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Function and Form

Dynamic but peaceful…East and West…Traditional but modern…are the words artist Maria Lobo used to describe herself and the unique qualities she shares with Cathay Pacific. Their brush-wing tip has been lighting up the skies for 60 years now and with CX’s recent multi-billion HK dollar upgrade, they soar the skies even higher.

Dynamic but peaceful…East and West…Traditional but modern…are the words artist Maria Lobo used to describe herself and the unique qualities she shares with Cathay Pacific. Their brush-wing tip has been lighting up the skies for 60 years now and with CX’s recent multi-billion HK dollar upgrade, they soar the skies even higher.

Champagne with a hint of Drambruie and a zest of lemon was my choice of toasting to the short but sweet trip that lay ahead of me. En route to Hong Kong, sipping on my Sunrise Paradise we were eagerly anticipating news of CX’s top secret unveiling of sorts. Our lovely host for the trip, Connie Cimafranca, CX Passenger Sales Supervisor, would only reveal that what was to be expected was nothing short of spectacular. After hearing this I, along with the other lovely ladies invited from Cebu, the madams of media, Nelia Neri, Mila Espina and Mayen Tan contentedly dozed off to sleep for our two-and-a-half hour flight.

Upon arrival, a little past midnight at the HKIA (Hong Kong International Airport), the 18-degree breeze was a welcome change from our sub-tropical weather. We then proceeded to our hotel,The Excelsior, adjacent to Causeway Bay and the World Trade Center. Our itinerary the next day was considerate enough to accommodate a little shopping but everyone was really excited about the Light Up Your Sky event along with more than 2000 invited guests and journalists from all over.

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) in Wanchai was a perfect venue for the grand night. Incidentally, the ultra modern structure likens a bird. And with its massive glass curtain looking down on the waters of Victoria Harbor, the effect is a bird preparing for take-off. This would be telling of the events for that night. Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s flag carrier takes off with greater features for their future flights strengthening the status of tourism and business in the Special Autonomous Region of China.

Led by chief executive officer Tony Tyler and chief operating officer John Slosar, CX introduces their latest upgrade with their services and features in aspects that include both function and form in a press conference with local and international media. First, is the installation of Cathay Pacific’s new Business Class product, the result of an intensive and iterative design process involving input from the airline’s Marco Polo Club members to refine comfort, versatility and function. Trust me when I say that the design revolves around all of the needs that any passenger would think imaginable, providing a space in which to sleep, dine, work, read, watch TV or simply relax. What’s most valuable in this new feature, is the sense of personal and private space it provides to the passenger while remaining conveniently accessible to the onboard personnel. The second phase is the latest addition of The Cabin to the collection of Cathay Pacific Group lounges at Hong Kong International Airport, joining The Wing, The Pier, G16 and The Arrival. The Cabin is separated into five different zones: The Reception, The IT Zone, The Deli, The Health Bar, and The Relaxing Zone. Foremost among the range of seating is the innovative and unique Cathay Solus Chair. Sacrificing neither function nor form The Cabin has been designed around the passenger’s activities before a flight.

Because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the people at Cathay Pacific directed their energies to attain a more beautiful and bolder look inflight as well. Committed to create an atmosphere of sophistication and class, CX introduced what they call Art-on-Board in the business class cabins. This novel idea and personally, my favorite new feature, is the icing on the cake for most of their passengers frequently travel the world and are quintessentially admirers of art. Artist Maria Lobo was the perfect candidate to collaborate with Cathay Pacific since although she is trained in Western art methods and history, (she studied at the University of Santa Clara and the San Francisco Art Institute) her work is unmistakably influenced by her Asian roots having been born and raised in Asia. East meets west. It is in this same principle that the stylish, elegant and unique uniforms of the cabin crew and service-facing staff have been upgraded further to adapt to the changing times. Resulting to a look that’s not only chic but current and contemporary as well. Eddie Lau, Hong Kong’s leading fashion designer known for his mastered “Shanghai Chic” look, designed the uniforms to maintain its Asian Oriental finish because this is symbolic of a modern Asian airline respected worldwide for quality, style and gracious service.

Suffice to say that CX knows how to treat their passengers well, encompassing their needs and going that extra mile. Going beyond what is expected is how they do business and the same applies for how they do parties. After the informative press conference, we were then lead to the reception of the Light Up Your Sky event. The foyer of HKCEC was transformed to accommodate the esteemed guests of the night composed of international members of the Marco Polo Club and the press. With a view of the Hong Kong harbor, the set-up was breathtaking and magical. A one-man laser light show kicked of the ceremonies and guests were entertained to a visual escape. To the signature tune of “Feel” by Robbie  Williams, models then sashayed down the stage donning the new uniforms in pride. The catchy tune is another integrated effort of the airline to push its identity as a highly recognizable global name. Saving the best for last, with everyone on the edge of their seats with curiosity, guests were then wowed with the unveiling of the new features. When the curtain came up, everyone was amazed and surprised to see three mock-up models of the The Cabin, the new business class and The Art On Board features stationed in three major areas of the massive ballroom.To the lyrics “ Before I’ve arrived, I can see myself coming. I just wanna feel”… the verdict is in, with Cathay Pacific you arrive and come in style, triumphant in both function and form.

  • by Katsy Borromeo


Club Serena: A ‘Serene Luxury’ Experience in the Heart of Cebu’s Diving Mecca

photography by GPA Art and Photography

A three-hour drive, or more, depending on traffic, the fishing town of Moalboal in the southwest of Cebu Island is an extremely popular destination for divers and weekenders who love the white sand and pink sunsets. It is also a favorite place to stay for expats looking for a laid-back life of endless coffees or cocktails.

Thankfully, the big chain resorts haven’t discovered it and places to stay are mostly small family-run resorts. But if pampering is what you are looking for, there is only one hotel to book in Moalboal. Club Serena Resort is a 1.7-hectare beachfront property perched above coral rocks, presenting a unique union of luxurious accommodations and a host of activities to be enjoyed. This hidden gem is reached through a dirt road away from the main highway. Fronting a wide swath of white sand beach, it is an easy walk past several smaller resorts to reach the main town.

Recently renovated by noted architect James Jao, the new Club Serena has 17 rooms, three swimming pools, a restaurant, and a beachfront event space, all designed with modern Filipino aesthetic. On the drawing board are more rooms to be added, an expansion of their modern dive shop, and their popular Kids’ Club program. Their food outlet, Mira, offers all-day dining, favorite among visitors and locals, as well as the growing expat community that has settled in Moalboal. 

Club Serena offers diving courses for adults and kids by their resident operator, Seven Seas Aquanauts Phil. Corp, a PADI 5 accredited diving facility operating since 1988. For a complete list of the courses and their rates, please call (+63) 917.872.6367 or (+63) 905.459.5307.

The resort encourages above-water activities as well, and they have several paddle boards and kayaks available for guests to use.

For rates and more information, visit or email or (+63) 917.872.6367 or (+63) 905.459.5307. You can also visit their Facebook page for updates.

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This is How the M.I.C.E. Alliance Initiative will Lift Boracay to New Heights

Leveling up Boracay in more ways than one

by Ryan Daniel R. Dablo

Saying the name “Boracay” instantly casts a spell, taking the listener to a daydream of immaculate, pale beaches, swaying palm trees, the music of breaking waves, and the vacation of a lifetime. The tropical island Eden is storied and renowned – a difficult enchantment to lift from any wayward tourist’s mind. But what if we were to tell you that Boracay is so much more? Can you build upon perfection? Yes, and this, ladies and gentlemen, is how. 

One is never too far away from the beach! BNCC is only a stone’s throw away from the Boracay Newcoast Beach front.

Boracay Newcoast Convention Center (BNCC), located at the heart of Boracay Newcoast will soon host the biggest conventions, exhibitions and other large-scale events in the island starting second quarter of 2022.

After the difficulties of the past few years, the stage is finally set for a massive Boracay reboot. The creative gears turn once more, and this time they will catapult our favorite beach capital to new heights. The cornerstone of this renaissance is the M.I.C.E. Alliance initiative, short for meetings, incentives, conferences and conventions, and events and exhibitions. The establishment of the Boracay M.I.C.E. Alliance will allow focused efforts in creating sustainable and eco-sensitive tourism development projects while synergizing with stakeholders to create long-term solutions and opportunities for all partners. The alliance is set to drive awareness, readiness, and expansion of product offerings that will be crucial in making the island competitive with other M.I.C.E. destinations. Working closely with the Department of Tourism Region VI and the Tourism Promotions Board, the alliance is primed to provide support to the areas that are involved in this major undertaking.

Cleofe Albiso, Boracay M.I.C.E Alliance Chairperson

BNCC enjoys state-of-the-art facilities and can accommodate about a thousand guests depending on set-up and conduct multiple events at a time.

No one is more emphatic than M.I.C.E. Alliance chairperson Cleofe Albiso in describing how the different sectors of Boracay are pivoting from tourism to tourism plus. In brief, Boracay is challenging its own boundaries to become not just the pre-eminent tourist destination but also a corporate and business mecca. Turns out, if a venue is grand enough to host a wedding, wouldn’t it be just as grand to host a white-collar conference? Sky’s the limit for possibilities like this. At this moment, the island is abuzz with networking and making connections, training and empowering the hospitality services, polishing the infrastructure, revving up the transportation facilities, and all-around gearing up to go toe-to-toe with other M.I.C.E. hubs and be worthy of the tagline, “the best place for M.I.C.E. in a tropical paradise.” All hands are on deck and – after the extended global hiatus thanks to the pandemic – everyone is ready, nay, eager to meet and greet the guests. And, of course, we would be remiss not to point out that Boracay is more than halfway through completing such a tall order. The island is as well-oiled a machine as it could be, boasting 294 DOT-accredited hotels and resort, a staggering 4,500 seating capacity for meetings and conventions, and 12,400 room keys available in the island. Talk about volume! Plus, Boracay is already postcard-perfect, the very stuff that vacation dreams are made of. Why not turn the dial up to eleven and let it become a compass point for more than a summer getaway? This is the logical next step in realizing its vision of being not just a place to be, but the place to be.

Savoy Hotel Boracay like Belmont Hotel, and the soon to open Chancellor Hotel is also walking distance away from BNCC making it an ideal spot for both business and leisure trips.

So, yes, by all means think of the idyllic strolls on the beach, the luxurious caress of the ocean as you free-dive, the sheer delight of sand and surf while island-hopping, the adrenaline rush of aquasports, parasailing, cycling, or driving an ATV up Boracay’s foothills, the psychedelic glow of fire-dancing and party lights at night, the breathtaking sunsets, the larger-than-life adventures, or the hundred other ways it can lavish or reinvigorate your soul. Think of all of that, and then some. Because Boracay has its eyes on something greater: it is poised to become the premier starting point and last stop for tourism, entertainment, corporate gatherings, exhibits, and any other event the imagination can dream of. 

Paradise Garden’s Mabuhay Convention Center can fit 850 guests at a time.

For corporate set-ups, a 60 person function room is also available at the Isla Function Room of Paradise Garden.

Think of your company meeting. Now, think of your company meeting and the fun that’ll ensue right after. Picture that in the most scenic of vacation spots. Tempted already? Who wouldn’t be? You’re already in paradise. With business here and leisure literally just a stone’s throw away – heaven on earth, wouldn’t you say? 

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For Our Next Travel Destination, We Dream About Koh Samui in Thailand

Impressive views of the Gulf of Thailand welcome you at the Arrival Sala

Silent Sanctuaries

Mayenne Carmona discovers the Four Seasons Resort in Koh Samui is a quiet oasis to recharge and rejuvenate…

What does one expect from a Four Seasons Resort? Everything! Firstly, it will definitely be ranked no less than a five-star hotel or resort. Most importantly, it would not fall short of all your expectations: excellent cuisine, topnotch comfort at your fingertips in a well-appointed villa, courteous staff who offer impeccable service, and every other detail you could possibly need—down to the last cotton bud. After all, a Four Seasons Resort is always designed by a top-rated architectural team and interior designers.

The moment I stepped into the Four Seasons Resort at Koh Samui, I felt all my cares washed away by the soft waves of the bluest sea. The fresh air cleared my sinuses in no time, and the gentle breeze was a much needed caress to a tired mind and body. It was truly paradise regained for me and my friends. We were a motley group of career-oriented people who needed a much-awaited break from work, and this was the perfect choice for us.

Each Villa has a butler to cater to the guests’ every whim. The afternoon we arrived, we requested a sunset dinner by the beach, and much like a genie, our butler whipped up a romantically set candlelit dinner for six. A five-course delicious Thai dinner was prepared by their well-trained chef.

Our days were spent languishing by the beach, having daily massages, attending yoga classes, doing water sports and enjoying every bite of Thai cuisine. Golf carts transported us wherever we wanted to go within the resort. This vacation brought all my senses to another realm, and restored a weary soul to perfection. 

Four Seasons Koh Samui, I look forward to seeing you again!

Koh Samui is the third largest island of Thailand in the scenic Gulf of Siam. It is a 45 minute flight from Bangkok. Sandy beaches, coral reefs, coconut trees and abundant tourist resources make it a popular holiday destination.

For more information on Four Seasons Resort, visit their website at

(This article has already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s March 2016 Travel Issue, “Silent Sanctuaries” written by our columnist Mayenne Carmona for La Vie En Rose on pages 32-33.)

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