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VAGUE: A Tribute to Cebuano Society

Zee pays tribute to Vague with a special section dedicated to the Annes, Ashiras and Barbras we know. Read about the fashionable it girl, the stunning trophy wife and the sophisticated socialite and let us know: Which one are you?


hair and make up Romero Vergara

A VAGUE regular, Barbra with a brand new haircut and streamlined wardrobe reintroduces herself to Cebuano society, giving these young it girls a run for their money, showing them how to live a truly charmed life.

What’s your family business?

My family is into mining; we’re very much connected to the South African diamond magnate.

Who are you wearing right now?

Edwin Ao.

Who do you consider your friends in the society world?

When you’re on top you have a lot of friends here. Well, I consider a lot of people my friends but I don’t know if they consider me a friend. But of course, I’m very close to Amparito because they’re also into the jewelry business.

What about your enemies?

I would consider politicians my enemies, especially in times of elections. They ask for contributions, so they’re my enemies every three years.

What do you say to people who call you a social climber?

Oh, well they should climb with me!

What are your thoughts on Paris Hilton?

She doesn’t deserve the name. I’ve been to Paris and it’s very romantic, and Paris Hilton is never romantic. She’s… I don’t know what you would call her.

Speaking of Paris Hilton, do you have a sex video?

Yes, 60 pounds ago but it was never released. When I did, it was still on VHS.

Do you believe that money can’t buy happiness?

I don’t believe it. I mean, money is happiness. That’s why so many people want it.

You travel quite a lot and get recognized often. Where do you go to escape the paparazzi?

My bathroom. It’s the safest place in the world. I don’t have windows in my bathroom.

If you could trade places with anyone in the world, who would it be?

I would like to be the former pope, Pope Benedict XVI because I want to see what it’s like to be pope and then not be pope anymore, but still be alive.

If Hollywood were to make a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?

It would either be Julia Roberts or Angelina Jolie. Julia Roberts because she has the best smile, lips and personality, and Angelina Jolie because she’s like me right now: we don’t have any boobs.

How many husbands have you had?

I’m a Filipina so I only have one. But to say the least, I think I have lived with seven men.

What do you say to rumors about your husband being unfaithful?

I don’t really care; I also am.

Do you have any kids?

I have three—one is in Europe, studying in Cambridge. Two of them are in the US, one in MIT and the other in Harvard.

Where did you go to school?

I finished highschool in the Philippines, then proceeded to college in Oxford and then graduate studies at MIT.

Do you have a private plane?

I have two. I can give you one.

What’s your favorite travel destination?

Antarctica. It’s the only place I get real privacy.

What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

Love. But it’s on sale these days.

What’s your favorite restaurant in Cebu?

Anzani and Tavolata, and of course the ones that I own.

What’s your favorite drink?

Blue margarita

Who are your favorite designers?

For gowns, locally, I love Cary Santiago. Internationally, I love Christian Lacroix.

Where do you usually shop?

Paris, and of course Milan.

Do you have any charities?

Yes, I have a lot right now and there’s one under my name, the Barbra Foundation, which is for women who are struggling, abused women and women with unfaithful husbands—just so they can get a livelihood, and get a life.

Do you believe in plastic surgery?

Yes of course! If you’re beautiful inside but not on the outside, then go for plastic surgery. Fortunately for me, it’s just that I don’t need them. No botox, not yet. Maybe after 20 years, maybe I’ll join the likes of certain high profile women who are very open with their botox.

Where do you usually go out in Cebu?

I don’t usually go out. It’s just with friends at their houses. I mean, Cebu’s a bit crowded now and I’ve been advised by my security people to not go out as much.

Where do you live?

It’s a humble house with the front door by the Banilad gate and the back door by the Busay gate of Ma. Luisa.

What do you drive?

I don’t drive; of course I have my driver. I’m the simplest person, I don’t know the brand I’m riding on. I just ride them comfortably. That’s a man’s world.

Who’s a Cebuano guy that you have a crush on?

Mike Rama, I have a crush on him. Especially now that he won again.

Would you ever run for office?

Never. I fund politicians, but I would never run myself. It’s so tedious for me, and I don’t like going there and convincing people to vote for me. But I can buy votes though.

The Trophy Wife: ASHIRA DUPONT

hair and make up Gari Son

Poised to become Cebu’s next wine mogul, Ashira talks about how her beautiful looks and slender figure landed her in a life of luxury.

Where are you from?

Cebu City, but I actually grew up in the province, in Tuburan. I went to school and worked in Cebu.

Who is your husband?

Michel Dupont, from Antwerp, Belgium. We met during my vacation in Boracay, and I was shocked when I found out he was filthy rich in Belgium. It’s how I became a rich woman.

What is your family business?

Now I’m managing our wine importing business in the Philippines, but he still manages his jewelry business in Antwerp. I can’t tell you the name, though, because it’s very confidential.

Do you guys travel a lot?

He travels most of the time in India and in Africa, but he comes here often. He loves Boracay and Palawan; he loves the Philippines because he gets to relax. But we’ve travelled around the world—he loves Asia and I love Europe. We went to Germany, but I love Paris and Italy. It’s very romantic. I love the Mediterranean.

Do you have a private plane?

No, we don’t. I think it’s very expensive in Europe, but we only take first class flights because my husband is a very sophisticated person, very luxurious. He wants luxury all the time—if it’s five-star, six-star, I can’t tell. I’m not used to having that luxurious life, but I love him. He’s quite handsome; at least he was when he was younger.

How old is he?

He is 46 and I’m 28.

How old were you when you met?

I was 27, so it’s been a year of luxury. This is really all still shocking for me.

How did you start your wine business?

My husband is really a businessman, and he wants to earn more money so he told me to venture into the wine business. He is a shareholder of a winery in the south of France, so that’s why he exported wine to here and I receive it to sell in Cebu City.

Where do you live?

I live in Maria Luisa alone, with my helpers.

How many helpers do you have?

I have six, to take care of the house and my clothes.

What brands and designers do you like?

I love Louis Vuitton and I love Versace, it’s my favorite brand. It’s so sexy, and I feel like Donatella. That’s the look I like. I love Gucci also. I don’t like the American brands that much; I’d rather go for the European ones. I would like to be able to wear Alexander McQueen, but it’s too avant garde for me. I have bags and shoes that my husband buys for me, and he just gives me a credit card so I can shop and swipe in Europe during my vacations.

What car do you drive?

It’s an Audi, a silver one. I don’t know what model though, and I don’t know how to drive. I need to practice. We just hired a driver to drive me to the office.

What do you do everyday?

I just manage the wine business since we’re just starting. It was launched last October. It’s called “Hey, Wine!”. Hey, because it’s that great feeling of just greeting people with “hey!” It’s welcoming. If it doesn’t work we’ll change the name to “Hello, Wine!”

Do you go out a lot?

I’m not used to going out because I still don’t have a lot of friends in the social circles of Cebu. My husband isn’t here and if I go out a lot, then he might get jealous when I meet men—and I don’t want him to think that because I’m rich already. I can’t give up my husband, so I take care of him and the business. I do go out to Ayala to shop and dine in the best restaurants in Cebu.

Do you believe in plastic surgery?

Yes! Before I had small breasts but my husband didn’t like them so I opted for implants, went to Belo and had it fixed. My husband was so happy with my operation. It looks superb now. I feel like a Victoria’s Secret model.

Do you plan on having children?

Oh my God, I don’t know if my husband can handle babies, or if he’s ready for it. I would like kids though, because they’ll live a rich lifestyle and they can go to the good universities.

How often do you go to Belgium?

I lived in Belgium for seven months after the wedding, before my husband decided I should go back to the Philippines and start a business. I got bored in Belgium. It’s a cold country— nine months of cold weather—and when you’re a Filipino, you need to adjust and all, but my husband was very sensitive. He told me to go back and continue my happy life in the Philippines.

Are you on a diet right now?

No, my yaya just cooks for me. I just eat whatever she prepares.

Do you have any charities?

Yes, I do help children. My family is doing a feeding program in our barangay and soliciting money. I just give, because whatever you give will come back a thousand times over. I really believe in that. Just share the good karma, and it will come back.

Where does your family live now?

In Tuburan. I don’t want my family to live with me because I decided when I started a family of my own, I want it to be separated. I just had our house fixed there and support them.

Does your husband get mad that you support them?

He’s very understanding, because I let him understand.

Have you met your mother-inlaw?

She’s already dead, but I’ve met my father-in-law and I can’t understand him. The language is really complicated. I need to live there for five more years, then maybe I can speak fluently and understand better.

Do you and your husband have a language barrier?

No, he speaks very good English. He’s a businessman and he meets a lot of people from around the world.

Do you spit or swallow?

Of course I swallow, because I’m not bulimic. I don’t want to spit out what I put in my mouth. Just follow the natural process of things.

Would you rather be rich and ugly, or poor and beautiful?

Well, I would rather be poor and beautiful, because that was how I was before. I was just fortunate enough to find a very rich and handsome husband who was my knight in shining armor. He rescued me from poverty. It’s just like a Cinderella Story.


hair and make up Romero Vergara

The 19 year-old hotel chain heiress gives VAGUE a sneak peak into the life she’s tried so desperately to keep private and her plans for the not-so-distant future.

Describe your style.

Elegant and sophisticated but bitchy.

People say you’re a bitch. Are you?

When I enter a room, it’s full of bitches, but I’m the prime bitch.

There are rumors going around that your boyfriend is gay.

Those who are spreading rumors obviously just want to sleep with him.

Do you abide by the unwritten rules of friendship, like don’t sleep with your friends’ exes?

It’s always situational. It depends if my friend’s ex is hot, then maybe. It could be one way of revenge for her, right?

How do you feel about the hundreds of fake accounts of you on Facebook?

Stalkers! Ambitious!

Leather or lace?

It depends on the boyfriend, but a mix of both would be great. Hard and soft. I’m always for the balance.

Where do you usually hang out?

I’d rather not say. Commoners will start crowding up the place.

How much is your monthly allowance?

It’s too vulgar an amount to mention.

What is your take on friends who magically lose their wallets when it’s time to pay the bill?

They’re not my friends anymore.

Did you go to an international school?

Are there any other kind?

What’s your family business?

We own an IT company and we have a lot of hotels in Cebu and Manila, but we’re humble. It’s the Award Hotels.

Is there a membership club in the hotel?

For you guys no, it’s just for the beautiful bitches.

Do you have a private plane?

No, because my dad doesn’t want me to have one since I’m too bratty already. But I’m a member for all the airlines, but except the low-budget ones, of course.

Where’s the last place you traveled to?

Sorry, I travel a lot so I can’t remember. I think it was in Milan. I had lunch in Milan, dinner in Paris and then breakfast the next day in London.

Where are the Awards from?

Genovia. I’m neighbors with Princess Mia.

Are you part of the royal family?

I have to keep that a secret to protect the family, but just between us, yes.

Who’s your favorite designer?

I always loved Christian Dior and Roberto Cavalli. I love the way he goes for prints and volume.

What do you look for in a man?

I already have everything, so my perfect guy is like what everyone wants. A very simple guy: rich, handsome, very good attitude… rich.

What if the guy is poor?

Poorer than me? Well that’s a given cause I’m the richest. But he shouldn’t be far from like the second or third richest family.

What are your parents’ names?

My mom is Bitchirhea Award and my dad’s Pedro. He’s half Filipino.

What are your plans for the future?

It’s all laid out by my parents already so I don’t have to worry about that.

Are you going to take over your company?

No! I need to pay people to take over. I just want to have breakfast, lunch and dinner in different places with the best guy on my side.

What’s the worst thing you’ve done to a girl?

Stared at her. After that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Were you a mean girl in high school?

I wasn’t! I was so friendly. Everyone would say hi, and then that’s it. They’ll go back to bowing their heads when they walk.

Have you had any plastic surgery?

No, everything here is real.

Are you against plastic surgery?

No. If people need the ego boost, then they can go ahead. I don’t need it.

Do you think you’re pretty?

What a stupid question.

How old are you now?

I’m 19, turning 18.

How many boyfriends have you had?

I can’t tell you, my dad might be reading.

How old do you want to be when you get married?

19. So, I have to get married soon.

Where do you like to get a drink here in Cebu?

At Crossroads, just Distillery or GILT. I love Waves at Shangri-la Mactan.

What’s your boyfriend’s name?

Stefano Dalimarsh. He’s from Belgium, I met him last night. He runs a restaurant and a club, and he’s a gangster.

What kind of sausages do you like?

Depends on my mood. But everyone loves Hungarian.

Do you prefer guys in boxers or briefs?

Boxers. I like them bouncing.

Where do you want to get married and have your honeymoon?

Paris and Maldives.

Do you have a hotel there also?

No, but my dad’s friend does.

Do you have any siblings?

No, I banished them all. It’s all about me.

Where do you live?

No, you might go to my place. In Cebu, I do have a condo in Calyx.

Where do you usually shop in Cebu?

In Ayala, but I shop when it’s closed. It’s a private thing.

Name a prominent Cebuano guy you have a crush on.

Joe Vince Canizares

  • photography Dan Douglas Ong


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Arcane: League of Legends: Netflix Review

Rating: *****/*****

League of Legends a very popular video game that’s been around for over a decade has now been adapted into an animated series on Netflix.  The series, Arcane: League of Legends was just released on November 6, 2021 and starring Hailee Steinfeld.  As a person who doesn’t play LoL, I was very surprised by Arcane’s story and the quality of the animation.  The title theme song is by Imagine Dragons and soundtrack is very cool.

Rottentomatoes gives the series a 100% score!  Here’s what they say:

“Newcomers should be equally enthralled by Arcane’s compelling narrative, richly developed characters … “

 Critics Consensus

“Arcane makes an arresting first impression, combining a spectacular mix of 2D and 3D animation with an emotionally compelling story to deliver a video game adaptation that could become legendary.”

Well then, this is a must see for me!  Now out on Netflix

… zen

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ALBUM REVIEW: Red (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift

RATING: ★★★ / ★★★★★

You probably don’t need to be reminded of why Taylor Swift has decided to release re-recordings of her previous albums, starting with Fearless (Taylor’s Version) last year and now with Red (Taylor’s Version). However, if you somehow missed one of the biggest music controversies in recent history, here’s a quick summary: in 2019, talent manager Scooter Braun acquired the record label Big Machine and as part of the deal acquired ownership of the master recordings for the first six studio albums by Taylor Swift. Swift has been trying to buy the masters to her songs for years but she’s been offered nothing but unfavorable conditions — therefore, as a countermeasure, she is re-recording all of her six albums and so far has released two.

It’s a bold move on Taylor’s part, but lucky for her, the re-recordings have done incredibly well especially with the re-recording of her 2012 album Red. On its first day of release, Red (Taylor’s Version) has broken two Spotify records: one for the most-streamed album in a day by a female and another for the most-streamed female in a single day both in Spotify history.

It’s hard to review an album like this when Red (Taylor’s Version) is, for the most part, just a recreation of the songs of Red. There are new songs, of course, but the majority of the tracks are simply re-recorded versions of her already existing songs. The Immaculate Collection by Madonna, this isn’t — save for All Too Well, there are no new instrumentals or parts of the song here, just plain re-recordings of her previous songs.

Unfortunately for Taylor Swift, some of the songs don’t really benefit from being re-recorded. The original version of We Are Never Getting Back Together, for instance, while far from Swift’s best song at least had the energy and emotion you’d expect a bitter break-up song like it to have. In the new version, Taylor Swift just sounds lifeless and bored, especially when it comes to her spoken lines.

It’s difficult to blame her when she’s expected to still give convincing performances of experiences she’s had over a decade ago. How do you expect a singer in her 30s to sing a song about how excited she is to be 22 and still make it sound as convincing as she made it when she was actually 22?

That being said, some of the songs also benefit from being re-recorded. There’s a sense of nostalgia added to many of these songs. Taylor Swift sounds older and, in a way, that adds even more emotional depth to some of her tracks. And for anyone not wild about these songs simply being re-recordings, Swift has six new “From The Vault” tracks which should be enough to tide you over.

All in all, Red (Taylor’s Version) doesn’t always work, but for Taylor Swift fans, it’s a way to listen to versions of her songs that are hers. It’s why the “(Taylor’s Version)” at the end of these songs are so important and it’s great to know Taylor Swift finally has versions of the songs she wrote which she can call hers.

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Cycling has been a growing sport and hobby for many years but it’s popularity has erupted since the Covid pandemic.  People biking to work and for recreation is an everyday sight in Cebu.  More and more are joining the ride.  Many are quite serious about cycling.  I know three ladies who are among those who’ve gone long distances across Cebu.

How did you get into serious cycling?  What was your motivation?

Blinky de Leon.  Event Host, Product Endorser & Influencer

“ I’ve been into cycling since I was a kid. A little backstory, I was around 10 years old when my dad surprised me with my first custom-made mountain bike. I still keep it until now, in fact I had it refurbished. It’s the most sentimental thing I ever received since it was his way/gesture to catch up with me after not seeing each other for almost 6 yrs. My dad is based in Germany and he also loves cycling and makes his own bamboo bike.”


“Just a year ago though, my friend Gazini randomly, out of nowhere, picked me up from home to bike with her to the South of Cebu. I felt really excited and motivated to get back on track because it’s very nostalgic and brings back so many great memories. And since then, the rest was history. We’ve been joining different groups, tried different routes and conquered different heights. I’ve met so many cyclists with very inspiring stories in the bike community who kept me feeling motivated too. I also look forward to the sights and the adventure that comes along with it.”


Yumz Mariot. Branding & Marketing Consultant

“I used to bike along with rock and wall climbing. I am lousy with ballgames which is why. Our usual route were Talamban and Mactan but one time, managed to ship gears all the way to Dumaguete for a quick ride to Valencia, the next town located at a higher elevation. Those were days when I did it for fun and what bike I was using did not matter.”

“Fast forward to 2021, a year after the pandemic lockdown began, I realized I have been lazy to do any fitness routine. Too caught up on juggling between house chores and Work from Home deliverables (I work as a Branding and Marketing Consultant), I started to feel my body needs to move as much as my brain does. A hysical fitness routine is as important as what I eat, or what I read or watch. So I decided to invest on a decent MTB, just very recently and got myself a much necessary restart. What motivates me even more is the area where I currently reside at. It is vast, fresh, green and safe for solo bikers like me.”


Prime Sarino. Digital Media Creative

“I started biking as a young teenager and I got the idea to start it as an adult hobby 3 years ago. I was already into running and I thought it would be great to venture into another outdoor activity to keep me occupied after work hours and weekends. I was set to travel for a year so I had to put aside the idea first but came pandemic. We were all forced to stay put and everything was put on hold. Cycling became my diversion. My cyclists friends invited me to quick and short rides. I enjoyed my first 50km ride and the sceneries and routes most of all. It also helped channel a positive mindset during the hard hit season of the pandemic. Not to mention it’s also another way to stay fit when we were forced into inactivity during the quarantine.”

Next in Part 2, we ask the ladies about their cycling experiences and memorable moments…

by: Zen

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