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Model Citizen

She goes by Clau, or Claudinha , but it’s Claudia Bezza, and she speaks four languages, hails from Brazil, lives in Hong Kong, and frequents Cebu. She prefers the simpler things in life but also enjoys the good life, and works hard for it. She gives, she shares, she’s a model citizen of the world, pun intended.

She goes by Clau, or Claudinha , but it’s Claudia Bezza, and she speaks four languages, hails from Brazil, lives in Hong Kong, and frequents Cebu. She prefers the simpler things in life but also enjoys the good life, and works hard for it. She gives, she shares, she’s a model citizen of the world, pun intended.

Off-shoulder nude jersey dress overlaid with gold brocade “scales” cutouts by Cary Santiago, gold pearl necklace worn as bracelet and stud earrings from Jewelmer

Running on a most meager amount of sleep, Hong Kong-based Brazilian high-fashion model Claudia Bezza, slipped her statuesque frame into one glittering couture dress after another. But she’s used to that. She was smiling the whole time, cracking jokes in two languages, greeting and thanking in a third, all while striking a myriad poses for Manila-based Argentinian model and photographer Eric Alessi.

Like many physically-blessed Brazilians, Claudia’s story of discovery is not too unique. She was approached by a model-scout at the age of fourteen, so on and so forth. But this is where it gets interesting: she declined to model right away—also discouraged by her mother—and completed first her military (that’s right, military) high school education, wanting to be an air force pilot like her older brother, Wiston (yes, not “Winston”).

Silver jersey dress adorned with Swarovski crystals in an art-deco design by Jun Escario, black pearl stud earrings by Jewelmer.

But the fashion world called once again and she was convinced by friends to join a state modelling contest and after winning was recruited by modelling agency Marilyn, the same agency that handles talents such as Fernanda Tavares and Giselle Bündchen, who both don’t need any introductions.

Gold lace blouse with a pierrot collar and gold silk gazar skirt with ribbon by Philip Rodriguez, golden pearl cuff, ring and studs by Jewelmer

Because Claudia’s look is very malleable, she has worked as a model all over the world, and mainly in Brazil, Europe, and Asia, doing campaigns for household names like Vodafone, Oral-B, and Bacardi; runway shows for designers such as Valentino, Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, and Jil Sander, and brands such as Versace, Louis Vuitton, La Perla, Cartier, Fendi, Piaget, Hugo Boss, and other beloved Brazilian brands and designers, among her countless editorial work and covers for magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, In Style, Marie Claire, and Cosmopolitan, and even a namesake Brazilian magazine, Claudia. Little did she know that a second trip to Hong Kong would change her life once again.

Brown and gold lace dress by Ito Curata, golden stud earrings, ring and opera pearls worn in matinee length by Jewelmer.

Part whim and part coercion from her manager brought Claudia back to Hong Kong in 2006. It was then never going to be the same. A mutual friend, of herself and Martin Yeung—son of Cebuana philanthropist Mariquita Salimbangon-Yeung and Hong Kong tycoon Carlos Yeung—had introduced them. It was only after a year of friendship that a deeper courtship took its form lasting three years (and counting), and like they say, the rest is history. “Martin was brought up very well,” Claudia said, “men like him are so rare these days.”

Since she had met Martin, Claudia has also been frequenting Cebu and claims she loves the place as it reminds her so much of her hometown, Natal. “You will be surprised how similar Cebu is to Natal,” she said, “the people are extremely friendly and warm, and both share very similar values and morals, especially when it comes to family and loved ones.” Although she calls Hong Kong her home away from home, she says she also feels very much at home when she is in Cebu.

Jewelry by Simplex Diam, shot by Martin Yeung

Aside from her mom and brother, the two closest people to her heart, she also deeply admires and takes much inspiration from her “Tita Mariquita and her heart of gold”, who she says can go on for days without sleep just making sure her Operation Smile charity activities go on without a hitch. Claudia too has her personal advocacies back in Natal, something she does mostly on weekends in her free time, gathering together and distributing just the most basic needs such as food and water to some indigent areas. “Any amount you share with the less fortunate goes a long way,” Claudia mused, “and it makes me very happy just to see them smile.”

“Tudo posso naquele que me fortalece,” she quoted Philippians 4:13, as the best advice she’s been given, and the best she would ever give: “I can do all things though Him who gives me strength.” Of all the glamorous things she has seen and experienced, Claudia Bezza strongly believes that to love and to be loved is her true luxury in life.

Jewelry by Simplex Diam, shot by Martin Yeung

Claudia was, of course, very professional, showing up at the shoot on the dot and though she was tired from flying in from Hong Kong that same day and going straight from the airport to the set, she made not even the faintest of complaints. She declined having a bite between changes as she was watching her diet, but still had enough energy to display her lightning-fast reflexes to catch a set of lighting equipment as they fell, when someone tripped over the wire. She also adamantly protected her modesty, requesting everyone to kindly step out as she changed herself. Even with quite a shy demeanor she wittily cracked a couple of jokes during grooming, and tried impressing everyone with her “salamat kaayo,” and other beginner Bisaya phrases between takes.

Although the beautiful photos portray a more romanticised ideal, the simpler, real, and candid Claudia Bezza shined through.

by Ian E. Baol photographer Eric Alessi production manager David Jones Cua guest stylist Melo Esguerra make-up artistRomero Vergara make-up assistant Jessie Egos


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St. Patrick’s Day Celebration at Marco Polo Plaza

Marco Polo Plaza will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Festival with the rest of the Irish community! It’s not only a feast of greens and four-leaf clovers but of good food too! From March 17 to 19, dig in and enjoy traditional Irish dishes and delights such as Irish Stew, Potato Nachos, Cheesy Reuben Loaf, Guinness Beef Stew Pot Pie, Beer Mac N’ Cheese and many more. These on top of the international lunch and dinner buffet at Cafe Marco. Complete the experience in true Irish fashion with an ice-cold mug of Irish Beer, also available at Cafe Marco.

Gastronomic adventures await at Café Marco! For inquiries and reservations, you can call (032) 253-1111. For real time updates, like the Facebook page at facebook.com/marcopolocebu or follow on Twitter at @5StarInCebu. Visit the website at www.marcopolohotels.com.

For inquiries and reservations, call 253-1111 or email hospitality.ceb@marcopolohotels.com.

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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.

The Founder

Combining passion and education. Louis Villaflor re-enacts his way patriotism through his periodical costumes and expresses his love for Cebu and Philippines as a culture-centric country.

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

With the its senior expertise of fashion design and a teacher of the field, his passion also of history caters also in his designs as he pushes through sustainable fashion and historical awareness combined.

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.


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Christmas in Colonial Cebu: A Themed Exhibit by Teresin Mendezona and Eva Gullas for Stylescapes 2019

Ever wonder how the yuletide season is celebrated in colonial times? This year at Stylescapes 2019, Teresin Mendezona and Eva Gullas collaborated to showcase the elegance of Christmas during the colonial period, specifically most of the Spanish regime.
This pop-up radiated the ambience of Christmas in the colonial times through the various details used within the setting. Specific pieces like the gansilyo table cloth, oil lamp, and the sketches were from Ms. Mendezona and Gullas themselves.
Aside from that, various table and living room pieces were sourced from Rustans and Metro Ayala, and was curated by Doro Barandino.

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