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This year’s set of bachelors project a singular sophistication that is too charming to resist.

This year’s set of bachelors project a singular sophistication that is too charming to resist.

A lot has been said about men who are impeccably dressed. And with the emergence of debonair characters on our TV screens—from Mad Men’s 1960’s collection of dapper advertising honchos who deliver lines while dressed in tailored three-piece suits and even the occasional hat, to the sharp-tongued and equally sharply dressed Harvey Specter on lawyer drama Suits—it’s clear that there’s a lot more to say.

Of course, it’s never just the clothes that make the man. What creates the magnetic pull to someone well-dressed is more than just the pants-shirt-jacket combination; what grabs attention, and eventually keeps it, is an attitude that is as important an accessory as a classic watch or thoroughly shined leather shoes—demonstrating a confidence that stems from success in various ventures and a determination to get further ahead.

This month, Zee Lifestyle features the men that Cebu will soon be going mad for—and not just for their broad shoulders and how good they look in sunglasses. What makes them really attractive is the success in their respective career endeavors at a generally young age, the passionate drive to do more for themselves and the place they now call home, and easygoing personalities that get them on everyone’s radar. And though said personalities are accessories enough, they up the ante with sunglasses and watches from Rudy Project, and sharp apparel from Marithé + François Girbaud. Truly, these five fashionable gentlemen are confident, competent and dedicated to what they do; and let’s be honest, the good looks don’t hurt either.

 

VINCE LAMPERT

It may seem that the way Vince Lampert landed in Cebu 11 years ago was an act of serendipity. He started his career with DEDON during the summer of 2001 in Luneburg, Germany packing products for German customer deliveries, when his efficiency garnered the attention of the company’s owner who sent him out of Germany for work. As fate would have had it, the next 24 hours found Vince in Cebu, where his fondness for the weather, culture and people was reason enough to stay. Now, the 29-year-old is the managing director of DEDON Cebu Manufacturing. But his determination means there’s still more to come. “Big ambition, big plans!”

What is your career mantra?

“Give more, expect less.” Whether it is personal or career wise, when you give more of yourself, it will come back to you a thousand fold… I see it as a kind of “pass it forward.” You pass on your kindness; in hopes that that person passes on kindness to another person.

What is the best quality you can offer a woman?

Integrity, it’s the total package. A man with integrity not just shows sincere unconditional love but also encompasses pure respect, adoration and all other values that make you a “real man.”

When you look at your old photos, what was your “what was I thinking?!” moment, fashion-wise?

Flashy/sporty mode. I was fully into soccer and playing my sport, practicing three times a week and having weekend games and tournaments. Wearing jeans and a polo shirt at that time was impossible for me.

We’re all still kids inside. What makes your inner child come out?

We all have an inner child in us and sometimes we need to get in touch with [our inner child] to enjoy and appreciate what life truly brings. I remember this quote from George Bernard Shaw that says, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

JONATHAN KENNEDY

Jonathan Kennedy began his career working at the front office of the Montreal Canadiens, but he always knew that he eventually wanted to start his own business. After several small web business ventures, Jon, along with partners JP Bisson and Diana Quartin, landed in Cebu last year with Clicking Labs, a company that offers marketing services for companies who want to create a strong online presence. But more than building a successful business, Clicking Labs credits their success over the past year to finding the right people for the job, and are dedicated to creating an empowering and happy work environment. Of course, Jon’s roots in sports remain—he also runs www.asportinglife.co, where he highlights the creative side to sports.

What is your career mantra?

Helping others along their paths somehow helps you along yours.

What’s next for you?

The next step is to work hard on developing a culture of happy and motivated employees. The Zappos.com model is one that many employers can benefit from. They built a billion dollar company on the concept of happy employees and outstanding customer service. We want to become the best place to work in the Philippines while reaching impressive growth and sales figures.

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Do you agree?

Definitely. Nothing makes me happier than someone going out of their way to prepare a meal for me.

What’s your go-to aphrodisiac?

Sr. Pedro Lechon Manok

Which Mad Man are you?

Don Draper. I’m the creative problem solver, I love crisp white shirts and I’m somewhat of an online ad man.

JP BISSON

Jean-Patrick Bisson must have entrepreneurship in his blood—starting out with lemonade stands at an early age in Canada before moving on to starting a landscaping company with friends in high school and selling items from China through the classified ads. The internet proved to be a turning point, with the inception of Clicking Labs, which he founded with Jon Kennedy and Diana Quartin. The business led them to Cebu, and over the past year, Clicking Labs has progressed to a new office and a growing staff of 50. In his downtime, JP enjoys reading and getting massages, although one of the things he enjoys most about Cebu is having the beach just a short drive away.

What advice do you have for the Filipino people to get to where you are now?

Focus, guts and a willingness to go the extra mile. I’ve spoken to many brilliant Cebuanos who would make great entrepreneurs but they often lack the confidence or the family support to make the leap and be willing to fail.

Who is your idol, career-wise?

I admire many entrepreneurs but Steve Jobs is at the top of that list. He built a company from his garage, got fired, then came back and pulled the biggest turnaround in business history.

Are you single?

I have a girlfriend who’s also my business party. Crazy? Yeah I know.

What is the best quality you can offer a woman?

Understanding that women are meant to be loved, not understood.

What sports do you play?

I love hockey. We’ve even started a ball hockey game every Wednesday night at the Apas Barangay basketball court. [Shameless plug!] In Canada, I used to snowboard but it’s been a while now.

SAM GULLAS

At 27, Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr, or Samsam, began his career learning the business before becoming the assistant vice-president for administration and finance at the University of the Visayas. Upon the behest of his grandfather and father, he spent the early days of his career being transferred to various departments; now, he assists the university’s administrators in managing the school. He also manages the university’s basketball teams, and is the basketball and sports commissioner for Talisay City. But one thing that’s really important is family. In fact, his decision to run for public office in the 2013 elections was inspired by his grandfather, Eddie Gullas.

What advice do you have for the Filipino people to get to where you are now?

Always trust family. They will always know what is best for you. You may argue along the way, but at the end of the day, they will always have your best interests at heart.

A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Do you agree?

Yes! I think it comes from my shortcomings as a cook as well. As I always say, the microwave was and always will be the best invention for a single man.

What sports do you play?

Basketball. I used to practice with the UV basketball teams everyday but since I got injured last November, I haven’t played basketball. But hopefully I’ll be back soon.

What is your opinion on politics in the country?

I think we are going in the right direction. Filipinos are passionate. I am very sure that if all of us are united towards one common goal, like how we are during a Pacquiao fight, the Philippines will surely move forward.

We’re all still kids inside, what makes you inner child come out?

It definitely comes out when I’m with my brothers and sisters. I may be the oldest in a bunch of five but when I’m with them, I basically act like the youngest.

GIO PUCCINI

Half Italian, half Columbian Gio Puccini’s stay in the Philippines began as a vacation in neighboring provinces when he landed a job with ePerformax Contact Centers & BPO in Manila. His extended stay allowed more vacation time and Cebu quickly became one of his favorite destinations, which made his appointment as program director at the ePerformax office in Cebu a welcome assignment. However, most people might know him better as Gio Salvador, the name he adapted while sharing the screen with Boy Abunda, Aiai De Las Alas, Eugene Domingo, John Lloyd Cruz, among others as a model, host and actor. Now at 26, Gio has settled into the Philippine lifestyle comfortably, although he believes working on the beach would be a great addition to his routine.

How did you reach where you are in your career?

Sticking to what I believe in and verbalizing what has been thoroughly thought out—whether it’s an idea or solution to address challenges, issues and opportunities—has helped catapult my career. When you work in a company like ePerformax that values its people and believes that everyone’s opinions matters, I encourage everyone to speak up.

What is your career mantra?

Work hard, play hard. Be productive, healthy and happy.

What do you look for in a woman?

Nothing is more beautiful than an intelligent woman. I also love one who is good at time management, and is able to take off to visit a new area at a whim.

When you look at your old photos, what was your “what was I thinking?!” moment, fashion-wise?

Wearing camo cargo shorts. I was a nerd in high school, so it’s okay.

What sports do you play?

I’ll play anything although I’m not a pro. I just joined the ePerformax soccer team. In high school, I played water polo, which was tons of fun. I also like hobie catamarans, surfing, pretty much anything in the water.

  • by Shari Quimbo
  • sittings editor Katsy Borromeo
  • production manager David Jones Cua
  • creative director Mikey Sanchez
  • production assistant Philip Lapinid IV
  • hair and make-up Gari Son and Jomer Arances
  • photographer Jan Gonzales
  • locale The Rhine Suite and La Gondola at The Waterfront Hotel and Casino Lahug
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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.

***

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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