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Kiss the Cook

A gender-swapped version of last year’s female chefs and foodies, Zee Lifestyle turns the spotlight on these attractive culinary hobbyists and the signature dishes they prepare to win over the ladies.

Try as they might, this batch of good-looking men will not succeed in remaining inconspicuous. Heads turn wherever they go and word around town is they make a mean dish. A gender-swapped version of last year’s female chefs and foodies, Zee Lifestyle turns the spotlight on these attractive culinary hobbyists and the signature dishes they prepare to win over the ladies.

GEEV BAHRAMPOORI 

For Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu F&B manager, Geev Andre Bahrampoori, any post that brings him back to his first love, which is food, is a welcome move. His first internship was in the kitchen of the Romantik Hotel Stern in his hometown Chur, a boutique hotel famous for its 14 point “Gault-Millau” cuisine. In 2006, he moved to Thailand

to manage Mantra Restaurant and Bar in Pattaya and then moved on to become F&B Executive Assistant Manager at the Amari Coral Beach Resort and Spa in Phuket. Before relocating to the Philippines, he was part of the pre-opening team of Courtyard by Marriot in Bali. This wanderlust has caused him to love different food influences from various world cuisines. Thankfully he is residing at the hotel and enjoys the international fare Executive Chef Marco Amarone and his team prepares. He also highlights the homemade Chinese noodle soup of La Mien Chef Li Baojian. For dates on the other hand, he prefers to bring his fiancee, Indonesian model Kiyomi Juliana to the more private and intimate setting of his bachelors pad. He charms her with his boyish good looks and playful demeanor, and romances her with a simple yet effective menu of either Sydney rock oysters and champagne or Italian cold cuts with Swiss cheese on homemade bread and a bottle of Amarone.

How did you learn to cook?

I always helped out my mom in the kitchen when I was young. My family preferred fresh and homemade dishes. Food plays an important part in our family life and we combined Swiss and Persian cuisine.

What’s your favorite cuisine to make?

I mostly prepare dishes with Mediterranean influence.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?

I love dining at Anzani, for the cuisine, the service and the overall dining experience. They also offer a great selection of wines.

When do you cook?

I cook back home in Switzerland while staying with my family, or in Bali when I stay at the house of my fiancée.

Have you ever cooked to say sorry?

I’d be lying if I denied it.

What’s your secret ingredient?

I use regional herbs, spices and ingredients fresh from the market.

Any favorite kitchen tools/toys?

The Moulinex Mixer is a necessary kitchen tool to be able to prepare the best fruit and vegetable juices. I can’t have breakfast without my Swiss Nespresso machine.

How do stay fit and healthy?

I try to strike a balance between work and personal life. I go walking, hiking and swimming for exercise. I also try to make the effort to touch base with family and friends.

Toast Smoked Salmon with Eggs Benedict

60 grams smoked salmon
1 whole poached egg
20ml Hollandaise
whole wheat bagel

1 Crack the eggs into a ball, and then gently slide into a pan of simmering water and cook until the egg white has mostly solidified, but the yolk remains soft.

2 Add a small pat of butter or margarine to the container to prevent the egg sticking to its container. The ‘perfect’ poached egg has a runny yolk, with a hardening crust and no raw white remaining.

3 Place on top of toasted whole-wheat bagel. Drape the salmon slivers on top and add Hollandaise to taste.

MATT STRAIGHT

Anyone can see that Matt Straight takes his health seriously. You can tell from a mile away, what with the muscled arms and great posture. His rigorous workout routine demands an hour of spin class and another hour of weight lifting daily. He wasn’t always as fit and shares that as a child he battled obesity, “On my 19th birthday I had trouble getting into the jeans I bought three weeks before. I was so uncomfortable, I had used a safety pin

to secure it from popping open. I joined the gym the next day.” Born in England but raised in New Zealand, Matt finds himself in the Philippines developing a client base (he’s a personal trainer) and website catering to health and wellness. Practicing what he preaches, he cooks for more practical reasons, “I like to know what’s in my food. If you eat out, every meal is like playing Russian Roulette, you never know what you’re going to get and what’s in the meal. Most of the time restaurant food is loaded with extra oils salts and sugars.”

How did you learn to cook?

At 18, I left home and was forced to learn how to cook rather than eat instant noodles everyday. I collected cookbooks and just taught myself.

What’s your favorite cuisine to make?

I love the sharp fresh aromas of mint, basil, coriander and lemongrass of Thai food.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?

It depends on my mood but I’m loving La Maison Rose right now. At least once a week you will see me downing a plate of ribs at Mooon Cafe. Some of the best ribs I’ve tasted for just 220 pesos. Crazy!

Has cooking helped your love life?

Who doesn’t love a guy who can cook? So few guys actually cook for their dates these days. If she likes seafood, a seafood paella is always a winner. Then I break out a rich chocolate dessert with a zesty passion fruit topping which is bound to do the trick.

Honey Glazed Salmon Served on Sweet Potato MasH with Asian Greens

Serves two

Two 200 grams of salmon fillet
One and a half tsp honey
One tsp of fresh or dried rosemary
A sprinkle of salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste Garlic powder 

1 Boil sweet potato and squash for 15 minutes or until soft. Once cooked, drain the water and add the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mash until semi smooth. Form the mixture into two circular patties and place in a frying pan coated with spray oil.

2 Heat up another frying pan with 1 tsp of butter.

Season the salmon with salt, pepper and rosemary and place in a hot frying pan skin side down.

3 Aftertwominutes,searthe pink exposed sides before completely flipping on to the large fleshy side. This will help keep the center of the fish moist. Once the salmon is cooked through, drizzle 3⁄4 tsp of honey over the fleshy side of the salmon and flip. Cook for approximately 30 seconds or until the honey has caramelized. Heat a wok or large frying pan. Add sesame oil, Asian greens, ginger and minced garlic. Cook on a high heat until veggies start to soften. Add the soy sauce and honey and cook for a further two minutes. Place Asian greens in a small bowl and sprinkle with a pinch of sesame seeds. Heat the sweet potato cakes for two minutes each side and plate. Place the salmon on the center of the cake.

MIKE CANCIO

Mike may just have the perfect slice of ham in his kitchen, and he will willingly let anyone take a bite of his stuff, just don’t ask for the recipe. His ninong and Filipino-Spanish crossover celebrity chef, Ed Quimzon handed it over to him and the top-secret recipe has even been awarded as one of the best ham recipes. Mike’s mom, Maricita Cancio and grandmother, Maricris Teves have cultivated in Mike the love of cooking, “Some of the greatest pleasures in life come from good food and love. Eating can affect people a lot more than just satisfying their taste buds.” With a naughty grin and a sparkle in his chinky eyes he reveals, “What most people don’t know is that food can enhance your love life.” This young entrepreneur with killer looks even has a trademark dish to win over the ladies- salpicao pizza. And what’s his secret ingredient? “Love,” he smirks.

What’s your favorite cuisine to make?

I would say Italian food for its quality, simplicity and healthiness.

What dish do you enjoy preparing?

I like preparing pizza because it’s a wholesome dish that brings everyone together. Its like painting on a blank canvas, the possibilities to making good pizza is practically endless. The whole ritual of making it gives such a calming effect.

When do you cook?

I cook whenever I can find the time. It’s a great outlet to calm your body and mind.

Have you ever cooked to say sorry?

Yes, that always works!

Any favorite kitchen tools/toys?

My brick oven and an eight-inch chef’s knife

Spaghetti al Pomodoro e Basilico

500 grams pasta
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp thinly sliced garlic
1 kg fresh ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced 4 tbsp basil torn by hand
Salt to taste

1 Put a tablespoon of olive oil and all the garlic in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and cook until the garlic begins to sizzle.

2 Add the tomatoes as soon as you see the garlic begin to change color. If using fresh tomatoes, you’ll notice they give off a fair amount of liquid. When the liquid begins to reduce, season with salt. Continue cooking until the tomatoes have reduced and separated from the oil after about around 10-20 minutes. While the sauce is reducing, cook pasta in a deep pot.

3 When sauce has reduced, add the basil leaves and a pinch of crushed chilies (optional). Cook for one-two minutes then remove from the heat and set aside. When pasta is cooked al dente, drain and toss using the sauce pan, adding the remaining table spoon of olive oil.

JOVIE UNCHUAN

It’s fitting that Jovie Unchuan, together with his business partner Margette Sarmiento, acquired David’s Restaurant this year because he is all about fuss-free unadulterated good food. David’s has been the go-to place for high-quality steak in Cebu for more than a decade now. “I don’t really cook, I grill. It’s the easiest way to have a great simple dinner.” He got into grilling everything from pork chops, lamb and steak when he lived in the States. On weekends when his kids are with him or when friends come over to his house, Jovie plays the part of Grill Master. And his showpiece? 250 grams of two-inch thick Kitayama Wagyu Ribeye steak from Bukidnon. In his arsenal are his grilling tools from Williams Sonoma and a digital meat thermometer. If not at the beach, at work or at home, you can find this tall and tanned restaurateur in the site of his new brainchild, David’s Kitchen. Located in IT Park, it will offer affordable set menus that give diners value for money.
What’s your all time favorite dish?

I like steaks! That’s what I love to eat, and that is what I grill. Recently, I discovered Kitayama Wagyu from Bukidnon, and now that’s my steak of choice.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?

David’s, of course!

Has cooking helped my love life?

My home grilled steaks has impressed my girlfriend but Its always paired with a bottle of good wine. I really don’t know if it’s the steaks or the wine.

What would you prepare for her on a date?

She is also an excellent cook, so the kitchen is her territory; I’m relegated to the grill and nothing else but the grill.

What’s your secret ingredient?

My secret ingredient, I would have to say is wine. A good bottle of wine just makes a good dinner great.

How do stay fit and healthy?

I eat a lot of fruits.

Grilled Kitayama Wagyu Ribeye

2 inch thick and 250 grams Kitayama Wagyu Ribeye
A good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon Salt and pepper
Olive oil 

1 Place the two inch steak in the refrigerator overnight. An hour before cooking, pat the meat dry with kitchen paper towel, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Let it sit.

2 Heat up the grill with charcoal once really hot, place the steak on the grill five minutes on each side only turning it over once. This will achieve the perfect medium rare.

  • photography Jan Gonzales
  • grooming Gari Son

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THROWBACK THURSDAY: Thanksgiving with the Woolbrights

THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING

The holiday season kicks off officially with Thanksgiving. A time to be grateful for family, friends and blessings. Although this is not usually practiced in our tropical country, there are, however, families like the Woolbrights for whom this is a time-honored tradition.

by Janine Taylor sittings editor Katsy Borromeo fashion stylist Mikey Sanchez food stylist Nicolette Gaw-Yu production manager David Jones Cua intern Danica Ronquillo hair and make-up Jessie Glova assistant Jojo Embalzado photography Joseph Ong locale Woolbright Residence

 

Eddie Woolbright was among the thousands of G.I.’s that landed on the shores of the Philippines during the Japanese occupation. After the war, a few enterprising American soldiers came back, including the 24-year old Eddie who made Tacloban his home, before settling down in Cebu in the 1950s and opened a restaurant and a hardware store downtown—Eddie’s Log Cabin and Eddie’s Hardware and Auto Supply, respectively.

Eddie’s Log Cabin quickly became the hub of social, political and even military scene. It was the first air-conditioned café in town, and more importantly, it offered American diner food including a soda fountain and an ice cream parlor. It was patronized by one and all for its reputation for good food and service.

It also didn’t take long for the fearless Eddie Woolbright to realize that the real estate in the sleepy hillside suburbs was ripe for development. “I will show Cebu what a good planned subdivision is,” Eddie had said, when the late Senator Marcelo Fernan, then a young legal counselor for Columbian Rope Co., took Eddie to see the property. Pretty soon, Eddie had purchased over thirty-three hectares of otherwise undeveloped land from the heirs of the late Arlington Pond.

“Buy land,” Eddie Woolbright was known to quote the late humorist Will Rogers, “because they ain’t gonna make more.”

With his added access to army surplus, he bulldozed tracts of land, and a decade later, Beverly Hills, the first major subdivision in Cebu City, was created, and marketed to the city’s growing well-to-do locals, with the subdivision’s connotations of Hollywood and colonial American aesthetic. Eddie’s belief in the business potentials of central Cebu city enabled him to see much growth in his investments in land development, water drilling, construction, and general trading.

ON THE COVER The Woolbright sisters, Joy, Karen and Alice don Jun Escario’s Holiday Collection, photographed in their home by Joseph Ong. Hair and make-up by Jessie Glova.

 

Eddie had nine children: Rick, Anita, Marc, Gilbert, Alice, Kathy, Kristy, Karen and Joy. All recall that each holiday was as important to them as Christmas. Turkey Thanksgiving dinners, for example, as it was known in the Woolbright household, began when Eddie’s mom, Nell, came to visit sometimes in the 1960s. Eddie would buy a butterball turkey from the American base in Clark and she whipped up a traditional feast complete with cornbread stuffing, cranberry jelly, candied yams, garlic mashed potatoes and her famous giblet gravy which was poured literally all over the bird, as they do back in her home in Oklahoma. Grandma Nell also taught the cooks at Eddie’s Log Cabin to make the famous Coconut Cream Pie, another Eddie’s Log Cabin standard. Kathy also recollects, “It was also dad’s idea that the restaurant and the hotel should serve breakfast 24 hours, and since I loved my Mexican omelet, sliced ham, buttered toast I enjoyed being able to eat breakfast any time of the day.” 

My dad taught me how to be humble. He told us stories about his younger days jumping trains, eating nothing but grapes for days just to go pick cotton. He had a hard life growing up and I guess he wanted us, his children, to know the meaning of hard work. He would say, “Nobody owes you a life in this world”. I didn’t understand it then but I do now. -Alice Woolbright

 

FROM LEFT ON JOY Nude dress, models own; ring and bangle by Gladys Young; ON ALICE Sequined LBD, models own; ON KAREN Grey pleated shift dress from Loalde; ring and necklace by Gladys Young.

Shortly after, turkey was introduced in the menu of Eddie’s Log Cabin, both Americans and Cebuanos, with a penchant for this wholesome meal, look for it when November came, and more especially on Thanksgiving Day. “Dad loved quality meat, and passed on this fondness to us, his children,” noted Karen, “So special meals always consisted of a good steak or the tender Prime Rib Roast. Of course, the year was never complete without a Turkey once or twice.”

As the sisters change into various outfits for the photo shoot in their childhood home, each one recalled the happy memories this holiday brings.  

ON KAREN Teal pantsuit from Loalde, belt by Gladys Young; ON JOY Plum cocktail dress, model’s own; ON ALICE Teal corseted dress by Jun Escario, belt by Gladys Young.

Alice, recalls disliking the giblet gravy as a child but since her dad would serve her at the dinner table she had no choice but to eat it. She adds, “He would get upset if we did not try everything.” Funnily enough, she now looks forward to the giblet gravy and can’t imagine turkey without it.  Her dad, she said, employed the same tactic with his customers at the restaurant so after a while, they ended up getting used to it, and will not have their turkey any other way.

Between brothers and sisters coming home from out of town and family members in the States, there was always some degree of traveling or entertaining company. Dad valued the family bond and holidays were the best time to reinforce that. –Karen Woolbright

Happy hour with the Woolbright siblings.

The family pet Chewy joins in on the annual Woolbright Thanksgiving dinner.

Joy Woolbright-Sotto fondly remembers watching her dad carve the bird. “He made sure that each one of the kids learned how to do it properly, with the white meat sliced thinly enough, and followed last by the dark meat,” she says. A feat she now does with ease. Future doctor Karen says that her dad would always carve the wings and serve it to her, which is still her favorite part of the fowl. Kathy though, considers turkey her comfort food. But she says that she loves the Coconut Cream Pie, which is also served on the restaurant’s menu, and that as a child she could eat half a pie in bed. 

 

Old fashioned roast turkey

Cebu in the 60s and 70s was a very small town, if you wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving, you went to Eddie’s. Eddie’s Log Cabin, like its owner was a trailblazer, the balut dice game originated there, many singers’ careers such as Elizabeth Ramsey’s were given their first break there.  

The torch has been passed on to his children, and they too celebrate it with turkey dinners and all the trimmings, ensuring that the restaurant still serves the traditional menu, down to the Coconut Cream Pie.  Thanksgiving will always be celebrated at their homes, and the Beverly Hotel, the last legacy that Eddie Woolbright gave his children to run.

Another legacy that Eddie left to his children was a love for food and Alice was quick share that she got it too, “I’m usually home during the day and I find myself in the kitchen trying to cook up new dishes to serve.”

 

Back at the Woolbright ancestral home, which is also now Alice’s home, the dining table has been set, evoking autumn and harvest, the candles are lit, the wine is being poured, the buffet table is groaning under the weight of the Thanksgiving repast. The sisters are seated at the table, each with a glass of wine discussing whose turn it is to carve. The annual Woolbright turkey dinner is about to start and I am glad to be invited to join them at their family home. Happy Thanksgiving, indeed.

 

(This article has already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s November 2011 Entertaining Issue, “The Gift that Keeps on Giving” on pages 72-77.)

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LADY CYCLISTS HIT THE ROADS AND SLOPES OF CEBU.

Cycling has been a growing sport and hobby for many years but it’s popularity has erupted since the Covid pandemic.  People biking to work and for recreation is an everyday sight in Cebu.  More and more are joining the ride.  Many are quite serious about cycling.  I know three ladies who are among those who’ve gone long distances across Cebu.

How did you get into serious cycling?  What was your motivation?

Blinky de Leon.  Event Host, Product Endorser & Influencer

“ I’ve been into cycling since I was a kid. A little backstory, I was around 10 years old when my dad surprised me with my first custom-made mountain bike. I still keep it until now, in fact I had it refurbished. It’s the most sentimental thing I ever received since it was his way/gesture to catch up with me after not seeing each other for almost 6 yrs. My dad is based in Germany and he also loves cycling and makes his own bamboo bike.”

 

“Just a year ago though, my friend Gazini randomly, out of nowhere, picked me up from home to bike with her to the South of Cebu. I felt really excited and motivated to get back on track because it’s very nostalgic and brings back so many great memories. And since then, the rest was history. We’ve been joining different groups, tried different routes and conquered different heights. I’ve met so many cyclists with very inspiring stories in the bike community who kept me feeling motivated too. I also look forward to the sights and the adventure that comes along with it.”

 

Yumz Mariot. Branding & Marketing Consultant

“I used to bike along with rock and wall climbing. I am lousy with ballgames which is why. Our usual route were Talamban and Mactan but one time, managed to ship gears all the way to Dumaguete for a quick ride to Valencia, the next town located at a higher elevation. Those were days when I did it for fun and what bike I was using did not matter.”

“Fast forward to 2021, a year after the pandemic lockdown began, I realized I have been lazy to do any fitness routine. Too caught up on juggling between house chores and Work from Home deliverables (I work as a Branding and Marketing Consultant), I started to feel my body needs to move as much as my brain does. A hysical fitness routine is as important as what I eat, or what I read or watch. So I decided to invest on a decent MTB, just very recently and got myself a much necessary restart. What motivates me even more is the area where I currently reside at. It is vast, fresh, green and safe for solo bikers like me.”

 

Prime Sarino. Digital Media Creative

“I started biking as a young teenager and I got the idea to start it as an adult hobby 3 years ago. I was already into running and I thought it would be great to venture into another outdoor activity to keep me occupied after work hours and weekends. I was set to travel for a year so I had to put aside the idea first but came pandemic. We were all forced to stay put and everything was put on hold. Cycling became my diversion. My cyclists friends invited me to quick and short rides. I enjoyed my first 50km ride and the sceneries and routes most of all. It also helped channel a positive mindset during the hard hit season of the pandemic. Not to mention it’s also another way to stay fit when we were forced into inactivity during the quarantine.”

Next in Part 2, we ask the ladies about their cycling experiences and memorable moments…

by: Zen

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#CebuPride:  Cebuanos in Multi-awarded Pride-Themed Films

Multi-awarded International Gay Movies with Cebuano Lead Casts

By:  Allain Dumon Fonte

 

Pride-themed movies are starting to invade the film industry as people become more accepting and are more intrigued on the stories about LGBTIQ.  Many have shared the intensity of emotions and laughed with the craziest jokes on gay-themed movies.  In the Philippines, these kinds of movies were questioned as to their morality and their message to the society.  The strong influence of the country’s religious standards had branded gay-themed movies as sex-oriented and nothing more.  Yet, with Thailand’s more tolerant culture, Thai BL (Boy’s Love) movies and television series have created a new perception to the viewers; and that is gay-themed movies are remarkably alike to all other movies – there is romance, comedy, drama, and the continuing struggle of living like normal people.  Hence, Thai BL TV series have a massive following all over Asia.  At the end of 2019, they became available in Netflix and are being watched by millions of viewers all over the world.

ZEE’s Allain Fonte with the casts of the top-rating Thai BL series (2019) “Cause You’re My Boy” of GMMTV (from L-R) Amp Phurikulkrit Chusakdiskulwibul, AJ Chayapol Jutamas, Neo Trai Nimtawat, Frank Thanatsaran Samthonglai, ADF, Drake Laedeke, Phuwin Tangsakyuen, and JJ Chayakorn Jutamas.

The Philippine film industry is not that far from Thailand’s.  Some of the LGBTIQ-themed movies and television series are slowly getting a following in Asia and are now accessible to viewers worldwide.  A few of these pride-themed movies that casted or directed by a Filipino have already been receiving nominations and awards from Golden Globe, The Berlin Film Festival, the Venezia Film Awards, and even the Emmy’s…and the Filipinos in these films hail their roots from Cebu!

 

1. Lingua Franca

 

Lingua Franca is a film directed by a Cebuana, Isabel Sandoval.  Sandoval also plays the main character of the movie, and she even wrote the screenplay.  Lingua Franca tells the story of Olivia, an undocumented transgender woman in New York who works as a caregiver to a senile old-lady of Russian-decent.  When Olivia is challenged to attain legal status in the US, she is left with a “marriage-based green card”.  While in search for her groom-to-be, she becomes romantically involved with Alex, Olga’s grandson.

The film is now available on Netflix and has received positive reviews from the media.  Stephen Dalton of the Hollywood Reporter wrote Lingua Franca is a “heartfelt personal statement rooted in timely, gripping issues that obviously resonate deeply with its author, notably trans rights and Trump-era immigration anxieties”.

 

Isabel Sandoval wearing Marchesa at the Venezia Red Carpet in the Venice Film Festival (2019)

Isabel Sandoval graduated summa cum laude with the degree in psychology from the University of San Carlos in Cebu, Philippines.  In New York, she pursued graduate studies in Film at NYU.  She is now currently residing in NYC, and already has award-winning films under her belt like Apparition, Lingua Franca, Senorita, Ritwal, The Unstoppable, and Judgement.

 

2. The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

This television series was aired in Netflix and has gained so much popularity because it showed the murder of world-renowned fashion designer, Gianni Versace, by a serial killer, Andrew Cunanan.  Based on Maureen Orth’s book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History, this television series has 9 episodes of suspenseful scenes, and is star-studded with casts like Ricky Martin and Penelope Cruz.  However, the main actor who played Andrew Cunanan is Darren Criss who gained his popularity after being a regular on the top rating TV show, Glee.  Darren Criss hails his roots from Cebu, Philippines.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story received positive reviews from critics. At the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, it received 9 nominations, and won 3 awards, including Outstanding Limited Series and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for Darren Criss.

 

Darren Criss with his dad (left) Charles William Criss, and his mother (right) Cerina Criss. Source

Criss was born and raised in San Francisco, California, USA.  Criss was raised as a Roman Catholic and attended roman catholic schools.  He later moved to Michigan where he studied Bachelor of Fine Arts major in Theatre Performance and minor in music at the University of Michigan.  Criss’s father, Charles William Criss, is a banker and served as CEO of the East West bank in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Criss’s mom, Cerina, is a native of Talisay, Cebu, Philippines.  When he was younger, he visited Cebu a couple of times with his mother.  Darren Criss is very proud of his Cebuano roots and wants to portray Filipino characters in films and in theatres to promote visibility of the Filipinos in the American films.

 

3. The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela

     The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela premiered at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival where it grabbed the Teddy Award for Best Feature Film.  It was also awarded the Grand Jury Prize in the 10th 2008 Cinemanila International Film Festival at Malacañang Palace’s Kalayaan Hall.  It starred Raquela Rios also known as Minerva to her Cebuano friends.  Raquela  is a local of Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines.  The film is directed by Icelandic film director, scriptwriter, and producer, Olaf de Fleur Johannesson.

 

Raquella Rios in Bangkok’s MRT (a scene in a Thai film).

Raquella Rios is a native of Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines, and she went to the University of San Carlos in Cebu, studying sociology and anthropology.  Before finishing her studies, Raquella left the Cebu and went to Iceland after being casted by Icelandic film director, scriptwriter, and producer, Olaf de Fleur Johannesson for the movie The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela.  She is now based in Bangkok, Thailand as a fashion stylist and wardrobe assistant to some local Thai movies.  Raquella is also an activist for sex workers rights and trans rights in Southeast Asia; pushing for the recognition on the choice of their gender and the right to change their birth names.

Raquella (right) with film director Olaf de Fleur (left) receives the Best Feature Film Award at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival in Germany. Photo grabbed from Berlinale archives.

There are still plenty of pride-themed films in the Philippines that gained recognition all over the world; yet these movies mentioned are special because of the talented Cebuanos that have  brought Cebu to world.  They truly are #CebuPride.

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