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Here’s a gift guide to kick off your Christmas shopping

Christmas comes once a year, so why not make your gifts worth the wait?

Here’s a confession straight from this website’s editor: I do most – if not all – of my Christmas shopping at Rustan’s.

To most of those my age and income bracket, this is seen as a seemingly indulgent thing. Actually, it is – although not in the way people assume so. Seriously, if people actually just stop dismissing Rustan’s as a super high end department store (even though it is), they’d find that they can actually get some very interesting and good quality things with any budget.

But the real extravagance lies in the variety of the store’s offerings – from makeup to clothes to home furnishings – and the abundance of cashiers and gift wrapping counters. Shopping in Rustan’s, even at the peak of the holiday rush, remains a breeze. You’d find that even though you’re like me and prone to doing your shopping at the last minute, the experience is anything but a hassle.

Considering it’s a three-floor anchor store in Ayala Center Cebu, it’s natural to feel a bit overwhelmed. Zee Lifestyle is here to save the day, with recommendations personally handpicked by the family who runs the show – the Tantocos.


Piaget timepiece, recommended by Amb. Bienvenido Tantoco Sr.

Chairman’s Choice by Amb. Bienvenido Tantoco Sr.


The father of Rustan’s and a man renowned for his exceptional taste, Ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco Sr. chooses an array of timeless pieces – from a handsome Piaget watch, to light casual shirts by Ascot Chang, which are sure to delight all men who appreciate clean, classic styles.


Classic picks by Anton Huang

Classic Picks by Anton Huang

Paolo Tantoco and Anton Huang offer their own elegant selections that appeal to the younger male market with striking shoes from Harry’s of London, and wonderful fashion pieces from Adolfo Dominguez, Faconnable and more.


CEO's Choice by Zenaida Tantoco

CEO’s Choice by Zenaida Tantoco

CEO's Choice by Zenaida Tantoco

CEO’s Choice by Zenaida Tantoco

For the CEO’s Picks, Zenaida Tantoco chooses a promising selection of feminine yet stunning pieces such as the Damiani Icon Ring and Loewe Flamingo Bag in red for the glamorous, empowered executive. And for her home, nothing is as luxurious as the masterpieces from Lalique and Lladro.


Glam Picks by Marilen Tantoco

Glam Picks by Marilen Tantoco

Glam Picks by Marilen Tantoco

Glam Picks by Marilen Tantoco

Marilen Tantoco, on the other hand, lends her keen sense of style in choosing dazzling pieces for the ladies in your life. She recommends luxurious Natori ensembles perfect for the everyday and exquisite tea sets by Bernardaud.


Tokies Picks by Maritess Tantoco Enriquez

Tokies Picks by Maritess Tantoco Enriquez

For the ladies with more eclectic tastes, Maritess Tantoco Enriquez recommends unique pieces that are statements in themselves – such as the ZIIO Bracelets, Fendi bag charms and an array of fashion-forward heels by Christian Louboutin.


Millenial Picks by Nicole Tantoco

Millenial Picks by Nicole Tantoco

Millenial Picks by Nicole Tantoco

Millenial Picks by Nicole Tantoco

Fashionable young ladies, on the other hand, will be inspired by the stylish picks of Camille and Nicole Tantoco, which reflect a more trendy and contemporary take to style. Nicole chooses clean, crisp looks from one of the newest brands Ricardo Preto and complementing accessories by Longchamp and Fendi. Camille goes for a more flirty touch with relaxed, feminine dresses by Darling London and Catwalk Junkie. She spruces this up with MAC beauty essentials and Shashi accessories.

Trendy Picks by Camille Tantoco

Trendy Picks by Camille Tantoco

Trendy Picks by Camille Tantoco

Trendy Picks by Camille Tantoco

If you’re still can’t decide on what to pick for yourself or your fashionable friends and family, you can log visit your favorite Rustan’s store and allow the expert personal shoppers and sales associates help you discover the great selections of gifts available for all your loved ones and friends. Welcome this season dressed in your stylish best with picks from Rustan’s in-house designers and luxury retailers.

This Christmas, Rustan’s offers you more rewards as you thoughtfully shop for others. With every gift purchase, get the chance as well to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip to some of the most wonderful destinations in the world. 

For every P3,000 minimum single receipt purchase at any Rustan’s Department Store, receive a raffle ticket towards a chance at winning one of three wonderful trips to great destinations: New York City with a private tour around the official headquarters of Tiffany & Co; France, with a stay at the the exclusive hotel of Lalique, Hotel Hochber; or Malaysia, with a fun getaway at LEGOLAND Theme Park and Water Park.

Christmas comes but once a year but there are a million and one ways to celebrate it. Let Rustan’s be part of your memories and help you make the most of every moment. (with PR)

Ayala Center Cebu
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Cebuano Haute Couture Shines at 2021 Cebu Wedding Expo

Photography by Rene Amodia

Forever at Soltana

by Allain Dumon Fonte

Soltana Nature Residences host the grandest wedding destination expo for 2021. In their grandiose Events at Soltana venue, wedding suppliers, event coordinators, events stylists, fashion designers, and exhibitors gathered to showcase their best to excited couples and clients.  The grand expo was opened by the Chairperson of Lapu Lapu City’s Tourism Commission and first lady of this historic resort city, Madam Cynthia Cindy King Chan; she was with city counselor, Hon.  Queenie Malingin Amman; Taft Properties COO and Vice President, Myra Lynn Gilig; Taft Properties CFO, Feliz Tiukenhoy; and Mr. Justin Gaisano of Taft Properties. 

Philip Rodriguez

To set the event’s mood, AD models Kevin Lahousse and Gingie Alducente acted as newlyweds joining the expo and leading the guests to the exhibitors’ booths.  Yet, the highlight of the event was the glamorous fashion show set in the world’s most visited wedding destinations, as the mannequins of AD models paraded the haute couture creations of Cebu’s A-list fashion designers.

Dexter Alazas

The show was opened by Miss Earth 2008, Karla Henry-Amman, wearing a bridal gown designed by Hanz Coquilla.  Her wedding mood was the historic streets and sceneries of Vigan, Philippines.  Coquilla created a Filipiniana-inspired bridal dress with perfectly constructed butterfly sleeves, exquisitely clean lines, and masterfully crafted bias skirt of balanced cones and flows.  Valerie Alvez showcased a bridal dress made of vintage Chantilly lace.  Alvez proved her skills in manipulating laces to be impeccable; the bow detail at the back added glamour to the dress, exuding luxury to the bride wearing Alvez’s masterpiece.  Wendell Quisido set her wedding theme to the dreamy beaches of Ipanema; and as her model glided on the runway, everyone in the audience dropped their jaws to the intricately detailed bridal dress that Quisido made. Quisido designed a bustier dress with well-balanced panels that wonderfully fitted the model’s figure; but what made Quisido’s dress jaw-dropping are the countless Swarovski crystals that covered the dress.  Dexter Alazas joined the fashion show with a 1920’s inspired wedding dress of vintage tulle and embroidered in the decade’s popular baroque patterns.  Alazas has shown the wonders of working with delicate fabrics and the opulence of vintage embroidery patterns.

Wendell Quisido

Valerie Alvez

The fashions show also brought us to the rich sceneries of Mallorca, Spain with Ren Manabat’s three-tiered wedding dress.  The labor-intensive layers upon layers of soft English tulle made Manabat’s artwork stand out, among others.  Another head turner is a dress that was carefully planned and architecturally constructed, the bridal gown designed by Protacio.  Protacio has obviously studied well which fabrics to use and how each fabric is sewn to the other to create an illusion of nudeness under layers of vintage Italian mesh. The dress was architecturally constructed like the Burj Khalifa where every piece sits perfectly with each other in harmony and balance.  Fashion connoisseur Marichu Tan-Geson created an extremely detailed bodice lined with Swarovski crystals, and a skirt made from layers of dotted soft English tulle.  Tan-Geson’s manipulation techniques on the soft tulle and how she delicately draped every layer of the tulle upon the other is interesting and intriguing.  With a work of art as beautiful as that, I could say that Tan-Geson is the Madame Gres of Cebu fashion.  The show ended with a groom and a bride wearing a 19th century English-inspired wedding ensemble by master couturier, Philip Rodriguez.  Rodriguez has proven once again his artistry and expertise in fashion by creating an empire-waist gown with ruffled sleeves made from dotted Italian mesh of 100% silk and vintage silk taffeta.  Rodriguez presented a truly elegant wedding dress; lesser on the intricacy but more on the richness of the materials being used.  The rarity of Rodriguez’s fabrics already makes his dress worthy to a MET gala exhibition. 

Ren Manabat

Protacio Empaces

Philip Rodriguez

The models wore the timeless and recherche jewelry collections from Royal Gem to match the bridal dresses of the featured designers.  Every jewelry piece is made to complement a woman who loves fashion and whose self-awareness dictates her own style.  From green sapphires to yellow diamonds, every jewelry piece is stunning.  No wonder why socialite and fashion icon, Heart Evangelista, loves and promotes Royal Gem. All models are wearing Shandar bridal footwear.

Philip Rodriguez

Marichu Tan-Geson

Hanz Coquilla

The Grand Wedding Destination Expo at the Events at Soltana will run until the 24th of May 2021 with exciting activities:  a maquillage session with Jessie Glova, a bridal make-up competition and show, a financial literacy session for new couples, a talk on real estate investments, a session  with Rod Bautista and Eddie Jamin from the Centerpiece Weddings and Events about wedding destinations in Cebu and the new norms in wedding celebrations, and a whole lot more of raffle prizes from Plantation Bar Resort and Spa, Solea Mactan Resort, Savoy Hotel Mactan, and others.

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CEBU’S GALLERY OF ROUGE: Mistress of Disinfo, Vixen of Vexation and the Duchess of Disorder

Ogle La La
By Alexandra Fortabat de Hermès

Cebu’s own Lady Whistledown is back after a long hiatus and talks about the naughty ones who comprise the initial #TroubleTrifecta, three ladies who you may or may not know…

It’s been eight years since someone’s picked up this particular (jewel-encrusted) quill so thought it rather apropos to begin sharpening those French-manicured talons and polishing our sardonic wits once again. After all — dear amigas — there is only so much Netflix one can watch, or peloton one can engage in, or caviar-topped foie to prepare, while we’ve all been locked down in our kubôs for well over a year!

To be sure the last twelve months have been a rollercoaster of emotions, a carousel of follies and a series of blunders that have reversed decades of growth resulting in historical levels of unemployment while a very few have been channeling  Winston Churchill’s adage of “never waste a good crisis” a bit too much. While we can go on and on about the bungled and disastrous government response, we will limit our political commentaries here as we have no interest – nor inclination — to open that rather voluminous Pandora’s box. 

The armoires that we will explore will belong to three types of our island’s “alta” sociedad who – in this last revolution around the sun – made us cringe and bust out many tubs of popcorn through their sheer audacity, lack of sensitivity, and overall dopiness.  This –  ladies (and lady wannabes) – is therefore the debut edition of the  #TroubleTrifecta.

The first is that amiga who, by choice or plain predilection, just cannot keep her facts straight.  Let’s call her Mistress of Disinfo coz one simply cannot trust what comes out of her well-lined lips or read from her often convoluted (and run-on) status updates. In this age of ubiquitous and nearly instantaneous information and the proliferation of fake news, the least one can do is check the veracity of what one puts out in the social media realm.  As with anything else, quality is key!

The next Vixen of Vexation is that overbearing arriviste who is desperate to bowdlerize her courtesanal past by plastering her obviously enhanced and Gluta-enabled mug on every surface (and platform) known to modern man.  This self-proclaimed Madame Multiverse is quick to brandish her (dubious) accomplishments, has an affinity for B (or C?) rated actors and milks her closeness to certain members of the Old Guard.   In her perpetual quest for legitimacy and acceptance by the upper echelons, perhaps this Señorita aspirant should heed the advice of  Malcolm Forbes when he declared: “How to Succeed: Try Hard Enough; How to Fail: Try Too Hard.”

Our last Duchess of Disorder is definitely NOT the least in this Gallery of Rouge and has actually been the source of not just consternation but of many a disruption – and not in a good way.  This Soaper Woman is so-called due to her propensity to air out all her filthy lavada to anyone who will listen or bother to read her IG stories. Besides giving any Grammar Nazi a massive coronary, this Fräulein of Fracas has been known to commit acts of arson, has no qualms of engaging in online character assassinations AND seems to have a never-ending bevy of skeletons that are constantly feasting in her many closets. 

Ladies, please!  While we have to admit that we derive a certain guilty pleasure from your virtual explosions and implosions, they do get very prosaic – very quickly.  Discretion, like intelligence and proper manners, truly never goes out of style.

So there you have it folks. These tumultuous times we live in certainly do not need any more brouhaha so  please remember to be precise, don’t try too hard and always maintain a  certain sense of delicadeza. Not only will your lives be simpler and more pleasurable but maybe, just maybe, you may finally crack that clique that you’ve been clawing your way to be a part of.  

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New Year’s Eve Dressing for 2020

What’s an ideal New Year’s Eve soirée outfit? Three of Cebu’s young fashion designers share their suggestions for the ladies on how to ring in the year 2020 in style…

“Holiday dressing is all about sheer skin and comfort. A silver gray palazzo jumpsuit with sheer lace cut-outs is in order.” -Mikhail Achas, Fashion Designer

“Holiday dressing is all about clean lines and sophistication. A tailored blacked tea dress with godet insertions will totally give out a modern vibe with a toast to the 50s.” -Bree Esplanada, Fashion Designer

“I chose this design because it is so comfy and light. The raffles make it look elegant and versatile for different events, like awarding ceremonies or a New Year’s Eve party.” -Eve Navales, Fashion Designer



Something to watch out for this year from these young designers will be their collection exclusively designed for the cast of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues for V-Day Cebu 2020, which will be staged in March. For more information, visit the Facebook page V-Day Cebu.

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