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Michelle Mulet Yu: The Chic Construct

It may be a man’s world, but that doesn’t mean a woman can’t be a commanding presence in it. At the helm of Landtraders World Properties Corp., Michelle Mulet Yu proves that femininity can be an asset in finding a place in Cebu’s growing skyline.

Michelle Mulet Yu

A black Dior straight dress with a pink and beige combo blazer from a Chanel autumn collection, accented with a pearl necklace and a forefinger ring,” Michelle Mulet Yu describes as one of the outfits she would put together for an important business meeting. “And a pair of Jimmy Choo’s.”

For people who think that fashion is merely frivolity, the Chief Executive Officer of Landtraders World Properties Corp. easily proves them wrong. “Running a real estate company requires power dressing,” Michelle declares. “Being a CEO means I am the embodiment of what the company represents. How you dress up reflects your character and in the business world, it is mandatory to dress the proper way to epitomize the image of your company.”

Michelle Mulet Yu

High-collared blouse from CHANEL, houndstooth mini-skirt from ZARA (Photography by Dan Douglas Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, February 2016)

Understanding the importance of appearances is just one of the aspects that has made Michelle a strong presence in the local real estate industry, where she plays an integral role in building Landtraders World to be one of the leading homegrown developers. “I feel responsible for the future of the company,” she reveals. “I make sure that all its objectives are being attained in both micro and macro management. In order to do so, I chart the course of the company by preparing both short-term and long-term plans and strategies, and making sure that they are assimilated and implemented accordingly by all my managers.”

Since its inception in 2011, the company has six high-rise condominiums in its portfolio: San Marino, Corinthian, Royal Garden, Soligrande, Parthenon and Corinthian Valley Residences. “It all started when my family had plans to venture into the pension house or hotel business in 2010. When the discussions became more serious, we finally decided to go into developing high-rise condominiums, considering the fact that we had several lots strategically located in prime areas of Cebu City,” Michelle recalls. “We have always believed that investing in real estate is the safest and has the highest returns. With this conviction, and Divine Providence, everything just fell into the right perspective.”

San Marino was the company’s first venture, and Michelle acknowledges that it’s a development that is close to her heart. “As the pilot project of Landtraders World, it opened up greater opportunities and made us focus on catering to a particular market. San Marino gave us more insight into the real estate industry, and made us more confident in pursuing this business model.”

Printed dress from DIOR (Photography by Dan Douglas Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, February 2016)

Printed dress from DIOR (Photography by Dan Douglas Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, February 2016)

It certainly wasn’t an easy rise. Michelle admits that getting into an industry where there were already a number of players was a challenge they had to overcome. “The answer was simple—find the market niche,” she says. “But looking for that niche was also very challenging and complicated. A lot of corporate research, interviews with real estate authorities and keeping abreast with current events are vital in achieving and sustaining success. After years of pre-development planning and research, we found the right product for the right market.”

These past years have seen a steady growth for the company which is expected to be cemented even further with the launch of Landtraders World’s seventh project—the Grand San Marino Residences across Robinson’s Galleria in the North Reclamation area. “Landtraders World will still continue to cater to the median-cost residential market,” Michelle says of their plans. “But soon we will be adding more of a twist to our development by incorporating the concept of ‘Small Office Home Office’ or SOHO. Also, we would like to undertake a larger development, with plans of doing a mixed-use commercial, office and residential project.”

In most of my business negotiations, I tend to get the upper hand because men don’t realize the strength I have behind my being a woman. But I am a good listener and very open-minded. I believe I earned the respect from my male counterparts because of this nature. – Michelle

With such lofty aspirations in the near future, Michelle’s days are understandably hectic. She starts by having breakfast with her husband, Janby and catches up on current events by reading the daily newspaper. “I’m at the office by 9AM, and spend an hour going through my emails,” she says. By 10, she’s in meetings with department managers, with her afternoons open for other meetings, site visits or going over documents. “The secret is being able to balance your time,” she explains about maintaining a balance between work and home life. “It’s not easy being a working mother. Any working mother can attest to that. Both our careers and families demand our time and commitment.”

White blouse and floral skirt from DIOR (Photography by Dan Douglas Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, February 2016)

White blouse and floral skirt from DIOR (Photography by Dan Douglas Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, February 2016)

To do this, Michelle makes sure to set aside time every day for her three kids. “Dinner time is usually when I can sit down with my children, and they can tell me about their day or bring up any concerns. It’s the most important opportunity for daily bonding with the family. Occasionally, I miss dinner with them, but I make sure to explain why during the next dinner.” The effort doesn’t stop there – Michelle also asks to have their kids drop by her office after school. “It’s a chance to show them that whatever we have now is a product of hard work, and I hope that inspires them to study and work hard as they grow up.”

Sundays are set aside for time with the family, and Michelle spends the day playing with the kids and making dinner. “I try not to miss school affairs and activities,” she adds. “This way, my children will feel that I am always 100% supporting them in their studies.”

How do you go into an industry with an already significant number of players? The answer was simple – find the market niche. – Michelle

Their family vacations become perfect chances to bond as well, with five trips scheduled every year. “Once within the country, twice within Asia and twice outside Asia,” Michelle enumerates. “We prefer to visit Japan, because their food is our favorite. On a few occasions, we’ve also joined cruises in Alaska, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Baltics, to name a few.”

Spending simple moments with her kids are among the best ways she unwinds after particularly stressful days, as are get-togethers with close friends over wine or coffee. “Having special romantic dinners with my husband every once in a while works too,” she says, before adding, “I also like opening my closet and looking at my clothes. That also helps me relax.”

Geometric-printed dress from VALENTINO, sunglasses from PRADA and satin pumps from MANOLO BLAHNIK (Photography by Dan Douglas Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, February 2016)

Geometric-printed dress from VALENTINO, sunglasses from PRADA and satin pumps from MANOLO BLAHNIK (Photography by Dan Douglas Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, February 2016)

“I’ve always been interested in fashion. It’s a passion,” Michelle says. “I don’t mind what design I wear, as long as it’s comfortable and I’m happy wearing it. She favors shopping at Chanel, Fendi, Dior, Alexander McQueen, Balmain, Hermes, Miu Miu and Dolce & Gabbana, and likes pieces by Ronald Enrico and Francis Libiran. Her favorite item in her closet, though, is something more sentimental. “The piece that means a lot to me, though, is a pastel dress given by my father-in-law. It was for our teng-hun, our engagement.”

We have always believed that investing in real estate is the safest, and has the highest returns. – Michelle

Her fashion savvy and decided femininity is something Michelle isn’t giving up, and she has found that’s just fine—even as she works in an industry that is, in appearance, a man’s world. “I think I fit in very well in the masculine world of real estate,” she says, and goes on to explain that being a woman can, in fact, be an asset. “Sometimes a woman can do things a man cannot. Women have more patience in dealing with details than men.”

“I am diplomatic by nature, but don’t be deceived because basically I am a dominant character. I can hide that, and work it to my advantage,” Michelle continues. “In most of my business negotiations, I tend to get the upper hand because men don’t realize the strength I have behind my being a woman. But I am a good listener and I’m very open-minded. I believe I earned my respect from my male counterparts because of this nature.” It’s certainly no question—Michelle Mulet Yu is ready to bring Landtraders World to soaring new heights, and she’s certainly dressed for the part.

  • photography Dan Douglas Ong
  • styling Blaq Mafia
  • makeup Emi Ayag
  • hair Mariel Fernandez

Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, February 2016. For back issues, subscribe via Magzter.


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People

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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