fbpx
Connect with us

People

Confluence of Characters

Bernadette Aboitiz, Rochelle del Rosario and June Alegrado are accomplished ladies whose worlds revolve around family, work and civic responsibilities to a younger generation to which Andrea, Kristy and Krystle belong. Their commonality? Comfortable elegance that transcends the age gap…

Bernadette Aboitiz, Rochelle del Rosario and June Alegrado are accomplished ladies whose worlds revolve around family, work and civic responsibilities to a younger generation to which Andrea, Kristy and Krystle belong. Their commonality?  Comfortable elegance that transcends the age gap…

Dinner is to be hosted by Kathy Tesoro, the exclusive distributor of Brazilian brand, Grendha. It is the eve before the cover shoot and in an effort to, as she puts it, “break the ice,” we await the six ladies handpicked to be the faces, or rather feet, of the footwear line known for its chic designs sculpted ingeniously from PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) – that soft rubber that’s surpassed trends for many years for its comfort and water-repelling magic.

The first to arrive at Maya Mexican restaurant happens to be the youngest of the pack, fifteen-year- old Andrea Aldeguer, the eldest daughter of entrepreneur Jay Aldeguer, and the former Camille Villarreal. She brings two endearing accessories – a close friend and the timidity that comes with youth. Of course, later that evening, she would also be the earliest to leave, as our cheery teen, who is a junior at Sacred Heart School – Hijas de Jesus, has a nine pm curfew.  “I own five Grendhas,” she admits, sporting a pair of cute flats that evening. She wears the boho chic style of High School Musical star, Vanessa Hudgens. For someone who hasn’t reached sweet sixteen yet, she has no qualms about wanting to someday be part of the fashion world. After all, she was only seven when she designed her first dress for their specialty retail boutique, Loalde. “I used to spend every weekend at the office.” She would also travel with her grandmother to Hongkong to select merchandise that would best suit the brand’s image. The self-confessed shopaholic and blogger has her sights on being a stylist ala Rachel Zoe.

Next to arrive was Zee Lifestyle’s very own budding stylist, a girl you probably will never catch without a little eyeshadow to offset her almond-shaped eyes or sans her hair in perfect, soft curls. A fresh graduate from the Ateneo de Manila University, Krystle Uy is already making a name for herself in the industry through her styling and directing stints for dailies and glossies, recently adding Zee Lifestyle to her growing resume. “Don’t ever think you can’t do it, because anything you put your mind to, you can achieve” is the mantra she lives by. Having spent a semester in Paris to take a fashion course at Mod’art International, Krystle has had a taste of living in a foreign country where she ultimately developed her street smarts as well as fashion savvy. She belongs after all to a family that owns the retail chain of Rosita’s, and surrounded with two equally fashionable sisters, Jacklyn (who also photographs for Zee Lifestyle) and Diane. Au courant with the latest fads, she is currently co-manning the new campaign for her sister’s rapidly expanding clothes shop, What A Girl Wants (WAGW). And when she’s not running in heels to see to WAGW’s fashion shows and the like, Krystle laces up her ballet shoes and pirouettes. “I’ve been a performing artist for eight years now. Dance, like fashion, helps me express myself in a liberating way.”

The mood in the restaurant begins to liven up as one by one the guests arrive.  The svelte Bernie Aboitiz comes with Zee Lifestyle’s Eva Gullas, her next-door neighbor. She is shortly followed by Rochelle del Rosario, who planed in earlier from her Davao home. By now, everyone is aware that Grendha’s two other chosen endorsers can’t make it – Kristy Tesoro who was taking the last flight from Davao to Cebu that night, and June Alegrado who was feeling under the weather. Still the table is abuzz on June’s bagging the most coveted prize of a brand new car raffled at Radisson Blu’s grand opening two nights ago, and where the photo shoot was to set for the following day.

To eat or not to eat before the big day? This was a question that got mixed responses from the women. Who could ignore the occasional ooh’s and aah’s over the melt-in-your-mouth signature vientre de tuerco dish. By the end of the night, whether it was a margarita or a glass of Chardonnay in one’s hand, a single dynamic rang true: there was no way the merriment wouldn’t spill over to the next day.

The morning of the cover shoot. While the vanity cases are disassembled on the tables to create makeshift make-up counters, a dose of “yuppie-ness” greets us in the form of Kristy Tesoro, Kathy’s younger sister. She seems well-rested from her late-night arrival and is ready to get down to business in a sensible pair of black wide leg trousers with a sleeveless fuschia blouse. She is classic with a twist personified. “I think it’s all about detail.  You will most likely find me in an outfit in basic colors. However, there will surely be a piece of accessory like a necklace, cocktail ring or bib that will complete the outfit.” Also a graduate from Ateneo de Manila, Kristy is currently a marketing manager for a multinational firm. “I have been independent for so long. Living alone has really helped me be more confident to take on the things that life throws my way.” After a long day of hard work, she likes to have a short run and meet with friends after. “Aside from my day job, I’m also into business so that takes up most of my time.” She helps sister Kathy manage their Grendha outlets and given her love of shoes, she helps choose the styles that will be available for the next collection.

As the morning progresses, the women enter the room as if by an unspoken roll call.  Each waits patiently for her turn on the make-up stool. Some choose to browse the net on their laptops, others prefer to chat with their friends over a cup of coffee or tea while occasionally admiring FTV’s coverage of São Paulo fashion week flashing on the room’s flat screen telly.

When June Alegrado breezes in, there is an immediate exchange of hellos. June is one whom you instinctively sense is very comfortable in her own skin – and perfectly bronzed at that. Her sheer animal print caftan and long ebony mane emphasize this vixen’s raw sensuality. “I like clothes that have clean uncluttered lines. I like elongated silhouettes that follow the form, and accessories that are unobtrusive,” June declares. The Alegrados hail from Butuan City, where the family ran a lumber business before relocating to Cebu City. Her dad has since expanded the business to include beach properties, notably the luxe resort of Maribago Bluewater in Mactan, the Almont chain of hotels and resorts in Mindanao, Sumilon Bluewater Beach Resort – an island paradise at the southern tip of Cebu and an upcoming resort project in Bohol. The resorts are ably managed by June’s sister, Julie Alegrado Vergara, but June was given the responsibility of running the spas (for this, she goes to Thailand for continuous training), as well as the gift shops.

She stops to say hi to Andrea, who is batchmates with her daughter. “My children keep me busy. Whenever possible, spending quality time with them is a priority. Being a single mother is very challenging and demanding,” she confesses.  To prove that point, June was juggling a tight schedule that day, trying to catch an afternoon flight to Manila to be with the two younger kids, Izarra, fourteen and Iñigo, thirteen, who were competing in a soccer tournament.  In between sips of tea, she also had to sign a footlong pile of checks for the company’s payroll. Just a few months ago, June was spotted at a local builder warehouse choosing tiles—she had to refurbish two bathrooms for her second son, Basi, who goes to school in the US and was bringing in four friends for a vacation.  June planned out an itinerary to keep the kids get a wonderful holiday—checking on the bathroom, the breakfast menu and everything in between. “My oldest son, Domiku, is my rock, he’s been there for me and his younger siblings,” June proudly credits her 22-year-old son who is currently a student at Enderun College in Manila.

On the side, she’s been quietly working quietly with the resort’s employees for their adopted advocacy. “Through our family’s foundation, we’ve been sponsoring deserving students for more than ten years.  We started with children of our employees. By 2011, we will complete our training center for basic hospitality skills and expand our educational advocacy.” A mother who has had her share of life’s ups and downs, June radiates optimism when she reveals that her strength, just like any other woman’s, is a product of a lifetime’s worth of hits and misses. “The more misses you recover from, the better person you become.”

As the six women find their best angles and balance out the cricks in their necks from holding their poses, they are proof that practice really does make for perfection.  After an hour or so, they ease into their element, finding the technique of feigned dialogue a welcome icebreaker for those candid shots. Eventually, this evolves into a genuine exchange of ideas between the women.

Rochelle Rabat del Rosario, for one, has an effervescent personality that makes you want to talk to her for hours. Although her wardrobe consists mostly of her favorite shade – white—her playful side pops out in the pleats and fringes of her feminine garments. Her clothing choices have an easygoing resort vibe but are also appropriately fit for the occasion. “I wear whatever I’m in the mood for, as long as when I look at myself in the mirror, I like what I see and I’m comfortable in it. When my thirteen-year-old daughter, Ariana, approves of my outfit, then it has passed the test.” This mother of two (her son Robertino is attending Ateneo de Manila at the moment), Rochelle was raised in Mati, Davao Oriental and belongs to a political family, from both hers and her husband’s side. Her father-in-law, Rodolfo del Rosario, is the governor of Davao del Norte while her husband, Rodney, who is the oldest son, runs Century Rural Bank. But instead of following tradition, Rochelle would rather make the world a better place through her cooking. A self-confessed foodie, she takes pleasure in preparing Filipino and Mediterranean dishes for friends at their cozy home setting. Food also takes her outside her home. “We have around sixty children in our feeding program, which was started by a good friend. Every month, they are weighed to gauge its effectiveness. One challenge is finding a kitchen-type place that meets our hygienic standards, and for this we usually used each other’s kitchens, which can be both fun and frustrating,” she admits. Her volunteer work is now part of her weekly routine, which includes managing her Coffee Dream franchise and stretching out her lithe limbs in Pilates class. How does this busy mother of two unwind? “I usually have a glass of wine with my husband. It doesn’t matter where.”

“Those are really nice,” Bernie gushes as she admires the metal detail on Rochelle’s Grendha flip-flops. She is quite a vision herself in a minimalistic ivory body-hugging gown. Her practical sensibility is echoed in the way she dresses – sophistication wrapped up in comfort, accented with a watch to, yes, tell the time. This active individual likes to take on tasks from start to finish without wasting a single minute, especially when it’s something she’s passionate about. Nowadays, Bernadette Montinola Aboitiz is on a mission to decongest our public schools and give out-of-school youth a good education similar to what her children are privileged to have. Her membership in The Lord Who Cares Foundation is a lot more than a mere pastime; it’s a calling to, as she puts it, “seize those divine moments.”

Bernie’s relationship with the foundation stems from somewhere deep. “When I was recovering from cancer, I volunteered to help out in the first year of running a school for mostly dumpsite children. I began to pursue a second degree in education to become a teacher in this school.” It was an arduous feat for Bernie to go back to reviewing for the licensing exam at her age, but it has paid off immensely. “Now, I teach a job reinforcement course prepared by an international justice mission to help disenfranchised youths either pursue college or prepare themselves for the workforce. We point them in the right direction.” In fact, one of the companies that support this program is Visayan Electric Company, where husband Jimmy Aboitiz is the SVP and COO. “Their world is small. This program exposes them to income opportunities they can aspire for. We need to reach out and help our youth!”

That is not to say that Bernie, who comes from Manila—she and Jimmy met in Los Angeles during their school days—doesn’t enjoy life.  The couple often sneak out to little trips together especially now that their three children – Liane, Rafa and Gabby – have left them with an empty nest to go to school in the US.
Such vivacity exuded by these six females from diverse backgrounds. Yet somehow, they are now intertwined by the common thread of literally the sandals on their feet that day.

  • by PIA ECHEVARRIA
  • sittings editor KATSY BORROMEO
  • photography CANDICE RUIZ
  • fashion stylist MIKEY SANCHEZ
  • make-up artist EMI AYAG and JESSIE GLOVA
  • hair stylist JAIME MONDIGO
  • hair and make-up stylist RHEY ABELLA
  • locale RADISSON BLU

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.  

Continue Reading

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.”

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

Trending