Megaworld changes the city’s skyline with The Mactan Newtown, a township development that brings the company’s Live-Work-Play concept to Cebu, appealing to it-couple Anna Igpit and Glenn Soco, who talk about dealing with the demands of their lifestyle and how an easygoing outlook works for their five-year relationship.
It had been a cloudy afternoon in Mactan, with a few clumps of dark clouds still looming after the heavy downpour earlier in the day. Thankfully, the sun made its appearance just as Anna Igpit and Glenn Soco emerged to pose for this issue’s cover photo. The two converse as the team gets ready, jokingly picking at each others outfits—Glenn’s a sharp suit and Anna in an intricate Cary Santiago creation. As the dress’ train flutters in the ocean breeze, the couple poses against the dramatic backdrop of the now streaming sunlight bouncing off the façade of One World Center, the first building in Megaworld’s The Mactan Newtown. As the company’s first large- scale project in Cebu, The Mactan Newtown is the chance for locals to enjoy the Live-Work-Play concept that Megaworld pioneered in the country. “We have always recognized the growth potential of Cebu and felt that now is the best time to do something here of this scale,” says Megaworld Cebu Properties Inc. president Noli Hernandez. It’s an instinct that proved true, with BPO companies opening in One World Center by the first quarter of the year and the first residential clusters of One Pacific Residences and 8 Newtown Boulevard almost sold out less than a year after they were launched. “The market reception to the project is, to say the least, overwhelming.”
Perhaps Megaworld’s track record worked in their favor, having created a string of successful township communities in Metro Manila that began with Eastwood City in Libis. “As the country’s first Cyberpark, Eastwood City brought together the first BPO companies in one location and in the process gave birth to the BPO industry in the country,” Noli shares. To make it a truly dynamic destination, though, condominium towers were constructed around the property with lifestyle amenities of retail stores, restaurants, a park and cinemas interspersed among the buildings.
From there, the company continued on to create other world- class communities. They are in fact the largest developer in the Fort Bonifacio area, with an aggregate property of 106 hectares from the Forbestown Center, Uptown Bonifacio, McKinley Hill and McKinley West. “In McKinley Hill, we tweaked the formula of Live-Work-Play and added the Learn component with the integration of learning institutions such as the Chinese International School, the Korean International School, as well as the Enderun College,” Noli explains, showing the projects’ adaptability. In Newport City, the Play component is upped through Resorts World Manila, which includes the Marriott Hotel, the Maxims Hotel and the acclaimed Newport Performing Arts Center.
In the case of The Mactan Newtown, the components are in full swing. The success of 8 Newtown Boulevard and One Pacific Residences has paved the way for other residential projects, all of which will host a variety of wellness-oriented amenities, such as One Pacific Residences’ wall-climbing facility and aqua gym, although other retail and dining amenities will soon be opening on the site. Breaking ground for Two World Center is in the works, while the first week of the year saw the grand opening of McDonald’s in One World Center—a modern outlet of the fastfood favorite that boasts the largest seating capacity in Cebu and colorful graphic art on the walls.
“We have been very fortunate to have been given full support by the Lapu-lapu city government, as well as the warm and enthusiastic reception by the people of Mactan,” says Noli, though he admits that, like all other projects, the actual development of the property posed its own development and construction challenges. Its promising start has given way to possible expansion. “As it is, The Mactan Newtown is already poised to offer a complete community experience. But having a beachfront property will be a great addition to the development, and we are currently pursuing that tack.”
It’s the kind of lifestyle that would appeal to today’s career-driven and on-the-go personalities. “Most of our residents and buyers come from a fairly young demographic,” says Noli. “It’s business owners, executives, entrepreneurs and upward mobile individuals who are looking to be at the center of a cosmopolitan lifestyle.”
The concept certainly appealed to Anna and Glenn, who made their own inquiries on the property in between takes. “I love the setting because it’s near the beach, and I love the beach,” Glenn admits. “Convenience is very important, and Newtown has all the amenities and features in one place.”
Anna agrees, “It’s very appealing, especially if you’re career- oriented and you want to be in a place where you get both worlds. You’re near the beach but at the same time, when you step out of your unit, you get to eat out at restaurants or shop at good stores.”
It’s understandable that accessibility and convenience are factors both Anna and Glenn appreciate, considering their own lives are mostly spent juggling various work commitments and time for each other. “He has his own thing and I do too. We never reached a point where we told each other what to do,” Anna says. Glenn adds, “There may be issues that we have to deal with from time to time, but we move on in any situation. We make our respective careers a priority, and we work it out so both our worlds compliment each other.”
It’s an arrangement they manage to work out, as both their worlds are flourishing on their own. Born in Bohol, Anna Igpit was part of various pageants before she was crowned Bb. Pilipinas-World in 2006. She went on to represent the country in that year’s Miss World pageant in Warsaw, Poland, being the first Boholana to compete in an international beauty competition. Currently, her charm for public speaking is put to good use as a host, whether its for various social events or her GMA 7 Cebu show Istayl Nato. She is also one-third of the Wicked Sisters, an events planning company that produces occasions with, in their own words, “a wickedly inventive slant.”
On his end, Glenn Soco is the man behind many successful businesses, first of which is the janitorial services company that he took over from his parents in 1995 and expanded to provide a full range of manpower services, and the Global Power Skills Development Center, a TESDA-accredited training facility for marketable skills. He also started Coffee Dream in 1996 to give the coffee-drinking lifestyle a local twist—the chain uses 100% local beans and products, and promotes small businesses by selling items like cassava cookies, ginamos paste and local tablea. His business endeavors are partnered with a strong sense of corporate social responsibility, supporting causes such as providing day care centers to barangays, helping cancer-stricken children and promoting sports development. “I like effecting positive change in the lives of people, whether it’s in business, social work or sports. I think I’ve always had the heart for public service,” he says, alluding to his plans of running for public office. “Even in our business, providing employment gives a different fulfillment. Those are simple joys that are hard to quantify, and I hope it reverberates in my organization and outside it.”
Individually formidable in their own right, together they are one of Cebu’s power couples, the kind of people whose very presence earn excited greetings, second glances and the occasional hushed comments from observers—even when dressed down for the more casual interview over coffee on a sunny morning. “People can get really interested in us,” Anna admits. “They see the little things we do and interpret it in their own way. I can get very affected by it, but he’s very practical and doesn’t get into it, so that rubs off on me.”
Without the camera and the black tie attire, the two have the easy cadence that shows off their five or so years together. They exchange looks and teasing comments as they talk about their early days. “I wasn’t attracted to him at first,” Anna laughs, though she remembers a few romantic gestures that eventually won her over. “One thing I won’t forget is when I was based in Manila. I was at Starbucks in a mall, and someone from Coffee Dream was suddenly there carrying a huge box of flowers for me.” Glenn’s take is shorter, and elicits a laugh from his girlfriend: “She just charmed me to death. That’s it.” The couple was introduced by a mutual friend, though they didn’t exchange numbers until two years after. “There wasn’t any formal courtship. We don’t even have an anniversary,” Anna shares. “There’s really no pressure. Our relationship’s not normal.”
The rapport is candid, with a common sense of humor that epitomizes how comfortable they are with each other. “No comment. You have the floor please,” Glenn jokes when asked about their plans for the future. “Well, definitely stay together. Like any relationship, you want it to end well,” Anna answers, to which he interrupts laughing, “What do you mean end?”
Taking on a more serious tone, Glenn explains, “In relationships, you don’t have to think too far ahead because it applies a lot of pressure on the both of you. Not everything can be made out objectively, or that it has to be this or that. Relationships can be very simple and very easy, that’s where maturity sets in. I think there’s something that works with us for us to make it to five years. It’s common that you have problems every now and then, and it’s about what works for you. Sometimes you don’t even need to talk about it, and everything will just be resolved in its own time.”
Next to him, Anna laughs, “It’s relationship advice from Glenn Soco.” Considering how well it’s worked out for them, it’s probably sound advice to take.
- by Shari Quimbo
- photography Jan Gonzales
- sittings editor Katsy Borromeo
- production manager David Jones Cua
- fashion stylist and art director Michael Sanchez
- hair and makeup Romero Vergara and Ramil Solis
- assistant Jessie Egos
- shot on location at The Mactan Newtown
EXCLUSIVE: Never Been Released Behind-the-Scenes photos of Zee Lifestyle’s Emerald Issue Cover Shoot
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(This article had already been published in Zee Lifestyle’s December 2016 Emerald Issue, “Leading Women” on pages 140-155.)
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.
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
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.
After the Razzmatazz and Razzle-dazzle: Post-Sinulog Thoughts
by Chrissy Grey Resaba
Buntings of red and yellow were removed from post to post. Streets were cleared and cleaned. Fireworks displays were faded in the sky. Beats of #prititit and tunes of tourism-booster Cebu tracks were being put to archive once again.
Contingents from different parts of Cebu and Central Visayas had gone back home. Party people had gone sober while some are still recovering. Traffic has gone back to normal. Businesses, as well, has gone back to normal.
However, all the fun and loud chants, smooth grooves, and frenzied choreographies are still replaying from the memory banks of the people who celebrated Sinulog 2020. The queen of all festivals in the Philippines has left again another mark of cultural and festive nostalgia to the people from all parts of the world and Cebuanos alike.
After all the razzmatazz and razzle-dazzle, let’s get to know what are these IG and FB personalities’ #PostSinulogThoughts about celebrating the newly-culminated Sinulog 2020 and how did they differentiate it to last year’s.
Eva Psychee Patalinjug, Binibining Pilipinas Grand International 2018 @evapatalinjug
I celebrated my Sinulog with my boyfriend and some of my close friends, we decided to choose a place where it’s not very crowded where we can see the whole Cebu, talk, and chill the night away. We went to Verified Lounge – Cebu’s newest premier sky lounge – located at the rooftop of the Avenir Building. It was something new for me as the night was calm as I was away from the busy streets of Cebu. It’s definitely one way of enjoying such festivities.
Kim Covert @kimcovert
The Sinulog celebration this year has been one of the most memorable events in my life. Not only was I invited to perform a few of my own songs during the weekend’s festivities but I also turned over my Binibining Cebu Tourism crown to my successor. Last year, I was busy with work and was not able to completely grasp the events. This year’s festival was more organized which is a great success for Cebu. Many have flown in and had spent time with their families in the “Pit Senyor” spirit, others have enjoyed spending time off with friends and colleagues. It was a great way for me to start my New Year and close my Cebu chapter before I leave to the US in a week.
Alem Garcia @thealemgarcia
Well pretty much, I was still busy doing shows and events for Sinulog. But what made it different this year was the religious celebration made me believe even more that Sto. Niño is indeed miraculous and that He is meant to be celebrated. Even though you are successful in your chosen field, furthermore, everything will be meaningless if you do not have the faith.
Philip Pingoy @almostablogger
We all have a Sinulog story to tell. It may be a story of losing faith and finding hope. But what is important is our devotion to the Holy Child Jesus (Señor. Sto. Niño). This year, my Sinulog experience was very different since I am already based in the United Kingdom. Thanks to the internet I was still able to watch the mass and all the festivities in Cebu. I am in UK because I prayed to Sto. Niño. So, let us not forget the reason we celebrate Sinulog and let us continue to share to the rest of the world why Sinulog is the grandest festival in the Philippines. Pit Senyor everyone! I hope you had a good one!
Lyssa Amor @lyssaamor
Sinulog celebrates Filipinos’ acceptance of Christianity. This year, I celebrated Sinulog by hearing the word of God. I went to church which I do every Sinulog but the difference now is that I am not in Cebu. It’s my first time to celebrate Sinulog away from home because I’m currently in Japan. Although I didn’t dance the traditional Sinulog dance this year, I wasn’t able to watch the fireworks in Ayala, and didn’t spend time with my friends in Mango and IT Park. Snr. Sto. Niño will always be in my heart and I am forever grateful that our ancestors accepted Christianity and we continue to embrace it up until today.
Kevin Geniston @kgeniston
Sinulog will always be a highlight for me as a Cebuano. This year has been fulfilling as I was able to brave the crowd in the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu three times to attend the novena mass which had also become like bonding time with my family, daughter, friends and loved ones. I ended the celebration of the Sinulog festivities with a bit of the usual partying and/or clubbing.
Carlo Andrew Olano @kalamicebu
My Sinulog this year was a great mix of religious and secular activities. I was able to go to the church and somehow witnessed the Traslacion and the fluvial procession. I also went to many side events like parties, mall events, and fireworks exhibitions. Sinulog 2020 had a fantastic balance of fun, faith, and festivities.
Danna Bacolod @dannabacolod
This is the second time I spent Sinulog with Cebu Pacific. We had series of events prepared during its entire week and participated the grand parade by having a float last Sunday. I always feel excited to join Sinulog Grand Parade and see a lot of people celebrating their own way of Sinulog along the streets of Cebu. Guess it’s safe to say that I had so much fun. Even if this was work-related, I didn’t feel like I’m actually working as it was always joyful doing events like these.
Nimo Hideki @nimo_scheming
You prolly knew this already but, Sinulog 2020 was by far the most phenomenal Sinulog experience: more laidback than the previous years’. The music in every corner of the streets were still there to help you let loose and enjoy the experience. The surge of people had tested you both mentally and physically. But it was an experience you cannot miss like mingling with people from different walks of life and shouting out “Pit Senyor” to everyone. Summing up my Sinulog experience, I was able to get crazy and enjoy all aspects of the fest.
Michael Rey @michaelsomewhere
I had the most relaxed Sinulog experience this year. I did not party and preferred to witness the grand parade instead. I do think that this year’s celebration was more colorful and much safer as establishments strictly abided the rules imposed by the Cebu City Government. I was also amazed at how the festival of fashion here in Cebu has evolved throughout the years.
Now, how about you? What are your #PostSinulogThoughts this Prititit 2020? Viva Pit Senyor!
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