Creative savant takes a leap of faith, pursues his passion
By Fiona Patricia S. Escandor
BONG Deiparine is a man of many pursuits, that, in the course of his life he had been recognized by quite a number of monikers. Some knew him as an events guru, others as a television producer, and some remember him in his younger years as a restaurateur and band singer. Clearly, tapping into his creative prowess is what he loves dabbling in the most, something he does remarkably well.
But of all the titles he’s gotten over the years, none is more dear to him than being a design savant, standing as creative director of his design company, Primitivo Deiparine Design Atelier. A favorite among A-listers, Bong has cast his artistic magic through consultancy and application of design in architectural, interior, furniture and construction — not only in Cebu, but across the country as well. At present, the artisan is also handling projects in Manila, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, El Nido and Dumaguete.
“Ever since I was a kid, I always loved rearranging stuff and furniture. I know what works, what looks nice in a house. But in college, I actually pursued a medical course,” Bong shared. Going for a career detour, he actually worked as occupational therapist in the US, and it was in those years he began to pursue design work.
“A friend of mine saw my place after I fixed it up and she asked me to fix her place as well,” he said. “So I made a deal with her. I’ll fix her place for free, but we should throw a party and invite friends over. It became an open-house party, and one of her friends hired me on-the-spot to do his loft.”
Hosting open-houses, and inviting neighbors to check it out — that was pretty much how it all started. And the next thing he knew, Bong found himself realizing design concepts on residential and commercial spaces around the San Francisco Bay Area where he was based, extending to upscale Santana Row in San Jose, up to Las Vegas. Bong eventually established his company in 2006.
“That was when I decided to take a leap of faith and quit my day job,” he said. “It was scary and hard for me, since what I had was a secure job. Then, I had to do everything on my own. I didn’t know if I would make it or not. I just had to follow my passion.”
Bong brought his company home in 2011, somehow accidentally, in what was supposedly just a long overdue, two-month vacation in Cebu. A chance encounter with Aya Garcia-Schlachter, who just like him previously lived in the US, had him doing his first home project here. Word of mouth extended his stay, and his portfolio was soon added with more office and commercial spaces, including, among many others, Pillows Hotel, Gold’s Gym, and Politics. His team is now composed of licensed architects, interior designers and contractors.
Clean, functional and elegant is how Bong narrows down his design inclinations. “I’m very eclectic and at the same time I want to interject something classic — I would say (my style is) classic contemporary,” he said, “I also make it a point to know my clients well before I start drafting. I want my design to be personal to them. I always want to know their personality, the colors they love, what they do — so their lifestyle reflects in my design.”
More to reveal
Bong will be launching a home and garden accessories line, labeled Primitivo Home that will be available in the international market soon. His long-term goal is to put up a showroom that will serve as a one-stop boutique for home design needs. “In Cebu, I still have yet to show a whole side of me — so many things to do, so many designs I want to accomplish and tackle,” he mused.
As if he hasn’t got enough on his plate, Bong, who has been a Rotarian for the last 18 years, also dedicates a portion of his time to community activities. He was recently hailed president-elect of the Rotary Club of Cebu Fort San Pedro, with which for the last several years he’s been conducting outreach activities to public schools in and outside Cebu.
In his downtime, Bong shared he enjoys cooking, traveling to nature spots, visiting remote islands or just unwinding in a quiet resort. He also loves going to karaoke with his friends, singing being one of the activities he says he misses. Bong used to be part of a band, and has shared the stage with the likes of Apo Hiking Society, Journey and David Pomeranz, and he has opened for several artists in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Design, of course, now comes first, and he said, “When I walk into a room for a meeting with a client, then they tell me what they want, and the whole process of designing, no matter how tired I am, that’s really my passion. I can have my eyes closed and still think of something nice.”
Cover Photo: Maki Garcia-Evans | Inside Photos: Amper Campaña| Locale: Politics [Café + Public House]