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Carla Yeung: A Charmed Life

This month, our cover girl will walk the aisle in a Monique Lhuillier wedding gown. “Monique is a family friend, and we’ve been friends since we were children,” Carla Yeung explains the choice. “We did the fitting last October in Los Angeles, and Monique’s first sketch hit the mark for me right away.” The gown is made of yards and yards of duchesse silk embellished with Swarovski crystals. “My friends from Hong Kong and London are coming over, and I’m sure they will find Cebu quite changed from the last time they were here.” The last grand affair her friends came over for was Carla’s debut in 1997, a lavish event where guests came in black tie and shimmering gowns, like a fairy tale ball.

This month, our cover girl will walk the aisle in a Monique Lhuillier wedding gown.  “Monique is a family friend, and we’ve been friends since we were children,” Carla Yeung explains the choice.  “We did the fitting last October in Los Angeles, and Monique’s first sketch hit the mark for me right away.”  The gown is made of yards and yards of duchesse silk embellished with Swarovski crystals. “My friends from Hong Kong and London are coming over, and I’m sure they will find Cebu quite changed from the last time they were here.”  The last grand affair her friends came over for was Carla’s debut in 1997, a lavish event where guests came in black tie and shimmering gowns, like a fairy tale ball.

The 31-year-old Carla Marie Salimbangon Yeung, comes from a big family on her mother’s side.  Her mother, Mariquita, whose roots are from Daan Bantayan, a sleepy town in the northern side of Cebu island, has six siblings, and altogether there are more than twenty cousins to play with on their frequent vacations to Cebu. “Carla, Jewelle and Martin would come here every year during the holidays and summers,” say Lauren Salimbangon, Carla’s second cousin. “We all live in the same family compound and the whole gang would just bond, no one would be left out.”

Some summers, it would also be the turn of the cousins to visit them in Hong Kong. Ocean Park, shopping and ice-skating would be on their to-do list and they would just enjoy each other’s company. Growing up, they shared many things, toys, clothes, even the same haircut –a bob for the girls and crew-cut for the boys. At first glance, Carla seems reserved, prim and proper, but deep down, her cousins say, she is also a cool rocker chick digging hard-metal tunes from Guns and Roses, and playing Warcraft for hours. She was also adventurous enough to wear whatever her sister Jewelle asked her to wear for their various costumed parties.

Carla, her brother Martin and sister Jewelle, were all born and raised in Hong Kong where the family settled and where her father Carlos had started a company that deals in diamonds, Simplex Diam Limited.  The three siblings share a special relationship with each other and have remained quite close through the years. Martin has taken on the role as the protective “older brother” even if technically Carla is older than him. While Jewelle or Judg, as Carla affectionately calls her younger sister, the more adventurous between the two sisters, is her best friend.

DADDY’S GIRL  As the first daughter, Carla takes center stage and her doting father Carlos is a strong presence in her life. “He’s a taipan in the boardroom but he’s a teddy bear really,” she smiles. “I admire my father’s focus and business sense, but also his warmth and generosity.” For our cover shoot, he took time to send Carla his choice of jewelry for her to wear.  This gesture from father to daughter clearly showed that no endeavor of hers is too small for him to show his full support.

Growing up, Carla was always conscious of the activities of Operation Smile, a charitable organization that helps children with facial deformities.  Her mom has spearheaded its local operations for the last ten years, coordinating medical missions for volunteer doctors from abroad and ensuring proper sanitation, medicines and meals for one and all. “My mom is also an inspiration – she is a strong woman, she never loses her poise despite adversities,” Carla says after one of the grueling activities they do out of town.

Carla went to the German Swiss International School in Hong Kong before being sent to London to attend St. Mary’s Boarding School in Oxfordshire where she finished her A levels, or high school, before proceeding to Kingston University in Surrey for her postgraduate studies and eventually earning a degree in English Law.  “I went to England at the age of fourteen, and stayed there until I was in my twenties.  Strangely enough, I miss the cold, there’s nothing quite like coming into a house with a fireplace while it’s freezing outside.” After college, she briefly worked for a law firm in Hong Kong.

BUSINESSWOMAN

After years of living abroad, Carla ran out of excuses, and when her dad requested her help in the family business, she was ready to settle home.  The Yeungs had accumulated quite a substantial amount of land in Cebu and Carla was the perfect candidate to pursue the family’s plan to enter the real estate market. She was given the task of developing Bayswater, a 8.5-hectare property in Mactan that would ultimately contain close to 800  dwellings targeted for Cebu’s growing middle market.  “The best part of being in Cebu is being able to learn from my parents,” admits Carla. “I feel very fortunate to have them guide me. I may have some business knowledge from school but over here, there is a more Asian business culture, we deal with a lot of Chinese and local businessmen and they have different ways of doing things.” She joins her mother, who is the chairman of MSY Holdings Corporation, in the company’s vision of building affordable residential properties and nurturing communities using environment-friendly designs in Mactan, an area known for its dynamic economic growth and natural tourist attractions.

There are other plans in the works for the company – a luxe resort is almost done in Daan Bantayan.  When fully operational, the the 18-room Kandiya Boutique Resort will employ a big number of the local populace and spark tourist activity in that part of Cebu, eventually extending to their properties in the neighboring island of Malapascua.  Also on the drawing board is a high-end residential tower in the Nivel Hills that would offer spectacular views of the city.

BLUSHING BRIDE

Happily, the young lady gets a handful of help from her soon- to-be-husband, Chris McKowen, who gained his real estate experience while working in London for a company that redeveloped high-end flats.  “When Carla’s father told me that he would never let her settle in London, I had no choice but to move with her to Cebu,” Chris relates.  They met while both were in boarding school, in one of the “mixer dances,” but started dating only when they met again after ten years. The McKowens come from a long line of Irish gentry; they moved to England at the turn of the century, in an area near Suffolk and Essex referred to as the Constable Country, as this was where the renowned painter John Constable used as the subject of his many landscapes.

On their big day, three things are certain. That Carla’s mom would have brilliantly outdone herself in producing a grand wedding any mother would be proud of; that the Father of the Bride would have tears of joy giving her  “little girl” away to such a nice man; and that Carla would know in her heart that everything is as it should be.

  • creative direction KATSY BORROMEO
  • couture CARY SANTIAGO
  • hair and make-up ROMERO VERGARA
  • photography DAN DOUGLAS ONG
  • locale Kenneth Cobonpue showroom, Interior Crafts of The Islands, Inc.

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EXCLUSIVE: Never Been Released Behind-the-Scenes photos of Zee Lifestyle’s Emerald Issue Cover Shoot

Photographer Jan Gonzales, Margie Lhuillier, June Alegrado, Kryz Uy, Mia Arcenas, Amparito Lhuillier and Alice Woolbright

We celebrate the strength and resilience of womanhood in this year’s Mother’s Day by looking back at these never been seen before behind-the-scenes shots of  Zee Lifestyle Magazine’s Emerald (20th Anniversary) Issue cover shoot featuring the “Leading Women” of Cebu.

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LEADING WOMEN

To celebrate the 20 beautiful years of Zee Lifestyle as the ultimate source of lifestyle news in Cebu, we handpicked 12 strong and stylish women of Cebu from every age group. These women show us that independently building one’s strength of character and living one’s passion knows no age. From the beginning, Zee has always been empowering women, providing the Cebuanas a platform to express their beauty and confidence, share their passions, engage in economic and political participation which yields to viewing women with equality and respect that we deserve.

photography Jan Gonzales
creative director Melo Esguerra
art director Doro Barandino
sittings editor Shari Quimbo
beauty director Romero Vergara
makeup Arnauld, Janice Barillo and Nicko dela Peña
hair Jessie Egos and Jake Arias
fashion styling Clint Potestas
production assistants Patty Taboada and Katrina Labra
locale Marco Polo Plaza Hotel Cebu

Twelve women, two sets and one afternoon. That is how the Zee Lifestyle team decided to celebrate the title’s 20th anniversary issue—with a challenge that, in some ways, is one of our biggest productions yet.

The idea came along when publisher Eva Gullas and editor-at-large Melo Esguerra were discussing a cover story that would best represent the magazine’s history. From commissioning artistic depictions on Cebu to playing with the anniversary’s emerald theme, no idea had stuck until Melo suggested putting a series of women who had already been on the cover of Zee, again on the cover all together.

Oj Hofer and Margot Osmeña

Kryz Uy

Coming up with the list of names, of course, was no small feat. Our covers from the last 20 years have included several strong personalities—from philanthropists and politicians, to actors, and names to soon watch out for, our pages have seen them all. The challenge, then, was to come up with a list of women who had been driving forces in their respective fields when they had first appeared on the cover, and remain as powerful players even today.

Amparito Lhuillier, Kryz Uy, Alice Woolbright, Margot Osmeña and June Alegrado all wearing MIRANDA KONSTANTINIDOU

Photographer Jan Gonzales and creative director Melo Esguerra

With input from editors, both past and present, we rounded up 12 women from different age groups, fields and industries, who are all strong and passionate at whatever it is they do—Amparito Lhuillier, who remains the doyenne of Cebu society as a picture of elegance and class with her continuing efforts in business and social causes; the always-stylish Marguerite Lhuillier, herself an example of sophistication in all her efforts, whether business or otherwise; Margot Osmeña, who as a Cebu City Councilor has spearheaded many urban projects directed for the betterment of living in the city; hospitality mavens June Alegrado and Alice Woolbright, who are deeply involved in the rise of their brands, Bluewater properties and Beverly Hotel, respectively; Christina Garcia Frasco, the current Lilo-an Mayor advocating impressively progressive efforts in the area; former model Fiona King, now a major player in homegrown real estate with projects like Bloq Residences; the fitness enthusiast Danessa Onglatco who has espoused wellness with the opening of Yogahub; restaurateur Carla Yeung-McKowen who is behind the city’s hottest dining outlet, The Pig & Palm; designer Mia Arcenas, whose signature resort wear and accessories are representative of Cebu’s laid back lifestyle; Kym Maitland-Smith, who juggles efforts in swimsuit design through SOLTI Activewear and is building awareness for the vegan lifestyle; and Kryz Uy, whose online presence was a strong one even before fashion blogs were on anyone’s radar.

Kymberly Maitland-Smith

Makeup Artist Romero Vergara, June Alegrado and Hair Stylist Jessie Egos

An impressive bunch, for sure. These women properly embody the characteristics that Zee Lifestyle looks for in one who makes the cover—beauty, yes, but also elegance coupled with individuality, and always a strong drive to succeed in whatever efforts they are directed.

This, it turns out, was the fitting tribute to the years Zee has been Cebu’s premier lifestyle bible, as well as a sign of the things forthcoming. Our 12 cover stars may have been on our pages before, but if their current efforts are any indication, our pages will continue to see more of them in the future. And as continuing purveyors of what Cebu has to offer, Zee Lifestyle will happily be seeing them in the years to come.

FROM LEFT Marguerite wears CARY SANTIAGO; June wears PHILIP RODRIGUEZ; Mia wears MIA ARCENAS; Kryz wears ELIZABETH HALLIE; Amparito wears MONIQUE LHUILLIER; Alice wears PHILIP RODRIGUEZ; Fiona wears VANIA ROMOFF; Margot wears PHILIP RODRIGUEZ; Danessa wears OJ HOFER; Carla wears ALICE+OLIVIA; Christina wears DINO LLOREN

(This article had already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s December 2016 Emerald Issue, “Leading Women” on pages 140-155.)

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Culture

La Liga Henerales: Shaping History Awareness Back Again in Cebu

La Liga Henerales is a community of young talents passionately promotes historical awareness through periodic costumes carefully researched for its authenticity and accuracy and promoted as well in events and schools.

Only few individuals before were into pursuit in this historical awareness project until the age of communication where internet is convenient in the palm of our hands through our gadgets. New information travel fast and data is retrievable, yet also possess a disadvantage with the plethora of different social media platforms carried by various makers as well. In a daily basis, historical backgrounds are unearthed making its trend until now as new discoveries are released, but the idea of these information being shown and shared is as close as not valuing or commemorating to its sources leaving this information just a trend.

There is a certain community of Cebuanos that are taking a quest to rewrite and restructure what was in the past, filling the gaps in facts with further research of variable sources that are made debatable but sticks to it true cause, to unveil the truths of our heritage and our origins, as Cebuanos and as Filipinos as well.

La Liga Henerales is a Cebu-based, non-profit organization composed of a group of talented, committed and respectable individuals from different walks of life, schools and profession whose primary aim is to promote both, Cebuano and filipino culture and heritage that was depicted before in pre-colonial and colonial eras via re-enactment with costumes vested in proper research and investigation to achieve authenticity. They also push their cause on schools and other social gatherings promoting and spreading awareness about our local, and national heroes that we look up to. With these said, they also portray a closer look of the lifestyle of the past to where they perform stories, perform forgotten dances and rituals and portray their individual roles, vital in the fight of our country’s future during those challenging times, and in honor to spread awareness of the lost practices we had in those times.

The Founder

Combining passion and education. Louis Villaflor re-enacts his way patriotism through his periodical costumes and expresses his love for Cebu and Philippines as a culture-centric country.

Louis Kenneth Villaflor, an entrepreneur and an avid history enthusiast and costumer, founded the group on the purpose of re-educating the youth about real local and national history, he saw the opportunity to combine his favourite hobbies which is costuming and story role-playing and the process to instill the historical awareness and value among the youth and in schools, along with a group of fellow enthusiasts who shares his passion about research and history, they took it among themselves to be purposeful in the advocacy in spreading historical awareness in schools or events by wearing periodically correct costumes and sharing the stories and its value to the youth.

Behind the Garments

With the its senior expertise of fashion design and a teacher of the field, his passion also of history caters also in his designs as he pushes through sustainable fashion and historical awareness combined.

Meet Rodney “Pee-Wee” Senining, who has been in the fashion industry since the late 90’s, strives  in concepts of avant-garde, innovation and cutting edge-fashion forward design. And also a teacher of Architecture, Fine Arts and Design of University of San Carlos, he had grown into research of books like the holy grail in the Library Resource Center and is always fascinated of the periodical times and how to preserve it; Hence, his interest had grown for the affinity of Periodical Costumes and Sustainable Fashion.

 Being part of the group La Liga Henerales, he was tasked to instantly be their mentor for the young talents and as the organization is still new and developing with limited funds, resourcefulness and research were done to come up with a good output of photo shoot and was quite proud of it and still promise on the next editions of pieces to be more historically accurate. Even as teacher for Fashion Design in SAFAD, his expertise comes hand in hand with the members as he helps them do research as well. His passion and interest somehow led him with enough knowledge to key the insights of the significant periods and historical backgrounds of it.

Historical Awareness in Cebu

The strength and progress of a country is anchored on how well they know and honor its history. The means of historical awareness in Cebu is almost non-existent among the Cebuanos, although we push forward in tourism and promote beauty through sceneries and other aspects of culture yet never commemorate deeply on historical icons such as our other local heroes, and ancient cultures as well that is almost been forgotten in an urban Cebu. Nevertheless, as long as communities’ like La Liga Henerales are now evolving in a learning state by real discovery by multiple resources, this will always reflect of how we appreciate love, patriotism and honor to our country and would look forward to progress.

 

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Culture

After the Razzmatazz and Razzle-dazzle: Post-Sinulog Thoughts

by Chrissy Grey Resaba

Buntings of red and yellow were removed from post to post. Streets were cleared and cleaned. Fireworks displays were faded in the sky. Beats of #prititit and tunes of tourism-booster Cebu tracks were being put to archive once again.

Contingents from different parts of Cebu and Central Visayas had gone back home. Party people had gone sober while some are still recovering. Traffic has gone back to normal. Businesses, as well, has gone back to normal.

However, all the fun and loud chants, smooth grooves, and frenzied choreographies are still replaying from the memory banks of the people who celebrated Sinulog 2020. The queen of all festivals in the Philippines has left again another mark of cultural and festive nostalgia to the people from all parts of the world and Cebuanos alike.

After all the razzmatazz and razzle-dazzle, let’s get to know what are these IG and FB personalities’ #PostSinulogThoughts about celebrating the newly-culminated Sinulog 2020 and how did they differentiate it to last year’s.

 

Eva Patalinjug

Eva Psychee Patalinjug, Binibining Pilipinas Grand International 2018 @evapatalinjug

I celebrated my Sinulog with my boyfriend and some of my close friends, we decided to choose a place where it’s not very crowded where we can see the whole Cebu, talk, and chill the night away. We went to Verified Lounge – Cebu’s newest premier sky lounge – located at the rooftop of the Avenir Building. It was something new for me as the night was calm as I was away from the busy streets of Cebu. It’s definitely one way of enjoying such festivities.

 

Kim Covert

Kim Covert @kimcovert

The Sinulog celebration this year has been one of the most memorable events in my life. Not only was I invited to perform a few of my own songs during the weekend’s festivities but I also turned over my Binibining Cebu Tourism crown to my successor. Last year, I was busy with work and was not able to completely grasp the events. This year’s festival was more organized which is a great success for Cebu. Many have flown in and had spent time with their families in the “Pit Senyor” spirit, others have enjoyed spending time off with friends and colleagues. It was a great way for me to start my New Year and close my Cebu chapter before I leave to the US in a week.

 

Alem Garcia

Alem Garcia @thealemgarcia

Well pretty much, I was still busy doing shows and events for Sinulog. But what made it different this year was the religious celebration made me believe even more that Sto. Niño is indeed miraculous and that He is meant to be celebrated. Even though you are successful in your chosen field, furthermore, everything will be meaningless if you do not have the faith.

Philip Pingoy

 

Philip Pingoy @almostablogger

We all have a Sinulog story to tell. It may be a story of losing faith and finding hope. But what is important is our devotion to the Holy Child Jesus (Señor. Sto. Niño). This year, my Sinulog experience was very different since I am already based in the United Kingdom. Thanks to the internet I was still able to watch the mass and all the festivities in Cebu. I am in UK because I prayed to Sto. Niño. So, let us not forget the reason we celebrate Sinulog and let us continue to share to the rest of the world why Sinulog is the grandest festival in the Philippines. Pit Senyor everyone! I hope you had a good one!

 

Lyssa Amor

Lyssa Amor @lyssaamor

Sinulog celebrates Filipinos’ acceptance of Christianity. This year, I celebrated Sinulog by hearing the word of God. I went to church which I do every Sinulog but the difference now is that I am not in Cebu. It’s my first time to celebrate Sinulog away from home because I’m currently in Japan. Although I didn’t dance the traditional Sinulog dance this year, I wasn’t able to watch the fireworks in Ayala, and didn’t spend time with my friends in Mango and IT Park. Snr. Sto. Niño will always be in my heart and I am forever grateful that our ancestors accepted Christianity and we continue to embrace it up until today.

 

Kevin Geniston @kgeniston

Sinulog will always be a highlight for me as a Cebuano. This year has been fulfilling as I was able to brave the crowd in the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu three times to attend the novena mass which had also become like bonding time with my family, daughter, friends and loved ones. I ended the celebration of the Sinulog festivities with a bit of the usual partying and/or clubbing.

Carlo Olano

Carlo Andrew Olano @kalamicebu

My Sinulog this year was a great mix of religious and secular activities. I was able to go to the church and somehow witnessed the Traslacion and the fluvial procession. I also went to many side events like parties, mall events, and fireworks exhibitions. Sinulog 2020 had a fantastic balance of fun, faith, and festivities.

 

Danna Bacolod

Danna Bacolod @dannabacolod

This is the second time I spent Sinulog with Cebu Pacific. We had series of events prepared during its entire week and participated the grand parade by having a float last Sunday. I always feel excited to join Sinulog Grand Parade and see a lot of people celebrating their own way of Sinulog along the streets of Cebu. Guess it’s safe to say that I had so much fun. Even if this was work-related, I didn’t feel like I’m actually working as it was always joyful doing events like these.

 

Nimo Scheming

Nimo Hideki @nimo_scheming

You prolly knew this already but, Sinulog 2020 was by far the most phenomenal Sinulog experience: more laidback than the previous years’. The music in every corner of the streets were still there to help you let loose and enjoy the experience. The surge of people had tested you both mentally and physically. But it was an experience you cannot miss like mingling with people from different walks of life and shouting out “Pit Senyor” to everyone. Summing up my Sinulog experience, I was able to get crazy and enjoy all aspects of the fest.

 

Michael Rey

Michael Rey @michaelsomewhere

I had the most relaxed Sinulog experience this year. I did not party and preferred to witness the grand parade instead. I do think that this year’s celebration was more colorful and much safer as establishments strictly abided the rules imposed by the Cebu City Government. I was also amazed at how the festival of fashion here in Cebu has evolved throughout the years.

Now, how about you? What are your #PostSinulogThoughts this Prititit 2020? Viva Pit Senyor!

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