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A Journey to Paradise

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.

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!’’

People

Cebu’s Young Professionals Share Fond Memories with Their Dads

WANTED: WORLD’S GREATEST ‘FRIENEMY’

by Allain Dumon Fonte

Each person has a unique relationship with their father.  Fathers become the world’s greatest ‘frienemy’ because they are usually strict and uptight while we are growing up; and as we mature, they become our coach, our drinking buddy, our conspirator against mom, and sometimes, our dads become our wingman.  For many of the generation XYZ and early millennials, bonding a strong relationship with their fathers can be challenging because their dads are the typical breadwinners who are always away for work, business trips, and office meetings.  However, these young professionals appreciate very much the tireless and selfless efforts of their fathers to provide more than what the family needs.  

In 2006, Jeffrey Rosenberg and Bradford Wilcox of the United States Health and Human Services for Children published a research about the importance of direct father-involvement in the mental health of children.  According to Rosenberg and Wilcox, “children who grow up with involved fathers are: 39% more likely to earn mostly A’s in school, 45% less likely to repeat a grade, 60% less likely to be suspended or expelled from school, twice as likely to go to college and find stable employment after high school, 75% less likely to have a teen birth, and 80% less likely to spend time in jail.”  

Yet, these group of Cebuano millennials and young professionals will prove this research otherwise as their share their fond memories and unforgettable moments with their dads.  Some of them lost their fathers at a young age while others developed closed relationships with their fathers after their dads retire from work.  But no matter how short or how rare they spend their time with their dads, these young leaders attribute their success and are incredibly grateful to their fathers for molding them who and what they are now.

Atty. Elaine Mae Bathan

Atty. Elaine Mae Bathan (Professor of International Human Rights Law and Assistant Dean, School of Law, University of San Jose-Recoletos)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: I am the youngest of 5 siblings with significant age gaps. I grew up with daddy being away for work, but he gave up his promising career in broadcast media in Davao to bring our family safely back to Cebu during the martial law. He also gave up his position in Manila to spend time with us. His greatest gift to us was his devotion to our family and always putting us first before himself. He strived to provide for our family, and we continue to enjoy the fruits of what he labored. To this day, we value family above all things and continue to live the legacy he left behind. 

I have been fortunate that even when Daddy was sick, he lived long enough to see me become a lawyer and continue his passion in broadcast media through my radio program. To this day, I feel a part of him in me every time I go on board or when I am asked to speak in front of an audience. Each time I take the stage, I make sure I give my best knowing that Daddy is comfortably watching over me in heaven. All that I do and all that I will be will always be in memory and honor of the man worth my tears but has never made me cry, my dad.

Drew Weigel Sarmiento with his dad, Congressman Edgar Sarmiento

Drew Weigel Sarmiento (International Disc Jockey, Fitness and Wellness Blogger, Entrepreneur)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: The most recent unforgettable moment with my dad is when he was first elected and formally proclaimed as the Representative of the First District of Samar. I remember how before his hand was raised, he approached the image of Our Lady of Fatima, prayed first silently and alone in the Provincial Comelec office which brought the entire room to silence. That to me was unforgettable because it showed his deep faith and character. That moment showed how important his faith is and that his public service is centered of being God fearing and sincere service to others.

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: My siblings and I got him his favourite libation. I personally got him sportswear since he is a fitness fanatic.

Lianne Sala’s Family: (from right to left) Nito (Dad), Josie (mom), Ivan (Brother), Pilar (sister) and Lianne

Lianne Sala (Musician, Artist, and Founder of Sistemang Filipino Incorporated)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: Hiking up a mountain with him and some educators when I was about 11. But also, the few moments we get to discuss faith or culture. 

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: We shall celebrate Father’s Day with his favorite dishes, and gift him with a mix of printed literature.

Jeric with Dad Richard Cervantes, and mom Jennifer Aznar Cervantes

Jeric Anjo Aznar Cervantes (Singer, Musician, and Jet Ski Racer)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: my most unforgettable moment with my dad was when we went camping in Kalanggaman Island in Leyte.  We traveled by boat and jet skis and camped there.  It was one of the best experiences.  We did not need cellphones or other distractions, just some good old-fashioned camping with the family.  My father has always taught us to be nature lovers, and indeed he has influenced us to be explorers of nature!

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: My dad is not really into receiving gifts since he is mostly the one giving gifts to people.  But, if there is one thing that I can give to my dad on Father’s Day, it would not be anything material.  I am giving my dad a letter to thank him for being the best dad in the world, and for teaching me and my siblings to value and love nature and this world we are living in.  I believe that it is the best gift.

Dr. Vida Redulla-Manapsal with her dad, Dr. Vidal Redulla

Dr. Vida Redulla-Manapsal (Medical Doctor)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: My dad, having 4 daughters, used to let us play “beauty parlor” while he took a nap. We would color his nails with crayons, put clips in his hair, etc. One time, in the middle of his nap, he got called to the hospital for an emergency. He took out the clips and went out. He could not understand why the resident doctors with him kept snickering. Turns out he had forgotten that each of his nails was a different Crayola shade. He did not get upset at all but rather he just laughed his head off. He still talks about it now.

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: I unfortunately was not able to buy a gift for my dad, so I am giving him the gift of time by paying him a visit. I am so glad it is now safer to do so since I and my parents are fully vaccinated already.

Atty. Wilbert Dumon with his dad, Former Provincial Board Member, Hon. Victor Dumon

Atty. Wilbert Dumon (Senior Partner for Dumon, Dumon-Fernandez, and Associates Law Firm)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: When he rushed me to the hospital when I was 6 years old after I had an accident at my grandfather’s ancestral home. I can still remember him carrying me in his arms.

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: I will give him all my love and attention as he is getting older together with my mom.

Bee Urgello

Bee Urgello (Supermodel, Fashion Blogger, and Financial Advisor)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: My most unforgettable moment with my dad was when he finally accepted me as a trans woman. I will always be thankful for that gift of love. No gift or moment can ever surpass that for me. 

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: It is always a struggle to find gifts for my dad every occasion. What can you get someone who can buy anything he wants? I cannot afford to buy vintage cars or aircrafts (hahaha).  The best gift I can probably give him aside from lunch or dinner are quality time and being an obedient and loving daughter.

Rowell Ucat visiting his dad

Rowell Ucat a.k.a. Medyo Maldito (Social Media Influencer, Songwriter)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: I remember the day when my Papa taught me how to ride a bicycle; at that time, he was my hero. He also taught me to appreciate the adventures in life. 

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: Father’s Day this year is also my Papa’s 16th death anniversary.  I am thinking a lot about him and reflecting on some of the memories we shared while I was growing up.  Since he is no longer with us, I will celebrate Father’s Day with my mama (who also stood as my papa) and by giving mama an iPad so she can watch more of our videos in a bigger screen. Happy Father’s Day in heaven, Papa!

Meme Dakay and her dad Mr. Benson Dakay

Mary Ann Rose “Meme” Dakay (Jewelry Designer, and Vice President-Operations and Creative Director at Shemberg, and Chief operating officer and New business Development at Shemberg marketing corporation)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: My most unforgettable moment with my dad would be when we flew to Paris together and explored the city! It was my first time there; I was 14 years old. He made me try a lot of his favorite food in the city.  It was definitely a father-daughter bonding trip!

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: A tribute about him on what an amazing father he is!

Rayland Duarte

Rayland Duarte (Proprietor and Managing Director of Sushi Mashita Co.)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: Most memorable moment was probably the phone call that I had with him. I was dead frustrated about my work, and I felt that I was not in the right place.  He told me to quit my job and its okay. You belong wherever you are happy and where you can utilize the talents you have. Money will always be money. Time is more precious my son.

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: Since he is staying in Manila, and I am in Cebu. I asked my friend to arrange a food delivery service to give him a Father’s Day surprise.

Atty.  Georgia May Herrera-Klepp

Atty.  Georgia May Herrera-Klepp (Television NEWS Anchor, Notary Public, and Partner at BOHR-SC attorneys at law)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: My dad used to travel a lot and he would make it a point to travel with just a hand carried bag. He hated waiting for his luggage at the airport. When I was pregnant with my first child and the first grandchild child in the family, Aidan, my dad was still in the U.S. for a long vacation trip.  He came home surprising Andy and I with boxes of gifts for Aidan. He hand-carried a sheep rocking chair because he already exceeded weight allowance from all the stuff he got for his first ‘Apo’. He even brought home a highchair that he said should be left in his house for Aidan to use when he comes to visit.   My dad is not big on words or display of affection, So I think that was the sweetest my dad has ever done.

Georgia Herrera’s father, Former Vice Governor of Bohol, Atty. Julius Ceasar Herrera with her husband, Andy Dumon-Klepp

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: There is nothing materially I can give that he does not have already.  He knows how loved and grateful I am for everything he has done for the family. The best gift that I give him every day and forever is my service to him.  Sounds weird but YES to always be sure to help him and to do what he asked of me. To take care of him and my mom just like they did when I was growing up.

Doyzkie with his siblings and his dad, Jose Buenaviaje

Doyzkie Buenaviaje (Blogger at Tasty Cebu PH, Marketing Communications Manager at Clover Creatives PR & Events and Owner/Blogger at Doyzkie Buenaviaje)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: When we were kids, my dad brings us everywhere! And when we were growing and studying, we were not able to travel as much. Just a few years back, my dad and I started a tradition to travel somewhere for his birthday, which falls really close on Father’s Day. The trip on 2019 before the pandemic happened to be the most unforgettable because we did a tri-country backpacking for 15 days, and I love how he enjoyed the experience. My dad is friendly, and he easily got along with my local friends on my favorite cities I have been. When we got back from the trip, he had so many stories to tell his grandchildren.

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: I got my dad a comfy sneakers to use for the upcoming adventures we shall be going when it’s safe to travel again.

Lakambini Chiu with dad and sister Kim Chiu

Lakambini Chiu (Managing Director at Julie’s Bakeshop and Managing Director at Potato Corner US)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: Unforgettable moment is when he give us the opportunity to live in this beautiful World that God has created. 

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: I will give Him back the opportunity to be grateful and thankful for what we have, and what we are now. And that is what you call TIME…

Chef Gerard Apurado presenting his famous FATHER’s EGGS pastry that is only available at the Plantation Bay’s Bakeshop by the Beach

Chef Gerard Apurado (Pastry Chef at Plantation Bay’s Bakeshop by the Beach)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: My father would always invite me to spend time with him over a bottle of beer—It is safe to say that  most of my wisdom came from my father, he has always been a streetwise (I’m sorry mom!) and probably the most unforgettable moment I had with him is our conversation right after graduation, and I can still remember his words, “as you embark in this new phase in your life, and when you found a job, I would appreciate if you don’t give me money, spend your money for yourself and your experiences for I am still well and able to finance myself, it’s never your responsibility to raise me”. Those words struck me.

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: I would not give any material things, when travel eases, I will visit home and spend more time with him over a bottle of beer again. I have always missed having those conversations with him. Time well spent and substantial conversations with an important person in our lives is something all of us long for.

Kris Janson with her dad

Kris Tiffany Janson (Former Financial Analyst for San Miguel Yamamura Packaging Corp., Beauty Queen, Ramp and Print Model)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: I have so many fond memories of my Papa and I cannot easily pick but what comes to mind was when I joined my first pageant because he went all out in supporting me. Back then social media was not the top priority when you would think about promoting or advertising a product or the candidate you support. He printed out photos of me to show to his workmates and to ask for support.

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: I will send him prayers like I do every night. I know he is in a better place, and I hope that he is proud of me and the woman that I have become.

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People

EXCLUSIVE: Never Been Released Behind-the-Scenes photos of Zee Lifestyle’s Emerald Issue Cover Shoot

Photographer Jan Gonzales, Margie Lhuillier, June Alegrado, Kryz Uy, Mia Arcenas, Amparito Lhuillier and Alice Woolbright

We celebrate the strength and resilience of womanhood in this year’s Mother’s Day by looking back at these never been seen before behind-the-scenes shots of  Zee Lifestyle Magazine’s Emerald (20th Anniversary) Issue cover shoot featuring the “Leading Women” of Cebu.

***

LEADING WOMEN

To celebrate the 20 beautiful years of Zee Lifestyle as the ultimate source of lifestyle news in Cebu, we handpicked 12 strong and stylish women of Cebu from every age group. These women show us that independently building one’s strength of character and living one’s passion knows no age. From the beginning, Zee has always been empowering women, providing the Cebuanas a platform to express their beauty and confidence, share their passions, engage in economic and political participation which yields to viewing women with equality and respect that we deserve.

photography Jan Gonzales
creative director Melo Esguerra
art director Doro Barandino
sittings editor Shari Quimbo
beauty director Romero Vergara
makeup Arnauld, Janice Barillo and Nicko dela Peña
hair Jessie Egos and Jake Arias
fashion styling Clint Potestas
production assistants Patty Taboada and Katrina Labra
locale Marco Polo Plaza Hotel Cebu

Twelve women, two sets and one afternoon. That is how the Zee Lifestyle team decided to celebrate the title’s 20th anniversary issue—with a challenge that, in some ways, is one of our biggest productions yet.

The idea came along when publisher Eva Gullas and editor-at-large Melo Esguerra were discussing a cover story that would best represent the magazine’s history. From commissioning artistic depictions on Cebu to playing with the anniversary’s emerald theme, no idea had stuck until Melo suggested putting a series of women who had already been on the cover of Zee, again on the cover all together.

Oj Hofer and Margot Osmeña

Kryz Uy

Coming up with the list of names, of course, was no small feat. Our covers from the last 20 years have included several strong personalities—from philanthropists and politicians, to actors, and names to soon watch out for, our pages have seen them all. The challenge, then, was to come up with a list of women who had been driving forces in their respective fields when they had first appeared on the cover, and remain as powerful players even today.

Amparito Lhuillier, Kryz Uy, Alice Woolbright, Margot Osmeña and June Alegrado all wearing MIRANDA KONSTANTINIDOU

Photographer Jan Gonzales and creative director Melo Esguerra

With input from editors, both past and present, we rounded up 12 women from different age groups, fields and industries, who are all strong and passionate at whatever it is they do—Amparito Lhuillier, who remains the doyenne of Cebu society as a picture of elegance and class with her continuing efforts in business and social causes; the always-stylish Marguerite Lhuillier, herself an example of sophistication in all her efforts, whether business or otherwise; Margot Osmeña, who as a Cebu City Councilor has spearheaded many urban projects directed for the betterment of living in the city; hospitality mavens June Alegrado and Alice Woolbright, who are deeply involved in the rise of their brands, Bluewater properties and Beverly Hotel, respectively; Christina Garcia Frasco, the current Lilo-an Mayor advocating impressively progressive efforts in the area; former model Fiona King, now a major player in homegrown real estate with projects like Bloq Residences; the fitness enthusiast Danessa Onglatco who has espoused wellness with the opening of Yogahub; restaurateur Carla Yeung-McKowen who is behind the city’s hottest dining outlet, The Pig & Palm; designer Mia Arcenas, whose signature resort wear and accessories are representative of Cebu’s laid back lifestyle; Kym Maitland-Smith, who juggles efforts in swimsuit design through SOLTI Activewear and is building awareness for the vegan lifestyle; and Kryz Uy, whose online presence was a strong one even before fashion blogs were on anyone’s radar.

Kymberly Maitland-Smith

Makeup Artist Romero Vergara, June Alegrado and Hair Stylist Jessie Egos

An impressive bunch, for sure. These women properly embody the characteristics that Zee Lifestyle looks for in one who makes the cover—beauty, yes, but also elegance coupled with individuality, and always a strong drive to succeed in whatever efforts they are directed.

This, it turns out, was the fitting tribute to the years Zee has been Cebu’s premier lifestyle bible, as well as a sign of the things forthcoming. Our 12 cover stars may have been on our pages before, but if their current efforts are any indication, our pages will continue to see more of them in the future. And as continuing purveyors of what Cebu has to offer, Zee Lifestyle will happily be seeing them in the years to come.

FROM LEFT Marguerite wears CARY SANTIAGO; June wears PHILIP RODRIGUEZ; Mia wears MIA ARCENAS; Kryz wears ELIZABETH HALLIE; Amparito wears MONIQUE LHUILLIER; Alice wears PHILIP RODRIGUEZ; Fiona wears VANIA ROMOFF; Margot wears PHILIP RODRIGUEZ; Danessa wears OJ HOFER; Carla wears ALICE+OLIVIA; Christina wears DINO LLOREN

(This article had already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s December 2016 Emerald Issue, “Leading Women” on pages 140-155.)

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Culture

La Liga Henerales: Shaping History Awareness Back Again in Cebu

La Liga Henerales is a community of young talents passionately promotes historical awareness through periodic costumes carefully researched for its authenticity and accuracy and promoted as well in events and schools.

Only few individuals before were into pursuit in this historical awareness project until the age of communication where internet is convenient in the palm of our hands through our gadgets. New information travel fast and data is retrievable, yet also possess a disadvantage with the plethora of different social media platforms carried by various makers as well. In a daily basis, historical backgrounds are unearthed making its trend until now as new discoveries are released, but the idea of these information being shown and shared is as close as not valuing or commemorating to its sources leaving this information just a trend.

There is a certain community of Cebuanos that are taking a quest to rewrite and restructure what was in the past, filling the gaps in facts with further research of variable sources that are made debatable but sticks to it true cause, to unveil the truths of our heritage and our origins, as Cebuanos and as Filipinos as well.

La Liga Henerales is a Cebu-based, non-profit organization composed of a group of talented, committed and respectable individuals from different walks of life, schools and profession whose primary aim is to promote both, Cebuano and filipino culture and heritage that was depicted before in pre-colonial and colonial eras via re-enactment with costumes vested in proper research and investigation to achieve authenticity. They also push their cause on schools and other social gatherings promoting and spreading awareness about our local, and national heroes that we look up to. With these said, they also portray a closer look of the lifestyle of the past to where they perform stories, perform forgotten dances and rituals and portray their individual roles, vital in the fight of our country’s future during those challenging times, and in honor to spread awareness of the lost practices we had in those times.

The Founder

Combining passion and education. Louis Villaflor re-enacts his way patriotism through his periodical costumes and expresses his love for Cebu and Philippines as a culture-centric country.

Louis Kenneth Villaflor, an entrepreneur and an avid history enthusiast and costumer, founded the group on the purpose of re-educating the youth about real local and national history, he saw the opportunity to combine his favourite hobbies which is costuming and story role-playing and the process to instill the historical awareness and value among the youth and in schools, along with a group of fellow enthusiasts who shares his passion about research and history, they took it among themselves to be purposeful in the advocacy in spreading historical awareness in schools or events by wearing periodically correct costumes and sharing the stories and its value to the youth.

Behind the Garments

With the its senior expertise of fashion design and a teacher of the field, his passion also of history caters also in his designs as he pushes through sustainable fashion and historical awareness combined.

Meet Rodney “Pee-Wee” Senining, who has been in the fashion industry since the late 90’s, strives  in concepts of avant-garde, innovation and cutting edge-fashion forward design. And also a teacher of Architecture, Fine Arts and Design of University of San Carlos, he had grown into research of books like the holy grail in the Library Resource Center and is always fascinated of the periodical times and how to preserve it; Hence, his interest had grown for the affinity of Periodical Costumes and Sustainable Fashion.

 Being part of the group La Liga Henerales, he was tasked to instantly be their mentor for the young talents and as the organization is still new and developing with limited funds, resourcefulness and research were done to come up with a good output of photo shoot and was quite proud of it and still promise on the next editions of pieces to be more historically accurate. Even as teacher for Fashion Design in SAFAD, his expertise comes hand in hand with the members as he helps them do research as well. His passion and interest somehow led him with enough knowledge to key the insights of the significant periods and historical backgrounds of it.

Historical Awareness in Cebu

The strength and progress of a country is anchored on how well they know and honor its history. The means of historical awareness in Cebu is almost non-existent among the Cebuanos, although we push forward in tourism and promote beauty through sceneries and other aspects of culture yet never commemorate deeply on historical icons such as our other local heroes, and ancient cultures as well that is almost been forgotten in an urban Cebu. Nevertheless, as long as communities’ like La Liga Henerales are now evolving in a learning state by real discovery by multiple resources, this will always reflect of how we appreciate love, patriotism and honor to our country and would look forward to progress.

 

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