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Have you met Louie?

The new Mactan-Cebu International Airport takes off to new heights with Louie Ferrer as the pilot.

Louie Ferrer GMCAC

Louie Ferrer, the president of the GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, March 2016)

“I like dreaming big,” pronounces Louie Ferrer. “I always start with the bigger picture, and then creating the strategy to reach that dream.”

It’s the attitude one would expect from the president of the GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC). In fact, besides becoming the number one airport in the world, Louie envisions to have the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) hailed as the world’s warmest, friendliest, first resort-airport where guests are welcomed by signature Filipino hospitality

Of course, getting there is quite the challenge, especially when just a few years ago, the country was recognized for having the worst airport in the world. The MCIA, under Louie’s strong leadership, has slowly changed this perception. In late 2015, readers of The Guide to Sleeping in Airports voted MCIA as the 18th best airport in Asia—quite the feat for GMCAC, which was barely 12 months into its operations at that time. “It shows that anything is possible if you put effort and care into what you’re doing,” Louie says.

A rendering of the upcoming Mactan-Cebu International Airport (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, March 2016)

A rendering of the upcoming Mactan-Cebu International Airport (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, March 2016)

In 2014, the consortium of Megawide Construction Corporation and GMR Infrastructure was awarded operations and maintenance of the airport. Despite initial mixed reactions, since their takeover in October that year, there have been massive improvements in the airport, with an immediate focus on reducing congestion in passenger processing areas, enhancing the ambiance in the terminals, and improving the customer service. A new terminal building is also set to open by 2018.

So far, Louie finds that working to improve the MCIA is challenging yet fulfilling. GMCAC has set the bar high, working with international airport quality standards to bring a world-class airport experience to Cebu. At the same time, such an undertaking is fulfilling, as the project is long overdue for Filipinos. “Imagine: MCIA was originally built for 4.5 million passengers. Last year, we had more than 7 million!” he exclaims.

security xray

The enhanced ambiance of the domestic departures area is one of the many improvements at the airport

Self-service check-in counters makes flying more convenient (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, March 2016)

Self-service check-in counters makes flying more convenient (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, March 2016)

Cebu is well known for its white sand beaches and beautiful resorts, something that the airport chose to pick up on. “Being a resort-airport is something we can claim. It’s distinctive to our island heritage, and it’s sustainable too,” Louie says.

At the same time, the improvement of transport infrastructure is strategic to the government’s vision for economic growth. As one of the fastest growing regions in the country, and with a location central to the rest of the country, Louie believes that Cebu is the ideal center for trade an industry. “So this airport we are transforming, it’s part of an even greater vision to aid the country’s growth, particularly in tourism and other key sectors that create employment opportunities,” he explains. “We need good infrastructure to support and sustain the movements of people and trade in our growing economy.”

Louie concludes that with proper infrastructure and sustainability planning, Cebu can surpass Manila or even other better-known Asian locations as a destination. While it’s a big dream, his strategy to get there is to work with his team in continuously improving the airport. “They say it takes a village to raise a child,” he says. “But for a province like Cebu, it takes a dedicated community to transform it into one of the world’s best destinations.”

The international departures area has also undergone drastic improvements (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, March 2016)

The security at the international departures area has also undergone drastic improvements (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, March 2016)

What are five things you can’t live without? Laptop, mobile phone, internet, nice shoes and cash

What’s your favorite thing about Cebu? It has everything you could want in an island destination, and so many of the things I personally enjoy. It has beautiful beaches, breathtaking mountain scenery, and the modern conveniences of the city all in one place.

What’s your least favorite thing about Cebu? Worsening traffic

What’s your favorite dish? Vongole. It’s also something I that I cook very well.

The best advice you’ve received about living in Cebu? Go to Cebu, it has the best airport in the Philippines!

The advice you give tourists who are here for the first time? Try to learn some Visayan words. Cebuanos will love you if you make some effort to speak and understand the language. You can start by saying, “Ka gwapa/gwapo lagi nimo day/dong!”

The movie that depicts your dream vacation? The Hangover. Just go with the flow and let the adventure take control.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would you have been? I may actually still be doing the same thing or something similar! I am a visionary, in the sense that I have already planned out my goals for the next few years and I know how I want to achieve them. It’s always a matter of passion, planning and hard work.


by Patty Taboada
Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, March 2016. For back issues, subscribe via Magzter.



Janine Taylor, June Alegrado, Jackie Lotzof, Frances Siao, Ina Ronquillo and Christine Pelaez

The NUSTAR Ballroom, a magnificent venue at the NUSTAR Resort and Casino in Cebu, sets the stage for last night’s first-ever NUSTAR Ball.

Black was the color of night at the Zee table.

Glamorous guests from Manila and Cebu converged at the NUSTAR Ballroom, an exquisite venue within the NUSTAR Resort and Casino in Cebu. The evening unfolded with a seated 5-course dinner. The opulent feast started with Beetroot Salmon Gravlax, adorned with caper berries, caviar, set with delicate edible flowers; and a main course of Compressed Pork Belly with Crackling Skin and Baby Scallops. Another highlight was the auction of coveted items like Dior and YSL handbags, a limited-edition Bulgari watch, and an exclusive 2-night stay in Nustar’s opulent 3-bedroom villa—complete with a private pool and a dedicated butler. The charity evening benefited the Cameleon Association, an NGO based in Iloilo City created in 1997 that developed a global approach to act on the causes and effects of sexual violence against children.

Nora Sol, Beth Go, Frances Siao and Marylou Ong

Ina Ronquillo, Maryanne Aboitiz and Jackie Lotzof

Designers Jun Escario and Philip Rodriguez

Philip Rodriguez with NUSTAR Malls two power ladies: May Adolfo and Joanna Salazar

Lana Osmeña with Mariquita Yeung

PJ Castillo and Kaye Abad with Cary Santiago

Drew Sarmiento with LV Manager Adrian Decuigan

Cary Santiago with Eva Gullas

Manila socialites Julie Boschi and Ching Cruz with June Alegrado

It was a night of elegance, luxury, and unforgettable memories as ladies in long gowns and gentlemen in black ties danced the night away.


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Filipino graphic designer makes history, joins Switzerland’s Museum of Avant-garde among genre’s greats

PJ Ong of Inodoro, an internationally renowned graphic designer, is the first Filipino whose work will be part of the permanent collection of Switzerland’s Museum of Avant-garde

CEBU CITY — In a groundbreaking achievement, Cebu-based graphic designer and art director PJ Ong of Inodoro Design Studio, is set to become the first Filipino artist permanently exhibited at Museum of Avant-garde (MA-g) in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

Cebu-based graphic designer and art director of Inodoro Design Studio, PJ Ong

Ong’s recognition at MA-g places him among over 250 avant-garde artists, including iconic figures like Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, signifying a profound milestone in museum history.

“Avant-garde,” is a term that refers to pushing the boundaries of artistic expression.

“I am extremely honored and humbled. It is a remarkable milestone in my creative journey, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of such a prominent platform. The acknowledgment, especially considering Switzerland’s exacting standards in art and design, is truly fulfilling,” said Ong.


Part of a stellar contemporary collection

Under the museum’s Contemporary Collection, Ong will join global contemporary agencies such as M/M Paris (collaborator of Icelandic singer-songwriter and composer, Björk), WORK Pte Ltd (brainchild of the “Godfather of Singapore Graphic Design,” Theseus Chan), Bedow (Stockholm), BVD Stockholm AB (Stockholm), Socio Design (London) and Milkxhake (Hong Kong), among others.

Ong’s music packaging design for the Filipino harsh noise duo, White Widow, will be featured in the museum. The band’s album “The God Uterus Dissolves” — released under Melt Records — features an unconventional cassette tape packaging incorporating a hand-crafted wire mesh, elevating it into a unique and bespoke collector’s item.

The museum’s selection process for its Contemporary Collection involved three categories: Graphic Design, Photography, and Illustration. Swiss-Canadian Fritz Gottschalk, a prominent figure in contemporary graphic design, led the Graphic Design category.

“This is profoundly validating for me as a graphic designer. Being part of a museum’s permanent contemporary collection is a lasting testament to my capabilities as an artist,” said Ong.

‘Poetry you can touch’

The graphic designer from Cebu City further defined the album as a “deliberate departure from the ordinary,” stating that it was a testament to the artist’s and band’s dedication to pushing boundaries and offering the audience a unique and immersive experience.

“Careful consideration was given to every detail, including choosing a premium supplier for the cassette tape. Opting for a screen-printed cassette, where design elements were applied directly to the surface, gave it a contemporary and visually striking result, helping us reinforce the design narrative,” said Ong.

“From the cohesive placement of elements to using symbols instead of track titles on the spine and customizing fonts, every aspect was carefully thought out. Rather than opting for the conventional wire mesh treatment on print, I took a bold step by incorporating a hand-crafted wire mesh, adding a unique and sensory dimension to the album — almost like poetry you can touch.”


Profound honor

Established in 2003, Inodoro Design Studio under Ong’s leadership has garnered global acclaim for its bold design philosophy, spanning music, fashion, architecture, culture and technology. In becoming the first Filipino whose work will be on display at the MA-g, Ong stated that it is “particularly humbling.”

“Traditionally, these privileges are given to individuals who have amassed decades of experience, attained mastery in their craft, or even as a posthumous acknowledgment. To be among those selected is a profound and unexpected honor,” he said.

“Museums typically focus on visual artists, and for a graphic designer, especially within the realm of commercial work, recognition can be more elusive. I appreciate the challenges of this less conventional route and I am committed to proving the significance of graphic design in the broader artistic landscape.”

Art enthusiasts can anticipate viewing Ong’s work with “The God Uterus Dissolves” at MA-g, scheduled to open to the general public in 2025.


About The Museum of Avant-garde (MA-g)

The Museum of Avant-garde compiles an original body of work from private collections, providing a unique perspective on the cultural and artistic significance of avant-garde movements. These movements, synonymous with transformative ideologies and daring experimentations, played a pivotal role in challenging political and societal conventions. For more information, visit


About Inodoro

Inodoro is the creative moniker of graphic designer and art director PJ Ong, a prominent figure in the Philippine design scene. Established in 2003, Inodoro Design Studio, based in Cebu, Philippines, has garnered international recognition for its bold and distinctive design, with a focus on thought-driven imagery and iconic visual language. The studio specializes in identities, custom typography, graphic design and art direction. For more information, visit

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Ladies Who Support Ladies

Women’s Circle is an organization composed of Cebuano ladies who are successful entrepreneurs and top executives.  They recently held a fellowship event at the Sheraton Mactan Resort, with special guests from the Women’s Business Council Philippines. Chairperson, Rosemarie Rafael and Council Secretary Cynthia Mamon both flew in from Manila to discuss alliances between the Cebu and Manila groups.

Loot bag from Jo Malone, Sheraton, R&M Chocomanga, gift card from Maayo Clinic, sarong from Ferimar.

The half day event was organized by Perl Jacalan, Gina Atienza and Eva Gullas. Sheraton Resort through its GM Dottie Wugler Cronin supported the event as it is aligned with the hotel’s women initiatives.  The successful event was made more fun with generous give-aways, notably Jo Malone perfumes, Sheraton bags, R&M Chocomanga and sarongs from Ferimar.

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