Play to Passion: The Start of a Perfumed Journey

My love affair with perfumes started as a child in Davao City, Philippines. Ever since I can remember, my childhood smelled of fresh flowers, fine fragrances and sterilized laboratory glasswares.

cocoy5My father, having a keen interest in orchids, began cultivating a few varieties in the late 1970’s. Together with my mother, they successfully grew the business harvesting cut flowers all year round and supplying markets in the country’s capital, Manila.

The gardens became my playground where the distinct scent, color and pattern of flowers sparked my interest and tickled my imagination.

omaf_koi_garden2My mom on the other hand exposed me to the world of fine fragrances as she would constantly rotate her favorite fragrances such as Estee Lauder’s Beautiful and Pleasures, Calvin Klein’s Eternity and Cacherel’s Anais Anais. I remember sneaking into her closet where the bottles were stored under towels and bed linen in order to get a whiff of the amber colored liquid inside the exquisitely crafted bottles and boxes.


I guess my young and curious mind, through the help of some encyclopedias, was able to put together these two early exposures- that flowers, when boiled in water and mixed, could end up as perfumes.

These curiosities were nurtured and explored as we had a small home-based laboratory for orchid culture. I would use sterilized beakers and flasks to boil different flowers and mix the “oils” to make my own perfumes. To others they may just be a mixture of boiled water. But for me, they were the best smelling fragrances in the world!

Sadly, I developed severe asthma growing up which forced my parents to close the business and let go of most of the plants and the laboratory. They’ve kept a few orchids in our garden just enough to sustain a hobby.

Just recently, I made a quick visit back home and found these Waling-waling in full bloom.


The sight and smell of these prized blooms instantly took me 20 years back . And although  the gardens that have become my playground are long gone, I am happy that I carried my childhood fancies and transformed them into a deep and strongly-rooted passion for perfume-making.


Finding Peace


“Lavender is the Xanax of the aromatherapy world—its scent has been shown to lower stress-hormone levels. Being outdoors is also linked to a feeling of tranquility, so nature-inspired notes such as bamboo, grass and leaves could change the way your body reacts to a tense situation, says Jules Pretty, professor of environment and society at the University of Essex.

Instead of feeling as if you’re climbing the walls, you might take a deep breath and relax. Echo that Zen effect with florals such as ylang-ylang and opium.”

Achieve nirvana in Paradiso Eau de Toilette which features an enchanting blend of lavender, ylang ylang and opium combined with the zest and earthiness of lemongrass.