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Jamie Herrell: Seas the Day

Jamie Herrell talks about the responsibilities of being Miss Earth 2014 and how The Mactan Newtown’s township lifestyle by the beach promotes the preservation of Cebu’s thriving marine life and other environmental initiatives.

It’s one of those picturesque days at the height of a Cebuano summer—the kind with cloudless sky and a bright sun that casts the sea in glistening light. The Zee Lifestyle team is on a boat, trying to dress up cover girl Miss Earth 2014 Jamie Herrell specifically for the underwater photoshoot. While being gently but routinely rocked by the waves, someone shrugs and laughs, “This is just another day at the office.”

The office, for that day at least, being the waters off the shores of Megaworld’s The Mactan Newtown – the country’s first cyberpark and township with its own beachfront in Mactan Island.

"I would really love to promote Lapu-Lapu City’s ecotourism spots because we have a lot to offer–the beaches, food, culture and most especially our hospitality. As the city’s slogan says, 'Come to Lapu-Lapu and free yourself.'" - Jamie Herrell, Zee Lifestyle May 2015  (Photography by Jan Gonzales/Dress by Bernardo Flores/Makeup by Jonas Borces)

“I would really love to promote Lapu-Lapu City’s ecotourism spots because we have a lot to offer–the beaches, food, culture and most especially our hospitality. As the city’s slogan says, ‘Come to Lapu-Lapu and free yourself.'” – Jamie Herrell, Zee Lifestyle May 2015 (Photography by Jan Gonzales/Dress by Bernardo Flores/Makeup by Jonas Borces)

The Mactan Newtown has become a unique township lifestyle with a beach when Megaworld, the country’s leader and pioneer in developing integrated urban townships, has acquired a prime property fronting the famous Mactan Shrine and its partnership with Landmark, Inc. to develop the 11-hectare Portofino Beach.

“This is the most exciting time for The Mactan Newtown. With the new beach area and around Mactan Shrine up for development, we are spicing up our pioneering ‘Live-Work-Play-Learn’ lifestyle concept in Central Visayas,” says Noli D. Hernandez, President, Megaworld Cebu Properties, Inc.

For 26 years, Megaworld has established its track record of pioneering the development of integrated urban townships across the country. With The Mactan Newtown’s unique resort lifestyle community, it is now envisioned to boost Cebu’s tourism industry by having an integrated lifestyle with its own natural beach as a primary amenity to the future residents, workers, and visitors of the township. This concept effectively minimizes the carbon foot print and maximizing and improving the use of land.

“Last year, Megaworld partnered with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature–Philippines (WWF-Philippines) to plant 5,000 mangrove seedlings in Mactan. Jamie was among those who took part in the effort to save Mactan’s Mangrove forests,” says Hernandez.

Jamie Herrell was actively involved in Megaworld Corporation's mangrove planting in Mactan Island last year (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2015)

Jamie Herrell was actively involved in Megaworld Corporation’s mangrove planting in Mactan Island last year (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2015)

Hailing from Mactan herself, Jamie shares the same sentiment. “I think it’s a really good deed that The Mactan Newtown is doing. For a company as big and busy as Megaworld, to still be putting in effort to do environmental activities is very impressive.”

The environment is something Jamie is very passionate about, and the opportunity to be Miss Earth and work with various organizations to address these issues is what drew her to the pageant in the first place. “When I saw how the organization of Miss Earth really pushed their advocacy, I told myself that if I would ever join a pageant, it would be Miss Earth,” she admits.

Jamie Herrell (Photography by Jan Gonzales/Hair and Makeup by Jonas Borces/Styled by BLAQ Mafia/Locale: The Mactan Newtown's beach)

“I don’t think that marine life in Mactan is in immediate danger, but I can see that if nothing changes, our waters could be threatened in the future. That is why we should act now by preserving our seas, not just to keep tourism alive, but also to sustain a healthy community on the island.” – Jamie Herrell, Zee Lifestyle May 2015 (Photography by Jan Gonzales/Dress by Oj Hofer/Hair and Makeup by Jonas Borces/Shot on location at The Mactan Newtown beach)

It must have been a calling—the 21-year-old was crowned Miss Earth 2014, adding the prestigious title to her already impressive resume of Reyna ng Aliwan 2014, Sinulog Festival Queen 2013, Miss MegaCebu 2013 and Miss Philippines Earth 2014. Through it all, though, Jamie never felt that she was winning the title for herself. “I wasn’t the only one that worked hard for the crown,” she explains. “My advisers and my family pushed me to a certain level and made this dream come true. So when I won, I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.

It isn’t hard to imagine why the people around Jamie are often compelled to work with her. She is sweet and cheerful, cracking jokes even as she floats around on the water with her elbows propped on a lifesaver. In between takes, she talks about her life in Manila, and keeps grinning while makeup artist Jonas Borces and Cebu manager Sven Chua playfully tease her about her posing. The easygoing attitude is remarkable, considering she had just flown in from Manila on an early flight, after a late night coming from an event. “Environmental activities, coastal cleanups, tree plantings, school tours, environmental seminars, promoting ecotourism in the Philippines, and even some hosting and modeling gigs,” she enumerates as what’s been keeping her busy.

Her passion for the title and the responsibilities that come with it is evident in how she describes her duties. “They expect you to always be on top of everything, because being a beauty queen is not just about looking pretty. It’s a job where you can’t slack off, and you have to be consistent in all the activities,” she shares. “Right now, my reigning queens and I are working on an advocacy that we hope will spread around the world. It’s not just to make people aware of the environmental issues, but also to inspire them to act and get involved.”

Being Miss Earth, Jamie has her hands in various environmental projects, but there are a few that she considers her priorities. “Climate change is the biggest issue, not just in the Philippines but also around the world,” she shares, pointing out how hot it’s been in the last few weeks. She’s also been known to speaking about educating children, considering they have the future in their hands, as well as being anti-animal cruelty.

Of course, Cebu and Mactan are still considered home, and they hold a special place in her heart. A few days after the shoot, she participated in the island’s Kadaugan Festival by playing Reyna Bulakna in the reenactment of Lapu-Lapu and Magellan’s legendary battle.

Jamie Herrell as Reyna Bulakna with Vin Abrenica as Lapu-Lapu during the Kadaugan Festival (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2015)

Jamie Herrell as Reyna Bulakna with Vin Abrenica as Lapu-Lapu during the Kadaugan Festival (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2015)

“I think Mactan is improving, and it’s really good to see how Lapu-Lapu is becoming one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Philippines,” she says. “This is why I would really love to promote Lapu-Lapu City’s ecotourism spots because we have a lot to offer—the beaches, food, culture, and most especially our hospitality. As the city’s slogan says, ‘Come to Lapu-Lapu and free yourself.’”

It’s an idea she shares with Megaworld, as The Mactan Newtown gears toward taking their Live-Work-Play-Learn by the Beach concept to fruition. With a land area of 28.8 hectares, the township will offer a complete resort lifestyle for its residents and guests at the 8 Newtown Boulevard, One Pacific Residences and One Manchester Place; workers at various BPO offices in One World Center and Two World Center; and students at the La Salle-supervised The Newtown School of Excellence.

The recently opened Mactan Alfresco, located near the township’s main entrance, is a charming gazebo to enjoy the famous local and international dishes from some of Cebu’s up-and-coming restaurants.

“We offer Mactan Alfresco to showcase some of Cebu’s best culinary kitchens, restaurants in a hawker-style food place. It is an exciting new dining concept at The Mactan Newtown that could boost the food tourism in Cebu,” shares Hernandez. (READ MORE: Eats in Cebu: Mactan Alfresco)

The Mactan Newtown's Mactan Alfresco brings the joy of eating to the outdoors (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2015)

The Mactan Newtown’s Mactan Alfresco brings the joy of eating to the outdoors (Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, May 2015)

Much like Jamie, Megaworld also intends to promote tourism in the area by rehabilitating the historic Mactan and Lapu-Lapu shrines.

The shoreline, of course, is another major aspect. Although Megaworld already has a number of township projects around the country, The Mactan Newtown is the first to boast of a beachfront, and Megaworld is working hard to ensure it remains pristine and protected.

“As a fully-integrated urban township, the township is spicing up the beachfront area, which will have first-class hotels overlooking the Hilutungan Channel, an exclusive world-class beach club, and sports facilities that will also promote active lifestyle by the beach. Aside of improving the area as a tourism hub, we will also have a long-term marine preservation and conservation through our various environmental initiatives in The Mactan Newtown,” says Hernandez.

“I don’t think that marine life in Mactan is in immediate danger, but I can see that if nothing changes, our waters could be threatened in the future,” Jamie adds. “That is why we should act now by preserving our seas, not just to keep tourism alive, but also to sustain a healthy community on the island.”

In the end, it only takes a few hours out at sea to remember why preserving the environment is such an important cause. As the salty breeze rushes past you and the ocean’s gleaming waves crash against the boat, the experience, you realize, is too good to rob the next generations of. Jamie shares a tactic that anyone can do to contribute to the effort of keeping such an experience a reality. “Think twice,” she says simply. “Think twice about what you do in your everyday life, and find alternatives that will help the environment. Even the littlest things that we do for Mother Earth count.”

Zee Lifestyle May 2015by Shari Quimbo photography Jan Gonzales production manager Patty Taboada
stylists Blaq Mafia hair and makeup Jonas Borces
special thanks to Islands Banca Cruises, Kawayan Marine Resort and Feel Deep Scuba Diving
Originally published in Zee Lifestyle May 2015

Design

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 www.ma-g.org.

 

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 www.inodoro-design.com.

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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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Eight Years of Redefining Hospitality Service

by Allain Dumon Fonte

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

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

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

Bayfront Hotel Cebu in Capitol Site.

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

Standard De Luxe Room at the Bayfront Hotel Cebu.

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

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

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

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

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