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National Treasures

There is a veneer of perfection to Senator Loren, and there is no doubt this something she aims at in everything she does. A woman fighting in a man’s world, so to speak, she is tough and demanding even, but to an extent that she would also impose on herself.

Within the quiet walls of the National Museum’s National Art Gallery sits the hallowed but empty room of what used to be the Session Hall of the Philippine Senate. The generous mid-day sunlight streaming in from the massive windows interplays with the shadows within that carry the weight of history in this proud, almost mysterious setting.

“The Senate has held its session in this historic hall since 1926,” the plaque reads. Even though the Seat of the Senate is currently in the GSIS Building in Pasay, with a room steeped in such history in the repository of the country’s cultural legacy, it seems quite fitting, then, that a short distance down the corridor, we find one senator’s efforts in preserving Filipino history and heritage encapsulated in an exhibit called “Hibla ng Lahing Filipino: The Artistry of Philippine Textiles.”

It is even more fitting that in the midst of this old Congress building, a few whispers away from the glorious former Senate Hall, we are to meet with the main proponent of “Hibla,” who also happens to be the only female senator to top the Senate race twice, and the only woman to become the Senate majority leader.

Behind Senator Loren Legarda’s stature is her tireless effort as a public official. Serving the country through the Senate, she is chiefly responsible for the passage of a number of laws that she authored, among them the Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Act (RA 9501), the Barangay Kabuhayan Act (RA 9509), the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003), and the Climate Change Act (RA 9729). Her concern for the welfare of women and children championed with the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act (RA 9262), the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (RA 9208), and the Anti-Child Labor Law (RA 9231).

The list is longer and far more encompassing; and her work never stops. In fact, stockpiled on top of her already overwhelming number of responsibilities, the senator also chairs the Committee on Climate Change, Committee on Foreign Relations, and Committee on Cultural Communities. In 2008, the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction appointed her as its champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaption in the Asia and the Pacific region.

Walking With Loren

A flurry of activity mildly interrupts the stillness in the air in another room where the production people wait. Senator Loren arrives with her staff and it seems that even with the simple act of walking, the lady senator is multi-tasking, conferring with her staff before she reaches the other end of the room.

Time is precious for the busy lawmaker and, at barely even lunchtime, one can sense she already has fulfilled several duties for the day, and is set on tackling the next ones on her agenda. Central to this day’s to-do list for the senator is a photo shoot for Kultura and Zee Magazine’s cover story. Wasting no time, the senator rushes off to change and, with a lot less time it takes for a model to be primped up for the cameras, the senator returns with a different outfit, simple hairstyle and make-up.

The shoot is fairly quick but marked by some discussions about composition, art direction and how she generally looks in the photos. Senator Loren, a former broadcast journalist and an award-winning anchor and producer of two of the country’s most popular and respected news programs, clearly knows the power of an image, whether it is a clip on television or a photograph. She has been, after all, a commercial model in her teenage years—seemingly a lifetime away, really.

If there is anything this exercise has shown us, it is that she is a woman who knows what she wants and is not afraid to speak her mind. Although confident in front of the cameras, having been around them for a good part of her professional life, the lady senator nevertheless also discovers something new about herself during the shoot. Used to being photographed a certain way, the senator is genuinely surprised with a picture of her taken head-on. The photo, her face to the camera, exudes quiet power. Hers is not a pose, it is a declaration; the shot near-perfect that it almost needs no words.

Weaving Her Story

Born Lorna Regina Bautista Legarda to Antonio Cabrera Legarda and Bessie Gella Bautista in 1960, she is the eldest and only girl in a family of three children. With the blood of newsmen and public servants running in her veins—from her paternal great grandfather Potenciano Cabrera, the first Mayor of San Pablo City, Laguna to her maternal grandfather Jose P. Bautista, an editor of the pre-Martial Law newspaper, The Manila Times—she seems truly destined to find herself answering a higher calling; of treading the same path. But for this achiever, she becomes both a newswoman and a public servant.

There is a veneer of perfection to Senator Loren, and there is no doubt this something she aims at in everything she does. A woman fighting in a man’s world, so to speak, she is tough and demanding even, but to an extent that she would also impose on herself. A former vice presidential candidate who, according to a May 6, 2012 article by Philippine Star columnist Babe Romualdez, “no longer has any ambition for higher office,” she has just recently filed her Certificate of Candidacy for the senatorial race in 2013. She aims once again for a job not for the meek, one that could cower a lesser man even, and she’s glad to do it again.

But a rarely seen softer side to the lady senator comes by way of an article called “The Loren Legarda I Know,” written by none other than her younger son Leandro (Lean) Legarda Leviste in his column for the Philippine Star in May this year.

A “mom before anything else,” he begins, Lean also lightly reveals that his mother “sometimes thinks she’s Martha Stewart,” owing to her penchant for planting her favorite herbs in their garden and playing “interior decorator in the living room.” Painting a more human figure of Senator Loren than anyone ever could, he lovingly describes her as a micromanager in the kitchen “even though she can’t cook, because she can do just about everything else,” and calls her on her lack of rapport with technology—although she now apparently “swears that the iPad… changed her life.” Like many of us, sad movies make her cry, romantic ones turn her to mush, but she “avoids action flicks at all costs—except if they’re starring George Clooney or Harrison Ford.”

But perhaps the most personal aspect the son reveals of her is the senator’s extreme closeness to her mother. Senator Loren was once quoted to have said, “I am a mother first and foremost,” and it is evident that her own relationship with her mother has greatly shaped how she’s has cultivated her own bond with her sons.

In a Philippine Star column by Joanne Rae M. Ramirez dedicated to Mother’s Day also in May this year, she quotes the senator as saying, “My mother Bessie was my best friend. I am so much like her. But she died so young, at 61.” Yet the senator has never lacked for a mother figure thanks to her “yaya” of 50 years, Felicidad “Fely” Balagtas, whom she considers her second mother.

Nanay Fely, as she is to the entire family, has given up “a life she could have had to be with us. Her life is us,” Senator Loren was quoted in the article. As such, even her own sons Lean and Lorenzo (Lanz) have grown up under the grace and care of the woman the senator describes as “no longer just my ‘yaya.’ She has become my partner in life.”

Of all the many facets of Senator Loren’s private life and public persona, it is the strength as a woman that becomes quite immediate to anyone who meets her, owing to the influence of such strong women in her life. One also gets the sense that the senator’s strong empathy with our history and our people is because she has had first-hand lessons from her own mother—the love for our culture chief among them it seems. In fact, the “Hibla” exhibit houses rare pieces from Senator Loren’s own collection: several Baro’t Saya with Pañuelo ensembles of Bicol “pinukpok” abaca fabric worn by her late mother; as well as a T’boli upper garment, a Maranao “malong” and the B’laan ensemble that the lady senator proudly wears during important Senate sessions.

Even more so, during the shoot, Senator Loren points out that her background in one photo is T’nalak, a fabric from Cotabato, and her accessories comprise of gold earrings from Butuan and bracelet from Kalinga—“North to south,” she says, clearly proud to be central to a single image that represents the diversity of artistry of our people.

The Fabric of Philippine History

In 2009, the month of October was declared as “National Indigenous People’s Month” through Proclamation No. 1906. Fittingly, along with the “Hibla” exhibit in the National Museum, Senator Legarda spearheaded the launch of the HIBLA website, which they held during the Manila FAME Design and Lifestyle Event at the SMX Convention Center on October 17, 2012. The site aims to further promote awareness about our traditional arts and crafts, and would prove to be an easier access for younger readers. Another highlight at the event, which closed on October 20, was the Hibla Pavilion of Textiles and Weaves of the Philippines.

“[It was] an exhibition aimed at showcasing our rich and colorful heritage through the Schools of Living Traditions (SLT), a program I supported to ensure that indigenous techniques on textile-weaving, basket-making, beadwork and embroidery are passed on to the next generation,” the senator said.

Highlighted in the exhibit were the Ivatan and Gaddang traditional weaving, Antique abaca/bariw mat weaving, Iraya Mangyan traditional nito basketry, Hanunuo Mangyan weaving, Panay Bukidnon panubok embroidery, Subanen pulaw weaving, Ekam Maguindanao mat weaving, Ata Talaingod liyang weaving, T’Boli t’nalak weaving and Blaan mewel weaving. By celebrating the artistry and grandeur of these weaving traditions, the senator steps up the focus on not just an awareness campaign, but on finding solutions to threats to these traditions, including apathy that could be a factor in their extinction.

“I have visited various provinces and communities in our country, and every visit leads to a discovery of the rich heritage of the indigenous peoples—the intricately woven fabrics, the songs, chants and dances that narrate the story of your ancestors and the distinct way of life they strive to preserve,” the senator notes on the Katutubo: Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines website. With unwavering pride for our heritage, this wonderful tapestry created by every cultural contribution of every indigenous community, Senator Loren works tirelessly to “promote this cultural inheritance and improve the welfare of its stewards,” as she states.

In 2011, the senator tells Philippine Star columnist Wilson Lee Flores, “There are 15 million indigenous peoples out of our over 100 million population in the Philippines. I care about them, because they’re marginalized and the most vulnerable also to climate change. They and their traditions are who we are as a people.”

The senator champions the cause of 110 ethno-linguistic groups nationwide “because they are among the poorest of the poor and the most marginalized. I champion their cause not only to hear their voice, but also to promote their culture and traditions, the heart and soul of the indigenous peoples,” she tells Flores.

Advocacy Politics

In her interview with Flores, Senator Loren declined to talk about politics. She insisted, “The only politics I want to talk about is advocacy politics — how we can improve the lives of women, children, indigenous peoples, how to promote arts and culture, the environment, disaster risk reduction, nature, planting trees.”

At the shoot, she also waves off an interview with a smile, preferring that we visit and read up on all her office’s achievements and projects from her website and various links that detail them in full. Mind you, the wealth of material isn’t just about her work with our country’s indigenous peoples, but also her widely known environmental advocacies, what she’s done for the rights of women and children, education, good governance, as well as various foundations and programs.  Action over words; it is much better to show results than to make verbose promises of things to be done.

Helping the plight of indigenous people is only one aspect of how Senator Loren hopes to preserve our national heritage. They have shaped our story as a people, reflected our courage in their music, our dreams in their art, our glory in dance, our knowledge in their skills; our self-worth seen in their resilience.

Yet, it is not only these indigenous peoples and their cultures that are in danger of extinction. An October 7, 2012 article that appeared in Philippine Daily Inquirer by Augusto F. Villalon detailed the “shocking state of heritage in the Philippines” as described by Dominic Galicia, an architect and the new editor-in-chief of BluPrint magazine. In it, Galicia laments the disappearance of certain architectural icons that speak of our heritage from the streets of Metro Manila and nearby provinces. Yet, he accounts being impressed by some measures taken to reverse this, especially that more people seem to be acting on their realization of the importance of heritage conservation.

To the communities she supports, defends and champions, Senator Loren is foremost in that list. Leading by example, she hopes to inspire the new generation through her own actions how truly important it is that such cornerstones of our culture are passed on, kept alive and lived.

  • by Annie S. Alejo
  • photography Jo Ann Bitagcol
  • creative direction and styling Melo Esguerra 
  • locale National Museum’s National Art Gallery 
  • Special thanks to Kultura Filipino

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Cebu’s Young Professionals Share Fond Memories with Their Dads

WANTED: WORLD’S GREATEST ‘FRIENEMY’

by Allain Dumon Fonte

Each person has a unique relationship with their father.  Fathers become the world’s greatest ‘frienemy’ because they are usually strict and uptight while we are growing up; and as we mature, they become our coach, our drinking buddy, our conspirator against mom, and sometimes, our dads become our wingman.  For many of the generation XYZ and early millennials, bonding a strong relationship with their fathers can be challenging because their dads are the typical breadwinners who are always away for work, business trips, and office meetings.  However, these young professionals appreciate very much the tireless and selfless efforts of their fathers to provide more than what the family needs.  

In 2006, Jeffrey Rosenberg and Bradford Wilcox of the United States Health and Human Services for Children published a research about the importance of direct father-involvement in the mental health of children.  According to Rosenberg and Wilcox, “children who grow up with involved fathers are: 39% more likely to earn mostly A’s in school, 45% less likely to repeat a grade, 60% less likely to be suspended or expelled from school, twice as likely to go to college and find stable employment after high school, 75% less likely to have a teen birth, and 80% less likely to spend time in jail.”  

Yet, these group of Cebuano millennials and young professionals will prove this research otherwise as their share their fond memories and unforgettable moments with their dads.  Some of them lost their fathers at a young age while others developed closed relationships with their fathers after their dads retire from work.  But no matter how short or how rare they spend their time with their dads, these young leaders attribute their success and are incredibly grateful to their fathers for molding them who and what they are now.

Atty. Elaine Mae Bathan

Atty. Elaine Mae Bathan (Professor of International Human Rights Law and Assistant Dean, School of Law, University of San Jose-Recoletos)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: I am the youngest of 5 siblings with significant age gaps. I grew up with daddy being away for work, but he gave up his promising career in broadcast media in Davao to bring our family safely back to Cebu during the martial law. He also gave up his position in Manila to spend time with us. His greatest gift to us was his devotion to our family and always putting us first before himself. He strived to provide for our family, and we continue to enjoy the fruits of what he labored. To this day, we value family above all things and continue to live the legacy he left behind. 

I have been fortunate that even when Daddy was sick, he lived long enough to see me become a lawyer and continue his passion in broadcast media through my radio program. To this day, I feel a part of him in me every time I go on board or when I am asked to speak in front of an audience. Each time I take the stage, I make sure I give my best knowing that Daddy is comfortably watching over me in heaven. All that I do and all that I will be will always be in memory and honor of the man worth my tears but has never made me cry, my dad.

Drew Weigel Sarmiento with his dad, Congressman Edgar Sarmiento

Drew Weigel Sarmiento (International Disc Jockey, Fitness and Wellness Blogger, Entrepreneur)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: The most recent unforgettable moment with my dad is when he was first elected and formally proclaimed as the Representative of the First District of Samar. I remember how before his hand was raised, he approached the image of Our Lady of Fatima, prayed first silently and alone in the Provincial Comelec office which brought the entire room to silence. That to me was unforgettable because it showed his deep faith and character. That moment showed how important his faith is and that his public service is centered of being God fearing and sincere service to others.

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: My siblings and I got him his favourite libation. I personally got him sportswear since he is a fitness fanatic.

Lianne Sala’s Family: (from right to left) Nito (Dad), Josie (mom), Ivan (Brother), Pilar (sister) and Lianne

Lianne Sala (Musician, Artist, and Founder of Sistemang Filipino Incorporated)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: Hiking up a mountain with him and some educators when I was about 11. But also, the few moments we get to discuss faith or culture. 

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: We shall celebrate Father’s Day with his favorite dishes, and gift him with a mix of printed literature.

Jeric with Dad Richard Cervantes, and mom Jennifer Aznar Cervantes

Jeric Anjo Aznar Cervantes (Singer, Musician, and Jet Ski Racer)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: my most unforgettable moment with my dad was when we went camping in Kalanggaman Island in Leyte.  We traveled by boat and jet skis and camped there.  It was one of the best experiences.  We did not need cellphones or other distractions, just some good old-fashioned camping with the family.  My father has always taught us to be nature lovers, and indeed he has influenced us to be explorers of nature!

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: My dad is not really into receiving gifts since he is mostly the one giving gifts to people.  But, if there is one thing that I can give to my dad on Father’s Day, it would not be anything material.  I am giving my dad a letter to thank him for being the best dad in the world, and for teaching me and my siblings to value and love nature and this world we are living in.  I believe that it is the best gift.

Dr. Vida Redulla-Manapsal with her dad, Dr. Vidal Redulla

Dr. Vida Redulla-Manapsal (Medical Doctor)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: My dad, having 4 daughters, used to let us play “beauty parlor” while he took a nap. We would color his nails with crayons, put clips in his hair, etc. One time, in the middle of his nap, he got called to the hospital for an emergency. He took out the clips and went out. He could not understand why the resident doctors with him kept snickering. Turns out he had forgotten that each of his nails was a different Crayola shade. He did not get upset at all but rather he just laughed his head off. He still talks about it now.

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: I unfortunately was not able to buy a gift for my dad, so I am giving him the gift of time by paying him a visit. I am so glad it is now safer to do so since I and my parents are fully vaccinated already.

Atty. Wilbert Dumon with his dad, Former Provincial Board Member, Hon. Victor Dumon

Atty. Wilbert Dumon (Senior Partner for Dumon, Dumon-Fernandez, and Associates Law Firm)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: When he rushed me to the hospital when I was 6 years old after I had an accident at my grandfather’s ancestral home. I can still remember him carrying me in his arms.

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: I will give him all my love and attention as he is getting older together with my mom.

Bee Urgello

Bee Urgello (Supermodel, Fashion Blogger, and Financial Advisor)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: My most unforgettable moment with my dad was when he finally accepted me as a trans woman. I will always be thankful for that gift of love. No gift or moment can ever surpass that for me. 

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: It is always a struggle to find gifts for my dad every occasion. What can you get someone who can buy anything he wants? I cannot afford to buy vintage cars or aircrafts (hahaha).  The best gift I can probably give him aside from lunch or dinner are quality time and being an obedient and loving daughter.

Rowell Ucat visiting his dad

Rowell Ucat a.k.a. Medyo Maldito (Social Media Influencer, Songwriter)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: I remember the day when my Papa taught me how to ride a bicycle; at that time, he was my hero. He also taught me to appreciate the adventures in life. 

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: Father’s Day this year is also my Papa’s 16th death anniversary.  I am thinking a lot about him and reflecting on some of the memories we shared while I was growing up.  Since he is no longer with us, I will celebrate Father’s Day with my mama (who also stood as my papa) and by giving mama an iPad so she can watch more of our videos in a bigger screen. Happy Father’s Day in heaven, Papa!

Meme Dakay and her dad Mr. Benson Dakay

Mary Ann Rose “Meme” Dakay (Jewelry Designer, and Vice President-Operations and Creative Director at Shemberg, and Chief operating officer and New business Development at Shemberg marketing corporation)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: My most unforgettable moment with my dad would be when we flew to Paris together and explored the city! It was my first time there; I was 14 years old. He made me try a lot of his favorite food in the city.  It was definitely a father-daughter bonding trip!

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: A tribute about him on what an amazing father he is!

Rayland Duarte

Rayland Duarte (Proprietor and Managing Director of Sushi Mashita Co.)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: Most memorable moment was probably the phone call that I had with him. I was dead frustrated about my work, and I felt that I was not in the right place.  He told me to quit my job and its okay. You belong wherever you are happy and where you can utilize the talents you have. Money will always be money. Time is more precious my son.

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: Since he is staying in Manila, and I am in Cebu. I asked my friend to arrange a food delivery service to give him a Father’s Day surprise.

Atty.  Georgia May Herrera-Klepp

Atty.  Georgia May Herrera-Klepp (Television NEWS Anchor, Notary Public, and Partner at BOHR-SC attorneys at law)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: My dad used to travel a lot and he would make it a point to travel with just a hand carried bag. He hated waiting for his luggage at the airport. When I was pregnant with my first child and the first grandchild child in the family, Aidan, my dad was still in the U.S. for a long vacation trip.  He came home surprising Andy and I with boxes of gifts for Aidan. He hand-carried a sheep rocking chair because he already exceeded weight allowance from all the stuff he got for his first ‘Apo’. He even brought home a highchair that he said should be left in his house for Aidan to use when he comes to visit.   My dad is not big on words or display of affection, So I think that was the sweetest my dad has ever done.

Georgia Herrera’s father, Former Vice Governor of Bohol, Atty. Julius Ceasar Herrera with her husband, Andy Dumon-Klepp

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: There is nothing materially I can give that he does not have already.  He knows how loved and grateful I am for everything he has done for the family. The best gift that I give him every day and forever is my service to him.  Sounds weird but YES to always be sure to help him and to do what he asked of me. To take care of him and my mom just like they did when I was growing up.

Doyzkie with his siblings and his dad, Jose Buenaviaje

Doyzkie Buenaviaje (Blogger at Tasty Cebu PH, Marketing Communications Manager at Clover Creatives PR & Events and Owner/Blogger at Doyzkie Buenaviaje)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: When we were kids, my dad brings us everywhere! And when we were growing and studying, we were not able to travel as much. Just a few years back, my dad and I started a tradition to travel somewhere for his birthday, which falls really close on Father’s Day. The trip on 2019 before the pandemic happened to be the most unforgettable because we did a tri-country backpacking for 15 days, and I love how he enjoyed the experience. My dad is friendly, and he easily got along with my local friends on my favorite cities I have been. When we got back from the trip, he had so many stories to tell his grandchildren.

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: I got my dad a comfy sneakers to use for the upcoming adventures we shall be going when it’s safe to travel again.

Lakambini Chiu with dad and sister Kim Chiu

Lakambini Chiu (Managing Director at Julie’s Bakeshop and Managing Director at Potato Corner US)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: Unforgettable moment is when he give us the opportunity to live in this beautiful World that God has created. 

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: I will give Him back the opportunity to be grateful and thankful for what we have, and what we are now. And that is what you call TIME…

Chef Gerard Apurado presenting his famous FATHER’s EGGS pastry that is only available at the Plantation Bay’s Bakeshop by the Beach

Chef Gerard Apurado (Pastry Chef at Plantation Bay’s Bakeshop by the Beach)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: My father would always invite me to spend time with him over a bottle of beer—It is safe to say that  most of my wisdom came from my father, he has always been a streetwise (I’m sorry mom!) and probably the most unforgettable moment I had with him is our conversation right after graduation, and I can still remember his words, “as you embark in this new phase in your life, and when you found a job, I would appreciate if you don’t give me money, spend your money for yourself and your experiences for I am still well and able to finance myself, it’s never your responsibility to raise me”. Those words struck me.

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: I would not give any material things, when travel eases, I will visit home and spend more time with him over a bottle of beer again. I have always missed having those conversations with him. Time well spent and substantial conversations with an important person in our lives is something all of us long for.

Kris Janson with her dad

Kris Tiffany Janson (Former Financial Analyst for San Miguel Yamamura Packaging Corp., Beauty Queen, Ramp and Print Model)

Q: What is your most unforgettable moment with your dad?

A: I have so many fond memories of my Papa and I cannot easily pick but what comes to mind was when I joined my first pageant because he went all out in supporting me. Back then social media was not the top priority when you would think about promoting or advertising a product or the candidate you support. He printed out photos of me to show to his workmates and to ask for support.

Q: What will you give your dad on Father’s Day?

A: I will send him prayers like I do every night. I know he is in a better place, and I hope that he is proud of me and the woman that I have become.

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EXCLUSIVE: Never Been Released Behind-the-Scenes photos of Zee Lifestyle’s Emerald Issue Cover Shoot

Photographer Jan Gonzales, Margie Lhuillier, June Alegrado, Kryz Uy, Mia Arcenas, Amparito Lhuillier and Alice Woolbright

We celebrate the strength and resilience of womanhood in this year’s Mother’s Day by looking back at these never been seen before behind-the-scenes shots of  Zee Lifestyle Magazine’s Emerald (20th Anniversary) Issue cover shoot featuring the “Leading Women” of Cebu.

***

LEADING WOMEN

To celebrate the 20 beautiful years of Zee Lifestyle as the ultimate source of lifestyle news in Cebu, we handpicked 12 strong and stylish women of Cebu from every age group. These women show us that independently building one’s strength of character and living one’s passion knows no age. From the beginning, Zee has always been empowering women, providing the Cebuanas a platform to express their beauty and confidence, share their passions, engage in economic and political participation which yields to viewing women with equality and respect that we deserve.

photography Jan Gonzales
creative director Melo Esguerra
art director Doro Barandino
sittings editor Shari Quimbo
beauty director Romero Vergara
makeup Arnauld, Janice Barillo and Nicko dela Peña
hair Jessie Egos and Jake Arias
fashion styling Clint Potestas
production assistants Patty Taboada and Katrina Labra
locale Marco Polo Plaza Hotel Cebu

Twelve women, two sets and one afternoon. That is how the Zee Lifestyle team decided to celebrate the title’s 20th anniversary issue—with a challenge that, in some ways, is one of our biggest productions yet.

The idea came along when publisher Eva Gullas and editor-at-large Melo Esguerra were discussing a cover story that would best represent the magazine’s history. From commissioning artistic depictions on Cebu to playing with the anniversary’s emerald theme, no idea had stuck until Melo suggested putting a series of women who had already been on the cover of Zee, again on the cover all together.

Oj Hofer and Margot Osmeña

Kryz Uy

Coming up with the list of names, of course, was no small feat. Our covers from the last 20 years have included several strong personalities—from philanthropists and politicians, to actors, and names to soon watch out for, our pages have seen them all. The challenge, then, was to come up with a list of women who had been driving forces in their respective fields when they had first appeared on the cover, and remain as powerful players even today.

Amparito Lhuillier, Kryz Uy, Alice Woolbright, Margot Osmeña and June Alegrado all wearing MIRANDA KONSTANTINIDOU

Photographer Jan Gonzales and creative director Melo Esguerra

With input from editors, both past and present, we rounded up 12 women from different age groups, fields and industries, who are all strong and passionate at whatever it is they do—Amparito Lhuillier, who remains the doyenne of Cebu society as a picture of elegance and class with her continuing efforts in business and social causes; the always-stylish Marguerite Lhuillier, herself an example of sophistication in all her efforts, whether business or otherwise; Margot Osmeña, who as a Cebu City Councilor has spearheaded many urban projects directed for the betterment of living in the city; hospitality mavens June Alegrado and Alice Woolbright, who are deeply involved in the rise of their brands, Bluewater properties and Beverly Hotel, respectively; Christina Garcia Frasco, the current Lilo-an Mayor advocating impressively progressive efforts in the area; former model Fiona King, now a major player in homegrown real estate with projects like Bloq Residences; the fitness enthusiast Danessa Onglatco who has espoused wellness with the opening of Yogahub; restaurateur Carla Yeung-McKowen who is behind the city’s hottest dining outlet, The Pig & Palm; designer Mia Arcenas, whose signature resort wear and accessories are representative of Cebu’s laid back lifestyle; Kym Maitland-Smith, who juggles efforts in swimsuit design through SOLTI Activewear and is building awareness for the vegan lifestyle; and Kryz Uy, whose online presence was a strong one even before fashion blogs were on anyone’s radar.

Kymberly Maitland-Smith

Makeup Artist Romero Vergara, June Alegrado and Hair Stylist Jessie Egos

An impressive bunch, for sure. These women properly embody the characteristics that Zee Lifestyle looks for in one who makes the cover—beauty, yes, but also elegance coupled with individuality, and always a strong drive to succeed in whatever efforts they are directed.

This, it turns out, was the fitting tribute to the years Zee has been Cebu’s premier lifestyle bible, as well as a sign of the things forthcoming. Our 12 cover stars may have been on our pages before, but if their current efforts are any indication, our pages will continue to see more of them in the future. And as continuing purveyors of what Cebu has to offer, Zee Lifestyle will happily be seeing them in the years to come.

FROM LEFT Marguerite wears CARY SANTIAGO; June wears PHILIP RODRIGUEZ; Mia wears MIA ARCENAS; Kryz wears ELIZABETH HALLIE; Amparito wears MONIQUE LHUILLIER; Alice wears PHILIP RODRIGUEZ; Fiona wears VANIA ROMOFF; Margot wears PHILIP RODRIGUEZ; Danessa wears OJ HOFER; Carla wears ALICE+OLIVIA; Christina wears DINO LLOREN

(This article had already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s December 2016 Emerald Issue, “Leading Women” on pages 140-155.)

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Culture

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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