Youth isn’t wasted on these young ones. Passionate and driven, these personalities are paving the path for their chosen careers–whether it be business and events, or music and art.
Meet Cebu’s Young Creatives of 2016.
Rowell “Medyo Maldito” Ucat, Kurt Fick, and Therese Villarante
Therese Villarante, Rowell Ucat and Kurt Fick are Cebu-based creative professionals making a big splash in their hometown through their individual and collaborative works.
Whether she performing in a production of Siddharta: The Musical, or writing music for the Visayan Pop (VisPop) songwriting competition, Therese is a ray of sunshine for the local creative art scene. Rowell Ucat is more popularly known as Medyo Maldito, and is one of the most prolific YouTube celebrities in Cebu today, thanks to his increasingly popular hugot videos. Kurt Fick‘s rise to superstardom with HAHAHAhasula— a song he directed, edited and performed—has opened people’s eyes to the beauty of Cebuano music and storytelling. – Verne Ahyong
Lourdes Maglinte, Vincent Eco, and Nina Alcoseba
Let’s face it. Music in our precious city needs a drastic makeover. Nobody knows this more than 22 Tango Records, an independent local record label determined to address this conundrum head on.
22 Tango Records is home to some of Cebu’s most talented homegrown musicians and songwriters, like Lourdes Maglinte who is great at coming up with witty, albeit painfully true, punch lines in everything she writes and sings; and Vincent Eco, who you can always count on for truthful lyrics that open up wounds and folk melodies that touch the soul. And then there’s Nina Alcoseba, a free spirit with a good head on her shoulders who is easily the ultimate multitasker of the street team—she writes, takes photos, coordinates with artists, and even hosts some of the events. – Micah Almazan
People in Action
Ernest Dino and Charlene Virlouvet
Whether acting on stage or filming from behind the scenes, Charlene Virlouvet and Ernest Dino are reinvigorating theater and independent film in Cebu.
Charlene was 13 years old when she fell in love with theater, when her mother enrolled her in the Out of the Box Theater summer program run by Daisy Baad. That same year, Charlene joined a local production of The Vagina Monologues, and since then has chosen live theater as her weapon of choice to promote her advocacies. Ernest, meanwhile, started filmmaking in college while earning his political science degree at the University of the Philippines-Cebu. His film group is named Retaso Media, and it is also the title of his film that won third place at the 2014 Binisaya Film Festival. – Verne Ahyong
Myka Arnado, Cecilia Martinez, Bea Sagun, Kae Batiquin, and Mirella Gallego
Calling themselves a social movement, Create Cebu aims to promote a more livable Cebu through public art, and to showcase Cebuano creativity and encourage a culture of creation and open expression. They also hope to build a bridge between art and the community—to infuse art into Cebu’s public spaces in order to make it accessible to all. Truly a passion project, these young Cebuanas believe in creating brighter, more livable urban spaces where the rich Cebuano history, identity and culture are visibly alive in the city. – Bea Ybanez
Seby Pelaez and Mitz Vikki Jao
The convenience of having your food cravings immediately delivered to your door is now possible with foodpanda, a downloadable app that connects you to your favorite restaurants with a few taps. Whether you’re craving spicy lechon for a hearty lunch or cold milk tea on a hot afternoon, foodpanda brings your favorite dishes right to your doorstep.
Launched in March 2012, foodpanda has headquarters in Germany and is now in 40 countries worldwide. By 2014, it had made its way to the Philippines and finally reached Cebu by November of that year. Sebastian Pelaez takes care of leading the team in all aspects of the business—from acquiring new restaurants, to marketing the product on online and offline channels, and overseeing that all service hits the guaranteed delivery time, while Mitz Vikki Jao is in charge of introducing the brand to the public—a feat deemed successful, considering the app’s popularity today. – Carlo Rivera
Charmaine de Leon and Ruby Pansoy
Young architecture graduate Charmaine de Leon was at a music event, walking by the stalls that were peddling a wide assortment of wares—from the most basic items to the quirkiest fashion finds, from unique culinary creations to dessert favorites—when she had her token “eureka!” moment.
Despite the huge crowd present, there wasn’t much foot traffic along these said stalls. Understandably so, because people don’t really go to a music festival to shop. There surely must be a better setting to showcase their products, Charmaine thought, so she rounded up friends Ruby Pansoy and Monica Posadas. Together they came up with what would later on be called the Pop District Bazaar, which has provided Cebuanos with a unique shopping experience, while opening up new opportunities for young entrepreneurs to reach their market and go after their dreams. – Bea Ybanez
Mac Viros, French Manla, Jasper Borres, Joshua Cypres, Arnel Biscarra, Coody Rodriguez, Gian Chua, and Yan Perez
It’s hard not to get caught up in the beat when you’re watching a group of dancers perform—synchronized, upbeat and just plain energetic, it’s enough to make you wish you could move like that yourself. Such is the feeling when watching Cruise Control perform. With various gigs that include regular performances at SM Seaside City, the group of boys has shown that they’re all about the movement, and they’ve got the fans to prove it. – Shari Quimbo
Arianna Lozada, Adam Hechanova, Bryan Tan, Matthew Basabe, and Arianne Albia
In developing individual personalities, Hyper Cebu is made up of a team with a unified desire to bring topnotch entertainment to Cebu—with events that are well planned out, affordable and readily accessible. Their shows feature new waves of music introduced by a wide lineup of DJs. The group also aspires to contribute to the local economy by drawing more tourists to the venue, and incessantly promoting Cebu culture and hospitality. – Carlo Rivera
Kidlat and Jean Candice Yu
Cebu City has a vibrant art scene, but there is more art to experience in Cebu than those found in museums and galleries. Street art can now be viewed all over the city, thanks to Kidlat and his fellow artists, while calligraphy as created by Jean Candice Yu now appears on everything from corporate logos to wedding invitations. – Verne Ahyong
photography Toni Marie Despojo, Dan Douglas Ong, and Mark Philip Dales makeup by Janice Barillo and Arnauld hair by Gino Fonghe shot on location at Unos Design
THROWBACK THURSDAY: Thanksgiving with the Woolbrights
THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING
The holiday season kicks off officially with Thanksgiving. A time to be grateful for family, friends and blessings. Although this is not usually practiced in our tropical country, there are, however, families like the Woolbrights for whom this is a time-honored tradition.
by Janine Taylor sittings editor Katsy Borromeo fashion stylist Mikey Sanchez food stylist Nicolette Gaw-Yu production manager David Jones Cua intern Danica Ronquillo hair and make-up Jessie Glova assistant Jojo Embalzado photography Joseph Ong locale Woolbright Residence
Eddie Woolbright was among the thousands of G.I.’s that landed on the shores of the Philippines during the Japanese occupation. After the war, a few enterprising American soldiers came back, including the 24-year old Eddie who made Tacloban his home, before settling down in Cebu in the 1950s and opened a restaurant and a hardware store downtown—Eddie’s Log Cabin and Eddie’s Hardware and Auto Supply, respectively.
Eddie’s Log Cabin quickly became the hub of social, political and even military scene. It was the first air-conditioned café in town, and more importantly, it offered American diner food including a soda fountain and an ice cream parlor. It was patronized by one and all for its reputation for good food and service.
It also didn’t take long for the fearless Eddie Woolbright to realize that the real estate in the sleepy hillside suburbs was ripe for development. “I will show Cebu what a good planned subdivision is,” Eddie had said, when the late Senator Marcelo Fernan, then a young legal counselor for Columbian Rope Co., took Eddie to see the property. Pretty soon, Eddie had purchased over thirty-three hectares of otherwise undeveloped land from the heirs of the late Arlington Pond.
“Buy land,” Eddie Woolbright was known to quote the late humorist Will Rogers, “because they ain’t gonna make more.”
With his added access to army surplus, he bulldozed tracts of land, and a decade later, Beverly Hills, the first major subdivision in Cebu City, was created, and marketed to the city’s growing well-to-do locals, with the subdivision’s connotations of Hollywood and colonial American aesthetic. Eddie’s belief in the business potentials of central Cebu city enabled him to see much growth in his investments in land development, water drilling, construction, and general trading.
Eddie had nine children: Rick, Anita, Marc, Gilbert, Alice, Kathy, Kristy, Karen and Joy. All recall that each holiday was as important to them as Christmas. Turkey Thanksgiving dinners, for example, as it was known in the Woolbright household, began when Eddie’s mom, Nell, came to visit sometimes in the 1960s. Eddie would buy a butterball turkey from the American base in Clark and she whipped up a traditional feast complete with cornbread stuffing, cranberry jelly, candied yams, garlic mashed potatoes and her famous giblet gravy which was poured literally all over the bird, as they do back in her home in Oklahoma. Grandma Nell also taught the cooks at Eddie’s Log Cabin to make the famous Coconut Cream Pie, another Eddie’s Log Cabin standard. Kathy also recollects, “It was also dad’s idea that the restaurant and the hotel should serve breakfast 24 hours, and since I loved my Mexican omelet, sliced ham, buttered toast I enjoyed being able to eat breakfast any time of the day.”
My dad taught me how to be humble. He told us stories about his younger days jumping trains, eating nothing but grapes for days just to go pick cotton. He had a hard life growing up and I guess he wanted us, his children, to know the meaning of hard work. He would say, “Nobody owes you a life in this world”. I didn’t understand it then but I do now. -Alice Woolbright
Shortly after, turkey was introduced in the menu of Eddie’s Log Cabin, both Americans and Cebuanos, with a penchant for this wholesome meal, look for it when November came, and more especially on Thanksgiving Day. “Dad loved quality meat, and passed on this fondness to us, his children,” noted Karen, “So special meals always consisted of a good steak or the tender Prime Rib Roast. Of course, the year was never complete without a Turkey once or twice.”
As the sisters change into various outfits for the photo shoot in their childhood home, each one recalled the happy memories this holiday brings.
Alice, recalls disliking the giblet gravy as a child but since her dad would serve her at the dinner table she had no choice but to eat it. She adds, “He would get upset if we did not try everything.” Funnily enough, she now looks forward to the giblet gravy and can’t imagine turkey without it. Her dad, she said, employed the same tactic with his customers at the restaurant so after a while, they ended up getting used to it, and will not have their turkey any other way.
Between brothers and sisters coming home from out of town and family members in the States, there was always some degree of traveling or entertaining company. Dad valued the family bond and holidays were the best time to reinforce that. –Karen Woolbright
Joy Woolbright-Sotto fondly remembers watching her dad carve the bird. “He made sure that each one of the kids learned how to do it properly, with the white meat sliced thinly enough, and followed last by the dark meat,” she says. A feat she now does with ease. Future doctor Karen says that her dad would always carve the wings and serve it to her, which is still her favorite part of the fowl. Kathy though, considers turkey her comfort food. But she says that she loves the Coconut Cream Pie, which is also served on the restaurant’s menu, and that as a child she could eat half a pie in bed.
Cebu in the 60s and 70s was a very small town, if you wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving, you went to Eddie’s. Eddie’s Log Cabin, like its owner was a trailblazer, the balut dice game originated there, many singers’ careers such as Elizabeth Ramsey’s were given their first break there.
The torch has been passed on to his children, and they too celebrate it with turkey dinners and all the trimmings, ensuring that the restaurant still serves the traditional menu, down to the Coconut Cream Pie. Thanksgiving will always be celebrated at their homes, and the Beverly Hotel, the last legacy that Eddie Woolbright gave his children to run.
Another legacy that Eddie left to his children was a love for food and Alice was quick share that she got it too, “I’m usually home during the day and I find myself in the kitchen trying to cook up new dishes to serve.”
Back at the Woolbright ancestral home, which is also now Alice’s home, the dining table has been set, evoking autumn and harvest, the candles are lit, the wine is being poured, the buffet table is groaning under the weight of the Thanksgiving repast. The sisters are seated at the table, each with a glass of wine discussing whose turn it is to carve. The annual Woolbright turkey dinner is about to start and I am glad to be invited to join them at their family home. Happy Thanksgiving, indeed.
(This article has already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s November 2011 Entertaining Issue, “The Gift that Keeps on Giving” on pages 72-77.)
LADY CYCLISTS HIT THE ROADS AND SLOPES OF CEBU.
Cycling has been a growing sport and hobby for many years but it’s popularity has erupted since the Covid pandemic. People biking to work and for recreation is an everyday sight in Cebu. More and more are joining the ride. Many are quite serious about cycling. I know three ladies who are among those who’ve gone long distances across Cebu.
How did you get into serious cycling? What was your motivation?
Blinky de Leon. Event Host, Product Endorser & Influencer
“ I’ve been into cycling since I was a kid. A little backstory, I was around 10 years old when my dad surprised me with my first custom-made mountain bike. I still keep it until now, in fact I had it refurbished. It’s the most sentimental thing I ever received since it was his way/gesture to catch up with me after not seeing each other for almost 6 yrs. My dad is based in Germany and he also loves cycling and makes his own bamboo bike.”
“Just a year ago though, my friend Gazini randomly, out of nowhere, picked me up from home to bike with her to the South of Cebu. I felt really excited and motivated to get back on track because it’s very nostalgic and brings back so many great memories. And since then, the rest was history. We’ve been joining different groups, tried different routes and conquered different heights. I’ve met so many cyclists with very inspiring stories in the bike community who kept me feeling motivated too. I also look forward to the sights and the adventure that comes along with it.”
Yumz Mariot. Branding & Marketing Consultant
“I used to bike along with rock and wall climbing. I am lousy with ballgames which is why. Our usual route were Talamban and Mactan but one time, managed to ship gears all the way to Dumaguete for a quick ride to Valencia, the next town located at a higher elevation. Those were days when I did it for fun and what bike I was using did not matter.”
“Fast forward to 2021, a year after the pandemic lockdown began, I realized I have been lazy to do any fitness routine. Too caught up on juggling between house chores and Work from Home deliverables (I work as a Branding and Marketing Consultant), I started to feel my body needs to move as much as my brain does. A hysical fitness routine is as important as what I eat, or what I read or watch. So I decided to invest on a decent MTB, just very recently and got myself a much necessary restart. What motivates me even more is the area where I currently reside at. It is vast, fresh, green and safe for solo bikers like me.”
Prime Sarino. Digital Media Creative
“I started biking as a young teenager and I got the idea to start it as an adult hobby 3 years ago. I was already into running and I thought it would be great to venture into another outdoor activity to keep me occupied after work hours and weekends. I was set to travel for a year so I had to put aside the idea first but came pandemic. We were all forced to stay put and everything was put on hold. Cycling became my diversion. My cyclists friends invited me to quick and short rides. I enjoyed my first 50km ride and the sceneries and routes most of all. It also helped channel a positive mindset during the hard hit season of the pandemic. Not to mention it’s also another way to stay fit when we were forced into inactivity during the quarantine.”
Next in Part 2, we ask the ladies about their cycling experiences and memorable moments…
#CebuPride: Cebuanos in Multi-awarded Pride-Themed Films
Multi-awarded International Gay Movies with Cebuano Lead Casts
By: Allain Dumon Fonte
Pride-themed movies are starting to invade the film industry as people become more accepting and are more intrigued on the stories about LGBTIQ. Many have shared the intensity of emotions and laughed with the craziest jokes on gay-themed movies. In the Philippines, these kinds of movies were questioned as to their morality and their message to the society. The strong influence of the country’s religious standards had branded gay-themed movies as sex-oriented and nothing more. Yet, with Thailand’s more tolerant culture, Thai BL (Boy’s Love) movies and television series have created a new perception to the viewers; and that is gay-themed movies are remarkably alike to all other movies – there is romance, comedy, drama, and the continuing struggle of living like normal people. Hence, Thai BL TV series have a massive following all over Asia. At the end of 2019, they became available in Netflix and are being watched by millions of viewers all over the world.
The Philippine film industry is not that far from Thailand’s. Some of the LGBTIQ-themed movies and television series are slowly getting a following in Asia and are now accessible to viewers worldwide. A few of these pride-themed movies that casted or directed by a Filipino have already been receiving nominations and awards from Golden Globe, The Berlin Film Festival, the Venezia Film Awards, and even the Emmy’s…and the Filipinos in these films hail their roots from Cebu!
1. Lingua Franca
Lingua Franca is a film directed by a Cebuana, Isabel Sandoval. Sandoval also plays the main character of the movie, and she even wrote the screenplay. Lingua Franca tells the story of Olivia, an undocumented transgender woman in New York who works as a caregiver to a senile old-lady of Russian-decent. When Olivia is challenged to attain legal status in the US, she is left with a “marriage-based green card”. While in search for her groom-to-be, she becomes romantically involved with Alex, Olga’s grandson.
The film is now available on Netflix and has received positive reviews from the media. Stephen Dalton of the Hollywood Reporter wrote Lingua Franca is a “heartfelt personal statement rooted in timely, gripping issues that obviously resonate deeply with its author, notably trans rights and Trump-era immigration anxieties”.
Isabel Sandoval graduated summa cum laude with the degree in psychology from the University of San Carlos in Cebu, Philippines. In New York, she pursued graduate studies in Film at NYU. She is now currently residing in NYC, and already has award-winning films under her belt like Apparition, Lingua Franca, Senorita, Ritwal, The Unstoppable, and Judgement.
2. The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
This television series was aired in Netflix and has gained so much popularity because it showed the murder of world-renowned fashion designer, Gianni Versace, by a serial killer, Andrew Cunanan. Based on Maureen Orth’s book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History, this television series has 9 episodes of suspenseful scenes, and is star-studded with casts like Ricky Martin and Penelope Cruz. However, the main actor who played Andrew Cunanan is Darren Criss who gained his popularity after being a regular on the top rating TV show, Glee. Darren Criss hails his roots from Cebu, Philippines.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story received positive reviews from critics. At the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, it received 9 nominations, and won 3 awards, including Outstanding Limited Series and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for Darren Criss.
Criss was born and raised in San Francisco, California, USA. Criss was raised as a Roman Catholic and attended roman catholic schools. He later moved to Michigan where he studied Bachelor of Fine Arts major in Theatre Performance and minor in music at the University of Michigan. Criss’s father, Charles William Criss, is a banker and served as CEO of the East West bank in Honolulu, Hawaii. Criss’s mom, Cerina, is a native of Talisay, Cebu, Philippines. When he was younger, he visited Cebu a couple of times with his mother. Darren Criss is very proud of his Cebuano roots and wants to portray Filipino characters in films and in theatres to promote visibility of the Filipinos in the American films.
3. The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela
The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela premiered at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival where it grabbed the Teddy Award for Best Feature Film. It was also awarded the Grand Jury Prize in the 10th 2008 Cinemanila International Film Festival at Malacañang Palace’s Kalayaan Hall. It starred Raquela Rios also known as Minerva to her Cebuano friends. Raquela is a local of Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines. The film is directed by Icelandic film director, scriptwriter, and producer, Olaf de Fleur Johannesson.
Raquella Rios is a native of Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines, and she went to the University of San Carlos in Cebu, studying sociology and anthropology. Before finishing her studies, Raquella left the Cebu and went to Iceland after being casted by Icelandic film director, scriptwriter, and producer, Olaf de Fleur Johannesson for the movie The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela. She is now based in Bangkok, Thailand as a fashion stylist and wardrobe assistant to some local Thai movies. Raquella is also an activist for sex workers rights and trans rights in Southeast Asia; pushing for the recognition on the choice of their gender and the right to change their birth names.
There are still plenty of pride-themed films in the Philippines that gained recognition all over the world; yet these movies mentioned are special because of the talented Cebuanos that have brought Cebu to world. They truly are #CebuPride.
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