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Michelle Mulet Yu: The Chic Construct

It may be a man’s world, but that doesn’t mean a woman can’t be a commanding presence in it. At the helm of Landtraders World Properties Corp., Michelle Mulet Yu proves that femininity can be an asset in finding a place in Cebu’s growing skyline.

Michelle Mulet Yu

A black Dior straight dress with a pink and beige combo blazer from a Chanel autumn collection, accented with a pearl necklace and a forefinger ring,” Michelle Mulet Yu describes as one of the outfits she would put together for an important business meeting. “And a pair of Jimmy Choo’s.”

For people who think that fashion is merely frivolity, the Chief Executive Officer of Landtraders World Properties Corp. easily proves them wrong. “Running a real estate company requires power dressing,” Michelle declares. “Being a CEO means I am the embodiment of what the company represents. How you dress up reflects your character and in the business world, it is mandatory to dress the proper way to epitomize the image of your company.”

Michelle Mulet Yu

High-collared blouse from CHANEL, houndstooth mini-skirt from ZARA (Photography by Dan Douglas Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, February 2016)

Understanding the importance of appearances is just one of the aspects that has made Michelle a strong presence in the local real estate industry, where she plays an integral role in building Landtraders World to be one of the leading homegrown developers. “I feel responsible for the future of the company,” she reveals. “I make sure that all its objectives are being attained in both micro and macro management. In order to do so, I chart the course of the company by preparing both short-term and long-term plans and strategies, and making sure that they are assimilated and implemented accordingly by all my managers.”

Since its inception in 2011, the company has six high-rise condominiums in its portfolio: San Marino, Corinthian, Royal Garden, Soligrande, Parthenon and Corinthian Valley Residences. “It all started when my family had plans to venture into the pension house or hotel business in 2010. When the discussions became more serious, we finally decided to go into developing high-rise condominiums, considering the fact that we had several lots strategically located in prime areas of Cebu City,” Michelle recalls. “We have always believed that investing in real estate is the safest and has the highest returns. With this conviction, and Divine Providence, everything just fell into the right perspective.”

San Marino was the company’s first venture, and Michelle acknowledges that it’s a development that is close to her heart. “As the pilot project of Landtraders World, it opened up greater opportunities and made us focus on catering to a particular market. San Marino gave us more insight into the real estate industry, and made us more confident in pursuing this business model.”

Printed dress from DIOR (Photography by Dan Douglas Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, February 2016)

Printed dress from DIOR (Photography by Dan Douglas Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, February 2016)

It certainly wasn’t an easy rise. Michelle admits that getting into an industry where there were already a number of players was a challenge they had to overcome. “The answer was simple—find the market niche,” she says. “But looking for that niche was also very challenging and complicated. A lot of corporate research, interviews with real estate authorities and keeping abreast with current events are vital in achieving and sustaining success. After years of pre-development planning and research, we found the right product for the right market.”

These past years have seen a steady growth for the company which is expected to be cemented even further with the launch of Landtraders World’s seventh project—the Grand San Marino Residences across Robinson’s Galleria in the North Reclamation area. “Landtraders World will still continue to cater to the median-cost residential market,” Michelle says of their plans. “But soon we will be adding more of a twist to our development by incorporating the concept of ‘Small Office Home Office’ or SOHO. Also, we would like to undertake a larger development, with plans of doing a mixed-use commercial, office and residential project.”

In most of my business negotiations, I tend to get the upper hand because men don’t realize the strength I have behind my being a woman. But I am a good listener and very open-minded. I believe I earned the respect from my male counterparts because of this nature. – Michelle

With such lofty aspirations in the near future, Michelle’s days are understandably hectic. She starts by having breakfast with her husband, Janby and catches up on current events by reading the daily newspaper. “I’m at the office by 9AM, and spend an hour going through my emails,” she says. By 10, she’s in meetings with department managers, with her afternoons open for other meetings, site visits or going over documents. “The secret is being able to balance your time,” she explains about maintaining a balance between work and home life. “It’s not easy being a working mother. Any working mother can attest to that. Both our careers and families demand our time and commitment.”

White blouse and floral skirt from DIOR (Photography by Dan Douglas Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, February 2016)

White blouse and floral skirt from DIOR (Photography by Dan Douglas Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, February 2016)

To do this, Michelle makes sure to set aside time every day for her three kids. “Dinner time is usually when I can sit down with my children, and they can tell me about their day or bring up any concerns. It’s the most important opportunity for daily bonding with the family. Occasionally, I miss dinner with them, but I make sure to explain why during the next dinner.” The effort doesn’t stop there – Michelle also asks to have their kids drop by her office after school. “It’s a chance to show them that whatever we have now is a product of hard work, and I hope that inspires them to study and work hard as they grow up.”

Sundays are set aside for time with the family, and Michelle spends the day playing with the kids and making dinner. “I try not to miss school affairs and activities,” she adds. “This way, my children will feel that I am always 100% supporting them in their studies.”

How do you go into an industry with an already significant number of players? The answer was simple – find the market niche. – Michelle

Their family vacations become perfect chances to bond as well, with five trips scheduled every year. “Once within the country, twice within Asia and twice outside Asia,” Michelle enumerates. “We prefer to visit Japan, because their food is our favorite. On a few occasions, we’ve also joined cruises in Alaska, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Baltics, to name a few.”

Spending simple moments with her kids are among the best ways she unwinds after particularly stressful days, as are get-togethers with close friends over wine or coffee. “Having special romantic dinners with my husband every once in a while works too,” she says, before adding, “I also like opening my closet and looking at my clothes. That also helps me relax.”

Geometric-printed dress from VALENTINO, sunglasses from PRADA and satin pumps from MANOLO BLAHNIK (Photography by Dan Douglas Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, February 2016)

Geometric-printed dress from VALENTINO, sunglasses from PRADA and satin pumps from MANOLO BLAHNIK (Photography by Dan Douglas Ong/Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, February 2016)

“I’ve always been interested in fashion. It’s a passion,” Michelle says. “I don’t mind what design I wear, as long as it’s comfortable and I’m happy wearing it. She favors shopping at Chanel, Fendi, Dior, Alexander McQueen, Balmain, Hermes, Miu Miu and Dolce & Gabbana, and likes pieces by Ronald Enrico and Francis Libiran. Her favorite item in her closet, though, is something more sentimental. “The piece that means a lot to me, though, is a pastel dress given by my father-in-law. It was for our teng-hun, our engagement.”

We have always believed that investing in real estate is the safest, and has the highest returns. – Michelle

Her fashion savvy and decided femininity is something Michelle isn’t giving up, and she has found that’s just fine—even as she works in an industry that is, in appearance, a man’s world. “I think I fit in very well in the masculine world of real estate,” she says, and goes on to explain that being a woman can, in fact, be an asset. “Sometimes a woman can do things a man cannot. Women have more patience in dealing with details than men.”

“I am diplomatic by nature, but don’t be deceived because basically I am a dominant character. I can hide that, and work it to my advantage,” Michelle continues. “In most of my business negotiations, I tend to get the upper hand because men don’t realize the strength I have behind my being a woman. But I am a good listener and I’m very open-minded. I believe I earned my respect from my male counterparts because of this nature.” It’s certainly no question—Michelle Mulet Yu is ready to bring Landtraders World to soaring new heights, and she’s certainly dressed for the part.

  • photography Dan Douglas Ong
  • styling Blaq Mafia
  • makeup Emi Ayag
  • hair Mariel Fernandez

Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, February 2016. For back issues, subscribe via Magzter.


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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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37 Years of High Fashion; Arcy Gayatin leaves a Legacy of Edginess and Elegance

Arcy Gayatin: A Legacy of Luxury in Fabrication


By:  Allain Dumon Fonte 


The brand Arcy Gayatin gave the Queen City of the South a distinct reputation in the fashion industry.  The fashion line of Arcy Gayatin sets the bar higher each year for clothing luxury and fabrication techniques.


April Duenas, Nikki Gayatin and Arielle Gayatin for Arcy Gayatin—Photos by John Paul Autor from Lifestyle Inquirer.net


Araceli “Arcy” Ancajas Gayatin is the daughter Galileo Ancajas and Remedios Zanoria Ancajas who founded Cebu’s home brand, Gal’s Bakery.  Arcy went to the University of San Carlos and studied Political Science.  And just like Dr. Muccia Prada, who completed her Ph.D. in Political Science and established the luxury line of Prada, Arcy also got in touch with her artistic side and started her own fashion line.  However, it was not Prada that influenced Arcy.  Arcy was introduced to fashion and tailoring at a very young age by her mother, Madame Remedios Anacajas whom they dearly call Mama Eme.  Mama Eme was running a tailoring business back then.  It was called Arabel; named after Arcy and her sister Belma.  Ara from Araceli and Bel from Belma.  In those years, Arcy was fascinated by fabrics and was intrigued by how to manipulate the fabrics to come up with fashion-forward designs without compromising comfort and taste.


Arcy Gayatin (photo grabbed from Space Philippines Blog Spot)


After 37 years of creating haute couture pieces for the most fashionable personalities in the Philippines, Arcy Gayatin is now laying down her sketchpads and pens to rest.  As she enjoys her retirement, may be on a cruise to the Bahamas or a holiday to the Swiss Alps, Arcy Gayatin has left the fashion industry a legacy of elegant and edgy clothing ensembles that understand and define the shape of women; without compromising comfort and good taste.


Arcy Gayatin’s Pink Flamingo collection                                               Arcy Gayatin’s Sketch on a Terno


To salute the lady who brought Cebu fashion to the world, a retrospective exhibition of Arcy’s incomparable masterpieces can be seen today at Ayala Center Cebu’s The Gallery; curated by fashion editor and writer, Clint Holton Potestas, and interior and fashion designer, Jul Oliva.


BALANCE.  Arcy Gayatin is known for her perfect symmetrical lines when fabricating.  She knows how to balance edginess and class; understanding well the strength and the finesse of a woman.


RHYTHM.  Arcy’s expertise in draping and fabric manipulation can be seen in how she achieves rhythm between architectural lines and soft fabrics like silk and cashmere.


TEXTURE.  With her thorough knowledge on fabrics, Arcy Gayatin has achieved the perfection of fabrication by working on different types of fabrics and creating a single piece of art out of them. 


HARMONY.  The simplicity of the silhouette plus the intricacy of the details create a wonderful harmony, making Arcy Gayatin’s design a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.


The photos below show an up-close look at the intricacy and the exquisite craftsmanship of Arcy Gayatin’s fabrication techniques:


THE SPIDER WEB:  one of Arcy’s genius fabrication techniques.


MATCH and PATCH:  Arcy’s unique fabrication craft by patching layers of different types of lace and lace patterns


PLEATS: The perfection of symmetry in pleats on silk.


LA ROSE BLEUE:  U.P. student, Danielle Alessandra Deutsch, inspired by the artistry of Arcy Gayatin, designed this midnight blue dress.   The cabbage rose made from layers of silk organdy gave this evening ensemble a romantic appeal.

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