Rockwell Land finally ventures outside of Metro Manila with 32 Sanson, collaborating with Ed and Mirella Gallego to create a sophisticated tropical escape that fosters a true sense of community.
The unassuming Sanson Road sits just off one of the city’s busier corners— just one street down from where Cebu Veterans Drive, Salinas Drive and Gorordo Avenue intersect. Pulling into the quiet street is a quick respite from the bustle of the main road, with houses sitting alongside it, before it comes to an end in from of a black metal gate attached to fences covered in climbing plants. It’s immediately a sophisticated standout, further exemplified by the subtle signage that reads 32 Sanson.
As Rockwell Land’s first venture outside of Metro Manila, the excitement for the development is understandably palpable. The developer is best known for the Power Plant complex in Makati, where the high-end mall’s designer brands and world-class restaurants are complemented by the blocks of high-rise residential condominiums that have become some of the most prestigious addresses in the capital. Since then, they have expanded to The Grove by Rockwell in Pasig City, transforming the once quiet enclave into a destination with renowned dining outlets and luxurious residences.
Now with billboards announcing the developer’s arrival in Cebu and the city’s real estate-inclined all abuzz with the news, 32 Sanson is easily becoming one of the most anticipated residential projects on the island. “Rockwell’s expansion outside of Manila was a natural step,” says Valerie Soliven, the company’s senior vice-president for sales and marketing. “After the positive reception we received in Ortigas, Quezon City and San Juan, we were truly eager to venture out regionally. The vibrant city of Cebu has always been attractive to Rockwell. Its booming economy, relaxed lifestyle and lively personality was something the company sought to participate in.”
Rockwell Land wanted to create a property that would appeal to the distinct Cebuano lifestyle that drew them to develop in the city in the first place, yet somehow maintain the developer’s trademark penchant for high-end community living with integrated outdoor spaces. To achieve this, the company tapped into the talents of Ed Gallego and Gallego architects—a Cebu based design practice that has created beautiful spaces around the country and in Southeast Asia. With the impressive roster of projects under their belt, Gallego Achitects and its principal architect have become respected names in the industry for pushing the design envelope by taking global architectural trends and adapting it into the local sensibilities. With all that experience, though, Ed insists that they haven’t fallen into one certain template. “We don’t have a signature style, because I think that’s quite boring—to be rubberstamped as a ‘Gallego design.’ I would rather say that all our designs are livable, where people can be comfortable and relaxed. That’s really what we want to be known for.”
That kind of philosophy, then, seems like a good fit for the kind of lifestyle Rockwell is going for, although being a Cebuano team might have helped too. “We wanted a Cebuano architect, someone who had a true understanding of the Cebuano aesthetic and lifestyle, and therefore could design a project that would harmonize with the city and its people,” Valerie explained. “Gallego Architects’ designs are timeless, and marry both form and function.”
On Ed’s part, there was also a sense of excitement over working with Rockwell. “If you’re familiar with the way Rockwell’s developments in Manila are put together, I think that’s what opened my eyes to a different lifestyle that I believe would suit the Cebuano mindset,” he shares. “Also, we like to take on challenges, and this is an amazing one for us—to come up with something different for Cebu, as opposed to what’s being offered right now.”
Aside from the opportunity to redefine the Cebuano residential landscape, the project is also close to home—being one of the first big ones Ed is doing with daughter Mirella, who joined the firm to take care of the administrative work in 2012, after graduating from the University of New South Wales. “I think we found a good working style, and it’s been working out well for us in the last two years,” Mirella answered when asked about what it’s like to work with her renowned father. On a more serious note, she acknowledges that being awarded the project was an amazing experience for her and the rest of the firm. “We really worked hard on the concept. It’s been a real challenge, because this project is a big deal,” she admits. “It’s their first one outside of Manila, and we’re a Cebuano firm doing this for such a prestigious development. It’s been very exciting for us, and for everyone in the office. I think it’s definitely given everyone a sense of accomplishment.”
The 3.2-hectare property used to be the site of the Mehitabel factory, in itself a significant part of Cebuano design history. Founded in 1947 through the partnership of Maria Aboitiz and US officer Major Clarence Gushurst, Mehitabel Furniture was the company to pioneer the now iconic rattan furniture. It’s since been passed on to generations— the company was under Maria Aboitiz’s daughter Josephine Booth in the 70s, and later Josephine’s son Robert—and has been expanded their reach beyond Philippine borders, exportin to the USA, Japan, Europe and Australia.
Now it’s a private enclave that is a sanctuary in the heart of Cebu, enjoying an atmosphere of being slightly hidden from the busier parts of the city, although all that is just a short distance away. “When you walk around the property, you won’t feel like you’re in Cebu City,” says Mirella. “Hopefully when it’s finished, we accomplish the feel of being tucked away from the city but still being a part of it. At the end of the day, it’s going to be very laidback and casual—which is very Cebuano—but it’s uplifted casual. It’s chic casual.”
Both groups decided to take advantage of the property’s natural appeal to create an environment that would marry all the ideals that they individually stood for—Rockwell’s stamp of landscaped spaces, open living and sense of community combined with Gallego Architects’ belief of creating comfortable spaces that retain a sophisticated aesthetic. “We all had to compromise at some point about what’s best for everyone involved—the client, the potential buyers and ourselves as well, as far as the design attributes are concerned,” Ed admits. “But they respected our initial concept. There were a lot of challenges, but luckily we were working with a great team that knows their business. It was an easy process.”
“We synced very well from the beginning,” Mirella adds. “It’s been fun. We learned a lot from them, and I think they’ve also learned from us. It’s nice because it was all a team effort. It wasn’t just the architecture—we’re also working with marketing and the other groups connected to the development. It’s been a very collaborative project.”
The gates of 32 Sanson open up into a curved, brick driveway that leads to the sales office, which will later be converted into one of the development’s two clubhouses. The structure’s façade is covered in wooden planks in mismatched washes, its tall windows punctuated with carved transoms that continue on the tropical feel. Overgrown trees and manicured lawns make up the outdoors, while inside paneled white walls, dark wooden accents and stylish furniture pieces from Vito Selma and Clayton Tugonon create an ambience of easy elegance.
If the office is any indication, 32 Sanson is definitely set on delivering its promise of laidback city living to its potential residents. The slight breeze is already tempting enough, even without the fully landscaped gardens the development will boast of upon completion.
Of course, another selling point that most people will appreciate is the sense of exclusivity that dominates the location. Besides being tucked away in what feels like its own little valley, the entire property will only have a total of 355 units distributed over five buildings that’s interspersed with a lot of open space. “We wanted to introduce the concept of high-end living in a low-rise, and to provide quality spacious and low-density residences,” Valerie explains.
The property’s amenities are spread throughout the space, connected with paths lined with lush foliage. In true communal spirit, pocket gardens and play areas bring residents outside and encourage some neighborly interaction. Amidst these features, 32 Sanson will also have two swimming pools, a gym, game room, function room, multi-purpose court, lawn and children’s play area, and a long jogging path across the verdant surroundings.
“Almost 70% of the land is garden space, and that’s unheard of anywhere in the Philippines—that a developer is willing to give up that much land area,” says Ed. Valerie agrees, “we’ve always placed a premium on landscaping and open space, as seen in developments in Metro Manila.”
That’s certainly a premium for anyone who’s grown weary of city living—after all, the sight of bright green foliage is a calming one after that of concrete streets and buildings. 32 Sanson takes it up a notch though by promising an almost entirely pedestrian street surface. “The property features unique subterranean roads that bring all vehicles to the basement level,” Valerie explains. “This allows the surface of the property to be solely for the use of pedestrians, garden space and amenities.”
The units themselves will be spacious, with the one-bedroom unit at around 65 square meters and the three-bedroom at 144 square meters. Large windows and balconies create an airy space that brings the views of the outdoors in. The truly indulgent can choose to reside in one of the exclusive Garden Units—located on the ground level, these two-bedroom apartments have private pocket gardens that are perfect for lounging on lazy afternoons.
“I really think that having a lot of space outdoors is something Cebuanos can appreciate, especially because we don’t really have a lot of parks or places like that,” Mirella observes. “Cebuanos actually do like the outdoors. When you ask people about their plans for the weekend, they’re usually at the beach or they go up to the mountains. In that sense, 32 Sanson syncs with that Cebuano lifestyle—being able to have outdoor spaces that are easy and relaxed.”
Turnover isn’t scheduled until 2016, but already it’s easy to imagine just what kind of lifestyle 32 Sanson will have to offer. As an urban sanctuary that the sophisticated set will be happy to retreat to, it’s a brand new address in the city that’s covetable for the kind of open living that seems to get more and more unattainable with each year. “It’s perfect for someone who appreciates the environment and causal living, but also appreciates style,” Mirella muses. Ed adds, “It’s for someone who likes the relaxed atmosphere of living in a community, someone who enjoys the good life.”
The concept of ‘the good life’ is something that tends to be subjective depending on who’s doing the defining. In the case of 32 Sanson, the good life they’re serving up seems quite simple—a private but airy space that’s all your own, lots of landscaped areas to be alone or seek neighborly interaction al fresco, and all this just a short distance away from the hottest spots in the city. With all that in mind, who wouldn’t want to drive into 32 Sanson’s gates and sigh with the utter satisfaction that this little piece of sanctuary is what you call home?
- by Shari Quimbo
- photography Jan Gonzales
- fashion stylist RENova
- assistant Lor Yutico
- hair and makeup Romero Vergara
- assistant Jessie Egos
EXCLUSIVE: Never Been Released Behind-the-Scenes photos of Zee Lifestyle’s Emerald Issue Cover Shoot
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(This article had already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s December 2016 Emerald Issue, “Leading Women” on pages 140-155.)
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.
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
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.
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 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 @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 @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 @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 @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 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 @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 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 @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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