Connect with us


The most romantic Valentine’s Day ideas, according to 14 of Cebu’s #powercouples

Be #relationshipgoals! Zee Lifestyle asks the city’s most loved-up couples about their plans for Valentine’s Day, to provide you with inspiration for your own special celebration.

It’s the month of love, and already hotels and restaurants in Cebu are rapidly getting filled with reservations for Valentine’s Day. Zee Lifestyle asks couples in Cebu about their plans, in the hopes of spurring you and your sweetheart to make your own.


Carlo Borromeo & Sheryl Osmeña-Borromeo

Borromeo“Last year we watched Deadpool and ate at Chicken Deli in Robinsons Galleria. We’ll probably do the same this year: Movie and cheap dinner. Will check what’s showing this week.”


Jesse Jake Daan & Sophia Sanchez

Virgin Island, Bantayan

Virgin Island, Bantayan

Daan x Sanchez-01“We would probably go to Bantayan. It’s close to the city but far enough from the hustle and bustle. We just love to bike around the island, chill by the beach, and simply enjoy each other’s company. We guess that’s what Valentine’s is all about.”


Mark Deutsch & Johanna Velasco-Deutsch

Deutsch-01“For Valentine’s we like going on road trips to the beach with our daughter or staying home, cooking lots and lots of bacon and watching old movies (like The Princess Bride)”


Jeremy Huang & Dianne Gandionco-Huang

Huang-01“In the nine years we have known each other, I’d say we’ve sort of graduated from the passé Valentine’s date night outs. This year may be different as we are planning to spend that weekend by going out of town at our family’s beach house with our pet Finn, away from the hustle bustles of the city. And since my husband has started to love cooking steaks off the grill, he wants to venture into experimenting with another cooking feat for that weekend. Here’s looking forward to that celebration!”


Carlow Montecillo & Veronica Chiongbian

Montecillo x Chiongbian-01“We don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day, but we always make sure to take spontaneous trips throughout the year. Preferably in the waters since we’re quite fond of freediving. However, for this year’s Valentine’s Day we might spend it at a nearby island.”


Michael Karlo Lim & Vanessa East

The Henry Hotel

The Henry Hotel

Lim x East-01“We’d usually staycation and head out only to try Valentine set menus at different restaurants throughout the weekend. Plantation Bay‘s Romantic Rendezvous proved interesting. The Henry is our perennial favorite and offers a honeymoon/romantic weekend package. Anzani Mediterranean Restaurant is a good bet for a full-course dinner any given day. The Pig & Palm would be, too. We enjoyed their recent tasting dinners tremendously. I’d also suggest the upcoming pop-up Blind Date: Dinner in the Dark at District On 53rd. You don’t have to limit yourself to one. Trying a variety of places makes Valentine’s even more fun and meaningful.”


Insoy Niñal & Rei Sarmiento-Niñal

Ninal-01“We’re going to Argao Wharf on a pilgrimage of sort. There’s a spot there where we sealed our relationship. We realized we had already done all the crazy things imaginable together, and there was only one crazy thing left to do: get married.”


Edu Rama & Jaja Chiongbian-Rama

Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa

Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa

Rama-01“Our love for Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa goes back to the time we first got together as a couple in high school over 20 years ago and so it has always held a special place in our hearts. From having the best beachfront in Mactan, its amenities and facilities, selection of delectable eats and excellent service that ensures we always feel at home, Shangri-La continues to be our happy place in Cebu. If we had the time, we would love to take a quick break there with our kids. Valentine’s has evolved for us through the years from romantic dates to group dates. We are celebrating Valentine’s at Café Sarree with colleagues and their other halves with a special menu created by Chef Sarree.”


Jan & Karen Rodriguez

Rodriguez-01“We used to eat out in the previous years, but the last 3 years, I cook for her at home. And the last three years, we would be working on the day itself. She would be at Ilaputi, and I would be at Irie—except for 2016 where we both just stayed home.”


Ichael Serneo & Hanz Coquilla

Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton of The Pig & Palm

Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton of The Pig & Palm

Coquilla x Serneo-01

“We’d love to spend Valentine’s in the beach down south. A quick getaway would be awesome, but Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year and we have work and appointments. A fancy dinner at The Pig & Palm would be lovely!”


Michael Sharpe & Kym Maitland-Smith

Sharpe x Smith-01“Last year, we spent Valentine’s Day in Siargao and it was wonderful! This year, we’re planning to have a quiet and romantic dinner in the mountains, where we can look down at the city lights and see the stars. Mike loves to sing, so I hope to be serenaded!”


Lor Torres & April Rama

Rama x Torres-01“We don’t over-plan for Valentine’s Day. We just make it a point to do something or go somewhere for the first time together as couple. This year, we’re planning to go to Vine Molave, a beautiful bed and breakfast at Pagadian, Zamboanga Del Sur. Other than being attracted to sleep and food (get it? Bed and breakfast?), we’re planning to go to Puting Balas sand bar and the Dao-Dao Islets there.”


Slater Young & Kryz Uy

Abaca Boutique Resort

Abaca Boutique Resort

Young x Uy-01“We both lead very busy lives so when we do get to spend QT together, we prefer more relaxed environments. This Valentine’s Day, we might head to a more private beach like Abaca. But honestly, it doesn’t really matter where we go as long as we’re together.”


Kirby Yu & Jennifer Sarmiento

Yu x Sarmiento-01“Since Jen loves peace and quet places, I’ll probably take her to Maru Restaurant inside J Park since they serve the best Korean food and sulbing. At the same time, only few people go there.”


What do you have planned? Share your ideas on Facebook and Instagram and tag us!



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

Continue Reading


#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.

Continue Reading


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.

Continue Reading