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Twinning: Luna van der Linden and Lotte Edwards

Luna van der Linden and Lotte Edwards give a sneak peek into the easy camaraderie of being twins, and divulge their individual fashion and beauty preferences—showing how to tell them apart despite being identical.

ON LOTTE Silk organza wrap by Jun Escario, gray maillot from Soak Swimswear and pearl necklace by Mia Arcenas; ON LUNA Organza wrap by Rei Escario, peach bikini from Soak Swimwear, and necklaces from Moy Studio; woven bags by Mia Arcenas)

ON LOTTE Silk organza wrap by Jun Escario, gray maillot from Soak Swimswear and pearl necklace by Mia Arcenas; ON LUNA Organza wrap by Rei Escario, peach bikini from Soak Swimwear, and necklaces from Moy Studio; woven bags by Mia Arcenas (Photography by Jon Unson: Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, June 2016)

The sun was barely rising over the horizon at Panglao Island, and already the Zee Lifestyle team is abuzz with activity. One of the Dream Villas at Be Grand Resort had turned into a boudoir of sorts—the four-poster bed had dresses hanging from its frame, while the comforter was covered with swimwear and accessories.

Despite the early hour, twin sisters Lotte Edwards and Luna Van Der Linden are cheerful and energetic, dancing to salsa music and admiring the outfits that were being laid out for them. The atmosphere is pretty pleasant, considering the good amount of traveling both women had to do the day before just to make it to the shoot—Luna had flown in to Cebu after an event in Boracay, while Lotte just got off a plane from Singapore.

Although identical twins, their individuality extends to their personalities. “Lotte is very feminine and glamorous, while I’m adventurous, spontaneous and sporty,” Luna explains. “As sisters, we challenge and learn from each other. She’s the best twin I could ever wish for.” To this, Lotte adds, “Our personalities are different, but we are also so much alike. Our cores are very similar. We are that close.”

The phenomenon of being twins will always stay interesting since most people will never know what it’s like to have, as Luna phrased, a wombmate. “There is an uncanny connection. I somehow feel what she is feeling,” Luna says. “When she is in pain, I know when to reach out and be there for her. It’s double the pain, but double the happiness too!”

“You’re never alone; you’ll always have that one person who connects with you at every level,” Lotte adds. And what’s the worst part about being a twin? “You’re never truly alone,” she laughs.

Their closeness is palpable as the two sit in for hair and makeup—Luna playfully teases Lotte for her looping playlist, and in return gets offered vitamins for sun protection by her sister. Now and then, they practice posing in front of the full-length mirror. “I haven’t done this in a while,” Lotte laughs. “I might not know how to do it anymore.”

Scalloped black maillot from Soak Swimwear (Photography by Jon Unson: Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, June 2016)

Scalloped black maillot from Soak Swimwear (Photography by Jon Unson: Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, June 2016)

Having modeled in their younger years, the twins are no strangers to the world of photo shoots. “Monch Ceballos groomed us,” Lotte recalls of their early days in the industry. “I’m very thankful for it—I wouldn’t know how the industry works nor the etiquette of the business without him.”

Although Luna continued on that path, Lotte found herself pursuing another passion, albeit in the same industry. “I became a buyer,” she shares. “After that, I realized I had a talent for design. It excited me. I would play around fabric and draping. Eventually, I got formal classes from
Oj Hofer, and with his support and my newfound talent, I opened my own business.”

With her breezy and elegant resort wear, Lotte’s creations were carried in Shangri-La resorts and hotels around the Philippines, and at designer Ana Liew’s SKYE Boutique at Orchard Central in Singapore. “My designs were very fluid and graceful, elegant and colorful.”

In pursuing another career, fashion designing had to take a backseat—Lotte is now the Brand Ambassador at ΟΝΕ15 Marina Club, an upscale marina in Sentosa Cove. “I handle all the events at Asia’s finest marina club,” she explains. “I handle the planning and creative stage, execution, inviting members and guests, and even hosting it. It’s mostly PR work, but I also do the planning of themes, which is really fun.”

Just last year, she brought in Cebu designers Jun Escario, Mia Arcenas and Dexter Alazas for a trunk show at the Singapore Yacht Show. Supporting Filipino talent on the Singapore stage means much to her. “I believe in the Filipino talent. I think it’s world-class and if we all work together—with none of this crab mentality—we can definitely show the world what we’ve got.” In the spirit of giving back, Lotte is an advocate of Style Your Soul, a movement which organized relief operations from Singapore for affected regions and victims of typhoon Yolanda.

Since starting out at ONE15 Marina Club, Lotte has been at the helm of several events and theme parties. “I also launched the only floating bar in Singapore, the Boater’s Bar, on weekends. So far, it has been successful—it’s become a weekend habit for some of Singapore’s glamorous set.” When she’s not busy working, Lotte does yoga regularly.

The position has landed her in what seems to be a beguiling lifestyle, but Lotte takes her work seriously. “Everyday always brings a new challenge, sometimes a welcome one and sometimes one I can do without. But I learn to cope,” she says. What’s one challenge that she usually finds herself facing? “For somebody who handles events and parties, the rain is my number one nemesis!”

“I love that [Luna is] very strong and loves adventures. I live vicariously through her. She always advises me to think positive all the time, and tells me the best is yet to come.” – Lotte

Being a Brand Ambassador in a yacht club where thousands come in from around the globe allows her to meet so many interesting people. “I like learning from them, seeing the world through their well-traveled eyes, learning about their culture. It’s very enriching!” Lotte shares. As a wine connoisseur, she finds meeting winemakers a particularly enjoyable experience. “I love learning about their wines and how each vineyard is different from another. It’s interesting!”

With everything that’s on her plate, she still hopes to be able to return to designing when she can. “I dream about going back, all the time. It’s always at the back of my mind. Maybe someday,” Lotte says, also admitting that her kaftans remain in circulation in her wardrobe. “It’s such a cliché, but they are perfect for Singapore’s humidity. But I guess I also designed them for lazy days when you don’t want to think too much about what to wear but still look stylish.”

For her part, Luna describes her occupation as, “Currently co-running the Chameleon modeling agency while being a housewife.”Although still modeling herself, Luna also manages models, booking them for events and shows. “More than that, I serve as their mentor,” she shares. “I teach them what I’ve learned over the years. It’s not just about grooming or walking the runway, but more about professionalism and how to handle yourself in public.”

Halter embroidered bikini by Soak Swimwear and necklace from Moy Studio (Photography by Jon Unson: Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, June 2016)

Halter embroidered bikini by Soak Swimwear and necklace from Moy Studio (Photography by Jon Unson: Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, June 2016)

Luna’s modeling experience certainly comes in to play as she poses for the lensman. “I actually enjoy photo shoots the most—from the creative aspect and the makeup, to playing with the lights and complex poses. But what’s important to remember, and I always tell my girls this, is that we shouldn’t be too critical of ourselves. In the end, we are all God’s beautiful creatures, flaws and all.”

With that in mind, Luna is actively pushing the Chameleon Modeling Agency into molding better talent. “The Chameleon Modeling Agency handles a number of beauties who all practice professionalism,” she shares. “We’re hoping to get our name out there for more collaborations
with top Filipino designers at the upcoming Manila Fashion Week, and we would like to participate in the Singapore Fashion Week more actively.”

Like Lotte, Luna is in a field that requires her to be extroverted, something she clearly excels at. “Meeting new people—models, designers and promoters—and being part of the creative aspect of the fashion world,” she enumerates as the things she enjoys most about her job. “It’s not all glitz and glamour, it’s a lot of hard work too. But then again, that’s the fun part.”

In between work, Luna remains on the move by subscribing to different fitness regimens. “Almost everyday is gym day, so I’m always in my sportswear. On any given day, I do yoga, boxing, running, skateboard, tennis, wall climbing—sometimes two things in one day.”

Their similar industries allow them to work together on some projects, an opportunity the twins thoroughly enjoy every time it comes up. “Some of the best events I have done were those with Lotte,” Luna reveals. “More recently, we did a fashion show for Fit for Fashion. We usually don’t walk for runways anymore, but it was for a good cause and it was styled by Queen Melo Esguerra in Singapore.”

The busy workload does take its toll as trials come with an active career. “Balancing my work life with my personal life is a challenge. We have to work around each other’s schedule and manage our calendars to make sure there is time for the things that truly matter,” Luna says, referring to Stephane Van Der Linden, her husband of almost six years, and their pets, ragdoll cat Paris and shih tzu Cosette. “In the end, I am aiming to combine a successful career with being a devoted wife. Luckily enough, we share the same passions—diving, traveling and trekking—which keep us closely connected.”

“There is an uncanny connection. I somehow feel what she is feeling. When she is in pain, I know when to reach out and be there for her. There is double the pain, but double the happiness too!” – Luna

Lotte too finds getaways the perfect time to connect with her husband Jason Edwards, and kids, eight-year-old Ethan Curtis and six-year-old Isabella Rose. “Family vacations are always the best! When I bring the kids to new places, they’re like me—they also love to swim, and play in the sand.”

Their close affinity to the sea becomes obvious in how comfortable they both are by Be Grand’s wide, sandy waterfront. “I remember how often we were at the beach when we were growing up,” Luna shares. “I learned to swim because my dad would throw coins into the sea, and we would dive down to get them. She also vividly remembers her tall Spanish grandfather, who she reckons was around 85 at the time, as he sat quietly by the pool. “I think he was either meditating or contemplating about life,” she muses.

With six other siblings in the brood, their childhood memories were ones of fun, as they recall how they developed an early taste for fashion and liked playing dress-up. Lotte adds, “We would dress up in our mom’s clothes and pose in front of the mirror.”

Both girls took up Tourism at the University of San Jose Recoletos, which had been their mom’s decision. “I was more attracted to the Arts, so I shifted to another course. My mom only found out two semesters after!” Luna laughs. “I guess it does somehow match what I do now, since I have dabbled in modeling, interior design and also took up makeup artistry classes in Singapore. All of those speak of my love for art and anything creative.”

On the other hand, Lotte ended up taking Political Science as a secondary course. “It’s pretty different from where I am now,” she admits. “Instead, I went on to open my own business in design, and designing is my passion.”

“I believe in the Filipino talent. I think it’s world-class, and if we all work together with none of this crab mentality, we can definitely show the world what we’ve got.” – Lotte

Although based elsewhere now—Singapore for Lotte and Manila for Luna—Cebu remains very much their home. “Cebu will always be home,” Lotte says. “My mom, my family and my loyal friends are there.”

“We are very lucky to have properties in Cebu, so we usually fly back on weekends and take the car to Mactan and buy fresh mangoes, lechon manok and hanging rice by the road, and hire a boat to go diving in Pandanon, Mactan Wall or any of the nearby sanctuaries,” Luna enthuses. Speaking of Cebu’s food and restaurants, she says, “My husband and I recently discovered a hole-in-the-wall on the road leading to Mactan. I’m not sure what it’s called, but they sell the freshest fish and seaweed at very reasonable prices.”

Lotte in turn mentions, “Anzani. The view from up there is amazing, and they serve really good wine. They have Quinto do Zambujeiro, my favorite wine. The food is always good, and you know that everything they serve is fresh.”

ON LUNA Off-shoulder pink dress, necklaces, cuffs and earrings by Mia Arcenas; ON LOTTE Yellow bandeau bikini from Soak Swimwear, fringed necklace from Moy Studio, and yellow cover-up, delicate chain necklaces and cuff by Mia Arcenas (Photography by Jon Unson: Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, June 2016)

ON LUNA Off-shoulder pink dress, necklaces, cuffs and earrings by Mia Arcenas; ON LOTTE Yellow bandeau bikini from Soak Swimwear, fringed necklace from Moy Studio, and yellow cover-up, delicate chain necklaces and cuff by Mia Arcenas (Photography by Jon Unson: Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, June 2016)

Their common favorite in Cebu is still the beaches. Both sisters would choose a tropical holiday over an adventure somewhere cooler, which explains their excitement about the shoot being at the Be Grand Resort in Panglao. “Something about the sound of the waves refreshes me,” Lotte confesses.

Luna found her second stay at Be Grand Resort equally enjoyable as her first time during the Christmas and New Year season, commenting about their friendly staff and the amazing facilities. “It’s beautiful,” Lotte adds. “The rooms are spacious and very chic. The staff are very welcoming and hospitable, and the seafood they served was mouthwatering.”

Having just opened the previous year, Be Grand Resort has become a preferred getaway place in Panglao, just off Alona Beach and tucked away in its own private cove. Its well-appointed rooms and a man-made river connecting the luxurious villas have all the makings of an indulgent beach holiday.

“It’s a perfect island paradise,” Lotte quips, also citing Boracay as another favorite. With those tropical vacation spots in mind, sunscreen and other skin protection products rank high on her list of travel essentials. “I also always bring my hats. They’re specially made in Ecuador and are perfect for any outfit.”

Both women are fond of wandering and Luna names Prague and Santorini as the next destinations on her list, while Luna shares that she’s always wanted to see the pyramids in Cairo.

The dynamic between the two is interesting to watch, their contrasting personalities actually somehow complementing each other. “Luna is the crazier one. She always love adventures and brings me for the ride,” Lotte shares about growing up together. “There was always some mischief everyday, and we never had a dull moment.”

That obviously didn’t come without a share of sibling squabbles. “My favorite memory of growing up with Lotte would probably be the fighting and the making up,” Luna laughs.

The differences they see in each other have actually become what they appreciate most now. “I love that she’s very strong and loves adventures. I live vicariously through her,” Lotte admits. “She advises me to think positive all the time, and tells me the best is yet to come.”

On Luna’s part, “Lotte’s very generous, direct and frank with me. She acts like my older sister, even though I was born ten seconds ahead of her.” She shares the best advice that Luna ever gave her: “Marry him.”

Both equally fabulous and hardworking, committed to career and family, and definitely empowered, the Delima twins may live separate lives in different cities but somehow stay connected. Despite being apart, that special bond that only twins share remains undoubtedly strong. After all, when you start your lives as “wombmates,” there really is no cutting those ties.

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Halter embroidered bikini from Soak Swimwear, electric pleated top and palazzo pants by Mia Arcenas (Photography by Jon Unson: Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, June 2016)

Halter embroidered bikini from Soak Swimwear, electric pleated top and palazzo pants by Mia Arcenas (Photography by Jon Unson: Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, June 2016)

Everyday beauty regimen?
Luna: Sports. Sweating it out.
Lotte: I wash my face every night, even if I’m very tired. I always wash my face to let it breath while I’m sleeping.

A beauty product you can’t live without?
Luna: Chanel Les Beiges sheer powder.
Lotte: Tweezers. Grooming is very important.

Your favorite beauty look?
Luna: Dark eyes, dark red lips, dark hair and tanned skin.
Lotte: Curly big hair, dark smoky eyes and nude lipstick—dramatic and yet the nude lip gives a good contrast.

Whose beauty look do you admire?
Luna: J.Lo because she’s the best. I saw her at one of her concerts and she was amazing. She can get away with any look.
Lotte: J.Lo because she can just about get away with any look.

What looks makes you feel sexiest?
Luna: Tanned skin
Lotte: Red lipstick

Your personal style?
Luna: Elegant.
Lotte: Very experimental. I like mixing styles, trends and looks. I accessorize and dress to have fun and be myself.

Most used item in your closet?
Luna: Recently, I wear a lot of hats in different styles, shapes and colors.
Lotte: Not surprising, I suppose, but I wear my kaftans and other designs all the time.

Oldest thing in your closet?
Luna: I change my wardrobe regularly, so I guess the oldest thing I have in my closet is my wedding dress for obvious sentimental reasons.
Lotte: I still have stilettos from decades ago. They are good brands, so I can still actually wear them.

White kaftan and necklace by Mia Arcenas (Photography by Jon Unson: Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, June 2016)

White kaftan and necklace by Mia Arcenas (Photography by Jon Unson: Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, June 2016)

Your power outfit?
Luna: I don’t have a particular power outfit, but I believe that if you put a woman in the right shoes, she can conquer anything. So I do have power shoes—when I wear my YSL Tribute heels, I feel I can do anything.
Lotte: A suit from YSL. It’s all black, with slim pants.

Favorite brands?
Luna: Chanel and YSL
Lotte: Valentino and Balmain

Favorite local designers?
Luna: John Lasala, Oj Hofer and Jun Escario
Lotte: Oj Hofer and Jun Escario

Favorite place to bargain shop?
Luna: Bangkok
Lotte: Bali

If you were a fashion accessory, what would you be?
Luna: A hat, because it’s functional and pretty.
Lotte: I’d be a watch. You need it everyday, and the style always represents the wearer.

Best fashion advice you’ve received?
Luna: Be yourself and dress like a proper lady.
Lotte: Try not to wear brown with green—you will look like a tree.

 

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by Shari Quimbo photography Jon Unson stylist Blaq Mafia makeup Lola Ley and Sumie Belbachir hair Jesse Egos locale Be Grand Resort Bohol
Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, June 2016. For back issues, subscribe via Magzter.

Events

Citizens of the World: CAMPAIGN 2KRAINE

Asmara Urban Resort and Lifestyle Village

Citizens of the World: CAMPAIGN 2KRAINE

By Eva Gullas

“We are all citizens of the world. What’s good for you, must be good for all. If you are lost, share a plate with a stranger… you will find who you are.”

-Jose Andres, renowned Spanish Chef and founder of World Central Kitchen

 

Chef José Andrés

Where there are humanitarian disasters, you will find the volunteers of World Central Kitchen.  In their midst will be local chefs, most of them inspired by its iconic founder, celebrity chef José Andrés. Founded in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake in  2010, World Central Kitchen established its “chef network,” of global professional chefs. The vision was for a kind of “chefs without borders” program where volunteers would enact positive change by cooking using local knowledge and resources. Last year, they even came to the island of Siargao in response to an Instagram plea for help after typhoon Odette almost levelled this idyllic paradise. WCK sponsored 2 community kitchens for 2 months serving 250 to 500 meals per day in Siargao.

WCK at Siargao with volunteers, December 2021. (Photo courtesy of Ai-Ai Garcia)

Chef José Andrés was born in Spain where he honed his culinary skills at the eponymous El Bulli under Ferran Adria. By the time he moved to the US in 1991, he was well on his way to being part of the celebrity chefs, with his Bazaar restaurant at the then SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills a favorite hang-out for Hollywood stars. Michelin stars and James Beard awards followed closely. These days though, Jose Andres spends his time in kitchens all over the world while his top rated chain of restaurants in the US continue to thrive. There’s a Bazaar restaurant at Las Vegas and Miami, and if you happen to be in the area, check out their amazing servings – it’s worth the splurge especially since it is owned by this great humanitarian!

The Bazaar Restaurant in Miami

With the Ukraine invasion delivered to us in sharp details tru social media and TV, it’s hard to ignore. And so, it was a natural conversation to be able to do something about it even in a small way. On a full-moon evening a few days ago, joining us at a beachside home for dinner was Matthew Wood, the German singer guest of Miranda Konstantiniduo who is here for a few days to shoot his latest music video. Sated with a good meal by the sea, we idly discussed a fund raising event with Matthew. We have been so engrossed with local politics and a looming election in just 2 months, that it was refreshing to talk about something bigger than our small world. Butch Carungay, seated in front of me, took the idea to heart and by the following day, he had the graphics for the event, and a ready rolodex of possible donors for the silent auction. Getting on board the following night was Carlo Cordaro, who happily lent us the second level of Asmara Resort. To complement Matthew, Cebuana singer Doods Osmena also will belt out a few songs. An impressive list of items for the silent auction is being compiled by Butch, composed of overnight stays at top resorts, artworks and furniture pieces from named artists.  We will post a list on the day of event. 

German singer Matthew Wood

Asmara Urban Resort and Lifestyle Village

Ribbon designed by Butch Carungay for guests at the fund raising event

It is sponsored by Zee Publications Inc., in our first foray after having been dormant during the pandemic and typhoon Odette. Zee will soon be launching a new artsy printed magazine called Eatz Cebu! 

This Friday, March 25, at 6pm, we open the doors of Asmara Urban Resort (see map) for this fundraising where we hope you can join us by donating a minimum of $50 to the World Central Kitchen directly at https://wck.org/donate. It will be an evening of fun and fundraising, and entry is tru an email or digital receipt of your donation. 

***

On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. By February 25, 2022, Chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen (WCK) was on the ground serving free wholesome meals to those fleeing the violence. Chef Andrés and his volunteers have already served more than one million meals to Ukrainian refugees, from basements, train stations, and shelters. Still, cooking and distributing food in a war zone comes with unique challenges. “We began operations…over two weeks ago inside Lviv,” says Andrés. “The last two days we saw some missiles falling down. So, the western side of Ukraine, that actually was a safe haven for many Ukrainians leaving war, is already kind of feeling like the war is getting closer.” For Andrés, it’s a humanitarian necessity and a call he answers. “The least we can do at World Central Kitchen is be next to them – making sure they will be fed every day.”

SOURCE: MSNBC

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People

What Makes an Empowered Woman? Let’s take it from Megaworld Hotels and Resorts’ Managing Director, Cleofe Albiso

What is an empowered woman made of? Managing Director Cleofe Albiso of Megaworld Hotels and Resorts, the Philippines’ largest homegrown hospitality chain with 4,000 room keys and 11 hotels, composes her thoughts and shares that its grit, resilience, and love. 

Cleofe Albiso, Managing Director of Megaworld Hotels and Resorts  

Settling in on her new leadership role at the start of the new year, Albiso looks back even way before joining the organization during the last quarter of 2019 as its Group General Manager. It comes as a surprise when she shares that her years takes her back from being a pre-school teacher in Cebu using her degree in Bachelor of Science in Education major in mathematics finishing Magna Cum Laude. After a while, and with doors opening for her to join the corporate world, she finds herself earning her years in sales and marketing where she has gathered decades worth of exemplary experience being part of the country’s biggest telecommunications group and international hospitality brands. 

With the highs and blows of life and as well as business, she shares that “An empowered woman needs to have grit”. The will to persevere and continue with passion has become her brand of leadership in serving not just clients and guests, but as well as taking care of the people she works with. Through her dedication, Albiso has since continued to climb the corporate ladder and was also recognized as the first Filipino General Manager of a Marriott International branded property in the country, the Courtyard by Marriott Iloilo that is also one of Megaworld Corporation’s many other operated international hotels in the Philippines. 

Fast forward to today, she looks at the future with gratefulness as she embraces the opportunity to empower the lives of 2,000 employees present across 11 hotels and not to mention 3 more properties opening this year as well as in 2023. She shares that “My responsibility can only be best tackled by filling my heart with gratitude and keeping my purpose in close check when times get challenging.” 

More than ever, she has come to understand that “Resilience is her way of life.” She explains that challenges come and go along with every solution that solves each one of them. Safe to say, what she considers as the biggest one yet would have to be this pandemic.  Albiso hopes that after a two year pause and struggle of the industry “My constant prayer is for our fellow Filipinos to help us recover by patronizing homegrown brands for them to explore the Philippines and travel again.” She said that in doing so “this will mean more jobs for the hospitality and tourism practitioners and boost confidence in the total industry to go back on full swing once again.” 

Admittedly, despite being one of the industries at the frontline of the pandemic, she can still say that “The culture of appreciation in our very own organization has been better strengthened during these times”.  The company lives by the Circle of Happiness. She explains that “Our organization operates with a culture that reminds us to love ourselves, our families, our work, our community with the love of God at the center of everything we do.” This pandemic has better reminded them to strive to take care of the wholistic well-being of each employee from physical to emotional and even mental health.

On top of that, Albiso gathers that what allows them to thrive is their team’s collective ability to take care of their key stakeholders, execute efforts geared towards sustaining the business, and making people stay and work passionately.  She further adds “We are a work in progress and there are many more business and service facets that we are focusing on improving” and humbly claims that “The best years for Megaworld Hotels and Resorts are yet to come.”

When asked about what her best advice to fellow women would be as they reach for their dreams, she said “I only found genuine fulfillment when I started having a relationship with God.  It is only by accepting that we cannot do things by ourselves that we become dependent on our creator.” According to her it is important “That we do not give credit to our talent, creativity and hard work (alone) but give glory to the one above us who have blessed us with all that.”  

At present, their properties are continuously looking to hire qualified applicants for vacant positions in front office, security, information technology, food and beverage, sales & marketing, human resources and engineering for Belmont Hotel Manila and Savoy Hotel Manila within Newport City in Pasay across NAIA terminal 3, Kingsford Hotel Manila located in the Entertainment City of Paranaque, Hotel Lucky Chinatown in Binondo, Twin Lakes Hotel near Tagaytay, Eastwood Richmonde Hotel in Quezon City, Richmonde Hotel Ortigas in Pasig, Richmonde Hotel Iloilo in Iloilo Business Park of Iloilo City, Belmont Hotel Boracay or Savoy Hotel Boracay located at the Newcoast Boracay and Savoy Hotel Mactan Newtown in Cebu.

For more information about how you can be part of Megaworld Hotels and Resorts, kindly email careers@megaworldhotels.com. You may also inquire about your future stays through salesinquiry@megaworldhotels.com or connect with them through any of Megaworld Hotels and Resorts’ and its properties’ social media pages. 

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Lifestyle

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Thanksgiving with the Woolbrights

THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING

The holiday season kicks off officially with Thanksgiving. A time to be grateful for family, friends and blessings. Although this is not usually practiced in our tropical country, there are, however, families like the Woolbrights for whom this is a time-honored tradition.

by Janine Taylor sittings editor Katsy Borromeo fashion stylist Mikey Sanchez food stylist Nicolette Gaw-Yu production manager David Jones Cua intern Danica Ronquillo hair and make-up Jessie Glova assistant Jojo Embalzado photography Joseph Ong locale Woolbright Residence

 

Eddie Woolbright was among the thousands of G.I.’s that landed on the shores of the Philippines during the Japanese occupation. After the war, a few enterprising American soldiers came back, including the 24-year old Eddie who made Tacloban his home, before settling down in Cebu in the 1950s and opened a restaurant and a hardware store downtown—Eddie’s Log Cabin and Eddie’s Hardware and Auto Supply, respectively.

Eddie’s Log Cabin quickly became the hub of social, political and even military scene. It was the first air-conditioned café in town, and more importantly, it offered American diner food including a soda fountain and an ice cream parlor. It was patronized by one and all for its reputation for good food and service.

It also didn’t take long for the fearless Eddie Woolbright to realize that the real estate in the sleepy hillside suburbs was ripe for development. “I will show Cebu what a good planned subdivision is,” Eddie had said, when the late Senator Marcelo Fernan, then a young legal counselor for Columbian Rope Co., took Eddie to see the property. Pretty soon, Eddie had purchased over thirty-three hectares of otherwise undeveloped land from the heirs of the late Arlington Pond.

“Buy land,” Eddie Woolbright was known to quote the late humorist Will Rogers, “because they ain’t gonna make more.”

With his added access to army surplus, he bulldozed tracts of land, and a decade later, Beverly Hills, the first major subdivision in Cebu City, was created, and marketed to the city’s growing well-to-do locals, with the subdivision’s connotations of Hollywood and colonial American aesthetic. Eddie’s belief in the business potentials of central Cebu city enabled him to see much growth in his investments in land development, water drilling, construction, and general trading.

ON THE COVER The Woolbright sisters, Joy, Karen and Alice don Jun Escario’s Holiday Collection, photographed in their home by Joseph Ong. Hair and make-up by Jessie Glova.

 

Eddie had nine children: Rick, Anita, Marc, Gilbert, Alice, Kathy, Kristy, Karen and Joy. All recall that each holiday was as important to them as Christmas. Turkey Thanksgiving dinners, for example, as it was known in the Woolbright household, began when Eddie’s mom, Nell, came to visit sometimes in the 1960s. Eddie would buy a butterball turkey from the American base in Clark and she whipped up a traditional feast complete with cornbread stuffing, cranberry jelly, candied yams, garlic mashed potatoes and her famous giblet gravy which was poured literally all over the bird, as they do back in her home in Oklahoma. Grandma Nell also taught the cooks at Eddie’s Log Cabin to make the famous Coconut Cream Pie, another Eddie’s Log Cabin standard. Kathy also recollects, “It was also dad’s idea that the restaurant and the hotel should serve breakfast 24 hours, and since I loved my Mexican omelet, sliced ham, buttered toast I enjoyed being able to eat breakfast any time of the day.” 

My dad taught me how to be humble. He told us stories about his younger days jumping trains, eating nothing but grapes for days just to go pick cotton. He had a hard life growing up and I guess he wanted us, his children, to know the meaning of hard work. He would say, “Nobody owes you a life in this world”. I didn’t understand it then but I do now. -Alice Woolbright

 

FROM LEFT ON JOY Nude dress, models own; ring and bangle by Gladys Young; ON ALICE Sequined LBD, models own; ON KAREN Grey pleated shift dress from Loalde; ring and necklace by Gladys Young.

Shortly after, turkey was introduced in the menu of Eddie’s Log Cabin, both Americans and Cebuanos, with a penchant for this wholesome meal, look for it when November came, and more especially on Thanksgiving Day. “Dad loved quality meat, and passed on this fondness to us, his children,” noted Karen, “So special meals always consisted of a good steak or the tender Prime Rib Roast. Of course, the year was never complete without a Turkey once or twice.”

As the sisters change into various outfits for the photo shoot in their childhood home, each one recalled the happy memories this holiday brings.  

ON KAREN Teal pantsuit from Loalde, belt by Gladys Young; ON JOY Plum cocktail dress, model’s own; ON ALICE Teal corseted dress by Jun Escario, belt by Gladys Young.

Alice, recalls disliking the giblet gravy as a child but since her dad would serve her at the dinner table she had no choice but to eat it. She adds, “He would get upset if we did not try everything.” Funnily enough, she now looks forward to the giblet gravy and can’t imagine turkey without it.  Her dad, she said, employed the same tactic with his customers at the restaurant so after a while, they ended up getting used to it, and will not have their turkey any other way.

Between brothers and sisters coming home from out of town and family members in the States, there was always some degree of traveling or entertaining company. Dad valued the family bond and holidays were the best time to reinforce that. –Karen Woolbright

Happy hour with the Woolbright siblings.

The family pet Chewy joins in on the annual Woolbright Thanksgiving dinner.

Joy Woolbright-Sotto fondly remembers watching her dad carve the bird. “He made sure that each one of the kids learned how to do it properly, with the white meat sliced thinly enough, and followed last by the dark meat,” she says. A feat she now does with ease. Future doctor Karen says that her dad would always carve the wings and serve it to her, which is still her favorite part of the fowl. Kathy though, considers turkey her comfort food. But she says that she loves the Coconut Cream Pie, which is also served on the restaurant’s menu, and that as a child she could eat half a pie in bed. 

 

Old fashioned roast turkey

Cebu in the 60s and 70s was a very small town, if you wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving, you went to Eddie’s. Eddie’s Log Cabin, like its owner was a trailblazer, the balut dice game originated there, many singers’ careers such as Elizabeth Ramsey’s were given their first break there.  

The torch has been passed on to his children, and they too celebrate it with turkey dinners and all the trimmings, ensuring that the restaurant still serves the traditional menu, down to the Coconut Cream Pie.  Thanksgiving will always be celebrated at their homes, and the Beverly Hotel, the last legacy that Eddie Woolbright gave his children to run.

Another legacy that Eddie left to his children was a love for food and Alice was quick share that she got it too, “I’m usually home during the day and I find myself in the kitchen trying to cook up new dishes to serve.”

 

Back at the Woolbright ancestral home, which is also now Alice’s home, the dining table has been set, evoking autumn and harvest, the candles are lit, the wine is being poured, the buffet table is groaning under the weight of the Thanksgiving repast. The sisters are seated at the table, each with a glass of wine discussing whose turn it is to carve. The annual Woolbright turkey dinner is about to start and I am glad to be invited to join them at their family home. Happy Thanksgiving, indeed.

 

(This article has already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s November 2011 Entertaining Issue, “The Gift that Keeps on Giving” on pages 72-77.)

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