Family Meal: Welcoming 2024

by Some Love Team

Two weeks into the New Year, the Some Love team was en route to our first Annual Planning Session. The plan was that it’s going to be outside the city and near nature. We’ve decided on a quaint chalet in Tagaytay’s mountain side, overlooking Taal Lake. It took approximately 110 steps down uneven natural stone stairs to get to the house itself. I was already loving the adventure of possibly breaking an ankle. You bet, we went in one go. 

Upon descending, I immediately felt enamored by the place. The house could not have been more than 2 decades old but its contents– some seeming like a century old. As I do, I opened each door and peeked inside every structure of the place. Its modern Bahay na Bato and Spanish Colonial Architecture evokes the nostalgia of a classic ancestral house and being perched on a mountain, adds that tranquil coastal villa feel. Bougainvilleas flourishing overhead on the way to the kitchen, native flora lining every pathway. There was one charming relic I could not forget: a patinated padlock frozen in time. In my head, three days of this, all to ourselves? I really don’t mind working my brains out if it’s here with them…


After settling down, we approached our business. We quickly agreed that our designated workshop area was to be on the terrace. There sits a wooden rectangular table with two long benches. Right down the fence was practically the steep slope of the mountain side, and further and beyond, the third largest lake in the country. It feels amazing when you realize too that this vista has existed since 50 million years ago. One afternoon, while waiting for dinner, I had almost fallen asleep on the bench when a glimpse of the view below awoke me to my senses. Nature, though everywhere, still surprises. 

Being in the midst of quiet and nature, it’s easy to be at ease and unselfconscious. We proceeded to work with a clear mind. Justin and Van had prepared the framework. They had outlined every topic we needed to touch on. Sher and Abbey each prepared their own presentations. I, on the other hand, prepared my notes and insights. For hours, we were exchanging knowledge and ideas and together we tried to come up with a conclusion to every question. This occurred in batches across two days. When we’ve reached the zenith of our brain power in every chapter, we took a break, refilled our cups, and then eased back into it. There was also a time when our brains felt completely fried from synthesis. We acknowledged that, then agreed to get back to it at a later date. That process felt justified, and that allowed us to come up with better strategies.

We all were involved in preparing our meals. The whole time we were there, we cooked every breakfast, lunch, and dinner together in that beautiful kitchen. I can’t forget that kitchen counter with that stunning backdrop of an entire wall in natural stone finish. We had planned and shopped our ingredients beforehand. Still, we did not expect how harmonious everything unfolded: from the wines complementing our vegetable-rich dishes, to using every ingredient we brought, to revamping leftovers. This may sound standard but it’s nice to have achieved that standard. We wasted nothing and made use of everything and that required our creativity and sense of balance. I could not have admired our team more.  

What I’ve found out through this wonderful experience is that Some Love is made of people who are made of love. And because of this, we were able to create beautiful shared experiences. It all felt serendipitous– the way we decided and agreed to do things that respect each other’s time and space. There were plenty of affirmations and honesty that brought alignment in our work and personal lives. My biggest takeaway from this bonding is that our synergy exists because we all know how to take care of ourselves first, therefore we are able to bring our best selves for each other.


From our table to yours,



This article was written by Malja Steffi Lee