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Women Watch: Celebrating 12 women with beauty, style and passion

As the world celebrates women, Zee Lifestyle does the same by looking back at the very special 20th anniversary cover that looked back on the ladies who have graced our pages for their beauty, elegance, talent and passion for their endeavors.

As we celebrated our 20th year in the industry, it was only natural that we also celebrated the women who graced our covers. The team handpicked 12 women who are no strangers to our pages, but remain driving forces in their respective industries. 

With March being National Women’s Month and March 8 International Women’s Day, we found it fitting to pay tribute. These women are no strangers to our pages, and will probably be fixtures on it for years to come. It’s not just for their beauty or their keen sense of style, of course. It is their elegance and individuality, and the strong drive to succeed in whatever their efforts are directed.


Amparito Lhuillier

When were you first on the cover of Zee? The August-October issue in 1996

Any memorable experience with Zee? It’s definitely my favorite!

What would you change about Cebu? There’s nothing to be changed. I love Cebu!

Wearing Philip Rodriguez


Margot Osmeña

Do you remember your first Zee cover? I have only faint recollections about my Zee cover shoot–might be attributed to my senior years! If my memory serves me right, it was done in Teresin Mendezona’s house.

What do you love most about Cebu? When I first arrived in Cebu around 30 years ago, it became very obvious to me that there was this strong sense of pride. “This is our home” kind of feeling was apparent in the Cebuanos. As we move forward, I pray that this attitude is passed on to our children and their children.

Wearing Philip Rodriguez


Mia Arcenas

Do you remember your first Zee cover? The first time I was on the Zee cover was the time I got back from the US in 2010. I had just finished my degree at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and I was starting my career in fashion. I remember wearing Puey Quiñones with my first ever collection of accessories called Free Structure, made with abstract brass wire, crystal quartz and satin ribbons. Jon Unson shot it, while the hair and makeup was done by Romero.

Any memorable experience with Zee? The most memorable experience I’ve had with the magazine was when they co-hosted my first ever gala at the Oakridge Pavilion in Cebu. Zee has always been a big supporter ever since, and it was very heartwarming to have their full support.

Wearing Mia Arcenas


Fiona King

Do you remember your first Zee cover? My first cover was way back in college, when I was featured as a model. It was an unforgettable experience, but I must admit that the second time was bigger for me. It was in February 25, and I was honored to be featured as a real estate developer. Indeed, it was personally significant for me because Zee had seen and recognized my own life’s changes and growth, and found these to be cover-worthy.

What do you love about Cebu? I’m glad Cebu presents more opportunities for Cebuanos to thrive, evolve and make a difference. Cebu has always been bursting with opportunities, but we have to look around now to see that Cebu has exponentially grown. It is a city where entrepreneurs, artists, visionaries and people from various disciplines can make a name for themselves and become global without having to start in Manila. It is a city where people have become prouder of who we are and what we can do, and this pride has helped us to really redefine the Cebuano spirit and boldly succeed from the home-front to the world.

Wearing Vania Romoff


June Alegrado

Do you remember your first Zee cover? The first time I was on the cover was with good friends Bernie Aboitiz and Rochelle del Rosario. We had so much fun we didn’t notice the time. It felt like a get-together. Working with the Zee team was amazing. They took good care of us and were very professional. Artists were assigned to do our hair and makeup, and we were given choices of clothes and sandals to wear. The photographer and stylist helped us relax and loosen up, making it easy for us to project and feel comfortable in front of the camera. It was one of my most enjoyable experiences.

Changes that you’re happy about? I’m glad cellphones now have internet access. It has definitely made life more convenient–from buying clothes and paying bills to researching and learning new things. Keeping in touch with people to meeting new people. Accessing our music library, reading books and watching movies. But the past part of the smartphone is the camera, and the fact that my children and I can talk face to face even when they’re so far away.

Wearing Jun Escario


Christina Garcia Frasco

Do you remember your first Zee cover? The year was 2008. At that time, I had been living in Manila for 10 years already for school and work, and really missed Cebu. It was a memorable experience being on the cover of a magazine for the first time. I’m glad it was Zee, because to me, the magazine represented the best of Cebu–and being a Cebuana in Manila, I of course was fiercely proud of my home province.

Changes in Cebu you’re happy about? I’m happy to see Cebu strike a balance between being a center for world-class talent and locally made products, while being open to the influx of global brands and massive development. Hopefully our infrastructure can catch up very soon.

Wearing Dino Lloren


Kryz Uy

Do you remember your first Zee cover? Yes, of course! I was on the cover for the Youth issue, and I remember very clearly discussing with (then editor) David Cua his chosen copy for the cover. “Who doesn’t know Kryz Uy?” He was so set on having that line and I was so shy about it!

Changes in Cebu you’re happy about? The city is progressing quickly and we’re building a lot of companies, brands and even personalities that are competing well globally. That’s definitely something to be proud of!

Wearing Miranda Konstantinidou


Marguerite Lhuillier

Do you remember your first Zee cover? It is always flattering to be asked to do a cover, and of course, I willingly obliged. I had a great and fun time preparing for the shoot, what with the wonderful group from Zee Lifestyle. Everyone made the experience extra special.

Wearing Cary Santiago


Carla Yeung-McKowen

Do you remember your first Zee cover? It was an unforgettably fun experience. I was surrounded by the creative geniuses of Cebu–Cary Santiago, in Kenneth Cobonpue’s showroom, and shot by Dan Ong!

A memorable experience with Zee? The latest shoot. Being with other Cebuano women who I think are superbly gorgeous and successful, coupled with the “village” of creative minds who choreographed everything–it had to be my most memorable experience with Zee.

Wearing Stella McCartney


Danessa Onglatco

Do you remember your first Zee cover? Yes, of course, as it was a memorable fantastic experience for me. It was my first time to be a cover girl in a magazine, plus considering Zee is the only lifestyle magazine in Cebu. I was really honored to be chosen. I would like to take this opportunity to thank one of Cebu’s top designer Philip Rodriguez for choosing me, Zee’s former editor Jing Ramos and publisher Eva Gullas.

Changes in Cebu you’re happy about? That Cebu has continuously grown to be a tourism destination worldwide, and has seen growth in other industries like hospitality, real estate and the different types of BPO’s.

Wearing Miranda Konstantinidou


Kym Maitland-Smith 

Do you remember your first Zee cover? I was on the cover with my sister Divine for the October 2014 issue. It was a blast! We had so much fun shooting together, and everyone who participated from the makeup artists and stylists to the photographer and the location were all great. I remember rushing through the shoot because we had a flight to catch that morning, but everything went super smoothly. Divine and I were very happy with the photos and the article.

Wearing Miranda Konstantinidou


Alice Woolbright

Do you remember your first Zee cover? Yes, the November 2011 issue. It was a fun and relaxing Thanksgiving shoot with my sisters held at our ancestral home.

A memorable experience with Zee? My most treasured experience was the mother-daughter shoot. The timing was perfect as Erika was off to college that year.

Wearing Alexander McQueen

 


photography Jan Gonzales | creative direction Melo Esguerra | locale Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, December-January 2017 issue.

inside

LADY CYCLISTS HIT THE ROADS AND SLOPES OF CEBU.

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

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People

#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.

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Fashion

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.

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