Businesswoman, philanthropist, mother and Mrs. Asia International Metropolitan 2015 Jennifer Helen Weigel Sarmiento proves that age is simply but a number especially when it comes to style.
The past few years have been nothing but incredible for Jennifer Helen Weigel Sarmiento. In 2014, the Philippine Cancer Society honored her as one of the ten most well dressed women in the country, and inducted her as one of its Ambassadors for Life the following year. In 2015, Jennifer brought home the crown as the very first Filipina to win the Mrs. Asia International Metropolitan pageant held in Malaysia. Her national costume, designed by Philipp Tampus, won over the judges enough to recognize it as the best.
Jennifer graced the cover of Images Asia, and was included in books such as Faaabvlous V, shot by the legendary Rupert Jacinto. She has also walked down the runway for exclusive fashion shows by top brands in Manila—all these at the age of 50, proving that it’s never too late to always look and be your best.
Jennifer, fondly known among family and close friends as Penny, defines her sense of style as simple but elegant—a sentiment shared by son Andrew Phillip and twin daughters Jennifer Elaine and Jasmin Ellen. While Penny demurely admits that she liked dressing up when she was younger, Jasmin elaborates that her mom’s friends would always say that back in high school and college, Penny was already known for being quite the style icon. “The reason she was always dressed up was because the late Philippine president Carlos Garcia is her uncle. She would go to all these functions in Manila,” Jasmin shares. “She was always the muse in [University of] San Carlos back in college. She was the It Girl back in the day.”
Her daughters have always known their mom to be stylish. Jasmin credits her mom for a little bit of fashion education. “Mom used to buy me bags and shoes, but I honestly never recognized brands before,” she fondly recalls. “I was just shocked that people would ask, “Is that a Balenciaga?” or “Oh, that’s an Hermés!” Meanwhile, Jen would hear stories from stylists who have worked with Penny for over thirty years. “They said she would be so stylish, even back when she was pregnant with us!” she gushes. “She’s the only one who can pull off a picture of a swan in her outfit and make it look very expensive and classy.”
“I’m a very reserved person, but I do want to look good and pleasing to other people’s eyes,” Penny explains. She usually gravitates towards warm tones such as orange, red and yellow, and veers away from prints The excitement is unmistakable in her voice as she enumerates her favorite brands: Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, BCBG, and Hervé Léger, with Hervé as her ultimate favorite. She’s also a fan of Emilio Pucci and Stella McCartney. “Arte gyud ko’g sanina,” she says with a laugh, admitting that buying them is her guilty pleasure.
For gowns, Penny turns to Jun Escario for his simple pieces, Cary Santiago for his elaborate creations, and Philipp Tampus for feminine designs. Her footwear preferences include Prada and YSL for their comfort, Fendi for their colors, along with Louboutin, Givenchy and Jimmy Choo. She cites a pair of Prada shoes as the oldest and most used item in her closet. “They’re seven-inch heels, but they’re so comfortable that I can walk for three hours and not feel any pain!”
There’s more to Penny than just being a style icon and a fashion enthusiast: She is an accomplished entrepreneur, serving as the vice-president and majority shareholder for O.R. Sarmiento Construction, a triple-A construction firm involved in major infrastructure projects around the country. She is also the president of Jemstone Global Recruitment Agency, an international manpower organization providing brighter futures to overseas Filipino workers.
Additionally, since she was 23, Penny has been working hard to raise funds for organizations of various advocacies, including cancer patients, people who can’t pay hospital bills, and providing education for abandoned children.
Even with the busy schedule, Penny never fails to turn up for a day’s work in style. “I don’t really like wearing pants to work,” she says. “I like to look formal.” Her work essentials consist of pieces from Calvin Klein, Burberry, Armani and Zara.
Penny lives and breathes in style, and it’s something that also plays a hand in family dynamics. She’s wife to Edgar and mother of three—four, if you count her youngest daughter, dog Lucky (“I dress her up too, but not designer!” she exclaims with another laugh), and all of them have been there for her throughout her accomplishments. Jasmin and Jen also acknowledge that Penny’s style has influenced theirs. “She always tells me to dress as myself and not to follow anyone else,” Jasmin says. Jen, who Jasmin cites as being the more stylish one of the pair, adds that the best fashion advice she received from Penny was to love herself and be confident.
Businesswoman, philanthropist, beauty queen, style icon, wife, mother—Penny is quite the well-rounded woman, and by managing to be all these things successfully, she proves that a lot of style goes a long way.
by Patty Taboada sittings editor Melo Esguerra production manager Shari Quimbo photography Mark Philip Dales makeup Ramil Solis hair Ariel Tatoy locale UVNS
Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, December-January 2016. For full access to our current and back issues, subscribe to Magzter.
EXCLUSIVE: Never Been Released Behind-the-Scenes photos of Zee Lifestyle’s Emerald Issue Cover Shoot
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.
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.
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.
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.
(This article had already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s December 2016 Emerald Issue, “Leading Women” on pages 140-155.)
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.
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
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.
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 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 @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 @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 @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 @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 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 @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 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 @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!
The Most-Used Mobile Business Apps According to 50 Entrepreneurs
Five Breakfast Ideas to Power You Up Through the Week
The Best Food-Stopovers When Biking Uphill at the Transcentral Highway in Cebu
THROWBACK THURSDAY. Discover Why This Airy, Modern Structure in Busay is Called the Sky House
BTS: Beetle and Bimmer Clubs for Men’s Issue
BTS: Borgy Manotoc and Georgina Wilson Cover Story
Magic Touch: Healing Power of Efficascent Oil
The Breakfast Club
Christmas in Colonial Cebu: A Themed Exhibit by Teresin Mendezona and Eva Gullas for Stylescapes 2019
Artisanal Cebu: Aspiring calligraphy artist Abigail Condrado
Experience authentic Korean Barbeque at Da-In Restaurant
Chaine des Rotisseurs: A Night of Spanish Cuisine
Fashion2 months ago
CEBU’S GALLERY OF ROUGE: Mistress of Disinfo, Vixen of Vexation and the Duchess of Disorder
Events3 weeks ago
Cebuano Haute Couture Shines at 2021 Cebu Wedding Expo
Eats2 weeks ago
The Best Food-Stopovers When Biking Uphill at the Transcentral Highway in Cebu
Entertainment2 months ago
CEBU’S DESPICABLE DUKES: Daddies of Delusions, Master Gobblers and the Papa Profiteers
The Homes of Zee2 months ago
LOCKDOWN FUN: Whose Crib is This?
Events4 weeks ago
Forever at Soltana: The Great Wedding Destination Expo in Cebu
The Homes of Zee3 weeks ago
THROWBACK THURSDAY. Discover Why This Airy, Modern Structure in Busay is Called the Sky House
Travel1 month ago
THROWBACK THURSDAY. Our Stylish Voyage on a Boat with Loida and Richard