The story of Hervé Lampert and his wife Tess is a story of lives as intertwined as the DEDON story is to Cebu. Perhaps the love story of the dynamic couple, with Tess being the wife of the CEO, could arguably be the unseen force that makes DEDON and Cebu a successful match.
I first met Tess through my dear friend Jun Escario at a birthday lunch at Anzani’s. Without uttering a word, she reveals something extraordinary about herself with her soulful almond eyes. As I gazed into them that time, I already thought, “This lady is special,” and then hoped that we both could find the time for more than a mere chit-chat.
The next time I saw her was at the Red Cross Ball at Makati Shangri-La. She was wearing a beautiful gown created for her by her close friend Cary Santiago. With such a huge crowd and all the champagne served that evening, all we managed to talk about was the DEDON showcase in the Salone de Mobile that I attended last year in Milan. It was a short conversation before we said our pleasant goodbyes.
Then, at Zee Lifestyle’s Black and Bling party at the Rizal Library, I saw Tess again and this time with her dashing husband Hervé. I couldn’t help admire how beautifully in sync they were on the dance floor. They were like yin and yang as they swayed their bodies in harmony to whatever genre of music was playing— from the 70s disco, to tango and mambo.
“We met in Mi Vida, a dance club in Cebu, more than a decade ago,” Hervé recalls with a smile. The unexpected meeting led to another evening of music and dance.
“I did not waste anytime,” remembers Tess with laughter. “I invited him to celebrate my birthday with me in an intimate dinner.” Apparently, the moment they first hit the dance floor, they never stopped dancing—eventually to the rhythm of life as they became man and wife. Finding each other in Cebu was the beginning of living in paradise for both Hervé and Tess.
Hervé Lampert grew up on a farm in France. Even at an early age, he dreamt of running a business his own way. He worked shortly in the Marketing Division of an American company in Paris whilst still finishing his business degree from the Graduate School for International Business Administration in Strasbourg. In 1997 he met Bobby Dekeyser, the founding chairman of DEDON and moved to Lüneburg, Germany to help build the company.
In 2000, at the age of 24, he made a big leap into unknown territory and moved to Cebu, to set up DEDON’s manufacturing facility, which would address the recurring problems with quality in the company.
Hervé confesses, “It was the hardest in the beginning because of the trust we gave to this couple who was supposedly our partner in building the company but who failed us in more ways than one.” Nonetheless, he looks back with pride at how challenges became opportunities for him to move on and succeed. His secret in life, he says, is “living with passion and inspiration.”
Starting with seven employees, Hervé saw the growth of DEDON Cebu within a span of 8 years, providing fair and gainful employment to 3,600 employees in a part of the world where such ethical practice is an exception rather than the rule. He is the force behind DEDON’s commitment to their employees and their social responsibility. But for the record, DEDON is not comfortable with the term ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ or CSR.
‘’For one thing, we don’t think of ourselves as particularly corporate,” Hervé says. “‘Corporate social responsibility’ can sound like a PR obligation—something a company does because it’s expected to—whereas at DEDON, positive social action is an everyday expression of our culture.
“There are certain values, such as respecting others, that we hold in our own lives,” he explains, “so why shouldn’t they be the foundation of the organization as well? When you look, for example, at the work people do here in Cebu—the time they spend, the processes involved, the beauty they create—you have to respect it by allowing them to share in the success of the organization.” For Hervé this means not merely complying with local labor standards but, as with everything they do, setting their own standards and continually raising them.
“We’re not in Southeast Asia because it’s cheaper, but because of the competency and skills here, weaving in particular. So for us, it’s natural to show people that we care about them, the same as we do care about our partners everywhere. The respect is real. We’re all part of the same team.”
Hervé’s ultimate commitment nevertheless is to his family. It is the same respect that he accords his team in DEDON that he extends to his partner in life, his wife Tess.
Tess, a true-blue Cebuana, grew up with her lola when her parents separated early on. She recalls her childhood with nostalgia: “My journey in life is very colorful. I’m a lola’s girl. I grew up in a simple life with her but very conservative and religious.’’
She admits that as she was growing up, life was never easy, but then she also never saw her cup as half empty nor half full; instead, to her, it was always more than enough.
“I never complained,” she says. “I accept things as they are and do my best to make things better.’’ It is this positive outlook in life that makes Tess extraordinary.
“It was a dark period in my life when I met Hervé. I was just healing from a previous relationship that had scarred my inner core.’’ The most colorful part of her past had made her the woman that she is today—confident, certain, committed, and passionate.
But what I find most fascinating and inspiring is how Tess talks honestly about her life lessons and how, despite all the moments that she was down and broken, she was able to keep her heart whole.
Though she never pursued her career as a nurse, so she can be there for her family, she feels that being a mother is her most important role to date. Hervé and Tess have two beautiful girls, Veia who is six, and Maori who is four. The Lamperts are a typical family; Hervé is the doting father who insists that the girls clean up after their toys, while Tess enjoys dressing them up. With a mixed background, conversations in the family slide effortlessly from English to French and Visayan, and meals are a hodgepodge of croissants, pasta, and bangus with rice. The girls’ nanny, Dorothia Galolo, has been employed by Hervé since he was a bachelor and she is a valuable member of the family already. Tess, however, is in her element at the kitchen where she can whip up French and Filipino dishes befitting even, the French ambassador.
Quite the multi-tasker, Tess continues to pursue her other passions as she fully embraces the roles of being a mother and a wife. Currently, she is wrapping up two special projects that she also considers her two babies. One has required her creative instincts in transforming an old house that they purchased four years ago into a French country home. Her constant travels to France, Hervé’s first home, have exposed her to the authentic colors and textures of the homes outside of Paris.
When the tenants vacated a property that they own in Maria Luisa, Tess immediately got the idea of doing a total makeover, not just with the structure of the house but also its interiors, furniture and fixtures included. The result is an elegant French country home with gray walls with white detailing.
Tess proudly shares her feat. “I am very happy with this project. I poured into it blood and sweat looking at every single detail till the entire process of renovation finally paid off. Now I can’t wait to bring in the furniture to finally complete the transformation.”
The other “baby” of Tess is something even more special—the most anticipated DEDON Island Resort in Siargao island in Mindanao. January and February had been the most intense for the Lamperts preparing for this.
“Dedon will offer its services as bespoke travel—from limo service at your city of origin, to a stopover in Cebu where we have chosen abaca as our partner, or in Manila, whatever the guest prefers,” Hervé points out.
Indeed, the site’s remoteness makes it a truly private island. Although the local government has taken notice and has built a sparkling new airport there, and a local airline might increase its number of flights as well, the resort will still operate in the strictest sense of exclusivity, dictated mainly by a price range that makes it prohibitive except to a few who can splurge its four-figure euro daily rate. The island houses nine private villas, which can accommodate 24 guests at a time.
Taking the Friday shuttle to Siargao almost weekly, it has been Tess’s job to usher a team of French architects and designers ever since the resort was acquired from its previous owner, Nicholas Rambeau. Tess, who speaks the local dialect, was tasked with the Herculean job of polishing the existing structure, as well as augmenting it with four new villas, into DEDON luxe. It involves the entire DEDON team to actualize this project, including Hervé’s brother Vince Lampert, who is responsible for creating all the special DEDON product exclusive only to the resort and who also serves as the Managing Director of DEDON. Tess is only more than happy to get her creative hands into the project. She has also taken time to travel from Cebu to different parts of the country in order to discover artisan products that she can integrate into the lifestyle of the resort. We are not just talking about furniture here.
When the company pursued the philosophy behind the name which goes beyond the indoor and outdoor furniture that they are known for, a bigger idea came to life—DEDON Places.
“DEDON Places is a budding collection of one-of-a-kind accommodations around the world,” DEDON founding chairman Bobby Dekeyser says, “each with its own outdoor orientation, from a ski chalet to an island hideaway, an African wilderness lodge, a tree house, an igloo, a boat or a city harbor hotel.
“In many ways, these accommodations are a reflection our company’s nomadic spirit,” he explains. “Because we’re always on the move, meeting up with partners, team members, and friends in so many different parts of the world, we’re always discovering incredible places. Now we want to let others know about them and share the experience, too.” And the first to open in this direction will be DEDON Island Resort on Siargao Island in the Philippines.
“Remote and exotic, with clear blue waters and lush tropical flora, it’s a destination we’ve been visiting for a decade,” Bobby Dekeyser says. “Having acquired it earlier this year, a group of 30 of us, including the celebrated designer and DEDON collaborator Jean-Marie Massaud, his architectural partner Daniel Pouzet, and their families, spent 14 days living on the island. Based on our shared experience there, Jean-Marie and Daniel are adapting the property to match the vision of DEDON Places.” Massaud is known for his contemporary minimalistic and at times futuristic furniture such as the Aspen Sofa from Casinna and the Kennedee Modular Sofa which he design for Poltrona Frau. Together, they designed the architecture behind the Chivas Stadium in Guadalajara, Mexico. Both are currently the in-house designers of Dedon.
And this is where the journey of Tess to paradise continues. ‘’I have made Siargao my second home,” she says, “ever since we started developing the DEDON Island Resort. After the French architect Jean-Marie Massaud and his partner Daniel Pouzet worked on the amazing architectural design of the entire resort, it is now all in my hands to complete the picture. From the purchasing of every minute detail to personally hiring and training the staff and immersing our foreign staff into the local culture, my heart and soul are involved.’’
More importantly, she has helped increase the environmental awareness of both the locals and the resort management—to ensure their commitment to creating and preserving an ecological consciousness that would be a way of life not just in the resort but in the rest of the island as well. After all, in her very words, ‘’Siargao is more than a surfing capital of the country. It is paradise!’’
Eight Years of Redefining Hospitality Service
by Allain Dumon Fonte
The person behind the very successful chain of Bayfront Hotel Cebu is the youngest son of entrepreneur couple, Edgar and Gregoria Cokaliong. I first met Charlton as a young and dashing gentleman busily working in their textile business. I am impressed with how he excellently juggled taking care of orders, organizing shipments, arranging deliveries, accounting, and even managing the staff of their textile company. Charlton is an alumnus of Cebu Eastern College where he finished his primary and secondary education. He then went to the University of San Carlos and studied accountancy. He successfully passed the accounting licensure examinations, and worked as a certified public accountant while helping in the family’s textile business; who would have thought that he would venture into hospitality.
In 2014, he first opened Bayfront Hotel Cebu at the North Reclamation Area. I even wondered why of all the places that he can start a hotel, he had to choose the North Reclamation Area. I find the location appalling for a hotel. What view will the guests see? I would not want to stay in a room where the views are cranes, machines, and container vans from the sea port. Yet, Charlton foresaw the future of hospitality service. He knew that with the recent developments of Cebu City, people will prefer to stay in hotels that are near to the city, and have access to almost everything they need. The hotel is right across SM City Cebu, 10 minutes from the sea ports, 30 minutes from the airport, and 15 minutes to almost all the tourist destinations in the city and in the hills of Cebu. Then, he made the hotel packages and event packages reasonably priced; yet, with a 5-star quality of service. I even questioned, are you not losing for the prices that you have set? However, since the hotel opened and up to the present, Bayfront Hotel Cebu has always been fully booked and is becoming the primary choice of venue for events and celebrations. Charlton explained that he foresaw that with the rising economy and the rising population of the metropolitan, people will always prefer to celebrate special occasions; yet, considering the inflation every year, people will also choose to become more practical by spending less without compromising quality. And this is what Bayfront Hotel Cebu delivers, an experience of excellent hospitality service at a price that no other can match.
Because of the continuous demand for their hotel rooms and venues, Charlton opened another Bayfront Hotel Cebu in September 2021. This time the location is at the heart of the uptown of Cebu in the Capitol Site. Again, Charlton banked on the great location of the second Bayfront hotel. I once again questioned him on this; considering the competition in the area because of the many up and coming business hotels that offer the same rates and packages. Charlton smiled and confidently said that apart from the great location, he also banks on the quality of service that his staff can deliver. “If you take care of your staff very well, your staff will take good care of your customers”. I have seen first hand how Charlton handles and manages his staff at their textile store, so I know how he also handles and takes good care of his staff in the hotel. And I realized that this is his biggest selling point, the hotel’s incomparable service and friendliness. Even though the hotel opened in the middle of pandemic restrictions, the new hotel is getting countless reservations; most especially that the Capitol Site Bayfront Hotel offers an amazing view of the city skyline at its roofdeck bar and pool area. The gym , pool , and bar amenities at the hotel’s roof deck with its view are a must to be experienced.
Early of 2022, Charlton also opened the hotel’s in-house dining feature. For seven years, Bayfront Hotel Cebu was catered by a third party food concessionaire. But, again, Charlton foresees that the Filipino market will be more critical to food and taste. I asked, why is this? Charlton explained that with travel becoming more affordable and accessible, people will get to experience different kinds of food and dine in different restaurants. Hence, people will now learn to benchmark, not only from local restaurants, but also from their dining experiences around the Philippines and overseas. Therefore, Bayfront Hotel Cebu needs to step up its game in dining. With the opening of Caja Kitchen, Bayfront Hotel offers more selections of Asian and Filipino comfort food fusion with international cuisines. With Caja Kitchen, Charlton turned a Filipino menu into an international dining experience. I asked him how he came up with all these. Charlton explained that dedication to make his guests happy and satisfied is the key motivation why he does not stop thinking about innovating and reinventing everyone’s hospitality and dining experience.
In September of this year, the Bayfront Hotel Cebu in North Reclamation Area is officially celebrating its 8th year of wonderful and excellent hospitality service; while the Bayfront Hotel Cebu in Capitol turns 1! Great and exciting anniversary promotions and packages await its patrons and guests! Please visit the social media pages of Bayfront Hotel Cebu to know the amazing anniversary deals!
With my last question, what does he have in mind now. Charlton just smiled and said, “Well, who knows? Another Bayfront Hotel Cebu shall rise soon!”. After this interesting conversation, I can say that Charlton is truly a man who can foresee the future; may it be in business, in the market, with the trends, and with new experiences.
Congratulations to Our New DOT Secretary! The Story of Cebu’s Power Couple
Congratulations to Our New DOT Secretary!
The Story of Cebu’s New Power Couple
Whether it’s spearheading progressive efforts in Liloan or spending weekends with their kids, Christina and Duke Frasco do things as a team. On their ninth year as a wedded couple, they share a side of themselves we haven’t seen before.
Republished from Zee’s Digital Issue dated January 2018
by Gia Mayola photography Dan Douglas Ong sittings editor Shari Quimbo hair and makeup Arnauld stylist Vanessa East
Despite it being a day for family, Christina and Duke Frasco gamely accepted our Sunday-scheduled photo shoot. Not that they had any choice, considering that most days found their schedules fully packed.
The dynamic couple is hard to pin down for a reason. Christina is the mayor of Liloan, a first-class municipality in Cebu. On the other hand, Duke was appointed Cebu Port Authority Commissioner by President Rodrigo Duterte just last year, willingly giving up his position as Liloan’s vice-mayor alongside his wife. While they have a lot on their plate because of work, having three young children is an added responsibility.
Driven by her administration’s goals for sustainable and inclusive development, Christina has introduced various innovations to public leadership, focusing on stakeholder participation in community governance and equitable access to government service.
She established the Liloan Community Action for Reforestation and Environmental Sustainability (LILOAN CARES), which brings community stakeholders together to periodically engage in environment programs. She also put up a Green Points System, which grants incentives to businesses that implement environment-friendly measures. Additionally, she has introduced an engaging approach to recycling in schools, and prohibits the use of plastics on certain days of the week. She has also founded Operation Second Chance providing rehabilitation and livelihood to drug surrenderees, and the Liloan Leading Empowered Action Against Drugs Summit (LILOAN LEADS), among many others.
On his end, Duke is a dynamic and engaging leader who thrives under pressure and focuses on realizing long-term goals and sustainable development. His governance has garnered him multiple awards—The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines Award 2014 for Public Administration, from the Junior Chamber International (JCI), Inc. and the Gerry Roxas Foundation.
With his first two terms as mayor, Liloan elevated from a third-class municipality to a first-class one. He boldly spearheaded a comprehensive overhaul of the municipal tax code, and the modernization of local business processes.
THE LOVE OF LILOAN
Goal-driven and full of ideals, the couple has helped develop Liloan into what it is today. The municipality is one of the most progressive in Cebu, even establishing the Liloan Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Federation during Christina’s term, the first in the country spearheaded by a local government unit. Liloan prides itself in having the first LGU-established gender-neutral public restroom in the country.
“Our dream is to become a city,” Christina divulges. She envisions Liloan as an ideal place to live, study, work and invest. “In preparation for that, we are focusing on improving public infrastructure, opening up and improving road networks, and ensuring strict compliance with our Zoning Ordinance and Comprehensive Land Use Plans to ensure that development is regulated, deliberate and sustainable.”
This year, Liloan is launching tour packages that will feature its cottage industries and various tourist sites. Health services are being professionalized, scholarship programs expanded, and more investments channeled into its law enforcement and disaster response programs.
“We are also enhancing our community governance programs focused on protecting the environment, providing economic opportunities through livelihood, and reaching out to all sectors and stakeholders by incentivizing participation and compliance with our laws and regulations,” Christina adds.
Duke shares that every now and then, he offers input to his wife. “I advice Christina on various matters, especially regarding the projects started during my term, such as our scholarship program and purok system,” he says. “Being the party chairman of our local political party, I am also in continued contact with our local leaders.”
THE PORT AUTHORITY
Beyond Liloan, Duke is enjoying his new position. “Since the thrust of the Cebu Port Authority spans the entire Province of Cebu, I am grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to improving the transport of people and goods throughout Cebu, through the continued improvement of existing ports and establishment of new ports.”
New ports, such as the plans of moving the Cebu International Port north, off the coasts of Consolacion and Liloan to decongest the city.
“A port is always a welcome development considering it will further boost the economy of Liloan and Consolacion, and the entire Northern Cebu,” Duke says. “It provides livelihood opportunities for our people, which are relevant factors for cityhood. Moreover, the more ports, international or domestic, that we develop here, the better it will be for the people of Cebu.”
The addition of more ports will complement the project he has been working on the past year, the ferry boat system. He laments the terrible traffic that Cebuanos experience each day, comparing the travel time it takes from Liloan to Cebu City ten years ago and now. The ferry boat system includes developing ports in strategic locations in the Province of Cebu, connecting ferries or boats that can accommodate 80 to 200 people per boat. That includes room for motorcycles and possibly vehicles.
Duke expects this to be a game changer for the Cebuano. “Hopefully, it will relieve us of the stress and frustration we experience each day going through Cebu traffic,” he says. “I can just imagine our fellow Cebuanos feeling relaxed on a boat, feeling the sun and sea breeze on their faces, as opposed to the honking of horns and uneasiness of sitting in a PUJ or in your vehicles, not knowing whether they will arrive on time at their destination.”
Aside from his work with the Cebu Port Authority, Duke is also involved with his family’s business Titay’s as the Chief Financial Officer, and as a member of the Board of Directors.
A GREAT PAIR
It’s evident that the two make a great pair. They met back in June 2007 at Gwendolyn Garcia’s—Christina’s mother—inauguration as the re-elected Governor of Cebu. Duke was among the officials invited to attend, having just been elected into his first term as the Mayor of Liloan. Christina had just recently passed the bar exams and became a lawyer.
“I suppose you could say that we met at a time when both of us were at a turning point in our lives,” Christina recalls. “It is a blessing that our paths crossed at a time that it did. I was taken by Duke’s charisma. To me, he exuded kindness and humility. Of course, bonus sad gyud na guapo kaayo siya (it’s a bonus that he’s so handsome)!”
“I thought she was beautiful, elegant and well-spoken,” Duke adds. “When we were introduced, I was speechless!”
They’re naturals in front of the camera, effortlessly settling into the poses the photographer asks them to do. At one point, they’re locked in an intimate embrace and looking into each others’ eyes. Duke sweeps in for a kiss that makes everyone in the studio coo.
“I couldn’t help it,” Duke defends himself with a laugh, holding Christina closer as she giggles.
“He can’t resist me,” she tells us with raised eyebrows.
The couple comes from political families, and it’s interesting to note that neither of the two had initial plans of running
for office. Duke was in the audit and finance industry in the US, working for global consulting firm Protiviti right after finishing his double degree in Business Administration (Finance and Business Law) and Accounting at the Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
“I had no plans at all,” Duke admits. “My father, who had been Mayor then Vice-Mayor, died unexpectedly. The barangay captains of Liloan contacted me because the wanted to have me run for the position. It took me a couple of years before I finally decided to come home and run for Mayor in 2006.”
On Christina’s end, she had spent nearly ten years focused on building her career as a lawyer. After graduating from Ateneo Law, she practiced litigation, international arbitration and corporate law with one of the top-tier law firms in the Philippines, Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & Delos Angeles, being the head of its Cebu office.
“I knew that I wanted to make something of myself out of my own achievements, outside of and away from politics,” Christina shares. “I must say though that being exposed to public service at a young age led me to an inclination to help others. I always felt a sense of duty to my country, because that’s what I saw in my family as I was growing up.”
Despite initially having no plans to follow in their family’s political path, they both express a deep appreciation and admiration for their respective families’ contributions to Cebu. “He was Mayor of Liloan for close to a decade, but served Liloan all his life,” Duke says about his father, the late Panphil B. Frasco or Dodong Daku. “He was a man of the people, and Liloanons still speak of his kindness and humility to this day. I also greatly admire my uncle Gerardo ‘Dodong Gamay’ Frasco, for his pragmatism and wisdom, which has guided our family to carrying on the Titay’s legacy spanning 111 years.”
“For me, they have set the bar to which I would like to contribute to Cebu as a Cebuano,” Christina says of her own family. “For his statesmanship and brilliant legal mind, my grandfather, former Governor and Deputy Speaker Pablo P. Garcia. For her passion towards community development and social justice, my grandmother, the late Judge and Cebu CFI Community Cooperative founder Esperanza F. Garcia. For her great love for Cebu and legendary work ethic, my mom, former Governor Gwen F. Garcia.”
As two young personalities in government, they hope to be able to empower people through education. For ten years now since Duke’s first term and continuing though Christina’s current term, they have a scholarship program that has benefitted over 6,000 students.
They believe that an educated population is an empowered population, capable of becoming financially independent and discerning in their choices. “For us, this is key to breaking out of the bonds of poverty and patronage,” Christina affirms.
The Frascos hope to introduce innovations to governance, like reducing redundancies and bureaucracy through the use of technology, and being more connected and transparent through the use of social media. They also support the call for Federalism, believing that it will give local governments more leeway and funding in improving local infrastructure and creating more locally-relevant projects for the people.
Considering that standpoint, it’s no surprise how vocal the couple has been in their support for the controversial President Rodrigo Duterte. “President Duterte has political will, and he is a law and order President,” they say. “We believe that his extensive executive experience sets him apart as a leader because he knows the value of enforcing the law in order to have a stable society. At the same time, he recognizes the necessity of governing in a manner that is compassionate and responsive to the needs of the people.”
In the face of many conflicting views toward the President’s brand of leadership, both Duke and Christina acknowledge that opposition is necessary for a working democracy, but hope that Filipinos can come together and support his national agenda of building a stable and peaceful society. “We owe it to our country to set aside what divides us, and to unite behind our common goal of attaining a better life for our countrymen and for our children.”
Aside from their daily responsibilities, the couple also fosters their own advocacies. With education being high on Duke’s list of priorities, Christina also extends efforts for the empowerment of women and children. “The promotion of inclusive development as well—giving equitable opportunities to vulnerable sectors such as the LGBT and the youth,” she adds.
Being in the government means a lot of responsibility for the couple, and a typical day for them is being up 6:00 in the morning to have breakfast with their children before school, then going to their respective offices for work.
For Duke, work is either at the Cebu Port Authority to attend board meetings, or at their Frasco Group Office to attend to business matters. He also attends to pressing concerns in Liloan if need be, which shows how he is still dedicated to it even if he is no longer its Vice-Mayor.
Christina is either at the Municipal Hall to sign papers, attend meetings and meet constituents at the office, or scheduling visits to Liloan’s barangays and puroks.
To keep from getting too stressed or burnt out, Duke says, “I go to the gym and I run. I also like to Netflix and chill.”
Christina, on the other hand, makes time to paint and experiment with new dishes for Duke and their kids. She mentions that, if their schedules permit, they try to devote their weekends to their kids—watching movies, eating out, and traveling. “When Duke and I get home, we also make a conscious decision not to talk about work,” she finishes.
A COUPLE AT WORK
While some people might find the idea of a married couple working together as a possible hindrance to getting things done, the Frascos think otherwise. To them, it is an advantage because their vision and values are aligned. “We are able to enjoy our victories together, and we’re able to lift each other up in tough times, knowing that we will have each other’s back,” they share.
Duke and Christina are celebrating their ninth wedding anniversary this year, and it’s no question that the romance is still very much alive between them. They share that their marriage is anchored on their love for each other, their love for their family, and their shared goals for the future.
At the same time, they emphasize that retaining a sense of individuality is also important, along with having a healthy respect for each other’s differences. Compromise is key, and they constantly make sure to keep their values and goals in check, adjusting each other’s expectations as necessary and working out their differences.
Considering all that Duke and Christina have accomplished at a young age, we had to ask if they had plans of running for higher office. “We have great plans for the future, not just for ourselves, but also for our family and for Liloan,” they said. “As Cebuanos, we would like to continue to contribute to the development of Cebu. However, we also realize that ultimately, it is for the people to decide whether they would want us to continue to serve. As for the rest, it is in God’s hands. So we are focused on doing as much as we can in the here and now, with the opportunities that we have been given, for which we feel very blessed.”
Citizens of the World: CAMPAIGN 2KRAINE
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
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.
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!
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.
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.”
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