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Bayong Pop Art-Themed Bags Put Local Culture in the Spotlight

What’s a girl to cherish more than her adorning diamonds and pearls, her platform shoes and beauty products? Well of course, it’s something that’s not only of great use but also an excellent way to make a bold fashion statement—bags!

What’s a girl to cherish more than her adorning diamonds and pearls, her platform shoes and beauty products? Well of course, it’s something that’s not only of great use but also an excellent way to make a bold fashion statement—bags!

Bags have long been filling up the market with different styles and types almost every season. In Cebu’s local scene, a marriage of pop art and the local bayong gave life to a fresh creative art form of bag design by a local artist who goes by the moniker Bisai.

“I wanted to use my BAG ART creations as a pathway for me and my fellow artists to support the makers of our locally made bayongs,” shares Bisai. At present, these bayong bags are very much familiar to parents and grandparents, but may be left to the memory of these millennials’ ancestors if not highlighted in today’s modern time.

Locally made from Bohol and Negros where there is an abundance of the raw materials pandan and buri leaves, these bayongs were once revered as the “pop bags” in the past, Bisai muses.

As women helping women is an advocacy that the artist personally supports, when she read an article on bayong bags back in the year 2010, and learned how women from the mountainside would gather to create banig (straw floor mats) and discards were made into little bags, the inspiration for the pop art bayong bags came to life.

“Bag Art started in January 2016 when I started to paint the first few bags with the intention to sell some to friends to get feedback about my art for bags,” further shares Bisai. She got queries for overseas orders like in the USA, Japan and Finland when she finally showed her product to the world.

Success just kept coming for the bag artist and in May 2016, she first exhibited her bag art collection in one of Cebu’s biggest malls and luckily sold a few pieces. Moreover, she started taking the once quaint hobby seriously and created more bags with various pop art themed designs which made its way to the buyers’ hearts.

Connections from government sectors allowed her support in suggesting to put tourism as a theme in her bags, which then paved way for her to conduct workshop sessions to assist women for their livelihood seminars and programs. The sharing of the art’s creative process helped in earning a livelihood for most women in both rural and urban areas.

As the pop art-themed bayong tote bags were a personal favorite, it brought twice the pride to Bisai when foreign customers applauded the rich culture reflected in the bags. Famous icons became the subject of the bayong bags including Monalisa, singers like Madonna, Adele, John Lennon, Michael Jackson, actress Marilyn Monroe, reggae star Bob Marley and even Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. As a treat for young BAG ART fans, the artist also included a handful of anime-themed designs in the bayong bags.

When it comes to winning the hearts of customers in the local bag market scene, an artist can only do so much to court the attention and ensure the loyalty of one’s customers. Other than being updated with the latest trends and talks-of-the-town, developing styles that are easy to appreciate because of famous subjects would surely go a long way.

“The designs of Bag Art are the inspiring kind. I painted them on purpose because these personalities led inspiring lives as well,” shares Bisai. BAG ART is inexpensive, but when creative minds and hands come together to produce a design like no other, they can easily stand out for the crowd.


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Janine Taylor, June Alegrado, Jackie Lotzof, Frances Siao, Ina Ronquillo and Christine Pelaez

The NUSTAR Ballroom, a magnificent venue at the NUSTAR Resort and Casino in Cebu, sets the stage for last night’s first-ever NUSTAR Ball.

Black was the color of night at the Zee table.

Glamorous guests from Manila and Cebu converged at the NUSTAR Ballroom, an exquisite venue within the NUSTAR Resort and Casino in Cebu. The evening unfolded with a seated 5-course dinner. The opulent feast started with Beetroot Salmon Gravlax, adorned with caper berries, caviar, set with delicate edible flowers; and a main course of Compressed Pork Belly with Crackling Skin and Baby Scallops. Another highlight was the auction of coveted items like Dior and YSL handbags, a limited-edition Bulgari watch, and an exclusive 2-night stay in Nustar’s opulent 3-bedroom villa—complete with a private pool and a dedicated butler. The charity evening benefited the Cameleon Association, an NGO based in Iloilo City created in 1997 that developed a global approach to act on the causes and effects of sexual violence against children.

Nora Sol, Beth Go, Frances Siao and Marylou Ong

Ina Ronquillo, Maryanne Aboitiz and Jackie Lotzof

Designers Jun Escario and Philip Rodriguez

Philip Rodriguez with NUSTAR Malls two power ladies: May Adolfo and Joanna Salazar

Lana Osmeña with Mariquita Yeung

PJ Castillo and Kaye Abad with Cary Santiago

Drew Sarmiento with LV Manager Adrian Decuigan

Cary Santiago with Eva Gullas

Manila socialites Julie Boschi and Ching Cruz with June Alegrado

It was a night of elegance, luxury, and unforgettable memories as ladies in long gowns and gentlemen in black ties danced the night away.


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May 10 – Cebu City  |  Step inside a world of opulence where gold shimmers and diamonds sparkle. BVLGARI, the renowned Italian luxury brand, is celebrated for its exquisite gemstone jewelry, thin watches, perfumes, and leather goods. With a legacy dating back to 1884, BVLGARI has become synonymous with elegance and craftsmanship. The newest BVLGARI boutique opened last week at the sparkling The Mall at Nustar Resort and Casino, fast becoming the shopping destination for discerning consumers.

Eva Gullas, Jeffrey Hang, Jaja Chiongbian-Rama and Butch Carungay

Jeffrey Hang, BVLGARI’s Regional Marketing Director for South East Asia, flew in from Singapore to welcome guests. “We are happy to unveil BVLGARI to the Cebu market. This is the company’s 140th year, and BVLGARI celebrates this landmark with the Aeterna High Jewelry Collection in Rome this coming May 20, attended by all our global ambassadors like Zendaya and Black Pink” Jeffrey shares with us. The collection will be available in SE Asia later in the year and in the Philippines at the end of the year.

Leading the ribbon cutting was Joseph Muñoz (commercial director of Bulgari Philippines, Jeffry Hang (regional marketing director of Bulgari South East Asian operations, Pia Wurtzbach-Jauncey (Bulgari Ambasadress and Ms. Universe 2015), Allan Teo (chief operating officer of NUSTAR Resort and Casino and May Adolfo (mall director of NUSTAR Cebu).

Pia Wurtzbach-Jauncey, BVLGARI’s local Ambasadress and Ms. Universe 2015

Sheila Osmeña-Go and Jaja Chiongbian-Rama

Spotted at the event was Joseph Muñoz, Commercial Director of Bulgari Philippines escorting Pia Wurtzbach-Jauncey, BVLGARI’s local Ambasadress and Ms. Universe 2015, Allan Teo, Chief Operating Officer of NUSTAR Resort and Casino, Howard Go, Summit Media’s CEO and his wife, Cebuana Sheila Osmeña-Go as well as some of Cebu’s young fashionable set like Claudia Bezza Yeung, Marjay Ramirez, and Danessa Onglatco.

 Cebu’s Fashionable Set

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The Qipao As Interpreted by Innovative Filipino Designers: PHILIP RODRIGUEZ

The Qipao, an iconic symbol of Chinese fashion, takes center stage as we celebrate the Lunar New Year of the Wood Dragon. This singular closely-fitted garment crafted from the most opulent silks originated in 1920’s Shanghai. ZEE fashion editor Oj Hofer, has sought the creative insights of some of the Philippines’ most innovative designers for their interpretation of the elegant Qipao, also known as Cheongsam.

Cebu’s esteemed designer, Philip Rodriguez, pays homage to imperial attire with this stunning yellow silk brocade qipao. While adhering to the traditional cheongsam silhouette, Rodriguez infuses a touch of sensuality by incorporating see-through silk tulle panels along the waistline. Known for his timeless designs and culturally respectful creations, Rodriguez’s attention to detail is unparalleled. His embellishments are intricate and exquisite, showcasing impeccable taste and luxurious design without veering into ostentation. Take, for instance, his cheongsam for the Year of the Dragon. While it may seem daring compared to traditional sensibilities, Rodriguez maintains elegance by delicately veiling the wearer’s skin with sheer tulle on the cutout side panels. The front slit of the dress is cautiously calculated to strike the perfect balance between modesty and allure “I design for women who possess sophistication beyond their years, “ Philip emphasizes. “My clothes are crafted to evoke a sense of beauty and allure, leaving her feeling exquisite and confident.” As a seasoned designer, Rodriguez consistently achieves harmony in his designs. His qipao for 2024 seamlessly blends elements of royalty and sensuality, luxury and practicality, reflecting his mastery of the craft and his ability to create pieces that are truly elegant and well-balance.

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