100 Years of American Express in the Philippines

 

 

Concert program 1

 

Last October 8, I had the honour of attending a special gathering in celebration of the 100th year of American Express in the Philippines, at the Forbes Ballroom of Conrad Manila. It was a very elegant dinner that culminated with a musical concert treat complete with the country’s top performers and a stunning big band. The event was attended by a select group of American Express Cardmembers.

 

Bathroom selfie at the Conrad Hotel before getting to the American Express 100 Years celebration, with BDO. Dress from @k_and_company, hair and makeup by me, complete with lashes again.
I flew solo and I felt silly posing in public by myself. So what’s a girl to do? A selfie in the Conrad’s grand bathroom, with game face on.

 

Table setting 2
I loved the understated elegance of the table setting.

 

Food
US beef tenderloin with roasted carrots and mizuna mash

 

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The AMP Band by Mel Villena

 

Toast with Executives
(L-R) Sharon P Chew, Vice President of Regional Product, Marketing & Business Development, Asia, American Express; Sanjiv Malhotra, Vice President and General Manager, Partner Card Services, Asia, American Express; Y C Koh, President, Asia, American Express International, Inc., Teresita Sy-Coson, Chairperson of BDO Unibank, Inc., Rolando C. Tanchanco, Executive Vice President of BDO Unibank, Inc. and Consumer Lending Group Head, Ma. Nannette R. Regala, Senior Vice President of BDO Unibank, Inc. and Consumer Lending Group Marketing Head

 

Y C Koh, President, Asia, American Express International, Inc., in his address said, “I’m proud to join our long-term partner BDO and our Cardmembers to celebrate American Express’ 100th year in the Philippines tonight. I want to give special thanks to our partners and our customers for their trust and support over the past century. American Express’ aim is to be the world’s most respected service brand, and we look forward to working with BDO to deliver a world-class experience to our customers as we enter our second century.”

 

RCT & Y C Koh
Y C Koh with Rolando C. Tanchanco

 

100 Years of American Express Heritage Panels
The centennial celebration gave us a chance to look back at milestones from the opening of the first American Express Asia office in 1916, to the strategic partnership forged with BDO in 2007.

 

AMEX-Platinum-Card (IDC)

 

American Express was the first in the world to introduce a Platinum Card. It made its debut in 1984 as an elite product. The Platinum Card® was offered to existing high spending customers by invitation only. It was labeled the “ultimate plastic” by one newspaper because of its exclusive and valuable benefits. In 1999, the Platinum Card was introduced in the Philippines. Today it continues to evolve with the changing premium marketplace, making it one of the most desired Cards in the market.

And during the 100 Years of American Express Gala, another highlight was the unveiling of the revitalized Platinum Card.

Designed for the affluent, seasoned travelers and their families, the iconic Platinum Card offers better travel experiences and a world of rewards and benefits for its Cardmembers. Platinum Cardmembers can now enjoy enhanced benefits such as:

  • Complimentary business class companion tickets when they fly with Philippine Airlines.
  • Privileged access to more than 900 lounges across more than 120 countries at Priority Pass, Delta Sky Club and American Express Lounges.
  • Automatic enrollment into elite membership status of prestigious hotel loyalty programs such as Shangri-La Golden Circle, Hilton HHonors and Club Carlson. Exclusive hotel privileges with the uniquely created Fine Hotels & Resorts program. Cardmembers will also enjoy exclusive complimentary benefits such as room upgrade upon arrival, daily breakfast for two, in-room Wi-Fi, early check-in, late check-out and a special amenity at each property.
  • A US$200 travel voucher welcome gift for use on your next getaway to purchase air ticket, book a stay, or upgrade your tour package.
  • Complimentary Meet and Assist Services for departure and arrival at NAIA Terminals 1 & 3 and at Davao and Clark International Airports.

BDO, the exclusive card-issuing and merchant-acquiring bank partner of American Express in the country, will continue to launch special promotional offers for Cardmembers throughout the celebration of American Express’ centennial year.

 

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My personal highlight was my encounter with the Chairperson of BDO Unibank, Inc. Teresita Sy-Coson

 

 

After the formalities and dinner, we were entertained by an impressive musical concert by Cris Villonco, Bituin Escalante, Charito, Mon David, the AMP band by Mel Villena, Yuki Arimasa, Kengo Nakamura and Juasa Kanoh with a medley of musical performances spanning different decades.

The theme was “Pop Meets Big Band Jazz”, the performers went through musical periods like the 1920’s to 1930’s where music expressed a new freedom and a very sexy rebellion by the likes of Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald. In the 1940’s to 1950’s big band jazz became the pulsing sound of the mainstream with the talents becoming superstars of the era like Cole Porter, Glenn Miller, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and Miles Davis. The 1960’s to 1970’s was all about the youth quake and freedom in fashion and lifestyles. Jazz may have taken a back seat but still shone through Motown, Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Sarah Vaughan. The 1980s to 1990s pop songs reflected cool, calm, collected jazz songs from Lou Rawls, Wynton Marsalis and Michael Jackson. The special show ended with the present era of songs by Diana Krall, Norah Jones, Cassandra Wilson, and Pharell Williams.

 

Concert Artists 2
Charito, Mon David, Cris Villonco, and Bituin Escalante.

 

Mon David
Mon David

 

Cris Villonco
Cris Villonco

 

Yuki Arimasa
Yuki Arimasa

 

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Series 7 Project Manila

 

 

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I hosted the launch of the exhibit of Fritz Hansen’s collaboration with esteemed Filipino architects and designers at Studio Dimensione at BGC.

It is the 60th anniversary of the Series 7 chair by Arne Jacobsen whose collaboration with Fritz Hansen dates back to 1934. The Series 7™ was designed in 1955 and is by far the most sold chair in the history of Fritz Hansen and perhaps also in furniture history. It is made of pressure moulded veneer with four stackable legs.

Each of the Filipino architects and designers were given the task to re-interpret the timeless and classic Series 7 Chair by Arne Jacobsen. It was a celebration, of not just the chair, but also of the local Filipino architecture and design ingenuity. It is taking a design made way back in 1950s and showing how it is still relevant to us. The classic silhouette of the Series 7 transcends time and space.

 

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From left to right, Dean Yupangco, Ed Calma, Carlo Calma, Andy Locsin of Leandro V. Locsin Partners, Fritz Hansen’s Dario Reichl, Ben Chan, Gil Coscolluela, and Bong Recio.

 

 

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I hosted the official opening of the exhibit which will run until March 31st at Studio Dimensione. (I wore a K&Company dress.)

 

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Dario Reicherl, VP for Asia Pacific for Fritz Hansen, gave a brief talk about the history and relevance of the Series 7 chair.

 

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Gil Coscoluella wrapped the Series 7 in purple calfskin leather.

 

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Ed Calma kept the Series 7 form but added different colours and layers of wood veneer.

 

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Architect Juan Carlo Calma worked with three Series 7 chairs, superimposing them creating layers that represented a grotto.

 

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Andy Locsin of Leandro V Locsin Partners paid homage not just to Arne Jacobsen, but to his own father Leandro V. Locsin, by creating a mold of the Series 7 in poured concrete.

 

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I asked Andy if I could sit on the chair.

 

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Dean Joey Yupangco dressed up Series 7 in “leggings”.

 

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Bong Recio worked on a fusion of the Series 7 and the Filipino “batibot” chair.

 

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Suyen Corp’s Miguel Pastor and Nenita Lim.

 

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With fashion designer Joey Samson.

 

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The event was followed by a lovely dinner at Blackbird Restaurant.

 

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Seated, Lucy Torres Gomez, Ben Chan, Bong Recio. Standing, Robert Mananquil, Carlo Calma, Millet Mananquil and Dario Reicherl.

 

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With Dario.

 

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With old friend Keren Pascual and the Mananquils.

 

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Barbie and John Rey Tiangco.

 

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Suyen Corporations’ Noel Manapat and Keren Pascual.

 

The Series 7 Project Manila exhibit runs til March 31, 2016 at Republic of Fritz Hansen in Studio Dimensione, One Parkade, BGC. Photos by Miguel Pastor.

&nsbp;

 

Secours Populaire Francais Thanksgiving Dinner

 

 

french dinner

 

Last December 13th, I hosted a dinner for the dignitaries of Secours Populaire Français. I didn’t host like an emcee, I played “hostess” — like I organised the dinner party. Danny Rayos del Sol (the real host), president of  Mirasol Outreach Foundation Inc. (Mofi) had asked me to put together a thanksgiving dinner celebration fit for a First Lady and a top figure in the French political scene. It was the Holiday season. I was doing the APEC Chair auction. Traffic was insane. Most restaurants were already booked. And then I remembered the most perfect place to have this special dinner would be at the Maria Luisa’s Garden Room at the Makati Garden Club. I called the restaurant’s Ms Susan Fernandez and right away she prepared a wonderful plan for this very special dinner.

You’ve seen in my 2015 retrospective, that Sophia’s trip to France was rather unforgettable. She participated in Secours Populaire Français’ summer camp for French and foreign children in Gerardmer, France. Sophia and three other children were chosen by Mirasol Outreach Foundation to represent the Philippines. You may read about it here.

In December, the leaders of Secours Populaire Français came to the the Philippines to inaugurate the newly rebuilt school they had generously funded in Busuanga, Palawan after Typhoon Haiyan damaged it. Sophia and I could not attend the Palawan events due to her school midterms and my UNICEF obligations. So I focused on putting this fabulous dinner together for our French guests and local foundation partners.

Here’s the story, in pictures.

 

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From Busuanga, the team flew back to Manila. We met at the Peninsula Manila. From L-R, Mofi’s Danny Rayos del Sol and Amy Loste, SPF president Julien Laupretre, DepEd secretary Bro. Armin Luistro, Valerie Trierweiler, Riza Muyot, SPF national secretary Ismail Hassouneh, me, and Chari Trinidad.

 

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I had invited Inquirer Lifestyle to meet and have an interview with France’s former First Lady Valerie Trierweiler.

 

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My girl at 12, talking about her experience as a delegate to Copain du Monde. She wore a Just G lace top, Uniqlo skirt and she borrowed my Joyce Oreña necklace. She also added a tiny bejewelled headband. (She styled herself.)

 

In Busuanga, Palawan, the SPF dignitaries and Mofi representatives witnessed the inauguration of two newly constructed buildings for the Concepcion National High School (CNHS) and a 200-sqm Busuanga Multi Purpose Hall. Because of the new facilities — eight classrooms, a 120-square-meter fully equipped library, and fully functioning toilets and water supply – enrolment has tripled in the last year.

 

3
In Palawan, SPF president Julien Laupretre, SPF Moselle president Marie Francoise Thull, SPF national secretary Ismail Hassouneh, Valerie Trierweiler, and SPF Fed du Lyon president Sebastian Thollot.

 

5
Julien Laupretre and Mofi’s Danny Rayos del Sol with former Senator Ping Lacson, who was heading the government’s efforts for rehabilitation of Haiyan/Yolanda affected areas.

 

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Julien Laupretre handing out goods to the members of the Busuanga Weavers Cooperative Association.

 

4
Students of Conception National High School.

 

So, you see, we really had a lot to be thankful for. SPF is a French non-profit organization set up in 1945. Its aim is to fight against poverty and exclusion in France and throughout the world. It brings together people of all views, circumstances and origins who wish to live in solidarity. SPF has been responding to emergencies around the world. When Sophia was at Copain du Monde in Gerardmer, she was in camp with children from Nepal, Haiti, Japan, Israel and France. SPF’s contribution to the Philippines came immediately after Typhoon Haiyan ravaged much of our country.

And it was appropriate to end 2015 with this beautiful celebration at Makati Garden Club to honour our French donors and partners.

 

Secours Populaire Francais Makati Garden Club
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The garden was beautiful that evening.

 

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When I entered Maria Luisa’s Garden Room, my heart skipped a beat.

 

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The set up was just so lovely.

 

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Three out of the four moms of Mofi — Mafe Jayme, Amy Loste and me. Who knew arranging the seating arrangements would be so complicated.

 

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Our sommelier for the evening, Edouard Vauthier provided the perfect pairing of wines from AWC.

 

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Secours Populaire Francais Makati Garden Club
Secours Populaire Francais Makati Garden Club
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Secours Populaire Francais Makati Garden Club

 

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Patrick with SPF’s Julien, Ismail, Marie Françoise and Sebastien.

 

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And in our table, with Valerie Trierweiler

 

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I did the rounds…

 

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And checked on the kids’ table.

 

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Danny with Copain du Monde kids. There were speeches, songs, and presentation of gifts.

 

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Our girls sang a few pop songs, a cappella.

 

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Our dear Marie Francoise. She’s the president of SPF Moselle, the region where our kids went to camp. We spent a day with her in Paris.

 

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Our boys from the Copain du Monde Philippine delegation Nico Yambao and Joaquin Jayme.

 

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Valerie is so sweet to Sophia.

 

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Flashback to August of 2015, Valerie randomly picked Sophia and danced with her to the tune of Rihanna’s Diamonds but in French. After the dance, she took off her necklace and placed it around Sophia’s neck.

 

Secours Populaire Francais Makati Garden Club
Our heartfelt gratitude to Maria Luisa’s Sandra Fernandez and sommelier Edouard. And to SPF, we are very grateful for the immediate assistance and generous contribution given to the communities in Busuanga. Maraming salamat.

 

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With the real hostess-with-the-mostess Sandra Fernandez.

 

 

 

 

My 2015

 

 

Happy new year.

I am back to writing. But in a very slow way. I started this post over two weeks ago. And now January is almost over.

I felt nostalgic. The last time I did this was 2012. And then social media happened. I got distracted. I didn’t do a retrospective of 2013 or 2014.

So because of the lack of stories from 2015, I spent time and dug up photos and stories about the year that was. I’m including moments big and small, random and deliberate, work and personal, travel and home. That was the year I met a member of the British royal family and a Prime Minister. I went up the Himalayas and down under in New Zealand. And we squeezed in a one month stay in Toronto. After writing, I realized that for a year that was totally unplanned, I had done so much. I put my trust in God completely. That was the year I just allowed Him to surprise me. And the blessings just came. Grateful.

Here goes… this is going to be a long one.

 

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We started 2015 in our favourite beach.

 

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We’ve been coming here for ten years.

 

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I remember when Stella was so tiny and we still had to carry her through the sand bar.

 

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Early morning walk while Patrick biked.

 

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During the second week of 2015, Pope Francis visited the Philippines. I sat in the rain for 5 hours with my cousins and waited to have a glimpse of Pope Francis. It was exhilarating. And experience I will never forget.

 

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The Launch of DAPHNE & National Book Store stationery line happened on the third week of January. I am ever so grateful for the trust that Xandra Ramos Padilla has for my brand. This was a dream come true.

 

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Thank you National Book Store!

 

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These pouches sold out real fast. This is the daisy (Margarita) print. I just love seeing my products together… in my home.

 

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For the DAPHNE® & NBS products we took inspiration from my daughters’ names – the rose, the lily and the daisy. Isabel Gatuslao worked on the prints for me. We also had a hummingbird print that coincidently represents my dad – a helicopter pilot.

 

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The launch was extra special because it was the first time I brought my daughters to any of my official events. And my parents were also in town then.

 

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January also gave us theatre. Stella and I were invited to watch Beauty and The Beast at the CCP by Globe Business. In photo is Globe’s President and CEO, Ernest Cu.

 

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Stella enjoyed her night at the theatre. Thank you to Ron Gonzales for the invite. (She is still upset that I didn’t bring her to Wicked. She was too small then.)

 

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I got a couple of nights away at Shangrila Boracay with the MAC Cosmetics team. They introduced their Spring Summer 2015 collection.

 

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I swear, we were in Boracay for work.

 

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Not a bad way to do real work. Read my report here.

 

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In February, Sophia joined a Lego competition in the mall. She was with my parents; we were not with her. She won first prize and came home with so many Lego sets! I’m doubly proud when the kids do things on their own initiative, with out mommy or daddy pushing them. Yay Sophia!

 

City of dreams Hosting
In the beginning of February, I hosted the official grand opening gala of the City of Dreams. I had been booked for this project half a year in ahead. And I was so amazed that it finally actually happened. I had the honour of saying “The doors of City of Dreams Manila are now open!” I don’t have official photos though. Haha.

 

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Backstage at City of Dreams gala with one of my favourite makeup artists Ria Aquino.

 

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I shared the stage with Ne-Yo and Kelly Rowland. (I introduced them on stage).

 

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The very next day after City of Dreams launch, Patrick and I were on a plane to Bangkok to start our journey through Bhutan. Our one night in Bangkok was fun! I had never explored Bangkok before. I was always there for work.

 

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We did touristy things like ride the tuktuk and ferry boat. We went to Jim Thompson’s house, ate street food, took photos of pink taxis. We just stayed for one night and flew to Bhutan the next morning.

 

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Touchdown Bhutan! It was the most exciting plane landing. If the view wasn’t spectacular, I would have flipped out. It was like a scene right out of Indiana Jones. Maneouvering through the Himalayan mountains with the view of Mt Everest out the window, and suddenly a short landing strip.

 

Click for more of 2015 stories
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SM Seaside City Cebu

 

 

1 SM Seaside City Cebu
SM Seaside City Cebu. A New Lifestyle Mall Above All Else*

 

SM Seaside City Cebu is the newest architectural landmark that is set to become the mark of a phenomenal experience in Cebu. Inspired by a nautilus design, SM Seaside City Cebu is a visually dynamic yet functional concept, adapting the spiral shell with a pale pearly partition including a series of expanding, concentric arcs.

SM Seaside City Cebu is a state-of-the-art, environmentally sustainable urban center on the waterfront of the new South Road Properties development in Cebu, the Philippines’ second largest city and a major tourism hub in the country.

The 470,486.31 square-meter mall is SM Prime Holdings’ 56th mall and the third in the Queen City of the South, after SM City Cebu and SM City Consolacion.

SM Seaside City Cebu is one of the first developments in the master plan of SM Prime Holdings for their 30-hectare space at the South Road Properties (SRP), a prime property development project on reclaimed land located a few meters from Cebu’s central business district.

Designed by Arquitectonica, an international architecture, interior design, and planning firm from Miami Florida, the development will be a benchmark in the region, and when completed, the complex will include residential towers, hotels, a convention and exhibition center, a school, hospital, and a world-class marine theme park.
With a harmonious perspective of creating an environment, which unifies fashion, dining, Cebuano culture, leisure and entertainment, SM Seaside City Cebu is truly above all else.

 

15 The Mall
The Mall. SM Seaside City Cebu will house local and international known retailers such as The SM Store, and global retail brands H&M, Uniqlo, Forever 21 and Sfera.

 

2 The Cube
The Cube. SM Seaside City Cebu’s iconic landmark is The Cube, a stainless steel 21 by 21 meter sculptural piece that is a symbol of strength and stability. It is a tribute to the resilience of the Cebuanos in particular and the Filipino people in general.

 

The Skypark
This green park, with several intimate amphitheaters, will provide a welcome break from the bustle of city life, featuring diverse dining outlets situated among greenery and soothing water features. The 1500-seater Sky Hall can accommodate large functions, corporate events and concerts. A children’s park, designed by renowned Cebuano designer Kenneth Cobonpue, will delight kids and their families when completed.

Seaside Tower
Considered a focal point of SM Seaside City Cebu is a 148-meter tower, to be completed in 2016, that has a viewing deck, a bar and a restaurant with an awe-inspiring panoramic view of the city and its surroundings

 

4 Cinema
The SM Cinemas gives you the choice to watch your movies the way you want to with its newest Large Screen Cinema powered by Christie’s that has a 30% bigger screen. There are 2 Director’s Club Cinemas with the most intimate cushy recliners, a 350-seater Large Screen Cinema with state-of-the-art laser projection system and 4 regular sized cinemas with PWD-friendly features

 

5 Cyberzone
Cyberzone, the popular tech hub of the SM Supermalls open its 40th branch at SM Seaside City Cebu with a full range of shops and service centers, for the latest gadgets and electronics to suit today’s digital lifestyle.

 

3 Chapel
The Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod was the first structure built in the complex. This is reminiscent of Spanish times when towns were built around a Church.

 

16 Bowling
SM Seaside City Cebu will have an Olympic size ice skating rink perfect for all aspiring Olympians in Cebu and a 16-lane Bowling and Amusement Center with 3 KTV rooms, a billiards area and a snack bar.

 

6 Foodcourt
The well-appointed Food Court on the third level has an unparalleled view of the Seaside Tower and a host of international and local fare sure to please friends and family

 

14 STT and Mitch So
Mitch So, Andreas Johansson (H&M Expansion Director), Steven Tan, SCMC SVP

 

12 Ribbon cutting with priest
Hans T. Sy, Mayor Mike Rama, Gov. Hilario Davide III, Archbishop Jose Palma, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Bishop Antonio Ranola, Mrs. Felicidad Sy, Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, Vice Mayor Edgar Labella, Herbert T. Sy

 

13 SM Supermarket ribbon cutting
Jojo Tagbo (Savemore President), Ashwini Nagpal (Kimberly Clark Philippines Managing Director), Jeff Go (J &J Philippines Managing Director), Robert Kwee (SM Hypermarket President), Fabricio Ponce (Coca-Cola Philippines Country Manager) Rohit Jawa (Unilever CEO), Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III, Evelyn Lao (Benby CEO), Archbishop Jose Palma, Mrs. Felicidad Sy, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Jacques Reber(Nestle Philippines CEO), Stephen Lao (Colgate Philippines GM), Shankar Viwanathan( P&G GM), Jerome Ong (Foodsphere CEO), Carla Valderrama (Ms. Earth Fire 2015) Herbert Sy (Vice Chair SM Retail), Joey Mendoza (SM Supermarket President).

 

10 ASG with General Luna
John Arcilla, Annie Garcia (SCMC President), Carole Sy

 

7 Guests
(L-R) SM Women: Andrea Aldeguer, Meannie Alcordo-Solomon, Amparito Lhuillier, Quennie Amman, Alice Woolbright

 

Scheduled for launch in 2017, the 1-hectare Cebu Ocean Park will be the first educational, interactive and experiential oceanarium in the VisMin region. It will feature a 360-degree tunnel aquarium, sea lions, an exotic Birds of Paradise show and a Penguin Park.

*Source: SM Seaside City Cebu