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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.

People

Eight Years of Redefining Hospitality Service

by Allain Dumon Fonte

The person behind the very successful chain of Bayfront Hotel  Cebu is the youngest son of entrepreneur couple, Edgar and Gregoria Cokaliong.  I first met Charlton as a young and dashing gentleman busily working in their textile business.  I am impressed with how he excellently juggled taking care of orders, organizing shipments, arranging deliveries, accounting, and even managing the staff of their textile company.  Charlton is an alumnus of Cebu Eastern College where he finished his primary and secondary education.  He then went to the University of San Carlos and studied accountancy.  He successfully passed the accounting licensure examinations, and worked as a certified public accountant while helping in the family’s textile business; who would have thought that he would venture into hospitality.  

Charlton Cokaliong (Managing Director of Bayfron Hotel Cebu). Picture taken at the Bayfront Hotel Lobby.

In 2014, he first opened Bayfront Hotel Cebu at the North Reclamation Area.  I even wondered why of all the places that he can start a hotel, he had to choose the North Reclamation Area.  I find the location appalling for a hotel.  What view will the guests see?  I would not want to stay in a room where the views are cranes, machines, and container vans from the sea port.  Yet, Charlton foresaw the future of hospitality service.  He knew that with the recent developments of Cebu City, people will prefer to stay in hotels that are near to the city, and have access to almost everything they need.  The hotel is right across SM City Cebu, 10 minutes from the sea ports, 30 minutes from the airport, and 15 minutes to almost all the tourist destinations in the city and in the hills of Cebu.  Then, he made the hotel packages and event packages reasonably priced; yet, with a 5-star quality of service.  I even questioned, are you not losing for the prices that you have set?  However, since the hotel opened and up to the present, Bayfront Hotel Cebu has always been fully booked and is becoming the primary choice of venue for events and celebrations.  Charlton explained that he foresaw that with the rising economy and the rising population of the metropolitan, people will always prefer to celebrate special occasions; yet, considering the inflation every year, people will also choose to become more practical by spending less  without compromising quality.  And this is what Bayfront Hotel Cebu delivers, an experience of excellent hospitality service at a price that no other can match.

Bayfront Hotel Cebu in Capitol Site.

Because of the continuous demand for their hotel rooms and venues, Charlton opened another Bayfront Hotel Cebu in September 2021.  This time the location is at the heart of the uptown of Cebu in the Capitol Site.  Again, Charlton banked on the great location of the second Bayfront hotel.  I once again questioned him on this; considering the competition in the area because of the many up and coming business hotels that offer the same rates and packages.  Charlton smiled and confidently said that apart from the great location, he also banks on the quality of service that his staff can deliver.  “If you take care of your staff very well, your staff will take good care of your customers”.  I have seen first hand how Charlton handles and manages his staff at their textile store, so I know how he also handles and takes good care of his staff in the hotel.  And I realized that this is his biggest selling point, the hotel’s incomparable service and friendliness.  Even though the hotel opened in the middle of pandemic restrictions, the new hotel is getting countless reservations; most especially that the Capitol Site Bayfront Hotel offers an amazing view of the city skyline at its roofdeck bar and pool area.  The gym , pool , and bar amenities at the hotel’s roof deck with its view are a must to be experienced.

Standard De Luxe Room at the Bayfront Hotel Cebu.

Early of 2022, Charlton also opened the hotel’s in-house dining feature.  For seven years, Bayfront Hotel Cebu was catered by a third party food concessionaire.  But, again, Charlton foresees that the Filipino market will be more critical to food and taste.  I asked, why is this?  Charlton explained that with travel becoming more affordable and accessible, people will get to experience different kinds of food and dine in different restaurants.  Hence, people will now learn to benchmark, not only from local restaurants, but also from their dining experiences around the Philippines and overseas.  Therefore, Bayfront Hotel Cebu needs to step up its game in dining.  With the opening of Caja Kitchen, Bayfront Hotel offers more selections of Asian and Filipino comfort food fusion with international cuisines.  With Caja Kitchen, Charlton turned a Filipino menu into an international dining experience. I asked him how he came up with all these.  Charlton  explained that dedication to make his guests happy and satisfied is the key motivation why he does not stop thinking about innovating and reinventing everyone’s hospitality and dining experience. 

Caja Restaurant: Bayfront Hotel Cebu’s in-house dining facility.

In September of this year, the Bayfront Hotel Cebu in North Reclamation Area is officially celebrating its 8th year of wonderful and excellent hospitality service; while the Bayfront Hotel Cebu in Capitol turns 1!  Great and exciting anniversary promotions and packages await its patrons and guests!  Please visit the social media pages of Bayfront Hotel Cebu to know the amazing anniversary deals!

With my last question, what does he have in mind now.  Charlton just smiled and said, “Well, who knows?  Another Bayfront Hotel Cebu shall rise soon!”.  After this interesting conversation, I can say that Charlton is truly a man who can foresee the future; may it be in business, in the market, with the trends, and with new experiences.  

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People

Congratulations to Our New DOT Secretary! The Story of Cebu’s Power Couple

Congratulations to Our New DOT Secretary!

The Story of Cebu’s New Power Couple

Whether it’s spearheading progressive efforts in Liloan or spending weekends with their kids, Christina and Duke Frasco do things as a team. On their ninth year as a wedded couple, they share a side of themselves we haven’t seen before.
Republished  from Zee’s Digital Issue dated January 2018
by Gia Mayola photography Dan Douglas Ong sittings editor Shari Quimbo hair and makeup Arnauld stylist Vanessa East

ON CHRISTINA Sleeveless top, jeans and pumps, model’s own. ON DUKE Pierre del Hierro sweater, from RUSTAN’S AYALA CENTER CEBU. Joggers and sneakers, model’s own.

Despite it being a day for family, Christina and Duke Frasco gamely accepted our Sunday-scheduled photo shoot. Not that they had any choice, considering that most days found their schedules fully packed.

The dynamic couple is hard to pin down for a reason. Christina is the mayor of Liloan, a first-class municipality in Cebu. On the other hand, Duke was appointed Cebu Port Authority Commissioner by President Rodrigo Duterte just last year, willingly giving up his position as Liloan’s vice-mayor alongside his wife. While they have a lot on their plate because of work, having three young children is an added responsibility.

PUBLIC SERVANTS

Driven by her administration’s goals for sustainable and inclusive development, Christina has introduced various innovations to public leadership, focusing on stakeholder participation in community governance and equitable access to government service.

She established the Liloan Community Action for Reforestation and Environmental Sustainability (LILOAN CARES), which brings community stakeholders together to periodically engage in environment programs. She also put up a Green Points System, which grants incentives to businesses that implement environment-friendly measures. Additionally, she has introduced an engaging approach to recycling in schools, and prohibits the use of plastics on certain days of the week. She has also founded Operation Second Chance providing rehabilitation and livelihood to drug surrenderees, and the Liloan Leading Empowered Action Against Drugs Summit (LILOAN LEADS), among many others.

On his end, Duke is a dynamic and engaging leader who thrives under pressure and focuses on realizing long-term goals and sustainable development. His governance has garnered him multiple awards—The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines Award 2014 for Public Administration, from the Junior Chamber International (JCI), Inc. and the Gerry Roxas Foundation.

With his first two terms as mayor, Liloan elevated from a third-class municipality to a first-class one. He boldly spearheaded a comprehensive overhaul of the municipal tax code, and the modernization of local business processes.

ON CHRISTINA Josie Natori knit sleeveless top and lounge pants, from RUSTAN’S AYALA CENTER CEBU. ON DUKE T-shirt, model’s own. Ricardo Preto trousers, from RUSTAN’S AYALA CENTER CEBU.

THE LOVE OF LILOAN

Goal-driven and full of ideals, the couple has helped develop Liloan into what it is today. The municipality is one of the most progressive in Cebu, even establishing the Liloan Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Federation during Christina’s term, the first in the country spearheaded by a local government unit. Liloan prides itself in having the first LGU-established gender-neutral public restroom in the country.

“Our dream is to become a city,” Christina divulges. She envisions Liloan as an ideal place to live, study, work and invest. “In preparation for that, we are focusing on improving public infrastructure, opening up and improving road networks, and ensuring strict compliance with our Zoning Ordinance and Comprehensive Land Use Plans to ensure that development is regulated, deliberate and sustainable.”

This year, Liloan is launching tour packages that will feature its cottage industries and various tourist sites. Health services are being professionalized, scholarship programs expanded, and more investments channeled into its law enforcement and disaster response programs.

“We are also enhancing our community governance programs focused on protecting the environment, providing economic opportunities through livelihood, and reaching out to all sectors and stakeholders by incentivizing participation and compliance with our laws and regulations,” Christina adds.

Duke shares that every now and then, he offers input to his wife. “I advice Christina on various matters, especially regarding the projects started during my term, such as our scholarship program and purok system,” he says. “Being the party chairman of our local political party, I am also in continued contact with our local leaders.”

ON CHRISTINA Cropped top and jeans, model’s own.

THE PORT AUTHORITY

Beyond Liloan, Duke is enjoying his new position. “Since the thrust of the Cebu Port Authority spans the entire Province of Cebu, I am grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to improving the transport of people and goods throughout Cebu, through the continued improvement of existing ports and establishment of new ports.”

New ports, such as the plans of moving the Cebu International Port north, off the coasts of Consolacion and Liloan to decongest the city. 

“A port is always a welcome development considering it will further boost the economy of Liloan and Consolacion, and the entire Northern Cebu,” Duke says. “It provides livelihood opportunities for our people, which are relevant factors for cityhood. Moreover, the more ports, international or domestic, that we develop here, the better it will be for the people of Cebu.”

The addition of more ports will complement the project he has been working on the past year, the ferry boat system. He laments the terrible traffic that Cebuanos experience each day, comparing the travel time it takes from Liloan to Cebu City ten years ago and now. The ferry boat system includes developing ports in strategic locations in the Province of Cebu, connecting ferries or boats that can accommodate 80 to 200 people per boat. That includes room for motorcycles and possibly vehicles.

Duke expects this to be a game changer for the Cebuano. “Hopefully, it will relieve us of the stress and frustration we experience each day going through Cebu traffic,” he says. “I can just imagine our fellow Cebuanos feeling relaxed on a boat, feeling the sun and sea breeze on their faces, as opposed to the honking of horns and uneasiness of sitting in a PUJ or in your vehicles, not knowing whether they will arrive on time at their destination.”

Aside from his work with the Cebu Port Authority, Duke is also involved with his family’s business Titay’s as the Chief Financial Officer, and as a member of the Board of Directors. 

ON DUKE Pierre del Hierro sweater from RUSTAN’S AYALA CENTER CEBU. Jeans and fedora, model’s own.

A GREAT PAIR

It’s evident that the two make a great pair. They met back in June 2007 at Gwendolyn Garcia’s—Christina’s mother—inauguration as the re-elected Governor of Cebu. Duke was among the officials invited to attend, having just been elected into his first term as the Mayor of Liloan. Christina had just recently passed the bar exams and became a lawyer.

“I suppose you could say that we met at a time when both of us were at a turning point in our lives,” Christina recalls. “It is a blessing that our paths crossed at a time that it did. I was taken by Duke’s charisma. To me, he exuded kindness and humility. Of course, bonus sad gyud na guapo kaayo siya (it’s a bonus that he’s so handsome)!”

“I thought she was beautiful, elegant and well-spoken,” Duke adds. “When we were introduced, I was speechless!”

They’re naturals in front of the camera, effortlessly settling into the poses the photographer asks them to do. At one point, they’re locked in an intimate embrace and looking into each others’ eyes. Duke sweeps in for a kiss that makes everyone in the studio coo.

“I couldn’t help it,” Duke defends himself with a laugh, holding Christina closer as she giggles.

“He can’t resist me,” she tells us with raised eyebrows.

FAMILY TIES

The couple comes from political families, and it’s interesting to note that neither of the two had initial plans of running 

for office. Duke was in the audit and finance industry in the US, working for global consulting firm Protiviti right after finishing his double degree in Business Administration (Finance and Business Law) and Accounting at the Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

“I had no plans at all,” Duke admits. “My father, who had been Mayor then Vice-Mayor, died unexpectedly. The barangay captains of Liloan contacted me because the wanted to have me run for the position. It took me a couple of years before I finally decided to come home and run for Mayor in 2006.”

On Christina’s end, she had spent nearly ten years focused on building her career as a lawyer. After graduating from Ateneo Law, she practiced litigation, international arbitration and corporate law with one of the top-tier law firms in the Philippines, Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & Delos Angeles, being the head of its Cebu office.

“I knew that I wanted to make something of myself out of my own achievements, outside of and away from politics,” Christina shares. “I must say though that being exposed to public service at a young age led me to an inclination to help others. I always felt a sense of duty to my country, because that’s what I saw in my family as I was growing up.”

Despite initially having no plans to follow in their family’s political path, they both express a deep appreciation and admiration for their respective families’ contributions to Cebu. “He was Mayor of Liloan for close to a decade, but served Liloan all his life,” Duke says about his father, the late Panphil B. Frasco or Dodong Daku. “He was a man of the people, and Liloanons still speak of his kindness and humility to this day. I also greatly admire my uncle Gerardo ‘Dodong Gamay’ Frasco, for his pragmatism and wisdom, which has guided our family to carrying on the Titay’s legacy spanning 111 years.”

“For me, they have set the bar to which I would like to contribute to Cebu as a Cebuano,” Christina says of her own family. “For his statesmanship and brilliant legal mind, my grandfather, former Governor and Deputy Speaker Pablo P. Garcia. For her passion towards community development and social justice, my grandmother, the late Judge and Cebu CFI Community Cooperative founder Esperanza F. Garcia. For her great love for Cebu and legendary work ethic, my mom, former Governor Gwen F. Garcia.”

NEW LEADERSHIP

As two young personalities in government, they hope to be able to empower people through education. For ten years now since Duke’s first term and continuing though Christina’s current term, they have a scholarship program that has benefitted over 6,000 students.

They believe that an educated population is an empowered population, capable of becoming financially independent and discerning in their choices. “For us, this is key to breaking out of the bonds of poverty and patronage,” Christina affirms.

The Frascos hope to introduce innovations to governance, like reducing redundancies and bureaucracy through the use of technology, and being more connected and transparent through the use of social media. They also support the call for Federalism, believing that it will give local governments more leeway and funding in improving local infrastructure and creating more locally-relevant projects for the people.

Considering that standpoint, it’s no surprise how vocal the couple has been in their support for the controversial President Rodrigo Duterte. “President Duterte has political will, and he is a law and order President,” they say. “We believe that his extensive executive experience sets him apart as a leader because he knows the value of enforcing the law in order to have a stable society. At the same time, he recognizes the necessity of governing in a manner that is compassionate and responsive to the needs of the people.”

In the face of many conflicting views toward the President’s brand of leadership, both Duke and Christina acknowledge that opposition is necessary for a working democracy, but hope that Filipinos can come together and support his national agenda of building a stable and peaceful society. “We owe it to our country to set aside what divides us, and to unite behind our common goal of attaining a better life for our countrymen and for our children.”

Aside from their daily responsibilities, the couple also fosters their own advocacies. With education being high on Duke’s list of priorities, Christina also extends efforts for the empowerment of women and children. “The promotion of inclusive development as well—giving equitable opportunities to vulnerable sectors such as the LGBT and the youth,” she adds.

EVERYDAY LIFE

Being in the government means a lot of responsibility for the couple, and a typical day for them is being up 6:00 in the morning to have breakfast with their children before school, then going to their respective offices for work.

For Duke, work is either at the Cebu Port Authority to attend board meetings, or at their Frasco Group Office to attend to business matters. He also attends to pressing concerns in Liloan if need be, which shows how he is still dedicated to it even if he is no longer its Vice-Mayor.

Christina is either at the Municipal Hall to sign papers, attend meetings and meet constituents at the office, or scheduling visits to Liloan’s barangays and puroks.

To keep from getting too stressed or burnt out, Duke says, “I go to the gym and I run. I also like to Netflix and chill.”

Christina, on the other hand, makes time to paint and experiment with new dishes for Duke and their kids. She mentions that, if their schedules permit, they try to devote their weekends to their kids—watching movies, eating out, and traveling. “When Duke and I get home, we also make a conscious decision not to talk about work,” she finishes.

A COUPLE AT WORK

While some people might find the idea of a married couple working together as a possible hindrance to getting things done, the Frascos think otherwise. To them, it is an advantage because their vision and values are aligned. “We are able to enjoy our victories together, and we’re able to lift each other up in tough times, knowing that we will have each other’s back,” they share.

Duke and Christina are celebrating their ninth wedding anniversary this year, and it’s no question that the romance is still very much alive between them. They share that their marriage is anchored on their love for each other, their love for their family, and their shared goals for the future.

At the same time, they emphasize that retaining a sense of individuality is also important, along with having a healthy respect for each other’s differences. Compromise is key, and they constantly make sure to keep their values and goals in check, adjusting each other’s expectations as necessary and working out their differences.

Considering all that Duke and Christina have accomplished at a young age, we had to ask if they had plans of running for higher office. “We have great plans for the future, not just for ourselves, but also for our family and for Liloan,” they said. “As Cebuanos, we would like to continue to contribute to the development of Cebu. However, we also realize that ultimately, it is for the people to decide whether they would want us to continue to serve. As for the rest, it is in God’s hands. So we are focused on doing as much as we can in the here and now, with the opportunities that we have been given, for which we feel very blessed.”

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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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