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Women Watch: Celebrating 12 women with beauty, style and passion

As the world celebrates women, Zee Lifestyle does the same by looking back at the very special 20th anniversary cover that looked back on the ladies who have graced our pages for their beauty, elegance, talent and passion for their endeavors.

As we celebrated our 20th year in the industry, it was only natural that we also celebrated the women who graced our covers. The team handpicked 12 women who are no strangers to our pages, but remain driving forces in their respective industries. 

With March being National Women’s Month and March 8 International Women’s Day, we found it fitting to pay tribute. These women are no strangers to our pages, and will probably be fixtures on it for years to come. It’s not just for their beauty or their keen sense of style, of course. It is their elegance and individuality, and the strong drive to succeed in whatever their efforts are directed.


Amparito Lhuillier

When were you first on the cover of Zee? The August-October issue in 1996

Any memorable experience with Zee? It’s definitely my favorite!

What would you change about Cebu? There’s nothing to be changed. I love Cebu!

Wearing Philip Rodriguez


Margot Osmeña

Do you remember your first Zee cover? I have only faint recollections about my Zee cover shoot–might be attributed to my senior years! If my memory serves me right, it was done in Teresin Mendezona’s house.

What do you love most about Cebu? When I first arrived in Cebu around 30 years ago, it became very obvious to me that there was this strong sense of pride. “This is our home” kind of feeling was apparent in the Cebuanos. As we move forward, I pray that this attitude is passed on to our children and their children.

Wearing Philip Rodriguez


Mia Arcenas

Do you remember your first Zee cover? The first time I was on the Zee cover was the time I got back from the US in 2010. I had just finished my degree at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and I was starting my career in fashion. I remember wearing Puey Quiñones with my first ever collection of accessories called Free Structure, made with abstract brass wire, crystal quartz and satin ribbons. Jon Unson shot it, while the hair and makeup was done by Romero.

Any memorable experience with Zee? The most memorable experience I’ve had with the magazine was when they co-hosted my first ever gala at the Oakridge Pavilion in Cebu. Zee has always been a big supporter ever since, and it was very heartwarming to have their full support.

Wearing Mia Arcenas


Fiona King

Do you remember your first Zee cover? My first cover was way back in college, when I was featured as a model. It was an unforgettable experience, but I must admit that the second time was bigger for me. It was in February 25, and I was honored to be featured as a real estate developer. Indeed, it was personally significant for me because Zee had seen and recognized my own life’s changes and growth, and found these to be cover-worthy.

What do you love about Cebu? I’m glad Cebu presents more opportunities for Cebuanos to thrive, evolve and make a difference. Cebu has always been bursting with opportunities, but we have to look around now to see that Cebu has exponentially grown. It is a city where entrepreneurs, artists, visionaries and people from various disciplines can make a name for themselves and become global without having to start in Manila. It is a city where people have become prouder of who we are and what we can do, and this pride has helped us to really redefine the Cebuano spirit and boldly succeed from the home-front to the world.

Wearing Vania Romoff


June Alegrado

Do you remember your first Zee cover? The first time I was on the cover was with good friends Bernie Aboitiz and Rochelle del Rosario. We had so much fun we didn’t notice the time. It felt like a get-together. Working with the Zee team was amazing. They took good care of us and were very professional. Artists were assigned to do our hair and makeup, and we were given choices of clothes and sandals to wear. The photographer and stylist helped us relax and loosen up, making it easy for us to project and feel comfortable in front of the camera. It was one of my most enjoyable experiences.

Changes that you’re happy about? I’m glad cellphones now have internet access. It has definitely made life more convenient–from buying clothes and paying bills to researching and learning new things. Keeping in touch with people to meeting new people. Accessing our music library, reading books and watching movies. But the past part of the smartphone is the camera, and the fact that my children and I can talk face to face even when they’re so far away.

Wearing Jun Escario


Christina Garcia Frasco

Do you remember your first Zee cover? The year was 2008. At that time, I had been living in Manila for 10 years already for school and work, and really missed Cebu. It was a memorable experience being on the cover of a magazine for the first time. I’m glad it was Zee, because to me, the magazine represented the best of Cebu–and being a Cebuana in Manila, I of course was fiercely proud of my home province.

Changes in Cebu you’re happy about? I’m happy to see Cebu strike a balance between being a center for world-class talent and locally made products, while being open to the influx of global brands and massive development. Hopefully our infrastructure can catch up very soon.

Wearing Dino Lloren


Kryz Uy

Do you remember your first Zee cover? Yes, of course! I was on the cover for the Youth issue, and I remember very clearly discussing with (then editor) David Cua his chosen copy for the cover. “Who doesn’t know Kryz Uy?” He was so set on having that line and I was so shy about it!

Changes in Cebu you’re happy about? The city is progressing quickly and we’re building a lot of companies, brands and even personalities that are competing well globally. That’s definitely something to be proud of!

Wearing Miranda Konstantinidou


Marguerite Lhuillier

Do you remember your first Zee cover? It is always flattering to be asked to do a cover, and of course, I willingly obliged. I had a great and fun time preparing for the shoot, what with the wonderful group from Zee Lifestyle. Everyone made the experience extra special.

Wearing Cary Santiago


Carla Yeung-McKowen

Do you remember your first Zee cover? It was an unforgettably fun experience. I was surrounded by the creative geniuses of Cebu–Cary Santiago, in Kenneth Cobonpue’s showroom, and shot by Dan Ong!

A memorable experience with Zee? The latest shoot. Being with other Cebuano women who I think are superbly gorgeous and successful, coupled with the “village” of creative minds who choreographed everything–it had to be my most memorable experience with Zee.

Wearing Stella McCartney


Danessa Onglatco

Do you remember your first Zee cover? Yes, of course, as it was a memorable fantastic experience for me. It was my first time to be a cover girl in a magazine, plus considering Zee is the only lifestyle magazine in Cebu. I was really honored to be chosen. I would like to take this opportunity to thank one of Cebu’s top designer Philip Rodriguez for choosing me, Zee’s former editor Jing Ramos and publisher Eva Gullas.

Changes in Cebu you’re happy about? That Cebu has continuously grown to be a tourism destination worldwide, and has seen growth in other industries like hospitality, real estate and the different types of BPO’s.

Wearing Miranda Konstantinidou


Kym Maitland-Smith 

Do you remember your first Zee cover? I was on the cover with my sister Divine for the October 2014 issue. It was a blast! We had so much fun shooting together, and everyone who participated from the makeup artists and stylists to the photographer and the location were all great. I remember rushing through the shoot because we had a flight to catch that morning, but everything went super smoothly. Divine and I were very happy with the photos and the article.

Wearing Miranda Konstantinidou


Alice Woolbright

Do you remember your first Zee cover? Yes, the November 2011 issue. It was a fun and relaxing Thanksgiving shoot with my sisters held at our ancestral home.

A memorable experience with Zee? My most treasured experience was the mother-daughter shoot. The timing was perfect as Erika was off to college that year.

Wearing Alexander McQueen

 


photography Jan Gonzales | creative direction Melo Esguerra | locale Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

Originally published in Zee Lifestyle, December-January 2017 issue.

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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