued-    

Banaue, Ifugao

For most backpackers and travelers, the journey starts here in Banaue. Once a quaint, humble town, now Banaue is now emerging as a backpacking mecca in the country.

Connecting trips to nearby destinations like Sagada and Batad can be found here at reasonable prices, you can haggle with the drivers for a better price. Quick tip: Travelling in groups will save you a lot more money. If you’re S.O.L.O., you can join groups of backpackers to go with. 

Planning to stay overnight? Banaue has got you covered. Inns, pensions, and lodges can be found along the main artery of the town; prices may range from P 250.00 (I am serious) to P 1000.00 a night depending on the type and the size of the room. Most of the lodges and inns have complimentary Wi Fi so you don’t have to worry, you can still instagram the hell out of Banaue.


The Batad Amphitheater Rice Terraces. 

Batad, Banaue

Think of Batad as Banaue’s unpopular yet equally as gorgeous little sister;  often overlooked but once you get to know her, you’ll immediately fall in love with her. This is from my trip last November and my heart tells me that I should go back up there really soon. More photos and stories to come!


It’s been a while Tumblr. :) I have had a lot on my plate lately and please do consider this as a comeback. I have thought of deactivating my tumblr once but I realized that I have already poured so much time in to it that I decided to stay. I’m more active on Instagram now, so you can also follow me there (arch_lazaro).

The Candy Bar Hookah Shoppe

6208 W 87th Street, Los Angeles, California

Design and Rendering by yours, truly.

My Aunt Robbie commissioned me to design her Hookah Lounge/Bar and we’re now gearing towards construction!  We now have a contractor and I hope the construction goes smoothly. I won’t be able to see the construction  first-hand because I can’t fly to LA just yet because I’m prepping for my architecture licensure exams on January. For the meantime, my Aunt now is supervising everything for me.