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Down with the Fitness

Are health buffs this decade’s heartthrobs? Zee Lifestyle introduces some of the city’s trainers, instructors and athletes whose tireless efforts at the gym, studio or field have garnered head-turning results.

Are health buffs this decade’s heartthrobs? Zee Lifestyle introduces some of the city’s trainers, instructors and athletes whose tireless efforts at the gym, studio or field have garnered head-turning results.

Studying Sports Science in college, Pio Solon had an outline of what he wanted to be doing for the rest of his life. As an age-group swimmer as well as teacher and personal trainer, you can bet that he knows his stuff. However, that wasn’t enough; he was working on owning his own gym and being able to provide people with the chance of a lifestyle change.

In January of 2012, he started Epic Performance and Fitness Solutions. He describes what they do as “functional training,” meaning all workouts are tailored for each person. “I envision this workout as a part of everybody’s fitness regimen. We all should do some sort of strength training as there are countless benefits to our bodies besides looking good,” Pio says. And since opening Epic, he has never heard anyone say they feel worse when they get stronger.

Although he struggled when he first opened Epic, being a swimmer who wasn’t used to working on land, he stuck through it and became stronger. “People should be consistent with their workouts. Beginners have to be consistent as it’s the fastest way to achieve progress and meet your goals,” he adds. In the end, all Pio strives for is progress—it’s part of the package when you begin your change at Epic.

Epic Performance and Fitness Solutions

“I was in Brazil on the  Rotary Student Exchange program and looking for a martial art to study. An old man told me that Brazil had its own martial art, created by the African slaves, that was a blend of dance, music and acrobatics,” says Jensen Chow of how he got into capoeira. The idea intrigued him, and now 17 years later, he’s brought the rhythmic art to Cebu. 

A capoeira class involves lots of movement—kicks and hand strikes, partnered drills, acrobatics—all done to the steady beat of the accompanying instruments. “Capoeira is fun, but even more than just moving your body, the art exercises the spirit too,” says Jensen, talking of how it’s also become a form of self-expression through the various movements. As a holistic body workout, capoeira is a great way to get lean, although that’s not purely why you should get into it. “Rather than doing it only for the sake of losing weight, a practitioner will also enjoy themselves,” he says, although he’s quick to remind beginners that weight loss can only achieved when matched with the proper diet, reduced stress and enough sleep.

Watching the various  movements might make capoeira seem daunting to take up, but Jensen reassures that you shouldn’t be intimidated. “Enjoy every part of the art and don’t compare your progress to anyone else but yourself,” he advises beginners. “The goal is not to become phenomenal athletes, even though that may happen; but rather, the goal is to lose yourself in the art and explore all aspects, from the music, song and movements. It can be done by any age, weight or fitness level, and helps increase flexibility, strength, endurance, rhythm and reflexes.”

Sinha Bahia De Capoeira Internacional

Growing up playing  American football, yoga was the last thing on his mind. But when constant injuries pushed him to engage in an activity that didn’t involve getting pushed down and shoved across a field, Robert Vecchioni turned to yoga to help him push through the pain from injuries and strengthen his muscles again.

Robert practiced yoga in Manila, where he was licensed to teach. He has since remained in the Philippines and is currently working as a yoga instructor at Yogahub in BTC. “Many think that yoga is for girls, that it doesn’t give you enough exercise. It actually strengthens your core and is one of the best ways to build up your muscles,” Robert says.

He wants readers to know that  yoga is an exercise for all, and many would be surprised to hear that quite a few professional tennis, soccer, and basketball players regularly do yoga to enhance their skills. “It prevents injuries because of how flexible and agile it makes you,” he adds. Although it may not be enough to just do yoga, Robert says incorporating it into your routine, along with sports or working out, is more than enough to help you get in shape.


The journey began  when this man participated in The Biggest Loser—weighing in at 309 pounds. After coming out of the camp weighing 240 pounds, Alan Choachuy incorporated fitness into his daily routine; he made it a goal that he strived to achieve.

At a current weight of 184  pounds, Alan has come a long way. He owes his strength to his mentor, Coach Jim Saret, who was alongside him every step of the way. In May of last year, he took control of booting up the FITFIL Fitness Boot Camp that drew in over 200 people. Due to the success of the camp, Alan had the idea to start his own camp—METAFit Fitness Boot Camp.

The camp focuses on small  group mentorship to ensure that every participant gets an equal amount of attention from the trainers. “Fitness is not about losing weight. Fitness is about getting stronger, fitter, and healthier,” he says. The METAFit camp is not only for those who want to lose weight, but those who are just looking to get fit as well.

Last year, Alan participated in  Ironman Cebu, which he called a “lifelong dream. It was a very emotional finish for me. I broke down at the finish line while bringing the Biggest Loser banner with so much pride,” he shares. Alan says he just hopes to help everyone achieve everything he has achieved. “I’m living proof that you can be what you want to be as long as you put your heart into it.”

Metafit Cebu

Growing up in Switzerland, a  country where ice hockey has always been a stadium filler, Steven Füglister is no alien to the sport. “I like the intensity, physical aspect and the fast pace of the sport. That it’s a team sport is also a big bonus,” he says.

In truth, this isn’t an easy sport.  Steven describes his training as four practices and two games paired with off-ice practices every week. However, he doesn’t stop there; he works out in the gym, focusing on full-body workouts that help improve his game. Aside from hockey, he plays golf and basketball, but he tells us those are just hobbies.

“If played competitively, it’s  like HIIT Training (high intensity interval training) with lots of stops and gos, so you will definitely stay in shape.” Although the Philippines is a tropical country and time on the ice is limited, Steven says he is surprised to have found so many people—Filipinos and expats alike—who are interested in playing ice hockey. His advice for beginners is to master skating first, as it is a must, before venturing into organized hockey, or any other on-ice sport for that matter.

Being only 22 years  old, Paolo Pascual may be relatively young, but he’s already found his calling— soccer. “It was the only club back then so I decided to try it out. I’ve been playing since I was seven years old,” he tells us. Now, he’s the goalkeeper for the Azkals, the Philippines’ national soccer team, and competes in various tournaments here and in other neighboring countries.

One thing he points out is  that soccer is no walk in the park. The training is intense; his team trains for two hours a day, with occasional double sessions—one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The training consists of warm-ups, a couple of runs to keep them quick on their feet, and they spend the rest of the practice doing shooting drills. Paolo doesn’t stop there; he tries to go to the gym at least four times a week to maintain his physical shape.

“I love the challenge that  the sport brings,” he adds. It’s one that takes years of practice with the guarantee that you learn something new everyday. And even after all that, it’s a sport you can never perfect. He agrees that soccer is a great way to get fit, as you do a lot of cardio and quick bursts. “Just don’t give up. Everything requires time and dedication. Once you are committed to the sport, success will follow.” And we can trust what he says, as his own words have taken him very far.


A workout  originally used by Navy SEALs, you can bet that anyone who does TRX professionally knows all about getting and staying fit. Paul Martin Gabatan, the exercise training manager at CITIGYM has been doing TRX for a little over a year now, after taking the TRX Trainer’s Certification in June last year. His decision to pursue TRX was based on it being an all-around system that allowed people to perform hundreds of exercises anytime and anywhere.

However, it wasn’t all easy for  him in the beginning. He had a hard time stabilizing his body, which led him to realize he had a very weak core. He says that as a beginner, the user has control over the body resistance, angle, and stability. “I would strongly recommend that you hire a certified TRX trainer to perform the exercises safely and effectively.”

“The TRX Suspension  Trainer workouts delivers a fast and effective total body workout, helps you build a solid core, increases muscular endurance, and it benefits people of all fitness levels,” Paul says of the system. He recommends atomic pushups, inverted rows, and single-leg jump squats as they give a total body workout. They’re very versatile workouts, also focusing on strengthening and balancing the core.

TRX is perfect if you are  looking to lose weight because it raises your heart rate, thus increasing your metabolism and burning hundreds of calories. “The TRX Suspension Training allows for hundreds of exercises so anyone can reach their fitness goal no matter what level or experience they may have,” Paul adds.



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EXCLUSIVE: Never Been Released Behind-the-Scenes photos of Zee Lifestyle’s Emerald Issue Cover Shoot

Photographer Jan Gonzales, Margie Lhuillier, June Alegrado, Kryz Uy, Mia Arcenas, Amparito Lhuillier and Alice Woolbright

We celebrate the strength and resilience of womanhood in this year’s Mother’s Day by looking back at these never been seen before behind-the-scenes shots of  Zee Lifestyle Magazine’s Emerald (20th Anniversary) Issue cover shoot featuring the “Leading Women” of Cebu.



To celebrate the 20 beautiful years of Zee Lifestyle as the ultimate source of lifestyle news in Cebu, we handpicked 12 strong and stylish women of Cebu from every age group. These women show us that independently building one’s strength of character and living one’s passion knows no age. From the beginning, Zee has always been empowering women, providing the Cebuanas a platform to express their beauty and confidence, share their passions, engage in economic and political participation which yields to viewing women with equality and respect that we deserve.

photography Jan Gonzales
creative director Melo Esguerra
art director Doro Barandino
sittings editor Shari Quimbo
beauty director Romero Vergara
makeup Arnauld, Janice Barillo and Nicko dela Peña
hair Jessie Egos and Jake Arias
fashion styling Clint Potestas
production assistants Patty Taboada and Katrina Labra
locale Marco Polo Plaza Hotel Cebu

Twelve women, two sets and one afternoon. That is how the Zee Lifestyle team decided to celebrate the title’s 20th anniversary issue—with a challenge that, in some ways, is one of our biggest productions yet.

The idea came along when publisher Eva Gullas and editor-at-large Melo Esguerra were discussing a cover story that would best represent the magazine’s history. From commissioning artistic depictions on Cebu to playing with the anniversary’s emerald theme, no idea had stuck until Melo suggested putting a series of women who had already been on the cover of Zee, again on the cover all together.

Oj Hofer and Margot Osmeña

Kryz Uy

Coming up with the list of names, of course, was no small feat. Our covers from the last 20 years have included several strong personalities—from philanthropists and politicians, to actors, and names to soon watch out for, our pages have seen them all. The challenge, then, was to come up with a list of women who had been driving forces in their respective fields when they had first appeared on the cover, and remain as powerful players even today.

Amparito Lhuillier, Kryz Uy, Alice Woolbright, Margot Osmeña and June Alegrado all wearing MIRANDA KONSTANTINIDOU

Photographer Jan Gonzales and creative director Melo Esguerra

With input from editors, both past and present, we rounded up 12 women from different age groups, fields and industries, who are all strong and passionate at whatever it is they do—Amparito Lhuillier, who remains the doyenne of Cebu society as a picture of elegance and class with her continuing efforts in business and social causes; the always-stylish Marguerite Lhuillier, herself an example of sophistication in all her efforts, whether business or otherwise; Margot Osmeña, who as a Cebu City Councilor has spearheaded many urban projects directed for the betterment of living in the city; hospitality mavens June Alegrado and Alice Woolbright, who are deeply involved in the rise of their brands, Bluewater properties and Beverly Hotel, respectively; Christina Garcia Frasco, the current Lilo-an Mayor advocating impressively progressive efforts in the area; former model Fiona King, now a major player in homegrown real estate with projects like Bloq Residences; the fitness enthusiast Danessa Onglatco who has espoused wellness with the opening of Yogahub; restaurateur Carla Yeung-McKowen who is behind the city’s hottest dining outlet, The Pig & Palm; designer Mia Arcenas, whose signature resort wear and accessories are representative of Cebu’s laid back lifestyle; Kym Maitland-Smith, who juggles efforts in swimsuit design through SOLTI Activewear and is building awareness for the vegan lifestyle; and Kryz Uy, whose online presence was a strong one even before fashion blogs were on anyone’s radar.

Kymberly Maitland-Smith

Makeup Artist Romero Vergara, June Alegrado and Hair Stylist Jessie Egos

An impressive bunch, for sure. These women properly embody the characteristics that Zee Lifestyle looks for in one who makes the cover—beauty, yes, but also elegance coupled with individuality, and always a strong drive to succeed in whatever efforts they are directed.

This, it turns out, was the fitting tribute to the years Zee has been Cebu’s premier lifestyle bible, as well as a sign of the things forthcoming. Our 12 cover stars may have been on our pages before, but if their current efforts are any indication, our pages will continue to see more of them in the future. And as continuing purveyors of what Cebu has to offer, Zee Lifestyle will happily be seeing them in the years to come.

FROM LEFT Marguerite wears CARY SANTIAGO; June wears PHILIP RODRIGUEZ; Mia wears MIA ARCENAS; Kryz wears ELIZABETH HALLIE; Amparito wears MONIQUE LHUILLIER; Alice wears PHILIP RODRIGUEZ; Fiona wears VANIA ROMOFF; Margot wears PHILIP RODRIGUEZ; Danessa wears OJ HOFER; Carla wears ALICE+OLIVIA; Christina wears DINO LLOREN

(This article had already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s December 2016 Emerald Issue, “Leading Women” on pages 140-155.)

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La Liga Henerales: Shaping History Awareness Back Again in Cebu

La Liga Henerales is a community of young talents passionately promotes historical awareness through periodic costumes carefully researched for its authenticity and accuracy and promoted as well in events and schools.

Only few individuals before were into pursuit in this historical awareness project until the age of communication where internet is convenient in the palm of our hands through our gadgets. New information travel fast and data is retrievable, yet also possess a disadvantage with the plethora of different social media platforms carried by various makers as well. In a daily basis, historical backgrounds are unearthed making its trend until now as new discoveries are released, but the idea of these information being shown and shared is as close as not valuing or commemorating to its sources leaving this information just a trend.

There is a certain community of Cebuanos that are taking a quest to rewrite and restructure what was in the past, filling the gaps in facts with further research of variable sources that are made debatable but sticks to it true cause, to unveil the truths of our heritage and our origins, as Cebuanos and as Filipinos as well.

La Liga Henerales is a Cebu-based, non-profit organization composed of a group of talented, committed and respectable individuals from different walks of life, schools and profession whose primary aim is to promote both, Cebuano and filipino culture and heritage that was depicted before in pre-colonial and colonial eras via re-enactment with costumes vested in proper research and investigation to achieve authenticity. They also push their cause on schools and other social gatherings promoting and spreading awareness about our local, and national heroes that we look up to. With these said, they also portray a closer look of the lifestyle of the past to where they perform stories, perform forgotten dances and rituals and portray their individual roles, vital in the fight of our country’s future during those challenging times, and in honor to spread awareness of the lost practices we had in those times.

The Founder

Combining passion and education. Louis Villaflor re-enacts his way patriotism through his periodical costumes and expresses his love for Cebu and Philippines as a culture-centric country.

Louis Kenneth Villaflor, an entrepreneur and an avid history enthusiast and costumer, founded the group on the purpose of re-educating the youth about real local and national history, he saw the opportunity to combine his favourite hobbies which is costuming and story role-playing and the process to instill the historical awareness and value among the youth and in schools, along with a group of fellow enthusiasts who shares his passion about research and history, they took it among themselves to be purposeful in the advocacy in spreading historical awareness in schools or events by wearing periodically correct costumes and sharing the stories and its value to the youth.

Behind the Garments

With the its senior expertise of fashion design and a teacher of the field, his passion also of history caters also in his designs as he pushes through sustainable fashion and historical awareness combined.

Meet Rodney “Pee-Wee” Senining, who has been in the fashion industry since the late 90’s, strives  in concepts of avant-garde, innovation and cutting edge-fashion forward design. And also a teacher of Architecture, Fine Arts and Design of University of San Carlos, he had grown into research of books like the holy grail in the Library Resource Center and is always fascinated of the periodical times and how to preserve it; Hence, his interest had grown for the affinity of Periodical Costumes and Sustainable Fashion.

 Being part of the group La Liga Henerales, he was tasked to instantly be their mentor for the young talents and as the organization is still new and developing with limited funds, resourcefulness and research were done to come up with a good output of photo shoot and was quite proud of it and still promise on the next editions of pieces to be more historically accurate. Even as teacher for Fashion Design in SAFAD, his expertise comes hand in hand with the members as he helps them do research as well. His passion and interest somehow led him with enough knowledge to key the insights of the significant periods and historical backgrounds of it.

Historical Awareness in Cebu

The strength and progress of a country is anchored on how well they know and honor its history. The means of historical awareness in Cebu is almost non-existent among the Cebuanos, although we push forward in tourism and promote beauty through sceneries and other aspects of culture yet never commemorate deeply on historical icons such as our other local heroes, and ancient cultures as well that is almost been forgotten in an urban Cebu. Nevertheless, as long as communities’ like La Liga Henerales are now evolving in a learning state by real discovery by multiple resources, this will always reflect of how we appreciate love, patriotism and honor to our country and would look forward to progress.


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After the Razzmatazz and Razzle-dazzle: Post-Sinulog Thoughts

by Chrissy Grey Resaba

Buntings of red and yellow were removed from post to post. Streets were cleared and cleaned. Fireworks displays were faded in the sky. Beats of #prititit and tunes of tourism-booster Cebu tracks were being put to archive once again.

Contingents from different parts of Cebu and Central Visayas had gone back home. Party people had gone sober while some are still recovering. Traffic has gone back to normal. Businesses, as well, has gone back to normal.

However, all the fun and loud chants, smooth grooves, and frenzied choreographies are still replaying from the memory banks of the people who celebrated Sinulog 2020. The queen of all festivals in the Philippines has left again another mark of cultural and festive nostalgia to the people from all parts of the world and Cebuanos alike.

After all the razzmatazz and razzle-dazzle, let’s get to know what are these IG and FB personalities’ #PostSinulogThoughts about celebrating the newly-culminated Sinulog 2020 and how did they differentiate it to last year’s.


Eva Patalinjug

Eva Psychee Patalinjug, Binibining Pilipinas Grand International 2018 @evapatalinjug

I celebrated my Sinulog with my boyfriend and some of my close friends, we decided to choose a place where it’s not very crowded where we can see the whole Cebu, talk, and chill the night away. We went to Verified Lounge – Cebu’s newest premier sky lounge – located at the rooftop of the Avenir Building. It was something new for me as the night was calm as I was away from the busy streets of Cebu. It’s definitely one way of enjoying such festivities.


Kim Covert

Kim Covert @kimcovert

The Sinulog celebration this year has been one of the most memorable events in my life. Not only was I invited to perform a few of my own songs during the weekend’s festivities but I also turned over my Binibining Cebu Tourism crown to my successor. Last year, I was busy with work and was not able to completely grasp the events. This year’s festival was more organized which is a great success for Cebu. Many have flown in and had spent time with their families in the “Pit Senyor” spirit, others have enjoyed spending time off with friends and colleagues. It was a great way for me to start my New Year and close my Cebu chapter before I leave to the US in a week.


Alem Garcia

Alem Garcia @thealemgarcia

Well pretty much, I was still busy doing shows and events for Sinulog. But what made it different this year was the religious celebration made me believe even more that Sto. Niño is indeed miraculous and that He is meant to be celebrated. Even though you are successful in your chosen field, furthermore, everything will be meaningless if you do not have the faith.

Philip Pingoy


Philip Pingoy @almostablogger

We all have a Sinulog story to tell. It may be a story of losing faith and finding hope. But what is important is our devotion to the Holy Child Jesus (Señor. Sto. Niño). This year, my Sinulog experience was very different since I am already based in the United Kingdom. Thanks to the internet I was still able to watch the mass and all the festivities in Cebu. I am in UK because I prayed to Sto. Niño. So, let us not forget the reason we celebrate Sinulog and let us continue to share to the rest of the world why Sinulog is the grandest festival in the Philippines. Pit Senyor everyone! I hope you had a good one!


Lyssa Amor

Lyssa Amor @lyssaamor

Sinulog celebrates Filipinos’ acceptance of Christianity. This year, I celebrated Sinulog by hearing the word of God. I went to church which I do every Sinulog but the difference now is that I am not in Cebu. It’s my first time to celebrate Sinulog away from home because I’m currently in Japan. Although I didn’t dance the traditional Sinulog dance this year, I wasn’t able to watch the fireworks in Ayala, and didn’t spend time with my friends in Mango and IT Park. Snr. Sto. Niño will always be in my heart and I am forever grateful that our ancestors accepted Christianity and we continue to embrace it up until today.


Kevin Geniston @kgeniston

Sinulog will always be a highlight for me as a Cebuano. This year has been fulfilling as I was able to brave the crowd in the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu three times to attend the novena mass which had also become like bonding time with my family, daughter, friends and loved ones. I ended the celebration of the Sinulog festivities with a bit of the usual partying and/or clubbing.

Carlo Olano

Carlo Andrew Olano @kalamicebu

My Sinulog this year was a great mix of religious and secular activities. I was able to go to the church and somehow witnessed the Traslacion and the fluvial procession. I also went to many side events like parties, mall events, and fireworks exhibitions. Sinulog 2020 had a fantastic balance of fun, faith, and festivities.


Danna Bacolod

Danna Bacolod @dannabacolod

This is the second time I spent Sinulog with Cebu Pacific. We had series of events prepared during its entire week and participated the grand parade by having a float last Sunday. I always feel excited to join Sinulog Grand Parade and see a lot of people celebrating their own way of Sinulog along the streets of Cebu. Guess it’s safe to say that I had so much fun. Even if this was work-related, I didn’t feel like I’m actually working as it was always joyful doing events like these.


Nimo Scheming

Nimo Hideki @nimo_scheming

You prolly knew this already but, Sinulog 2020 was by far the most phenomenal Sinulog experience: more laidback than the previous years’. The music in every corner of the streets were still there to help you let loose and enjoy the experience. The surge of people had tested you both mentally and physically. But it was an experience you cannot miss like mingling with people from different walks of life and shouting out “Pit Senyor” to everyone. Summing up my Sinulog experience, I was able to get crazy and enjoy all aspects of the fest.


Michael Rey

Michael Rey @michaelsomewhere

I had the most relaxed Sinulog experience this year. I did not party and preferred to witness the grand parade instead. I do think that this year’s celebration was more colorful and much safer as establishments strictly abided the rules imposed by the Cebu City Government. I was also amazed at how the festival of fashion here in Cebu has evolved throughout the years.

Now, how about you? What are your #PostSinulogThoughts this Prititit 2020? Viva Pit Senyor!

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