Steve Tirona Mixes Spring With Don Papa Rum In A Shoot At One Of The Most Photographed Homes in The US - LA Wine & Dine

The LA-based photographer shot at Dawnridge Estate, last seen in Netflix’s Ratched, which was built by an American design legend.

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While spring might not be a familiar experience for many Filipinos, what it represents can resonate with just about anyone, especially in these dark and dreary days. With the changing of the seasons, there is a fresh start, growth, and hope, a fresh start. After more than a year of a global health crisis, those concepts are welcome and needed.

Spring is on the mind of Don Papa Rum when it unveiled its latest global campaign. Called “A Sweet Sugarlandia Spring,” it harkens to its Negros roots as it introduces two cocktails created by its LA-based brand ambassador Tomas Delos Reyes.

Spring awakening

To set the mood, a photo shoot was put together set in the grounds and stylish rooms of Dawnridge House. The legendary Beverly Hills home was used as location for the hit Netflix’ show Ratched, and is one of the most photographed houses in the states.

Dawnridge was built in 1949 by the American design icon Tony Duquette, who specialized in stage and film, along with his wife Elizabeth. The home was later purchased by Hutton Wilkinson, who apprenticed under Duquette, and his wife Ruth. Today, it serves as headquarters for Tony Duquette Studios and, as with Netflix’s suspenseful drama series, as backdrop for different shows, movies, and shoots. (See Tom Hiddleston’s Gucci campaign and Florence + Machine’s “Hunger” MV.)

Bringing Don Papa’s photos to life is LA-based Steve Tirona, whose works have been exhibited across the world from Japan, Malaysia, Australia, The Netherlands, USA, and has a permanent collection exhibited at The Singapore Art Museum. The photo series is also done in tandem with Hyperion LA.

Romantic picnic

Front and center in this shoot are the Rum label’s new cocktails: Avalon Awakens, a combination of lemon juice, hibiscus syrup, and mole bitters which is then served with an edible flower; and Botanica Obscura, which is a mixture of pineapple juice, lime juice, velvet falernum, and Ube syrup, and garnished with a Pinya wedge.

From left: Tomas Delos Reyes, Anca Bautista, and Steve Tirona

To complete the spring feeling, Don Papa also collaborated with 2012 Palanca Award Winner Anca Bautista in creating a poem to anchor the campaign aptly titled “The Sweetest Spell of Spring”:

At the close of cold, trapped winter, open wide the door,
Greet the brilliant promise of a day with much in store.
The golden rays of sunshine, spilling languid and alight;
A fine, romantic picnic to last from noon to night;
Bewitching strains of music, bright whimsy in the air,
A spread of cool elixirs poured out for friends to share;
Laughter from the gardens, games across the lawns,
The dreamy scent of flowers as the veil of dusk is drawn.

And now, you dreamers, waken; come drink, and dance, and sing!
The dream you have been dreaming is the sweetest spell of Spring.

Both Bautista and Tirona are friends of the drink brand, with the former collaborating with Don Papa before this campaign. Some of the shots from the “Sweet Sugarlandia in Spring” photo series, can already be seen in Don Papa’s Facebook page. It is part of their year-long Seasons of Sugarlandia global campaign.

Don Papa Rum is available for purchase online at

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