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Amanda Booth & Izzara Ugarte: Pair Play

Young and ready to take on the world, Amanda Booth and Izzara Ugarte fly off to separate cities yet remain rooted in a bond that is close to home. Zee Lifestyle catches up with them at Bluewater Maribago, where they’re stylish and sophisticated in designer dresses and SM Accessories‘ latest collection.

ON AMANDA: Black lace body con dress by JUN ESCARIO, multi-strand pearl necklace from SM ACCESSORIES / ON IZZARA: White tie-up blouse and maxi skirt by JUN ESCARIO, multi-strand chain necklace and silver rings from SM ACCESSORIES. (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle August-September 2015: Photography by Dan Douglas Ong)

ON AMANDA: Black lace body con dress by JUN ESCARIO, multi-strand pearl necklace from SM ACCESSORIES / ON IZZARA: White tie-up blouse and maxi skirt by JUN ESCARIO, multi-strand chain necklace and silver rings from SM ACCESSORIES. (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle August-September 2015: Photography by Dan Douglas Ong)

On the day I’m seeing Amanda Booth and Izzara Ugarte for a casual production meeting before the Fashion Issue’s cover shoot, the traffic on A.S. Fortuna is particularly vicious and I’m running late. “No worries, I just got here,” Amanda texts me. I find her a few minutes later sipping coffee and looking incredibly chic in her sleek ponytail, white button-down and black jeans.

Even though she has been studying marketing for just a year at The American University of Paris, the classic Parisian style has clearly seeped into Amanda’s persona. She had always been well dressed and now that she’s back for the summer, her style is a little bit more polished than the average 19-year old.

It’s a study in contrasts, then, when her cousin Izza walks into the coffee shop, the epitome of laid-back style with her long hair, peasant blouse and white shorts. “I had to take my brother to the airport, and the traffic is just horrible,” she explains, sitting down next to Amanda. For her part, Izza is in town after her year at the University of San Francisco, before flying to Spain to continue her hospitality management course at Les Roches Marbella.

In between discussing the looks and location (“We’d like to have the shoot at Bluewater Maribago, because we really grew up there,” Izza says), the two exchange anecdotes on how they were preparing for the fashion shoot. “We were looking through old issues of Zee, trying to do the poses all the models were doing,” Amanda laughs, and they both strike a common model pose—one hand on the hip, shoulder popped and sultry gaze—before bursting into a fit of laughter.

“We can’t do that!” Izza exclaims. “It’s just not us.”


 

In some ways, Amanda and Izza do look like opposites—Amanda’s fair complexion and light dusting of freckles are a striking complement to Izza’s tanned skin and sun-kissed glow. But when they’re together and cracking jokes, it’s hard to tell where one girl ends and the other begins.

“Amanda is my partner in crime,” Izza declares. “I’ve known her since we were in diapers so it’s very difficult to pinpoint the earliest memory. When we were toddlers, our yayas were sisters. During family events and birthday parties, we would always sit beside each other, with one hand on a barbecue stick and the other spaghetti. We had the same taste and love for food—I always knew she was a keeper.”

Growing up together meant years of shared anecdotes, and both girls have a number of funny stories to tell. “Once Izza, both our younger brothers and I watched Goosebumps together, and they couldn’t sleep that night,” Amanda recalls with a laugh. “Izza’s mom called my mom the next morning because Izza and her brother said that I had coerced them into watching it since I was the oldest in the group. I ended up getting grounded while the three others got away scot-free!”

ON AMANDA: Backless dress by JUN ESCARIO, necklace with bead florets, earrings and bracelet set from SM ACCESSORIES. (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle August-September 2015: Photography by Dan Douglas Ong)

ON AMANDA: Backless dress by JUN ESCARIO, necklace with bead florets, earrings and bracelet set from SM ACCESSORIES. (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle August-September 2015: Photography by Dan Douglas Ong)

It was especially important for both girls to have the cover shoot at Bluewater Maribago because they say, in many instances, it was the scene of the crime. “Some of my earliest memories of Izza are running around soaking wet from the pool and then sneaking into the kitchen barefoot in our bikinis,” Amanda shares. “All we wanted was to be little elves to the pastry chefs and we would get kicked out of the kitchen! But we always managed to sneak out a few treats.”

Their escapades at the resort included selling buko juice to guests, hunting down Easter eggs the night before the egg hunt and even a few recent injuries. “We used to ride salbabidas (floaters) all day,” Izza says. “A few years ago, we were on the salbabida drifting on the water. Amanda toppled me and kicked me in the face! My nose bled for 20 minutes and my upper lip bruised so badly.”

These days, the girls are a bit more subdued than they were ten years ago, and it clearly shows in how Izza makes sure everything in the resort goes smoothly for the photo shoot. The daughter of David Ugarte and June Alegrado, whose family owns the resort, Izza and her siblings have been helping out in Bluewater’s operations for years. It’s part of the reason why she decided to take up hospitality management in her further studies. “I believe that tourism plays a huge role in any country,” she says. “Hospitality management is tourism. It’s the plane you fly, the boat you take, the food you eat and the place you stay. It’s a diverse course.”

Amanda, a scion of the family behind Mehitabel Furniture, is the daughter of Robert Aboitiz Booth and Tamsin Jackson Booth. “It’s on the creative side, which I think I would be good at. My parents have always thought I’ve had a good eye for things,” she says about deciding to take up marketing in Paris. “I’ve always been interested in media, communications, PR. Besides that, marketing is vital to all industries, so you know you can always get a job with a marketing degree.”

Although they grew up in Cebu, the duo has been living out of the country for years now since leaving to finish high school at boarding schools in the US—Izza in Connecticut and Amanda in California. It’s made them more independent than most people their age, and ready to take on the challenges of their new cities of residence.

“Before I went away, I didn’t even know how to do laundry! That’s one of the first things my mom had to teach me,” Amanda admits. “I am so much more independent now than I was three years ago. It’s funny because now grocery shopping is one of my favorite things to do. I love living on my own and doing everything at my own pace.”

“I’ve matured a lot,” Izza agrees. “I’ve come to realize that being shy and not trying to truly express how I feel was a waste of time. We only get one life—say how you feel. No one grows up and becomes an adult, not even our parents. Time just flies by as we strive to be and do our best. All of a sudden, we’re older and adults.” She pauses for a bit and laughs. “I am veering away from the subject, but yes, I have definitely grown personally.”

ON IZZARA: Nude satin dress from JONES NEW YORK, beaded choker and necklace with gem details from SM ACCESSORIES (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle August-September 2015: Photography by Dan Douglas Ong)

ON IZZARA: Nude satin dress from JONES NEW YORK, beaded choker and necklace with gem details from SM ACCESSORIES (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle August-September 2015: Photography by Dan Douglas Ong)

These little glimpses prove that, through their independent endeavors, the 19-year-olds in them is still very much present—particularly in their eagerness to explore their respective cities. “In San Francisco, when I wasn’t in school, I would be going to different districts with my friends. The city was our playground, and I don’t doubt that Spain will be different,” Izza enthuses. “I will continuously expand my knowledge even outside of school. Spain is so rich in historical events and traditions. Aside from the history, Marbella is right next to the coast so I’ll have the beach 15 minutes away, which is awesome!”

The City of Lights is Amanda’s own playground, and she’s found it very much like her hometown. “There’s a laid-back lifestyle. It’s a big city and people do rush around, of course, but people have such a calm way of going about their lives,” she says. “But people in Paris don’t smile like they do in Cebu.” In the past year, her days have been exploring the city in between her classes and homework. “When it’s warm out, we’d go to a park and have a picnic, but in the winter, my friends and I would go to a café and just sit, talk and people-watch for hours.”

With Marbella and Paris just a short distance away, the cousins are already thinking of weekend trips to each other’s cities. “It’s all we’ve been talking about,” Amanda admits. “We’ll finally be able to be together for each others’ birthday! We haven’t planned any trip yet, but we’ll visit each other, and then we’ll get to other places. This is a whole new adventure for us.”

“We’ve been separated for way too long. For three years, we’ve lived on different coasts, then different countries,” Izza adds. “It’s awesome that we will soon be so close to each other. I’ve never been to Paris, and I am excited to finally go.”

“WhatsApp used to be our best friend,” Amanda says of the time they were living away from each other. “Skype, not so much. Whenever we get a bad connection—which is all the time—we hang up, get back on WhatsApp and blame each other for the bad internet connection.”

“We’re too lazy,” Izza laughs. “Instead, we’ll send voicemails to each other. I remember I was waiting for a pizza outside my USF dorm and I was freezing cold—and I was in shorts, don’t ask why—and I was sending Amanda voicemails and pictures. Technology just makes everything so simple.”

Both girls agree that being away from family is one of the hardest things about living abroad, so it’s comforting to know that someone you’re close to is just a few hours away. “There’s a certain comfort you get from being home that you don’t realize exists until you’re away for a long time,” Amanda says. “For me, that comfort is in my family. They always know how to make me happy.”

That’s why, Amanda goes on to explain, that summers of the past few years have been completely dedicated to spending time in Cebu. “I can travel when I leave here,” she says. “For now, it’s great to be able to catch up with everyone, go out around the city or head for the beach.”

That’s not to say they don’t wish for the little luxuries they’d already gotten used to while being away from Cebu. While Amanda yearns for Paris’ food and street markets, Izza misses something a bit simpler. “Being able to watch Netflix in bed,” she admits. “They need to set up servers in the Philippines.”

ON IZZARA: Maxi dress with tie-back crop top by BARBIE ALVEZ, multi-strand chain necklace from SM ACCESSORIES. ON AMANDA: Backless halter dress by BARBIE ALVEZ, gold bracelet, sculptural woven cuff and gold rings from SM ACCESSORIES. (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle August-September 2015: Photography by Dan Douglas Ong)

ON IZZARA: Maxi dress with tie-back crop top by BARBIE ALVEZ, multi-strand chain necklace from SM ACCESSORIES. ON AMANDA: Backless halter dress by BARBIE ALVEZ, gold bracelet, sculptural woven cuff and gold rings from SM ACCESSORIES. (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle August-September 2015: Photography by Dan Douglas Ong)


 

The day of the shoot finds the beds of one of Bluewater Maribago’s villas completely covered in designer clothes and SM Accessories collated especially for the cover shoot. With the variety of items laid out, the girls—hair pinned up and munching on Tostitos and chocolate truffles—look through the collection as they discuss with the stylists the different looks.

“I love full skirts, pantsuits and minimalist dresses—the classics,” Amanda says, admiring the floral prints of a backless halter gown by Barbie Alvez. “My family likes to joke that I’m an old soul.”

Izza shrugs. “My mom says I dress too rugged. Is that what you’d call my personal style?”

That wasn’t always the case, though. “Izza and I have pretty much switched roles,” Amanda laughs. “She was the extremely girly one and I was the little tomboy when we were younger. She always had her hair done up in nice braids and always wore cutesy clothes, while I had a short boy cut because I couldn’t keep my hair from being a mess; and I strutted my stuff in bikini bottoms and no top!”

“She was the most bugoy person I knew,” Izza agrees. “Nowadays, I don’t even brush my hair and I just throw on the first thing I see, while it takes Amanda forever to get ready. Seriously, you have to tell her plans a day before.”

“Now, Amanda’s very classy. She knows what she’s doing,” Izza continues. “But if you really get to know her, she has a super kiat personality. She is not that reserved.”

“She’s definitely very boho,” Amanda says about her cousin. “She’s always in loose, printed dresses. She always wears sandals. Her style is very laid-back—perfect for Cebu!”

ON AMANDA: Backless dress by JUN ESCARIO, necklace with bead florets, earrings and bracelet set from SM ACCESSORIES. ON IZZARA: Nude satin dress from JONES NEW YORK, beaded choker and necklace with gem details from SM ACCESSORIES. (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle August-September 2015: Photography by Dan Douglas Ong)

ON AMANDA: Backless dress by JUN ESCARIO, necklace with bead florets, earrings and bracelet set from SM ACCESSORIES. ON IZZARA: Nude satin dress from JONES NEW YORK, beaded choker and necklace with gem details from SM ACCESSORIES. (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle August-September 2015: Photography by Dan Douglas Ong)

As they go through the accessories, they help mix and match the items that would suit their outfits and their own personal style. With a wide collection that includes jewelry, bags, home decor, and others, SM Accessories is a growing repository for fashionable accents at reasonable price points. As the fashion accessories authority, SM Accessories features a wide range of jewelry, eyewear, belts, bags and a lot more that are carefully selected by a team of fashion experts to complete any fashion statement.

“During the day, my favorite accessory is my pair of pearl earrings,” Amanda shares, which made the multi-strand pearl necklace a perfect match for her Jun Escario lace dress. Its sophisticated and ladylike look was a fit to Amanda’s classic style. “Sometimes I’ll wear diamond studs at night. When I’m back in Paris, my favorite thing to wear is a brooch. I always have my gold medallion around my neck, a gift to me from my parents.”

That sentimentality is something Izza also shares in her choice of trinkets. “I wear four accessories all day, everyday—a gold ring from my brother’s girlfriend, Nikki; my grandmother Marle’s favorite ring and earrings; and my medallion. Those are my favorites.” From delicate thin rings to a pair of thick gold ones connected together with a light chain, the collection of rings were elegantly playful on Izza’s manicured fingers. “Nail Play!” she laughs, showing off her nude manicure and referring to the nail salon her and Amanda’s mom owned together with a group of friends.

It seems, though, that the similarities in dressing up end there. Asked if they borrow each other’s clothes, and both girls burst out in laughter. “No!” Amanda says. “We look at what the other is wearing and we go, ‘oh wow, I could never pull that off.’”

“She left a pair of shorts in my house, and I have claimed them as my own. Does that count?” Izza jokes. Amanda adds, “She’s had them for five years and counting.”

When it’s time to dress up, the two are supportive of local designers, with Izza naming Mia Arcenas, Jun Escario and Oj Hofer as her favorites and Amanda acknowledging Hanz Coquilla as her go-to. “Internationally, my favorite designer is Raf Simons,” Amanda adds. “Every piece he creates for Dior is breathtaking.”

Decidedly very different in terms of personal style—best exemplified by the favorite things in their closet, Amanda names a red wool Prada dress that “looks like it’s straight out of the 1950s” while Izza’s answer is a T-shirt and Nike shorts—the two have a connection that transcends the cousin bond. Despite being apart for long stretches, every time the two are in the same city, they pick up right where they left off.

ON AMANDA: Backless halter dress by BARBIE ALVEZ, gold bracelet, sculptural woven cuff and gold rings from SM ACCESSORIES. ON IZZARA: Maxi dress with tie-back crop top by BARBIE ALVEZ, multi-strand chain necklace from SM ACCESSORIES. (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle August-September 2015: Photography by Dan Douglas Ong)

ON AMANDA: Backless halter dress by BARBIE ALVEZ, gold bracelet, sculptural woven cuff and gold rings from SM ACCESSORIES. ON IZZARA: Maxi dress with tie-back crop top by BARBIE ALVEZ, multi-strand chain necklace from SM ACCESSORIES. (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle August-September 2015: Photography by Dan Douglas Ong)

“We’ll just watch TV shows or do a movie marathon together while eating santol and green mango. It’s one of the first things we do when we’re both back in Cebu,” Amanda says. “We love going on adventures. We once drove to Carcar in the middle of the night, and just stopped to eat at different places on the way. I guess you could say our favorite thing to do together is eat.”

“Yeah, I don’t think I can say anything else,” Izza agrees. “I’ll text her and we would be craving the same cuisines. I found this Buzzfeed quiz online called, What Famous Disney Duo Represents You and Your BFF. I sent it to Amanda while she was in Paris—we both got Timon and Pumba.”

The easy relationship these two have is backed by years of shared experiences and a genuine appreciation for being in each other’s lives. Amanda admits that Izza is the one who got her to come out of her shell. “She’s always said it isn’t worth hiding in the background and letting everything pass you by. It’s something I’ve always struggled with but I’ve come a long way with her help, and I love her for it,” she says. “Izza’s just so lighthearted, so unbothered by everything. I love laughing with her—she has the most genuine and contagious laugh.”

“No one can tolerate my mood swings better than Amanda,” Izza shares on her end. “And I admire her effortless grace. No matter what is going on in her life, she manages to look flawless. She is a great support system and is always there for anyone who needs it, so she’s the mother of the group.”

As the pair bounce off to the bathroom to help each other change into their shoot’s first look, it’s clear that Amanda and Izza will find their shared stories only growing exponentially in the next years. In spite of the different directions their lives take them on, they remain rooted in their friendship—though friendship may seem to be too light a word. “I know that no matter what life throws at us, we will always have each other,” Izza says with a smile. “Always. We are sisters.”

Zee Lifestyle’s August-September Fashion Issue: Amanda Booth & Izzara Ugarte (Sittings Editor: Shari Quimbo/Photography by Dan Douglas Ong/Styled by Blaq Mafia/Makeup by Arnauld/Hair by Carlos Conde/All accessories from SM Accessories)

by Shari Quimbo photography Dan Douglas Ong stylists Blaq Mafia makeup Arnauld hair Carlos Conde locale Bluewater Maribago all accessories by SM Accessories
Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, August-September 2015

For back issues, download the Magzter app on your mobile device and search for ‘Zee Lifestyle‘. Like Zee Lifestyle on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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.

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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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