What others consider as a dream travel destination has easily become a home to Dominique Cojuangco while living in London to pursue a degree in Fashion Design. But even after she graduated, the capital of England remains the closest to her heart next to Manila. That said, Preview had a quick chat with the unica hija of Gretchen Barretto and business magnate Tonyboy Cojuangco about this beautiful city and what of it she loves the most. Read on below and have a taste of what it’s like to live in London, as told by Dominique.
Please tell us about how and why you came about living in London.
“I went to the British School Manila from beginning to end, so it just made sense to move to the U.K. All my friends were moving away from home. It really didn’t make sense to stay because it would’ve been a new experience regardless. Why not go all the way? They say ‘life shouldn't be lived in one place.’”
What was your first impression of the place?
“They have their own natural Instagram filter.”
Describe your typical day in London.
“On days I don't have class, I would go to the gym. By the time I get back, my friend Claudya would never fail to send me a message asking me if I want to grab coffee or matcha from Carpo. From there, I never had much of a routine. But my friends and I love to hang around anywhere outdoors! We were also never the type to have set plans, so we went with the flow of each day.”
What do you most love about the city?
“It really is a melting pot of cultures, with everyone so open to helping each other thrive in their pursuits.”
How would you compare the lifestyle in London and here in Manila?
“Independence, first and foremost. It also gives me the freedom to get lost and find myself in unexpected nooks and crannies that I wouldn't have otherwise come across.”
How do people dress in London? And how do you dress in London?
“They dress exactly how they feel and I love it. There was a girl who walked into one of my lectures with a plastic sprout clipped on the top of her head and no one questioned it—that’s London. I think I style my outfits a lot differently in London [as compared] to how I do in Manila. I don’t stick to a certain aesthetic there, but I do love to juxtapose my pieces. At home, I'll wear whatever won't make me overheat!”
For a first-time visitor, please give us your top five recommendations on where to visit.
1. “Dark Sugars–it’s a chocolate shop in East London. Though I’m not the biggest chocolate lover you’ll ever meet, I promise you it’s worth the trip. On the same road, you’ll find an abundance of beautiful graffiti and the Cereal Killer café if you want to Instagram somewhere quirky.”
2. “Bodega Negra's exterior poses as a sex shop, but it’s actually a really lovely restaurant. Don't question it! I promise the food is worth it!”
3. “I love the Natural History Museum. I don't particularly know why, but I just do. It's mesmerizing. It would definitely be a mistake to leave without wandering through.”
4. “Kent Lavender Farm because it's absolutely beautiful and smells DIVINE.”
5. “Borough Market is always a good idea, which is just a walk away from the Shard. I suggest you either have dinner or drinks instead of paying the fee to go all the [way to the] top, as it's the better option to enjoy the greatest view of the city.”
Where's your secret favorite place to eat?
“There’s an Indian restaurant right next door to my friends and I. They know our order by heart.”
Any travel tips? Like, where to go shopping maybe?
“Dover Street Market is my absolute favorite place to shop because it exudes the type of energy that makes you want to try styles out of your comfort zone. Brick Lane has an immense amount of vintage shops that have really cool garments and nick knacks like film cameras and whatnot. Even if you’re not looking to buy, it’s fun to browse.”
In one word, how would you describe London?
“Manila's always going to come first, but ‘home.’”