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Meet the four Cebuanas you definitely want to be friends with

It Girls. The In Crowd. Whatever you call them, Krishtal Freeland, Stephanie Sharpe, Yasmin Sarlak and Alyssa Sacal are charming, smart, young and beautiful. We loved hanging out with them, and we’re pretty sure you would too.

Every city has their own set: It Girls. The In Crowd. Whatever it is you call them, there’s something undeniably charming about them. It’s not just the good looks–it’s the charm, the individual passion and the overall aura of fun. This year’s set is fun and interesting, passionate about their own individual efforts and about a shared love for Cebu.

One thing’s for sure, we certainly didn’t mind spending an afternoon with this batch of young women, and we’re sure the rest of Cebu would agree.


Krishtal Catherine Freeland, 26

Entrepreneur of Krish’s Kitchen | @krishtalcatherine

Krishtal Freeland wears her own cropped, ribbed sweater, and a brocade skirt.

Krishtal Freeland wears her own cropped, ribbed sweater, and a brocade skirt.

What makes Cebu different from other places around the world? Within an hour’s drive, you could be high up in the mountains enjoying the cool air or chilling by the beach.

Where do you usually hang out in the city? I usually just stay home and bake.

Favorite restaurants and dishes you recommend? Veal pappardelle in Abaca, egg noodle homemade basil tagliolini in Anzani, and the churrasco dinner at Mövenpick.

Favorite local escape? Bantayan Island would be one of my favorite quick escapes in Cebu.

Where would you go for a night out? You’ll most likely see me in Craft Cafebar.

Something you wish were in Cebu? A wider variety of international cuisine

Favorite local brands and designers? Local Crag and SOLTI Activewear

Favorite travel destinations? I’ve recently fallen in love with Siargao and El Nido. And for the international destinations, Anguilla in the Caribbean (British Overseas Territory) is still on the top of my list.

Book that’s currently on your bedside table? My MacBook

Something about Cebu you wish would improve? I know it’s not easy to solve, but I hope we’ll be able to fix the traffic situation because it’s getting worse.

The best part about living in Cebu? One of the best parts of Cebu would be that it’s so centrally located. You could enjoy being in a variety of beautiful places without too much effort, like driving to the beaches up north, the waterfalls and whale sharks down south, or just renting a boat to go island hopping.


Stephanie Sharpe, 25

Director of Marketing & Product Development at CATCMI Trading | @stephaniesharpe

Stephanie wears her own white button-down and shorts

Stephanie wears her own white button-down and shorts

What makes Cebu different from other places around the world? There’s beauty everywhere in the world, depending on what you are looking for, and it’s not difficult to find. But what differentiates Cebu for me are the people and the relationships I have with them, and that’s why this is home.

Where do you usually hang out in the city? At friends’ houses, Zink Studio or YogaNow Center, especially if you catch one of their classes at the Yacht Club as the sun is setting.

Favorite restaurants and dishes you recommend? There’s a Korean restaurant next to the Marcelo Fernan bridge on the Mactan side. I’m not too sure of the name because it’s Korean, but it has a big sign that says “Kimchi” next to it. They have the best Bibim Naengmyeon. I crave it every once in a while. Also, you can find me in Luncheonette every other Sunday brunch for their consistently delicious Reuben.

Favorite local escape? Either one of the many sand bars around Cebu, or somewhere in the bukid. It doesn’t actually take too long to get as far away from the hustle and bustle of the city, where you can be alone with the sounds of nature.

Where would you go for a night out? The Pig & Palm is definitely our go-to for Girls’ Night Out, but most of the time if I want to see friends for something more casual, it will almost always be Craft in BTC. Everyone goes there, and no matter how busy it is, it still has fast service.

Something you wish were in Cebu? Parks in the city. With Cebu’s rapid growth, it would be nice to have a park in the middle of all the buildings for people to have the option to just be outside.

Favorite local brands and designers? Hands down, SOLTI Activewear. Designed and made by Kym Maitland-Smith and her amazing team. It’s perfect for me because I work out as often as I can, and I love spending time outdoors, whether at the beach or on a hike. Everything is handmade by Cebuanos from 100% recycled material, so it’s as local as you can get. Everything is also reversible, so you have more options–perfect for someone like me who is trying to cut down on owning things. I’m completely obsessed with her line, and so proud to have a fellow Cebuana reaching for a more sustainable future.

Favorite travel destinations? Siargao is my little slice of paradise. I go there as much as I possibly can. It’s the most beautiful place in the world to me and no other place comes close. For something completely opposite, Whistler in BC is just as beautiful in the winter as it is in summer. You have to check it out if you like the outdoors.

Book that’s currently on your bedside table? A friend so graciously lent me her HBR’s 10 Must-Reads on Strategic Marketing, which is a nice change from the fiction novels I usually like to read.

Something about Cebu you wish would improve? I feel like a broken record when I say the road system. Not just for the cars, but the sidewalks as well. It would be nice to have the option to be able to walk from A to B safely. It would promote people to be more active and use cars less, which means less air pollution for us when we start walking everywhere.

The best part about living in Cebu? The fact that you are perpetually tanned here. I find dark skin one of the most beautiful features on anybody. I wear my tan with pride.

 


Yasmine Sarlak, 17

Student at Cebu International School | @homiesags

Yasmin wears a James Isara Diana top and Makiko Eve trousers from ASTO GROUP.

Yasmin wears a James Isara Diana top and Makiko Eve trousers from ASTO GROUP.

What makes Cebu different from other places around the world? There was always something about Cebu that had my heart, whether it may be the beaches, nightlife, adventure or the people. This place will always be my home.

Where do you usually hang out in the city? You can always find me in either Streetscape or BTC, probably eating. I used to hang around Kontiki in Mactan a lot earlier this year for my 6 AM dives!

Favorite restaurants and dishes you recommend? Antica is this small restaurant hidden between Canvas and the Lohas clinic in Paseo Saturnino, and they have hands down the best pizza I’ve ever tasted in my entire life! I recommend the parma ham and arugula pizza.

Favorite local escape? North Sandbar is my favorite place not too far from the city. It’s only an hour or so by banca boat, and it’s a great place to escape from the city with a group of your good friends and barbecue!

Where would you go for a night out? My go to place is always Craft. My friends and I call it home because we’re always there. It’s sort of like our comfort zone, and they always play the best music. They have the friendliest staff too, by the way!

Something you wish were in Cebu? I honestly wish we had a really cool theme park already!

Favorite local brands and designers? My favorite local brand would have to be SOLTI Activewear that my good friend Kymberly Maitland-Smith launched not too long ago.

Favorite travel destinations? I haven’t traveled too much, but within the country I’d have to say Boracay is always my favorite. I’m stuck between LA, Zurich and Paris though, if we’re going international. They’re all so different, so I can’t come to a decision.

Book that’s currently on your bedside table? Honest, my Psychology textbook and my Arts guide.

Something about Cebu you wish would improve? The roads. Please!

The best part about living in Cebu? That the mountains are so close to the sea. You can literally go on a road trip to the mountains for a hike, get back into the car for an hour or two and jump right into the sea.


Alyssa Sacal, 18

Student at Cebu International School | @lyssssx

Alyssa wears a Viña Romero collared seamless top from ASTO GROUP, and her own jeans.

Alyssa wears a Viña Romero collared seamless top from ASTO GROUP, and her own jeans.

What makes Cebu different from other places around the world? What makes Cebu so different is definitely the amazing people here and the beauty within the island.

Where do you usually hang out in the city? It depends. On a daily basis, you would usually find me and my friends either at Streetscape, Crossroads or BTC grabbing something to eat. If not, we’re probably at the gym—in Zink or Fitness Nation, possibly exercising or making chika. On weekends, if I don’t have any school or sporting event, I’d be at the beach by day and in Morals and Malice by night.

Favorite restaurants and dishes you recommend? Favorite go-to restaurants are definitely Nonki and Kanyoen because my favorite cuisine is Japanese! For Nonki, I basically love everything on the menu, from the sashimi to the cha soba to the spicy tuna maki. While in Kanyoen, everything except the red meat, since I don’t eat it. Other restaurants I really enjoy are tapas places—The Pig & Pam for the sashimi, kinilaw, grilled squid, chicken, and the dessert with goat cheese ice cream; and Gorliz for the pulpo and paella negra.

Favorite local escape? Sometimes on Sundays, I go on long drives to either Mactan or the mountains to escape the city. Usually the plan would be a nice Sunday brunch by the beach, or a long drive to Balamban to get some corn or fresh air. And boating to nearby islands, because boating is always a good idea when the whether cooperates.

Where would you go for a night out? Of course Morals and Malice!

Something you wish were in Cebu? I really wish that Cebu would have cleaner streets, better public transportation, parks and places to just “sit around and hang out.” This is something that I am really fond of when I visit other countries—walking around and just basking in the beauty of the city as you can get a glimpse of the culture, the people and the lifestyle by just strolling around.

Favorite local brands and designers? Barbie Alvez and Arcy Gayatin

Favorite travel destinations? I love the beach, so domestic destination would be Siquijor, as it became a tradition for my family to spend a week or so at our beach house every year. Also, I really like the remote island destinations that we usually explore by boat, like Islas de Gigantes. Internationally, I would honestly say Australia because I fell in love with it when I went there this summer! Other favorite destinations would be Santorini, Mykonos and Paris, which are beautiful places as well.

Book that’s currently on your bedside table? David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

Something about Cebu you wish would improve? No doubt, the traffic and the roads! Oh, and the slow processing of everything, from license to travel documents, and event checks at restaurants!

The best part about living in Cebu?  The fact that it is such a tight-knit community! Everyone knows each other. Whenever you go to a place, you seem to know at least one familiar face who greets you with a smile. It’s nice how that (when there is no traffic) everything is almost ten to 30 minutes away, from the beaches and mountains to the places that I usually hang out. As I have lived here all my life, my heart will always belong here, along with all the people I grew up with, and the memories we’ve made. Cebu will always be home.

 

photography Dan Douglas Ong | stylists Blaq Mafia | hair and makeup Arnauld and Eunice Enrera | locale Zink

Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, Dec-Jan 2017

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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…

by: Zen

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People

#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.

ZEE’s Allain Fonte with the casts of the top-rating Thai BL series (2019) “Cause You’re My Boy” of GMMTV (from L-R) Amp Phurikulkrit Chusakdiskulwibul, AJ Chayapol Jutamas, Neo Trai Nimtawat, Frank Thanatsaran Samthonglai, ADF, Drake Laedeke, Phuwin Tangsakyuen, and JJ Chayakorn Jutamas.

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 wearing Marchesa at the Venezia Red Carpet in the Venice Film Festival (2019)

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.

 

Darren Criss with his dad (left) Charles William Criss, and his mother (right) Cerina Criss. Source

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 in Bangkok’s MRT (a scene in a Thai film).

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.

Raquella (right) with film director Olaf de Fleur (left) receives the Best Feature Film Award at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival in Germany. Photo grabbed from Berlinale archives.

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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Fashion

37 Years of High Fashion; Arcy Gayatin leaves a Legacy of Edginess and Elegance

Arcy Gayatin: A Legacy of Luxury in Fabrication

 

By:  Allain Dumon Fonte 

 

The brand Arcy Gayatin gave the Queen City of the South a distinct reputation in the fashion industry.  The fashion line of Arcy Gayatin sets the bar higher each year for clothing luxury and fabrication techniques.

 

April Duenas, Nikki Gayatin and Arielle Gayatin for Arcy Gayatin—Photos by John Paul Autor from Lifestyle Inquirer.net

 

Araceli “Arcy” Ancajas Gayatin is the daughter Galileo Ancajas and Remedios Zanoria Ancajas who founded Cebu’s home brand, Gal’s Bakery.  Arcy went to the University of San Carlos and studied Political Science.  And just like Dr. Muccia Prada, who completed her Ph.D. in Political Science and established the luxury line of Prada, Arcy also got in touch with her artistic side and started her own fashion line.  However, it was not Prada that influenced Arcy.  Arcy was introduced to fashion and tailoring at a very young age by her mother, Madame Remedios Anacajas whom they dearly call Mama Eme.  Mama Eme was running a tailoring business back then.  It was called Arabel; named after Arcy and her sister Belma.  Ara from Araceli and Bel from Belma.  In those years, Arcy was fascinated by fabrics and was intrigued by how to manipulate the fabrics to come up with fashion-forward designs without compromising comfort and taste.

 

Arcy Gayatin (photo grabbed from Space Philippines Blog Spot)

 

After 37 years of creating haute couture pieces for the most fashionable personalities in the Philippines, Arcy Gayatin is now laying down her sketchpads and pens to rest.  As she enjoys her retirement, may be on a cruise to the Bahamas or a holiday to the Swiss Alps, Arcy Gayatin has left the fashion industry a legacy of elegant and edgy clothing ensembles that understand and define the shape of women; without compromising comfort and good taste.

 

Arcy Gayatin’s Pink Flamingo collection                                               Arcy Gayatin’s Sketch on a Terno

 

To salute the lady who brought Cebu fashion to the world, a retrospective exhibition of Arcy’s incomparable masterpieces can be seen today at Ayala Center Cebu’s The Gallery; curated by fashion editor and writer, Clint Holton Potestas, and interior and fashion designer, Jul Oliva.

 

BALANCE.  Arcy Gayatin is known for her perfect symmetrical lines when fabricating.  She knows how to balance edginess and class; understanding well the strength and the finesse of a woman.

 

RHYTHM.  Arcy’s expertise in draping and fabric manipulation can be seen in how she achieves rhythm between architectural lines and soft fabrics like silk and cashmere.

 

TEXTURE.  With her thorough knowledge on fabrics, Arcy Gayatin has achieved the perfection of fabrication by working on different types of fabrics and creating a single piece of art out of them. 

 

HARMONY.  The simplicity of the silhouette plus the intricacy of the details create a wonderful harmony, making Arcy Gayatin’s design a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.

           

The photos below show an up-close look at the intricacy and the exquisite craftsmanship of Arcy Gayatin’s fabrication techniques:

 

THE SPIDER WEB:  one of Arcy’s genius fabrication techniques.

 

MATCH and PATCH:  Arcy’s unique fabrication craft by patching layers of different types of lace and lace patterns

 

PLEATS: The perfection of symmetry in pleats on silk.

 

LA ROSE BLEUE:  U.P. student, Danielle Alessandra Deutsch, inspired by the artistry of Arcy Gayatin, designed this midnight blue dress.   The cabbage rose made from layers of silk organdy gave this evening ensemble a romantic appeal.

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