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At Home With Audrey

Right from the start of the interview, one thing is crystal clear: Audrey Zubiri takes motherhood very seriously. “I’m sorry I couldn’t make it last Saturday,” she says as she takes her seat inside the quiet café in Makati on a Monday morning. “It was my son’s birthday party. He just turned one.” We had initially asked her to have the interview at an earlier date but she politely asked if we could re-schedule it.

Right from the start of the interview, one thing is crystal clear: Audrey Zubiri takes motherhood very seriously. “I’m sorry I couldn’t make it last Saturday,” she says as she takes her seat inside the quiet café in Makati on a Monday morning. “It was my son’s birthday party. He just turned one.” We had initially asked her to have the interview at an earlier date but she politely asked if we could  re-schedule it.

If you followed her modeling and hosting career, it would have taken a while for the fact that she is now a mom to sink in. Her radiant beauty is no different from when she was in the limelight, with her slim figure, glowing skin, and a youthful, sunny smile that instantly brightens up the room. You would also have found it quite difficult to believe that she didn’t always look like this. “Growing up, I was a happy teenager, but I was super dorky. I really fit the stereotype—I had the thick glasses, the braces, the acne,” she shares. “I was super thin and lanky, with awkward arms and a flat chest. I had a bad haircut because of the girl band TLC. I was trying to imitate T-Boz; I thought she was cool. It was a disaster!”

She laughs at herself as she says this, and it is this candor and lack of vanity and pretension that allow her to talk about her modeling and hosting days without sounding conceited at all. “I started modeling in late high school,” she says. “I got rid of the glasses, braces, and acne. When I got to college, Robbie Carmona was having an event where I was modeling. One of the hosts didn’t show up so he asked me if I wanted to co-host. And I was like, ‘Yeah, sure, why not?’ So I gave it a shot and in the audience, there was someone from Studio 23. He came up to me after the show and asked me to audition for a spot as one of their VJs. I did, and I got in.” She goes on to explain how modeling and hosting would eventually fit into the grander scheme of things. “You’re always in front of people when you’re modeling or hosting, and when you’re campaigning for your husband, it’s the same thing” she bemused with a sense of humor. “Maybe it’s like that; in a way, you go from one audience to another. It helped in a sense that I’m very comfortable with crowds. I think it trained me to deal with so many people that it’s now easy for me to get along with anyone I meet.”

On a day-to-day basis, Audrey interacts with a lot of people and juggles a variety of activities. On top of running errands like doing the groceries and going to the bank, she writes for a broadsheet’s Parenting section every Wednesday, visits construction sites for her build-and-sell business, and owns two franchises of a popular local restaurant chain. She is also active in a number of foundations, with Bantay Bata being one of the closest to her heart (her most recent project was a fashion show-slash-brunch for Mother’s Day this year). But all these things take a backseat when it comes to her children, three-year-old Adriana and one-year-old Juanmi. “My parenting style is very hands-on. I’m involved with everything—from the small everyday things like giving them a bath and feeding them to the more social aspects like taking them to play dates and children’s parties. On Tuesday afternoons, I host a play date at our house so I can see the kids Adriana plays with and so she can learn to share her things. I want her to be comfortable having her friends come over to the house so that when she gets older, she won’t go out partying so often!”

“The time I spend with my kids has to be both quality and quantity. Some parents allot quality time but it’s only 30 minutes—what about the rest of the day? Or sometimes it’s just quantity, where they could be at home with the kids the whole day, but they don’t make the most of their time together,” Audrey says. “So I really make it a point to spend quality time with them, and the quantity of the time has to be a majority of my day. That’s non-negotiable. Everything else is just on the side—if an activity’s going to get in the way of me spending time with my family, that’s when I weigh it in: Is it essential or not? If it’s not, then it gets discarded. If it’s really important, then I’ll figure out a way to incorporate it. But my first priority is always my family.”

At some point during the interview, Audrey whips out her camera to show off photos of her kids. She speaks of them with genuine pride and an almost tangible excitement in her voice—her world revolves around them, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. “Adriana is a lot like Migz,” she says. “She looks like him, and her personality is very strong. She knows what she wants and what she doesn’t. But I also see myself in her in the sense that she’s very cautious—she’s always saying ‘Baka mahulog ako.’ And that’s how I am—I don’t ride roller coasters because I’m scared of them, and I was never good at sports. Juanmi, on the other hand, is brave and adventurous like Migz. He started walking at an early age because he didn’t care if he’d fall; he’d just stand up and try again. He’s very chill and very steady—he just watches everybody and he’s always cool and always laughing. If he’s playing with something and his sister grabs it, he doesn’t get mad. He’ll just move on to another toy.”

When asked about her biggest accomplishment, Audrey neither runs through a list of her successful business ventures nor recites a litany of her various socially-oriented projects. “I’m very proud of our home life,” she says simply. “I’m proud of the way Miguel and I have handled our family despite his really hectic and erratic schedule. Our marriage is very grounded, very loving, and still very romantic. We are companions in everything we do. It’s good to have someone who always makes sure you’ll be okay. I always call him my partner in crime. We have the same sense of humor—we’re really babaw and we’re both so baduy. We enjoy traveling, and I love our little dates together. Sometimes, we have nice dates where I can dress up, but sometimes we’re so busy that we just go to a coffee shop and sit in a corner talking until midnight.” The couple is based in Manila but visits Bukidnon as often as they can. Migz’ family is from Bukidnon and before becoming a senator, Miguel was a congressman of the third district. Their family connection extends as far as Cebu, Mig’s uncle and his father’s first cousin Ben Zubiri,  more popularly known as Iyo Karpo is the Cebuano composer and actor famous for the love song, Matud Nila.

She pauses to reconsider the question and admits, “If you had asked me several years ago, I would have said my biggest accomplishment was studying communications technology management in Ateneo while doing modeling on the side. It was fun, but things like that suddenly lose their weight when you have kids. They really put things into perspective; suddenly, nothing is as important. My kids have brought so much joy into my life, more joy than I ever thought possible. Having children makes you see how beautiful life is—you become so content with everything. At the same time, they really help you prioritize things in your life; you realize what’s essential and what’s not. Having kids also changes you in the sense that you want to be a better person for them. You know they’re going to be watching you and following in your footsteps, so of course you make an effort for them to see only the best example from you.” When all is said and done, Audrey Zubiri has nothing but gratitude for the life she is living. “Every morning, I open my eyes and I am so thankful just because my daughter is there beside me, waking me up. The littlest things make me so happy.”

Of course, the interview doesn’t end without a question she probably gets all too often: Will she be running for public office in the future? “Right now, I feel like one politician in the family is enough,” she says. “Being in politics is such a demanding job—it’s like the most demanding boss ever, and I often have to learn how to share Miguel with his work. While it’s rewarding and fulfilling knowing that my husband is helping so many people and doing so many good things, I don’t want to be in politics because I don’t want to delegate the job of being a mom to someone else. A lot of good people have the potential to take care of a district and serve a certain town. But raising my two kids—taking care of them, keeping them safe and healthy, making sure that their values are shaped properly and their principles are set on a solid foundation—that’s a job only I can do.” She smiles and stops to correct herself: “That’s a job only I should be doing.”


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Cycling has been a growing sport and hobby for many years but it’s popularity has erupted since the Covid pandemic.  People biking to work and for recreation is an everyday sight in Cebu.  More and more are joining the ride.  Many are quite serious about cycling.  I know three ladies who are among those who’ve gone long distances across Cebu.

How did you get into serious cycling?  What was your motivation?

Blinky de Leon.  Event Host, Product Endorser & Influencer

“ I’ve been into cycling since I was a kid. A little backstory, I was around 10 years old when my dad surprised me with my first custom-made mountain bike. I still keep it until now, in fact I had it refurbished. It’s the most sentimental thing I ever received since it was his way/gesture to catch up with me after not seeing each other for almost 6 yrs. My dad is based in Germany and he also loves cycling and makes his own bamboo bike.”


“Just a year ago though, my friend Gazini randomly, out of nowhere, picked me up from home to bike with her to the South of Cebu. I felt really excited and motivated to get back on track because it’s very nostalgic and brings back so many great memories. And since then, the rest was history. We’ve been joining different groups, tried different routes and conquered different heights. I’ve met so many cyclists with very inspiring stories in the bike community who kept me feeling motivated too. I also look forward to the sights and the adventure that comes along with it.”


Yumz Mariot. Branding & Marketing Consultant

“I used to bike along with rock and wall climbing. I am lousy with ballgames which is why. Our usual route were Talamban and Mactan but one time, managed to ship gears all the way to Dumaguete for a quick ride to Valencia, the next town located at a higher elevation. Those were days when I did it for fun and what bike I was using did not matter.”

“Fast forward to 2021, a year after the pandemic lockdown began, I realized I have been lazy to do any fitness routine. Too caught up on juggling between house chores and Work from Home deliverables (I work as a Branding and Marketing Consultant), I started to feel my body needs to move as much as my brain does. A hysical fitness routine is as important as what I eat, or what I read or watch. So I decided to invest on a decent MTB, just very recently and got myself a much necessary restart. What motivates me even more is the area where I currently reside at. It is vast, fresh, green and safe for solo bikers like me.”


Prime Sarino. Digital Media Creative

“I started biking as a young teenager and I got the idea to start it as an adult hobby 3 years ago. I was already into running and I thought it would be great to venture into another outdoor activity to keep me occupied after work hours and weekends. I was set to travel for a year so I had to put aside the idea first but came pandemic. We were all forced to stay put and everything was put on hold. Cycling became my diversion. My cyclists friends invited me to quick and short rides. I enjoyed my first 50km ride and the sceneries and routes most of all. It also helped channel a positive mindset during the hard hit season of the pandemic. Not to mention it’s also another way to stay fit when we were forced into inactivity during the quarantine.”

Next in Part 2, we ask the ladies about their cycling experiences and memorable moments…

by: Zen

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#CebuPride:  Cebuanos in Multi-awarded Pride-Themed Films

Multi-awarded International Gay Movies with Cebuano Lead Casts

By:  Allain Dumon Fonte


Pride-themed movies are starting to invade the film industry as people become more accepting and are more intrigued on the stories about LGBTIQ.  Many have shared the intensity of emotions and laughed with the craziest jokes on gay-themed movies.  In the Philippines, these kinds of movies were questioned as to their morality and their message to the society.  The strong influence of the country’s religious standards had branded gay-themed movies as sex-oriented and nothing more.  Yet, with Thailand’s more tolerant culture, Thai BL (Boy’s Love) movies and television series have created a new perception to the viewers; and that is gay-themed movies are remarkably alike to all other movies – there is romance, comedy, drama, and the continuing struggle of living like normal people.  Hence, Thai BL TV series have a massive following all over Asia.  At the end of 2019, they became available in Netflix and are being watched by millions of viewers all over the world.

ZEE’s Allain Fonte with the casts of the top-rating Thai BL series (2019) “Cause You’re My Boy” of GMMTV (from L-R) Amp Phurikulkrit Chusakdiskulwibul, AJ Chayapol Jutamas, Neo Trai Nimtawat, Frank Thanatsaran Samthonglai, ADF, Drake Laedeke, Phuwin Tangsakyuen, and JJ Chayakorn Jutamas.

The Philippine film industry is not that far from Thailand’s.  Some of the LGBTIQ-themed movies and television series are slowly getting a following in Asia and are now accessible to viewers worldwide.  A few of these pride-themed movies that casted or directed by a Filipino have already been receiving nominations and awards from Golden Globe, The Berlin Film Festival, the Venezia Film Awards, and even the Emmy’s…and the Filipinos in these films hail their roots from Cebu!


1. Lingua Franca


Lingua Franca is a film directed by a Cebuana, Isabel Sandoval.  Sandoval also plays the main character of the movie, and she even wrote the screenplay.  Lingua Franca tells the story of Olivia, an undocumented transgender woman in New York who works as a caregiver to a senile old-lady of Russian-decent.  When Olivia is challenged to attain legal status in the US, she is left with a “marriage-based green card”.  While in search for her groom-to-be, she becomes romantically involved with Alex, Olga’s grandson.

The film is now available on Netflix and has received positive reviews from the media.  Stephen Dalton of the Hollywood Reporter wrote Lingua Franca is a “heartfelt personal statement rooted in timely, gripping issues that obviously resonate deeply with its author, notably trans rights and Trump-era immigration anxieties”.


Isabel Sandoval wearing Marchesa at the Venezia Red Carpet in the Venice Film Festival (2019)

Isabel Sandoval graduated summa cum laude with the degree in psychology from the University of San Carlos in Cebu, Philippines.  In New York, she pursued graduate studies in Film at NYU.  She is now currently residing in NYC, and already has award-winning films under her belt like Apparition, Lingua Franca, Senorita, Ritwal, The Unstoppable, and Judgement.


2. The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

This television series was aired in Netflix and has gained so much popularity because it showed the murder of world-renowned fashion designer, Gianni Versace, by a serial killer, Andrew Cunanan.  Based on Maureen Orth’s book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History, this television series has 9 episodes of suspenseful scenes, and is star-studded with casts like Ricky Martin and Penelope Cruz.  However, the main actor who played Andrew Cunanan is Darren Criss who gained his popularity after being a regular on the top rating TV show, Glee.  Darren Criss hails his roots from Cebu, Philippines.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story received positive reviews from critics. At the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, it received 9 nominations, and won 3 awards, including Outstanding Limited Series and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for Darren Criss.


Darren Criss with his dad (left) Charles William Criss, and his mother (right) Cerina Criss. Source

Criss was born and raised in San Francisco, California, USA.  Criss was raised as a Roman Catholic and attended roman catholic schools.  He later moved to Michigan where he studied Bachelor of Fine Arts major in Theatre Performance and minor in music at the University of Michigan.  Criss’s father, Charles William Criss, is a banker and served as CEO of the East West bank in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Criss’s mom, Cerina, is a native of Talisay, Cebu, Philippines.  When he was younger, he visited Cebu a couple of times with his mother.  Darren Criss is very proud of his Cebuano roots and wants to portray Filipino characters in films and in theatres to promote visibility of the Filipinos in the American films.


3. The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela

     The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela premiered at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival where it grabbed the Teddy Award for Best Feature Film.  It was also awarded the Grand Jury Prize in the 10th 2008 Cinemanila International Film Festival at Malacañang Palace’s Kalayaan Hall.  It starred Raquela Rios also known as Minerva to her Cebuano friends.  Raquela  is a local of Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines.  The film is directed by Icelandic film director, scriptwriter, and producer, Olaf de Fleur Johannesson.


Raquella Rios in Bangkok’s MRT (a scene in a Thai film).

Raquella Rios is a native of Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines, and she went to the University of San Carlos in Cebu, studying sociology and anthropology.  Before finishing her studies, Raquella left the Cebu and went to Iceland after being casted by Icelandic film director, scriptwriter, and producer, Olaf de Fleur Johannesson for the movie The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela.  She is now based in Bangkok, Thailand as a fashion stylist and wardrobe assistant to some local Thai movies.  Raquella is also an activist for sex workers rights and trans rights in Southeast Asia; pushing for the recognition on the choice of their gender and the right to change their birth names.

Raquella (right) with film director Olaf de Fleur (left) receives the Best Feature Film Award at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival in Germany. Photo grabbed from Berlinale archives.

There are still plenty of pride-themed films in the Philippines that gained recognition all over the world; yet these movies mentioned are special because of the talented Cebuanos that have  brought Cebu to world.  They truly are #CebuPride.

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37 Years of High Fashion; Arcy Gayatin leaves a Legacy of Edginess and Elegance

Arcy Gayatin: A Legacy of Luxury in Fabrication


By:  Allain Dumon Fonte 


The brand Arcy Gayatin gave the Queen City of the South a distinct reputation in the fashion industry.  The fashion line of Arcy Gayatin sets the bar higher each year for clothing luxury and fabrication techniques.


April Duenas, Nikki Gayatin and Arielle Gayatin for Arcy Gayatin—Photos by John Paul Autor from Lifestyle Inquirer.net


Araceli “Arcy” Ancajas Gayatin is the daughter Galileo Ancajas and Remedios Zanoria Ancajas who founded Cebu’s home brand, Gal’s Bakery.  Arcy went to the University of San Carlos and studied Political Science.  And just like Dr. Muccia Prada, who completed her Ph.D. in Political Science and established the luxury line of Prada, Arcy also got in touch with her artistic side and started her own fashion line.  However, it was not Prada that influenced Arcy.  Arcy was introduced to fashion and tailoring at a very young age by her mother, Madame Remedios Anacajas whom they dearly call Mama Eme.  Mama Eme was running a tailoring business back then.  It was called Arabel; named after Arcy and her sister Belma.  Ara from Araceli and Bel from Belma.  In those years, Arcy was fascinated by fabrics and was intrigued by how to manipulate the fabrics to come up with fashion-forward designs without compromising comfort and taste.


Arcy Gayatin (photo grabbed from Space Philippines Blog Spot)


After 37 years of creating haute couture pieces for the most fashionable personalities in the Philippines, Arcy Gayatin is now laying down her sketchpads and pens to rest.  As she enjoys her retirement, may be on a cruise to the Bahamas or a holiday to the Swiss Alps, Arcy Gayatin has left the fashion industry a legacy of elegant and edgy clothing ensembles that understand and define the shape of women; without compromising comfort and good taste.


Arcy Gayatin’s Pink Flamingo collection                                               Arcy Gayatin’s Sketch on a Terno


To salute the lady who brought Cebu fashion to the world, a retrospective exhibition of Arcy’s incomparable masterpieces can be seen today at Ayala Center Cebu’s The Gallery; curated by fashion editor and writer, Clint Holton Potestas, and interior and fashion designer, Jul Oliva.


BALANCE.  Arcy Gayatin is known for her perfect symmetrical lines when fabricating.  She knows how to balance edginess and class; understanding well the strength and the finesse of a woman.


RHYTHM.  Arcy’s expertise in draping and fabric manipulation can be seen in how she achieves rhythm between architectural lines and soft fabrics like silk and cashmere.


TEXTURE.  With her thorough knowledge on fabrics, Arcy Gayatin has achieved the perfection of fabrication by working on different types of fabrics and creating a single piece of art out of them. 


HARMONY.  The simplicity of the silhouette plus the intricacy of the details create a wonderful harmony, making Arcy Gayatin’s design a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.


The photos below show an up-close look at the intricacy and the exquisite craftsmanship of Arcy Gayatin’s fabrication techniques:


THE SPIDER WEB:  one of Arcy’s genius fabrication techniques.


MATCH and PATCH:  Arcy’s unique fabrication craft by patching layers of different types of lace and lace patterns


PLEATS: The perfection of symmetry in pleats on silk.


LA ROSE BLEUE:  U.P. student, Danielle Alessandra Deutsch, inspired by the artistry of Arcy Gayatin, designed this midnight blue dress.   The cabbage rose made from layers of silk organdy gave this evening ensemble a romantic appeal.

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