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The top five places where you should do your #OOTDs (and #foodporn!)

What makes a great #OOTD? Besides a well put-together ensemble, location counts for a lot, adding to the overall look and feel of an Instagram. With so many stylish nooks and corners in the Queen City, it’s completely impossible to run out of picture-perfect venues. Zee Lifestyle rounds out the best of them in this list, and as a bonus, not only will you get your money shot in these places, but you’re going to make some enviable additions to the #foodporn hashtag. Cue the double taps and the hearts.



Unos Design (Photography by Mark Philip Dales: Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, December 2015)

Unos Design (Photography by Mark Philip Dales: Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, December 2015)

The Hyper Cebu squad hanging out at Unos Design (Photography by Dan Douglas Ong: Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2016)

The Hyper Cebu squad hanging out at Unos Design (Photography by Dan Douglas Ong: Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2016)

Founded through James and Tasha Dixon’s passion for creating, Unos Design started as their personal hub where they could showcase their love for designing interiors, fashion, motorcycles, food and drinks. “The concept behind Unos Design is to build a lifestyle brand around an establishment that promotes art, music, and the freedom to express your passions under one roof,” says Tasha. The result is a coffee and cocktail bar that serves great brews, small bites, and signature drinks while displaying their customized bikes, leather bags, and accessories.

Befitting to this concept, Unos Design successfully treads a fine line between a homey vibe and a big city feel reminiscent of Hong Kong, London, and New York. “We encapsulate a relatively hipster feel and promote street culture through our selection of art, products, and music,” Tasha explains. The eclectic design is emphasized through the hand-painted chairs, the propriety art and photography, and the customized BMW on display. Tasha adds that she and James conceptualized all the elements, with everything fabricated, modified and painted by their team.

A. del Rosario St., Mandaue City
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The Chocolate Chamber Boutique (Photography by Mark Philip Dales: Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, December 2015)

The Chocolate Chamber Boutique (Photography by Mark Philip Dales: Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, December 2015)


International delegates involved in the recently concluded APEC have already had a taste of Ralfe Gourmet’s famed chocolates, bringing Raquel Choa’s vision of promoting local tableya as a world-class product one step closer to reality. In line with her ongoing efforts, the Chocolate Queen of Cebu recently opened The Chocolate Chamber Boutique, an offshoot of her eponymous restaurant. It’s meant to be a showroom of her products; but while dining customers are directed to The Chocolate Chamber down the road, there’s also a room designated for small functions and chocolate appreciation sessions.

With Raquel’s penchant for decorating and close attention to detail, no two visits to The Chocolate Chamber Boutique will ever be alike. The neutral color palette on the walls makes them ideal canvasses for Raquel’s chocolate paintings, including a big map of the Philippines on one side. The items on the shelves are constantly rearranged to highlight different products. The chocolate displays are always different, yet mouthwatering every single time. The pièce de résistance is an artistic, almost abstract mural of Raquel and her famous truffle set on the wall behind the counter. It’s a befitting tribute to Raquel, who has worked hard to elevate tableya into a Cebu delicacy.

G/F Sarrosa International Hotel
F. Cabahug St., Mabolo, Cebu City
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Pigafetta (Photography by Mark Philip Dales: Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, December 2015)

Following the huge success of Zubuchon—yes, that restaurant hailed by Anthony Bourdain as having the ‘Best Pig Ever!’—Market Man Joel Binamira shifts his focus to a new dining concept in Cebu. Vastly different from his flagship restaurant, Pigafetta is—in Joel’s own words—a small watering hole for folks who want an authentic Italian meal in a modern setting. “It’s a place to relax and enjoy a glass of wine and perhaps a plank of cold cuts before a bowl of pasta or a Neapolitan-style pizza,” says Joel. “It’s meant for a younger, cosmopolitan crowd that not only looks for Italian food, but an appealing setting as well.”

Pigafetta’s interior, designed by architect Maya Franco and executed by KG Builders, is meant to set the mood for a meal—a casual yet modern and slightly edgy feel than Joel’s other restaurants. The décor, is predominantly black and white, complemented by local machuca tiles, stainless steel surfaces, wooden tables, and metal chairs. Dining at Pigafetta is also a comfortable yet stylish affair, with carefully selected plates, cutlery, and glasses that are conversation pieces by themselves. Filament bulbs add a nostalgic touch, providing a softer light that creates an intimate and welcoming ambiance that invites guests to linger in the evenings.

AXIS Entertainment Avenue
N. Escario St., Cebu City


Canvas Bistro Bar Gallery (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2016)

Canvas Bistro Bar Gallery (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2016)


Seven years after it first opened at the Ayala Center Cebu, Canvas Bistro Bar Gallery reinvents itself with an intimate yet industrial setting—a canvas, if you may—for their dishes served in signature artistic flair.

The new Canvas Bistro Bar Gallery, located along the Maria Luisa Road in Banilad, utilizes the materials used in their previous restaurant. Interior designer Shiela Solon collaborated with owners Chef Steve and Eya Shrimski for an unfinished minimalist decor, complemented with warm lighting from the eclectic mix of light fixtures. Besides highlighting the artworks displayed in Canvas—it is a gallery, after all—the lighting also makes it easy to take some drool-worthy #foodporn posts, especially their new offerings, which range from healthy options to classic breakfast staples to all-time favorite comfort food.

One Paseo, Paseo Saturnino Road
Banilad, Cebu City
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CIRCA 1900

Circa 1900 (Photography by Robo Formacion: Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2014)

Circa 1900 (Photography by Robo Formacion: Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2014)

Chefs Jan Rodriguez and Chip Lopez have a quick chat over coffee at Circa 1900 for Zee Lifestyle's Conversations (Photography by Christine Cueto/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, August 2015)

Chefs Jan Rodriguez and Chip Lopez have a quick chat over coffee at Circa 1900. (Photography by Christine Cueto/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, August 2015)

The rustic charm and lush greens of Circa 1900 has made it quite the popular destination for stylish #OOTDs and even wedding-related photo shoots. A scenic home-turned-restaurant tucked into one of Gorordo’s quieter streets, Circa 1900 is ideal for romantic dates and intimate group dinners. Picnic tables and benches are scattered across the property, although the grand staircase sitting underneath a porte-cochere beckons guests into the main area of the restaurant. At the top is a small porch with cozy lounges, cocktail tables and chairs, and an opening to the bar inside.

The menu is innovative, featuring international dishes while paying homage to the Filipino culinary heritage through the use of local ingredients. The food is ideal for foreigners who want to experience local cuisine, yet taste something that’s still familiar to them.

Sanjercasvil Road
Gorordo Avenue, Lahug, Cebu City
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Did we miss any places? Have recommendations? Sound off in the comments below!


PANDEMIC DIARIES: Twelve Months Later

Photos taken by Pablo Quiza around Cebu City during the months of March, April and May 202

AS WE APPROACH ONE YEAR under pandemic times, we look back at March 2020 with fascination. And awe. We had 12 months of lockdown and survived the so called new normal. We lived with masks and alcohol even today. Carless roads and dark malls. Those were the early days of March, April and May.
It stretched to October and past Christmas. No Sinulog. Virtual parties on Zoom and virtual mass on You Tube and FB Live. We debated on the best meds to take if we get sick and whether to wear masks (please do!). We scampered for face shields and anti-viral sprays. Vitamins C and D and zinc. Later, we survived being swabbed and we learned the difference between a PCR and an anti-gene test. The latter cost less.

We dreaded the declarations of IATF mandated from Manila. And we got mad at the police chief who had a birthday party while his people were busy locking up everyone violating the lockdown. Most horrifying of all, we needed to produce IDs! Are you a resident of Barangay Lahug or Banilad? Are you employed and why are you still working? Everyone suffered thru endless checkpoints. Most sad of all are those using motorbikes, they seem to get the raw end of the deal since those with cars are not as scrutinized. We managed to trick the system by putting a big handwritten note in front of the car: COMPANY CAR, and zipped tru the police desks in the middle of the road. Don’t even think of travelling, by plane, boat or bus. The collection of the required documents is enough for one to get exposed to Covid.

We learned to shop online, order groceries and necessities thru delivery. We slowly moved towards cashless payments. Gcash and banks like Union Bank and China Bank with friendly apps are heroes for making life easy for most of us to spend what little cash we have to spend on Lazada or pay the VECO bill. Oh and we binged on K dramas on Netflix and You Tube, kamsaminada.
As 2021 enters, there are some good news. For those obsessed with news, you already know that 7,000 vaccines arrived last March 2 in Cebu, with more expected in the next few weeks. The death rate is not as high among those who caught this pesky virus, which tells us that doctors in the hospitals have some proven expertise in dealing with Covid. More cures should be in the horizon.

Meanwhile, lets continue dreaming of the day when we can cross borders again, even if its just Bohol or Boracay, Bangkok or Hong Kong. Ready those luggages and bags bought during the 3/3 sale in Shopee in preparation for the day when we can take the ferry or the plane for new adventures.


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Keep Calm by Knowing These Myths About COVID-19

by Chrissy Grey Resaba


In these times of pandemic, hysteria and panic have taken over the world and nonchalance is a word not to be manifested for today. Worry and fear are enveloping around Cebu with enough evidence of the actions taken by the public – the hoarding of necessities and goods.


Cebu – both the city and the province – is working towards making the island a safe haven from the pandemic caused by the Novel Coronavirus. Entry points of both ports – aerial and naval – are now closed. Curfew hours are being implemented to secure that no one is outside during the hours indicated. Business and academic sectors shifted their modes to work-from-home and online classes. Medical professionals have been on the frontlines battling against the proliferation of COVID-19.


It is quite eerie to look at the main streets of the Queen City of the South having few crowds to none. The hustle and bustle of the metropolis has gone into an empty space. The actions taken by the government and the Republic of the Philippines are for better or for worse; it is only for the good of the public.


Cebu has been under the state of community quarantine and certain measures were implemented to ensure the public’s safety and well-being. However, there are still myths making rounds in social media and the public in general about the ways to avoid COVID-19. These myths are not supported by scientific evidence. The scattering of fake news worsens the situation instead.


Here are some myths about the Novel Coronavirus:


1. Hot and cold weather

Contrary to popular belief, the COVID-19 virus will never die when exposed to hot or cold weather. This type of coronavirus can be transmitted in all areas regardless of the weather.


2. Drinking water

It is necessary to hydrate ourselves and to moisturize the throats but there is no scientific evidence that consuming volumes of water can flush out the virus.


3. Antibiotics

Clear enough from the name of the medicine, antibiotic never kills the virus but bacteria instead. It is not advisable to take antibiotics to prevent COVID-19.


4. Eating banana

There is a video circulating in social media about the banana fruit that miraculously kills the COVID-19 virus. However, if one should be keen enough to examine the video, it is a hoax. To date, there are no approved treatments for the virus. Eating a banana and other fruits can boost the immune system instead but not kill the COVID-19 virus.



Practicing proper hygiene such as regular hand washing with soap and water remains to be an effective way of preventing infection since soap dissolves the structure of the virus. The public should not be very complacent enough to rely on hand washing alone. Maintaining social distance, staying at home, having proper coughing or sneezing etiquette, and putting oneself in self-quarantine if one traveled from outside Cebu or the country are some of the best ways to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

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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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