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Beverly Dayanan: On top of her game

Success doesn’t discriminate through gender. With Contempo Property Holdings reaching the P1 billion mark in gross sales after just a year of operations, Beverly Dayanan is an example of how hard work and attention to detail come together for a business that goes nowhere but up.

It’s a man’s world. It’s a saying heard time and time again by women actively taking charge of their own careers, whatever field they may be in. Not that this is surprising. Studies have shown that on average, women are paid 78% of what their male counterparts in the same position earn. It’s an upsetting statistic, to say the least—as women have made many strides to secure a place in the society where she can vote, work and be heard.

Gender equality, however, needs time to develop. After all, hundreds of years of disparity are hard to undo. Fortunately, some countries are proving to be more progressive in this area than others. The Global Gender Gap Report is an international index that ranks countries based on how well they divide resources and opportunities between their male and female population. It measures gender equality based on economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, political empowerment, and health and survival. Data gathered from more than 142 countries in a span of nine years shows that the Philippines ranks ninth this year—being the best performer in closing the gender gap in Asia. With an almost equal ratio between men and women in terms of economic participation and opportunities, Filipinas are among the most influential and hardworking women in the world.

Case in point: Beverly Dayanan of Contempo Property Holdings and Sunberry Homes Inc. The real estate development mogul believes that success is in no way determined by gender and is a matter of choice. “There’s simply no barrier for those who are focused on their goals and work hard for them,” she says. That firm determination has proven to be valuable in the career she has navigated for herself, showing her mettle in Contempo Property’s first development venture in Cebu—Bamboo Bay.

“It was born of my dream to offer better living options to mid-income homeowners,” she shares. “A lot of research and fact-finding went into the creation of Bamboo Bay, and it’s a result of inputs from prospective buyers and from my own experiences as a condo dweller for almost 15 years.”

"There's simply no barrier for those who are focused on their goals and work hard for them" - Beverly Dayanan (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle December-January 2015: Photography by Robo Formacion/Hair and Makeup by Emi Ayag/Draped blouse by Oj Hofer)

“There’s simply no barrier for those who are focused on their goals and work hard for them” – Beverly Dayanan (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle December-January 2015: Photography by Robo Formacion/Hair and Makeup by Emi Ayag/Draped blouse by Oj Hofer)

With women having traditionally been in charge of the home, it seems only natural to have a female CEO at the helm of developing a residential community. “In real estate, you don’t just look at the macro side of the business. You have to look into the details, and women are good at that,” Beverly explains. She adds, “In condominium living, an inch of space really matters. You have to consider and figure everything out holistically, looking at the most minute details.” This insight allowed Beverly to create living areas that are space efficient. Minor design points that seem not all that important—a longer bathroom counter, exhaust pipes above the stove area, overhead countertops—are actually practical advantages for one’s daily routine in the long run.

The real estate project also benefits from Beverly’s understanding of basic human instinct, with Bamboo Bay fostering the sense of community that may be diminishing in this age of digital communication. The friendly neighborhood concept is shown in such facilities as their community store, prayer room, barbecue area and jogging paths, all of which are positioned to encourage interaction among homeowners. “We need to be reminded that we are social beings who need to bond to promote our social values. Establishing friendships and fellowship is an important thing in life,” she quips.

Understanding the importance of collaboration is also why Beverly makes sure to surround herself with an outstanding team of female consultants who offer advice on various aspects of the project. From Tess Javier for architecture and design, Tetta Baad for marketing and sales to Lilu Aliño for PR and advertising, her openness to guidance from those with the experience and skills allows her to learn and excel in the business even further. “Many of my ideas are formed from constant interaction with my stakeholders,” she explains. “When you touch base with your intermediaries, you gain insights and get to understand your business more from their point of view. I find their feedback very valuable, and it becomes my guide and parameter for improvement.”

Using this as a foundation for her hands-on approach to management, she makes certain that she is kept abreast on all operations of the business. “I like to get updates in real time,” she reveals. “Everyone is synchronized, that way, decision-making and deliveries become faster.” She discloses that this ensures that the organizational and operational chain is linked and functions cohesively at all times.

"I'd like to be a role model for women out there, to show that being a woman is never a hindrance for success." - Beverly Dayanan (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle December-January 2015: Photography by Robo Formacion/Hair and Makeup by Emi Ayag/Long-sleeved dress by Jun Escario)

“I’d like to be a role model for women out there, to show that being a woman is never a hindrance for success.” – Beverly Dayanan (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle December-January 2015: Photography by Robo Formacion/Hair and Makeup by Emi Ayag/Long-sleeved dress by Jun Escario)

Her attention to detail in managing her team also comes with its share of challenges. Beverly concurs that people management is something to be worked on. “You see the need for coaching, but you also want to have faith in your people,” she says. Adding further, “You shouldn’t tolerate failure, but you understand that it’s a confidence booster when your employees are able to solve problems in their own way. Keeping them focused and mentoring them while gaining input is a very exciting challenge though.”

This spirit of empowerment finds its way into Beverly’s community undertakings as well. As a dedicated member of the Zonta Club of Cebu I, she embraces the organization’s global mission of advancing women’s status. Being in charge of service and advocacy, Beverly champions gender equality and ending violence against women. “You can’t close your eyes to the plight of your fellow women—especially those who are battered physically, psychologically or emotionally,” she says. Her work with Zonta Cebu I gives her the opportunity to do concrete things to help transform lives and deliver real change. Among the club’s noteworthy efforts is its partnership with the Vicente Gullas Memorial Hospital to put up a Crisis Intervention and Referral Center in Banilad. The center will be a place where women can go for help for psychological, legal, medical, economic, safety and security, and even spiritual concerns. The Cebu chapter is also working on a barangay and campus campaign to raise awareness of its violence against women advocacy.

The club’s cause is very close to her heart because it aligns with one of Beverly’s personal goals. “I’d like to be a role model for women out there, to show that being a woman is never a hindrance to success; and that women have the same privileges and opportunities as men in the eyes of God,” Beverly explains. Fuelled by her dynamism, she hopes to inspire other women to start their own businesses, and shares a few pieces of advice for those who are looking to go into their ventures. “Start with what you love doing. Put your hands and mind where your heart is. You have to be hands- on—don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, and get firsthand experience of all the operations.”

"Start with what you love doing. Put your hands and mind where your heart is." - Beverly Dayanan (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle December-January 2015: Photography by Robo Formacion/Hair and Makeup by Emi Ayag)

“Start with what you love doing. Put your hands and mind where your heart is.” – Beverly Dayanan (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle December-January 2015: Photography by Robo Formacion/Hair and Makeup by Emi Ayag)

Truly, success does come to those who work hard for it—whether you wear the pants or the dress. Although Beverly admits that there’s yet so much work she has to do, it looks like an exciting year is up ahead for the lady entrepreneur. “Sunberry Homes Subdivision will be launched in the second quarter of next year, as a response to the pressing demand for socialized and economic housing.” This Mactan project is the company’s contribution to nation building, and will provide homes to lower-budget families. As for Bamboo Bay, the development will only continue to grow. “We are soon going to start construction on Bamboo Bay Tower 3, which will have more than the usual services that will continue to uphold the values we put in place.”

It’s women like Beverly who, by leveling the playing field, have contributed to the positive ranking the Philippines has gained in the world’s state of gender equality. At the rate she’s going, she’s heading no other way but up. For years, women have quietly guided the lives of men, and—contrary to what men may admit—have taken a place alongside them: from the mothers who rear them, to the wives that support them. It’s about time women have a voice, and through Beverly Dayanan’s example, it’s clear that this can definitely be done.

Zee Lifestyle December-January 2015by Shari Quimbo creative director Melo Esguerra photography Robo Formacion hair and makeup Emi Ayag assistant Rhey Abella

Originally published in Zee Lifestyle December-January 2015

Events

Citizens of the World: CAMPAIGN 2KRAINE

Asmara Urban Resort and Lifestyle Village

Citizens of the World: CAMPAIGN 2KRAINE

By Eva Gullas

“We are all citizens of the world. What’s good for you, must be good for all. If you are lost, share a plate with a stranger… you will find who you are.”

-Jose Andres, renowned Spanish Chef and founder of World Central Kitchen

 

Chef José Andrés

Where there are humanitarian disasters, you will find the volunteers of World Central Kitchen.  In their midst will be local chefs, most of them inspired by its iconic founder, celebrity chef José Andrés. Founded in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake in  2010, World Central Kitchen established its “chef network,” of global professional chefs. The vision was for a kind of “chefs without borders” program where volunteers would enact positive change by cooking using local knowledge and resources. Last year, they even came to the island of Siargao in response to an Instagram plea for help after typhoon Odette almost levelled this idyllic paradise. WCK sponsored 2 community kitchens for 2 months serving 250 to 500 meals per day in Siargao.

WCK at Siargao with volunteers, December 2021. (Photo courtesy of Ai-Ai Garcia)

Chef José Andrés was born in Spain where he honed his culinary skills at the eponymous El Bulli under Ferran Adria. By the time he moved to the US in 1991, he was well on his way to being part of the celebrity chefs, with his Bazaar restaurant at the then SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills a favorite hang-out for Hollywood stars. Michelin stars and James Beard awards followed closely. These days though, Jose Andres spends his time in kitchens all over the world while his top rated chain of restaurants in the US continue to thrive. There’s a Bazaar restaurant at Las Vegas and Miami, and if you happen to be in the area, check out their amazing servings – it’s worth the splurge especially since it is owned by this great humanitarian!

The Bazaar Restaurant in Miami

With the Ukraine invasion delivered to us in sharp details tru social media and TV, it’s hard to ignore. And so, it was a natural conversation to be able to do something about it even in a small way. On a full-moon evening a few days ago, joining us at a beachside home for dinner was Matthew Wood, the German singer guest of Miranda Konstantiniduo who is here for a few days to shoot his latest music video. Sated with a good meal by the sea, we idly discussed a fund raising event with Matthew. We have been so engrossed with local politics and a looming election in just 2 months, that it was refreshing to talk about something bigger than our small world. Butch Carungay, seated in front of me, took the idea to heart and by the following day, he had the graphics for the event, and a ready rolodex of possible donors for the silent auction. Getting on board the following night was Carlo Cordaro, who happily lent us the second level of Asmara Resort. To complement Matthew, Cebuana singer Doods Osmena also will belt out a few songs. An impressive list of items for the silent auction is being compiled by Butch, composed of overnight stays at top resorts, artworks and furniture pieces from named artists.  We will post a list on the day of event. 

German singer Matthew Wood

Asmara Urban Resort and Lifestyle Village

Ribbon designed by Butch Carungay for guests at the fund raising event

It is sponsored by Zee Publications Inc., in our first foray after having been dormant during the pandemic and typhoon Odette. Zee will soon be launching a new artsy printed magazine called Eatz Cebu! 

This Friday, March 25, at 6pm, we open the doors of Asmara Urban Resort (see map) for this fundraising where we hope you can join us by donating a minimum of $50 to the World Central Kitchen directly at https://wck.org/donate. It will be an evening of fun and fundraising, and entry is tru an email or digital receipt of your donation. 

***

On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. By February 25, 2022, Chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen (WCK) was on the ground serving free wholesome meals to those fleeing the violence. Chef Andrés and his volunteers have already served more than one million meals to Ukrainian refugees, from basements, train stations, and shelters. Still, cooking and distributing food in a war zone comes with unique challenges. “We began operations…over two weeks ago inside Lviv,” says Andrés. “The last two days we saw some missiles falling down. So, the western side of Ukraine, that actually was a safe haven for many Ukrainians leaving war, is already kind of feeling like the war is getting closer.” For Andrés, it’s a humanitarian necessity and a call he answers. “The least we can do at World Central Kitchen is be next to them – making sure they will be fed every day.”

SOURCE: MSNBC

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People

What Makes an Empowered Woman? Let’s take it from Megaworld Hotels and Resorts’ Managing Director, Cleofe Albiso

What is an empowered woman made of? Managing Director Cleofe Albiso of Megaworld Hotels and Resorts, the Philippines’ largest homegrown hospitality chain with 4,000 room keys and 11 hotels, composes her thoughts and shares that its grit, resilience, and love. 

Cleofe Albiso, Managing Director of Megaworld Hotels and Resorts  

Settling in on her new leadership role at the start of the new year, Albiso looks back even way before joining the organization during the last quarter of 2019 as its Group General Manager. It comes as a surprise when she shares that her years takes her back from being a pre-school teacher in Cebu using her degree in Bachelor of Science in Education major in mathematics finishing Magna Cum Laude. After a while, and with doors opening for her to join the corporate world, she finds herself earning her years in sales and marketing where she has gathered decades worth of exemplary experience being part of the country’s biggest telecommunications group and international hospitality brands. 

With the highs and blows of life and as well as business, she shares that “An empowered woman needs to have grit”. The will to persevere and continue with passion has become her brand of leadership in serving not just clients and guests, but as well as taking care of the people she works with. Through her dedication, Albiso has since continued to climb the corporate ladder and was also recognized as the first Filipino General Manager of a Marriott International branded property in the country, the Courtyard by Marriott Iloilo that is also one of Megaworld Corporation’s many other operated international hotels in the Philippines. 

Fast forward to today, she looks at the future with gratefulness as she embraces the opportunity to empower the lives of 2,000 employees present across 11 hotels and not to mention 3 more properties opening this year as well as in 2023. She shares that “My responsibility can only be best tackled by filling my heart with gratitude and keeping my purpose in close check when times get challenging.” 

More than ever, she has come to understand that “Resilience is her way of life.” She explains that challenges come and go along with every solution that solves each one of them. Safe to say, what she considers as the biggest one yet would have to be this pandemic.  Albiso hopes that after a two year pause and struggle of the industry “My constant prayer is for our fellow Filipinos to help us recover by patronizing homegrown brands for them to explore the Philippines and travel again.” She said that in doing so “this will mean more jobs for the hospitality and tourism practitioners and boost confidence in the total industry to go back on full swing once again.” 

Admittedly, despite being one of the industries at the frontline of the pandemic, she can still say that “The culture of appreciation in our very own organization has been better strengthened during these times”.  The company lives by the Circle of Happiness. She explains that “Our organization operates with a culture that reminds us to love ourselves, our families, our work, our community with the love of God at the center of everything we do.” This pandemic has better reminded them to strive to take care of the wholistic well-being of each employee from physical to emotional and even mental health.

On top of that, Albiso gathers that what allows them to thrive is their team’s collective ability to take care of their key stakeholders, execute efforts geared towards sustaining the business, and making people stay and work passionately.  She further adds “We are a work in progress and there are many more business and service facets that we are focusing on improving” and humbly claims that “The best years for Megaworld Hotels and Resorts are yet to come.”

When asked about what her best advice to fellow women would be as they reach for their dreams, she said “I only found genuine fulfillment when I started having a relationship with God.  It is only by accepting that we cannot do things by ourselves that we become dependent on our creator.” According to her it is important “That we do not give credit to our talent, creativity and hard work (alone) but give glory to the one above us who have blessed us with all that.”  

At present, their properties are continuously looking to hire qualified applicants for vacant positions in front office, security, information technology, food and beverage, sales & marketing, human resources and engineering for Belmont Hotel Manila and Savoy Hotel Manila within Newport City in Pasay across NAIA terminal 3, Kingsford Hotel Manila located in the Entertainment City of Paranaque, Hotel Lucky Chinatown in Binondo, Twin Lakes Hotel near Tagaytay, Eastwood Richmonde Hotel in Quezon City, Richmonde Hotel Ortigas in Pasig, Richmonde Hotel Iloilo in Iloilo Business Park of Iloilo City, Belmont Hotel Boracay or Savoy Hotel Boracay located at the Newcoast Boracay and Savoy Hotel Mactan Newtown in Cebu.

For more information about how you can be part of Megaworld Hotels and Resorts, kindly email careers@megaworldhotels.com. You may also inquire about your future stays through salesinquiry@megaworldhotels.com or connect with them through any of Megaworld Hotels and Resorts’ and its properties’ social media pages. 

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Lifestyle

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Thanksgiving with the Woolbrights

THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING

The holiday season kicks off officially with Thanksgiving. A time to be grateful for family, friends and blessings. Although this is not usually practiced in our tropical country, there are, however, families like the Woolbrights for whom this is a time-honored tradition.

by Janine Taylor sittings editor Katsy Borromeo fashion stylist Mikey Sanchez food stylist Nicolette Gaw-Yu production manager David Jones Cua intern Danica Ronquillo hair and make-up Jessie Glova assistant Jojo Embalzado photography Joseph Ong locale Woolbright Residence

 

Eddie Woolbright was among the thousands of G.I.’s that landed on the shores of the Philippines during the Japanese occupation. After the war, a few enterprising American soldiers came back, including the 24-year old Eddie who made Tacloban his home, before settling down in Cebu in the 1950s and opened a restaurant and a hardware store downtown—Eddie’s Log Cabin and Eddie’s Hardware and Auto Supply, respectively.

Eddie’s Log Cabin quickly became the hub of social, political and even military scene. It was the first air-conditioned café in town, and more importantly, it offered American diner food including a soda fountain and an ice cream parlor. It was patronized by one and all for its reputation for good food and service.

It also didn’t take long for the fearless Eddie Woolbright to realize that the real estate in the sleepy hillside suburbs was ripe for development. “I will show Cebu what a good planned subdivision is,” Eddie had said, when the late Senator Marcelo Fernan, then a young legal counselor for Columbian Rope Co., took Eddie to see the property. Pretty soon, Eddie had purchased over thirty-three hectares of otherwise undeveloped land from the heirs of the late Arlington Pond.

“Buy land,” Eddie Woolbright was known to quote the late humorist Will Rogers, “because they ain’t gonna make more.”

With his added access to army surplus, he bulldozed tracts of land, and a decade later, Beverly Hills, the first major subdivision in Cebu City, was created, and marketed to the city’s growing well-to-do locals, with the subdivision’s connotations of Hollywood and colonial American aesthetic. Eddie’s belief in the business potentials of central Cebu city enabled him to see much growth in his investments in land development, water drilling, construction, and general trading.

ON THE COVER The Woolbright sisters, Joy, Karen and Alice don Jun Escario’s Holiday Collection, photographed in their home by Joseph Ong. Hair and make-up by Jessie Glova.

 

Eddie had nine children: Rick, Anita, Marc, Gilbert, Alice, Kathy, Kristy, Karen and Joy. All recall that each holiday was as important to them as Christmas. Turkey Thanksgiving dinners, for example, as it was known in the Woolbright household, began when Eddie’s mom, Nell, came to visit sometimes in the 1960s. Eddie would buy a butterball turkey from the American base in Clark and she whipped up a traditional feast complete with cornbread stuffing, cranberry jelly, candied yams, garlic mashed potatoes and her famous giblet gravy which was poured literally all over the bird, as they do back in her home in Oklahoma. Grandma Nell also taught the cooks at Eddie’s Log Cabin to make the famous Coconut Cream Pie, another Eddie’s Log Cabin standard. Kathy also recollects, “It was also dad’s idea that the restaurant and the hotel should serve breakfast 24 hours, and since I loved my Mexican omelet, sliced ham, buttered toast I enjoyed being able to eat breakfast any time of the day.” 

My dad taught me how to be humble. He told us stories about his younger days jumping trains, eating nothing but grapes for days just to go pick cotton. He had a hard life growing up and I guess he wanted us, his children, to know the meaning of hard work. He would say, “Nobody owes you a life in this world”. I didn’t understand it then but I do now. -Alice Woolbright

 

FROM LEFT ON JOY Nude dress, models own; ring and bangle by Gladys Young; ON ALICE Sequined LBD, models own; ON KAREN Grey pleated shift dress from Loalde; ring and necklace by Gladys Young.

Shortly after, turkey was introduced in the menu of Eddie’s Log Cabin, both Americans and Cebuanos, with a penchant for this wholesome meal, look for it when November came, and more especially on Thanksgiving Day. “Dad loved quality meat, and passed on this fondness to us, his children,” noted Karen, “So special meals always consisted of a good steak or the tender Prime Rib Roast. Of course, the year was never complete without a Turkey once or twice.”

As the sisters change into various outfits for the photo shoot in their childhood home, each one recalled the happy memories this holiday brings.  

ON KAREN Teal pantsuit from Loalde, belt by Gladys Young; ON JOY Plum cocktail dress, model’s own; ON ALICE Teal corseted dress by Jun Escario, belt by Gladys Young.

Alice, recalls disliking the giblet gravy as a child but since her dad would serve her at the dinner table she had no choice but to eat it. She adds, “He would get upset if we did not try everything.” Funnily enough, she now looks forward to the giblet gravy and can’t imagine turkey without it.  Her dad, she said, employed the same tactic with his customers at the restaurant so after a while, they ended up getting used to it, and will not have their turkey any other way.

Between brothers and sisters coming home from out of town and family members in the States, there was always some degree of traveling or entertaining company. Dad valued the family bond and holidays were the best time to reinforce that. –Karen Woolbright

Happy hour with the Woolbright siblings.

The family pet Chewy joins in on the annual Woolbright Thanksgiving dinner.

Joy Woolbright-Sotto fondly remembers watching her dad carve the bird. “He made sure that each one of the kids learned how to do it properly, with the white meat sliced thinly enough, and followed last by the dark meat,” she says. A feat she now does with ease. Future doctor Karen says that her dad would always carve the wings and serve it to her, which is still her favorite part of the fowl. Kathy though, considers turkey her comfort food. But she says that she loves the Coconut Cream Pie, which is also served on the restaurant’s menu, and that as a child she could eat half a pie in bed. 

 

Old fashioned roast turkey

Cebu in the 60s and 70s was a very small town, if you wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving, you went to Eddie’s. Eddie’s Log Cabin, like its owner was a trailblazer, the balut dice game originated there, many singers’ careers such as Elizabeth Ramsey’s were given their first break there.  

The torch has been passed on to his children, and they too celebrate it with turkey dinners and all the trimmings, ensuring that the restaurant still serves the traditional menu, down to the Coconut Cream Pie.  Thanksgiving will always be celebrated at their homes, and the Beverly Hotel, the last legacy that Eddie Woolbright gave his children to run.

Another legacy that Eddie left to his children was a love for food and Alice was quick share that she got it too, “I’m usually home during the day and I find myself in the kitchen trying to cook up new dishes to serve.”

 

Back at the Woolbright ancestral home, which is also now Alice’s home, the dining table has been set, evoking autumn and harvest, the candles are lit, the wine is being poured, the buffet table is groaning under the weight of the Thanksgiving repast. The sisters are seated at the table, each with a glass of wine discussing whose turn it is to carve. The annual Woolbright turkey dinner is about to start and I am glad to be invited to join them at their family home. Happy Thanksgiving, indeed.

 

(This article has already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s November 2011 Entertaining Issue, “The Gift that Keeps on Giving” on pages 72-77.)

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