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Meet Cebu’s most creative bunch of 2016

Youth isn’t wasted on these young ones. Passionate and driven, these personalities are paving the path for their chosen careers–whether it be business and events, or music and art.

Youth isn’t wasted on these young ones. Passionate and driven, these personalities are paving the path for their chosen careers–whether it be business and events, or music and art.

Meet Cebu’s Young Creatives of 2016.

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Language Leaders

Rowell “Medyo Maldito” Ucat, Kurt Fick, and Therese Villarante

Photography by Toni Marie Despojo/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2016

Photography by Toni Marie Despojo/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2016

Therese Villarante, Rowell Ucat and Kurt Fick are Cebu-based creative professionals making a big splash in their hometown through their individual and collaborative works. 

Whether she performing in a production of Siddharta: The Musical, or writing music for the Visayan Pop (VisPop) songwriting competition, Therese is a ray of sunshine for the local creative art scene. Rowell Ucat is more popularly known as Medyo Maldito, and is one of the most prolific YouTube celebrities in Cebu today, thanks to his increasingly popular hugot videos. Kurt Fick‘s rise to superstardom with HAHAHAhasula— a song he directed, edited and performed—has opened people’s eyes to the beauty of Cebuano music and storytelling. – Verne Ahyong

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Music’s Muses

Lourdes Maglinte, Vincent Eco, and Nina Alcoseba

Photography by Toni Marie Despojo/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2016

Photography by Toni Marie Despojo/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2016

Let’s face it. Music in our precious city needs a drastic makeover. Nobody knows this more than 22 Tango Records, an independent local record label determined to address this conundrum head on.

22 Tango Records is home to some of Cebu’s most talented homegrown musicians and songwriters, like Lourdes Maglinte who is great at coming up with witty, albeit painfully true, punch lines in everything she writes and sings; and Vincent Eco, who you can always count on for truthful lyrics that open up wounds and folk melodies that touch the soul. And then there’s Nina Alcoseba, a free spirit with a good head on her shoulders who is easily the ultimate multitasker of the street team—she writes, takes photos, coordinates with artists, and even hosts some of the events. – Micah Almazan

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People in Action

Ernest Dino and Charlene Virlouvet

Photography by Dan Douglas Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2016

Photography by Dan Douglas Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2016

Whether acting on stage or filming from behind the scenes, Charlene Virlouvet and Ernest Dino are reinvigorating theater and independent film in Cebu.

Charlene was 13 years old when she fell in love with theater, when her mother enrolled her in the Out of the Box Theater summer program run by Daisy Baad. That same year, Charlene joined a local production of The Vagina Monologues, and since then has chosen live theater as her weapon of choice to promote her advocacies. Ernest, meanwhile, started filmmaking in college while earning his political science degree at the University of the Philippines-Cebu. His film group is named Retaso Media, and it is also the title of his film that won third place at the 2014 Binisaya Film Festival. – Verne Ahyong

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Creative Clique

Myka Arnado, Cecilia Martinez, Bea Sagun, Kae Batiquin, and Mirella Gallego

Photography by Mark Philip Dales/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2016

Photography by Mark Philip Dales/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2016

Calling themselves a social movement, Create Cebu aims to promote a more livable Cebu through public art, and to showcase Cebuano creativity and encourage a culture of creation and open expression. They also hope to build a bridge between art and the community—to infuse art into Cebu’s public spaces in order to make it accessible to all. Truly a passion project, these young Cebuanas believe in creating brighter, more livable urban spaces where the rich Cebuano history, identity and culture are visibly alive in the city. – Bea Ybanez

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Food Friends

Seby Pelaez and Mitz Vikki Jao

Photography by Toni Marie Despojo/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2016

Photography by Toni Marie Despojo/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2016

The convenience of having your food cravings immediately delivered to your door is now possible with foodpanda, a downloadable app that connects you to your favorite restaurants with a few taps. Whether you’re craving spicy lechon for a hearty lunch or cold milk tea on a hot afternoon, foodpanda brings your favorite dishes right to your doorstep.

Launched in March 2012, foodpanda has headquarters in Germany and is now in 40 countries worldwide. By 2014, it had made its way to the Philippines and finally reached Cebu by November of that year. Sebastian Pelaez takes care of leading the team in all aspects of the business—from acquiring new restaurants, to marketing the product on online and offline channels, and overseeing that all service hits the guaranteed delivery time, while Mitz Vikki Jao is in charge of introducing the brand to the public—a feat deemed successful, considering the app’s popularity today. – Carlo Rivera

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Bazaar BFFs

Charmaine de Leon and Ruby Pansoy

Photography by Toni Marie Despojo/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2016

Photography by Toni Marie Despojo/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2016

Young architecture graduate Charmaine de Leon was at a music event, walking by the stalls that were peddling a wide assortment of wares—from the most basic items to the quirkiest fashion finds, from unique culinary creations to dessert favorites—when she had her token “eureka!” moment.

Despite the huge crowd present, there wasn’t much foot traffic along these said stalls. Understandably so, because people don’t really go to a music festival to shop. There surely must be a better setting to showcase their products, Charmaine thought, so she rounded up friends Ruby Pansoy and Monica Posadas. Together they came up with what would later on be called the Pop District Bazaar, which has provided Cebuanos with a unique shopping experience, while opening up new opportunities for young entrepreneurs to reach their market and go after their dreams. – Bea Ybanez

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Dance Troupe

Mac Viros, French Manla, Jasper Borres, Joshua Cypres, Arnel Biscarra, Coody Rodriguez, Gian Chua, and Yan Perez

Photography by Dan Douglas Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2016

Photography by Dan Douglas Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2016

It’s hard not to get caught up in the beat when you’re watching a group of dancers perform—synchronized, upbeat and just plain energetic, it’s enough to make you wish you could move like that yourself. Such is the feeling when watching Cruise Control perform. With various gigs that include regular performances at SM Seaside City, the group of boys has shown that they’re all about the movement, and they’ve got the fans to prove it. – Shari Quimbo

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Hyper Active

Arianna Lozada, Adam Hechanova, Bryan Tan, Matthew Basabe, and Arianne Albia

Photography by Dan Douglas Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2016

Photography by Dan Douglas Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2016

In developing individual personalities, Hyper Cebu is made up of a team with a unified desire to bring topnotch entertainment to Cebu—with events that are well planned out, affordable and readily accessible. Their shows feature new waves of music introduced by a wide lineup of DJs. The group also aspires to contribute to the local economy by drawing more tourists to the venue, and incessantly promoting Cebu culture and hospitality. Carlo Rivera

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Design Dossier

Kidlat and Jean Candice Yu

Photography by Toni Marie Despojo/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2016

Photography by Toni Marie Despojo/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, April 2016

Cebu City has a vibrant art scene, but there is more art to experience in Cebu than those found in museums and galleries. Street art can now be viewed all over the city, thanks to Kidlat and his fellow artists, while calligraphy as created by Jean Candice Yu now appears on everything from corporate logos to wedding invitations. – Verne Ahyong

photography Toni Marie Despojo, Dan Douglas Ong, and Mark Philip Dales makeup by Janice Barillo and Arnauld hair by Gino Fonghe shot on location at Unos Design

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.

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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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