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Artisanal Cebu: Aspiring calligraphy artist Abigail Condrado

https://youtu.be/dP5blak51Nw
In the third installment of Artisanal Cebu, we feature the wonderful artwork and calligraphy style of Sarah Abigail Condrado – a freelance calligraphy artist.
 
Abigail is one of the rising singers and performers of Cebu today, with singles such as “Bisan Asa” and her famous cover of “Duyog” by Jewel Villaflores. Currently working as the Marketing and Relations Manager of St. Paul College Foundation Inc., she has one other skill that only a few knew: her talent in the art of calligraphy.
 
Watch on how she began her journey in becoming a freelance calligraphy artists.

Editors' Picks

Bask in Tranquility & Relaxation in this New Hotel within the City

“A” for ASMARA

by Allain Dumon Fonte

In this very fast-paced world that we live in, we find ourselves in a never-ending race of deadlines, submissions, and to-do-lists.  However, when things become too much to take, we need to pull out the plug and reboot ourselves.  It’s fine to pat your own shoulder and tell yourself that you have done enough; and so, you should stop, take a deep breath, and drop everything.  I usually take myself to a quiet and remote place, and with a whole new scenery.  I want to be lost somewhere where nothing can remind me of work. Yet, the challenge for many of us is time. Some of us only have one off-day from work in a week; while others are lucky to have two days.  Hence, travelling to the Bahamas or to the Caribbean is no longer viable. Even travelling to the world-class resorts in Mactan, to the mystic islands up north, and to the serene beaches down south of Cebu takes so much time because of the traffic situation.  Time is of essence and spending it wisely will be our best investment.

Then, I discovered a new haven just a few minutes’ drive from Cebu’s central business district. The ASMARA Urban Resort and Lifestyle Village is a hidden gem.  Even driving up to the main doors of the resort, you can already feel the exclusivity of this place. Stepping out from the car and walking to the main lobby with a view of the pool to the left, I feel being transported to a whole new world.  The architecture, the interior, the furniture, and the total design concept of this hideaway has created an ambiance comparable to that of the Leadwood Lodge Safari Resort in South Africa or to the Escondido Villas in Acapulco.  I sat in the lobby as I waited to be served.  I listened and listened very well; surprisingly, I can only hear the birds chirping, the wind gushing down the valley, and a few guests having fun at the pool.  Imagine having this tranquil experience in the heart of the metropolis is extremely amazing with a capital A.

 

Because I got intrigued with the interior, I asked the hotel staff who the architect and the interior designer are; and she gladly introduced me to the owner, the architect, the interior designer, the design concept master, and even the furniture artist of this fine establishment, Mr. Carlo Cordaro.  This is how casual and relaxed the environment is; you will get to meet the owner and converse with him.  I am struck to meet someone with multi-talents but with such humility.  Mr.  Cordaro indulged my inquisitive mind by showing me how he conceptualized and then started building this former racetrack into a perfect haven.

Mr. Cordaro explained that as an artist he keeps four important things in mind.  First, the location and the environment.  ASMARA sits in the valley with the hills of Maria Luisa Estate to its east. Thus, the location is gifted with the cool breeze from the hills, and Mr. Cordaro took advantage of this by creating an open-space restaurant and recreation area.  The restaurant is also part of the village’s recreation space where guests enjoy yoga sessions, or a dip in the pool, or even a tennis match.

Second, Mr.  Cordaro wants to make use of the local raw materials and create a venue that is distinctively Cebuano; and this is what makes Asmara remarkable and unique.  The quirky hotel doors are diagonal and lined with banana skin fibers, the modern-designed furniture are all made from high-quality wood, the walls are lined with abaca fibers, and the tall coconut trees entwine with the rooms’ viewing decks.  Guests have an exquisite panorama of the sunset and the recreation space in the village.  I told Mr.  Cordaro that the rooms have already soothed my stressed thoughts.  This brought us to the third concept that Mr.  Cordaro considers in designing, “the emotion”.  He wants his design pieces, from furniture to spaces, to convey emotions to the guests.  He said that before finishing a masterpiece, he always puts himself in the shoes of other people and asks himself if the art pieces exude emotions or connect with him.  He believes that any work of art must connect with the people to be appreciated.  ASMARA Urban Resort and Lifestyle Village is very well thought of because every space and every corner can deliver emotions of relaxation and ease.  

When I asked him for the fourth element, Mr. Cordaro smiled and answered, “sustainability”.  He wants ASMARA to be as green as it could be.  The open-space restaurant uses less electricity because it maximizes the natural light and the cool breez. The glass pyramid in the middle of the dining area does not only manipulate the natural light but it is also a gigantic rainwater collecting facility. The use of indigenous local materials for the interior of the hotel and the pillars of wood that support the three-story hotel building make ASMARA one of the most sustainable establishments in Southeast Asia.  Mr.  Cordaro has not only made ASMARA an asset to the economy and tourism, but also an asset to the environment.

Since we were already in the dining area, Mr. Cordaro offered that I should try their authentic Italian dishes.  I took the liberty of ordering the pizza rolls, and it refreshed my memories of Palermo at Frida Pizzeria.  I shall not disclose how many pieces I ate that afternoon because it was just divine.  The chicken skewers became special with the restaurant’s secret sauce.  They were heaven to my taste buds.  Please do not let me start with the healthy options for their beverages.  Every fruit juice is freshly squeezed and very well-concocted.  

After the very delightful conversation with Mr. Cordaro, I finally settled in my room and enjoyed my four seasons drink on my room’s balcony with the scene of the orange sky, the breeze brushing my face and the sounds of water from the pool. With Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s book “One Hundred Years of Solitude” in my hand, I felt great that very moment.  Asmara Urban Resort and Lifestyle Village is a gift to mankind.  

A for amazed…A for astonished…A for awed…A for ASMARA.

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Beauty & Wellness

Tea with Coralie

When a basket filled with tea goodies of macaroons, delicate cakes and sandwiches was delivered, it came in the signature purple color of this iconic brand. “Very Charriol”, as Coralie , the CEO of the Swiss brand, might have put it. She didn’t actually use that term to describe the savories. Rather, she was describing the cable bracelet that makes their products distinct. Avid Rustans Cebu shoppers will find the Charriol boutique just off the main entrance of the department store, near the familiar scented hall at the first level. On display are an array of earrings, bracelets and watches enticing to those looking for retail therapy with pieces that are timeless and yet not overtly breaking the credit card limit.

The tea Zoom party, as arranged by our host Ginggay Joven, and Luzanne Manlapit who is the brand manager of Charriol in the Philippines, was as good as any press-do from pre pandemic normal times. And an intimate peak at lifestyle editors’ lives as most of us were zooming from our living rooms, including Coralie who was answering our questions from her home in Geneva. Like most of us, she readily says, “I have a travel bug, and on weekends, I dream of where I can go!”.

Philip Charriol, Coralie’s father who started the brand in 1983, was a frequent visitor to the Philippines, making Manila (and Cebu) a side trip to his rounds of Singapore and Hong Kong. He made many friends in Asia and it was a sad day when everyone heard of his passing more than a year ago in a car accident at the Le Castellet racing track in southeast France.

These days, the company is in good hands with Coralie. She is set to debut a series of new collections building upon her father’s vision, including a reimagined Celtic collection, a line of watches first introduced in the 80s. The latest Celtic Legacy watch has a more striking face with two dials and bigger bezels available in gold or rose gold. The cable bracelet is made up of 6 strands of steel and titanium alloy that are flexible and durable. It comes in an elegant 30mm case, making it an equally perfect accessory for both a lunchtime affair as well as to a glitzy night on the town.

Also new are their ocean-themed pieces. The Forever Starfish watch comes in two iteration of stainless steel or rose gold case with a white mother-of-pearl dial. The second one is the Marina bracelet collection — the Charriol signature cable tied around a porthole and clasped together by a Charriol dial, it’s a fresh and young take for an everyday jewelry.

As a contemporary business leader, Coralie shared cautionary tales of polar bears and melting icebergs. Through their Charriol Living initiative, Philippe Charriol is a partner of the global organization Lonely Whale. It is a community of international businesses cognizant of the harming effects of disposable stuff in today’s world. Particularly single-use plastics, which are harmful to marine life when they end up in our seas. She co-produced a compelling documentary titled The Story of Plastic (www.storyofplastic.org) “a searing expose revealing the ugly truth behind plastic pollution and the false solution of plastic recycling”.

The company is committed to being socially conscious. Pretty soon, all Charriol packaging will be made of paper and sustainable materials. “We are interconnected tru our oceans”, she explains. In addition, part of the proceeds of selected ocean-themed Charriol pieces like the Forever Turtle watch, the Forever Waves and Ocean bracelets, will go to the Lonely Whale organization.

Philippe Charriol comes up with new design for watches once a year or once every two years to keep it fresh. Their jewelry line is much more frequent with bracelets and earrings. When asked if the company will be coming out with smart watches, Coralie was quick to reply that although other prestige watch companies have tried it, Charriol will not be producing one. “But I am coming out with something by October which is a kind of an accessory to a techie watch. To connect Charriol to technology.”

 

Coralie Charriol, the CEO of Charriol showing the Forever Starfish collection using mother of pearl face and their entry level cable bracelets in bright colors.

 


Screenshot of the Zoom tea party attended by top Manila lifestyle editors

 


The tea goodies for the tea party delivered by the Charriol team

 

The Charriol boutique inside Rustans at Ayala Center Cebu

 

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Culture

PANDEMIC DIARIES: Twelve Months Later

Photos taken by Pablo Quiza around Cebu City during the months of March, April and May 202

AS WE APPROACH ONE YEAR under pandemic times, we look back at March 2020 with fascination. And awe. We had 12 months of lockdown and survived the so called new normal. We lived with masks and alcohol even today. Carless roads and dark malls. Those were the early days of March, April and May.
It stretched to October and past Christmas. No Sinulog. Virtual parties on Zoom and virtual mass on You Tube and FB Live. We debated on the best meds to take if we get sick and whether to wear masks (please do!). We scampered for face shields and anti-viral sprays. Vitamins C and D and zinc. Later, we survived being swabbed and we learned the difference between a PCR and an anti-gene test. The latter cost less.

We dreaded the declarations of IATF mandated from Manila. And we got mad at the police chief who had a birthday party while his people were busy locking up everyone violating the lockdown. Most horrifying of all, we needed to produce IDs! Are you a resident of Barangay Lahug or Banilad? Are you employed and why are you still working? Everyone suffered thru endless checkpoints. Most sad of all are those using motorbikes, they seem to get the raw end of the deal since those with cars are not as scrutinized. We managed to trick the system by putting a big handwritten note in front of the car: COMPANY CAR, and zipped tru the police desks in the middle of the road. Don’t even think of travelling, by plane, boat or bus. The collection of the required documents is enough for one to get exposed to Covid.

We learned to shop online, order groceries and necessities thru delivery. We slowly moved towards cashless payments. Gcash and banks like Union Bank and China Bank with friendly apps are heroes for making life easy for most of us to spend what little cash we have to spend on Lazada or pay the VECO bill. Oh and we binged on K dramas on Netflix and You Tube, kamsaminada.
As 2021 enters, there are some good news. For those obsessed with news, you already know that 7,000 vaccines arrived last March 2 in Cebu, with more expected in the next few weeks. The death rate is not as high among those who caught this pesky virus, which tells us that doctors in the hospitals have some proven expertise in dealing with Covid. More cures should be in the horizon.

Meanwhile, lets continue dreaming of the day when we can cross borders again, even if its just Bohol or Boracay, Bangkok or Hong Kong. Ready those luggages and bags bought during the 3/3 sale in Shopee in preparation for the day when we can take the ferry or the plane for new adventures.

 

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