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More often than not, the act of gazing upon the work of fashion designer FRANCIS LIBIRAN is the act of gazing upon an edifice.
He was once a student of architecture, and in his designs, one can glean a vestige of that art form. Barring a few pieces here and there, jagged silhouettes, seemingly sturdy overlays and details as elaborate as fretwork make up his extensive collection. And to look upon it as a whole is to look upon a city, a metropolis of ideas where traditions serve as the sturdy foundation for bracing innovation.
One can say that seeing it is much like gazing upon the capital of Cebu. Like the work of Libiran, the CITY OF CEBU is a place where the past and the present coexist. It makes its way toward the future but it does not leave behind the glory of its past. At the Parian District, for example, one can find the JESUIT HOUSE OF 1730, a rustic storyteller of the city’s history and culture. Meanwhile, at Lahug’s restaurant, CIRCA 1900, enticing elements of Filipino cuisine are served within the lovely confines of a nostalgic colonial house. And then there’s A. Pigafetta Street, where history is literally safeguarded by FORT SAN PEDRO, a massive relic of the Spanish occupation.
These places echo the inner strength of the city. They guard its identity, allowing it to move forward in tandem with the rest of the Philippines without losing itself in the process. And it has moved forward.
Bustling commercial areas like THE TERRACES of Ayala Center Cebu speak of the city’s economic health. Trendy haunts like TREFF, a sleek bar at Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino, delicately pronounce the area’s sophistication. And the stylish establishments that articulate the city’s elevated taste – they are everywhere.
At President Quirino Street, for instance, there’s the CHOCOLATE CHAMBER OF CEBU, a popular dessert shop that offers high tea centering on chocolate; as a show of respect for their product, the establishment’s staff serve them using fine china. Meanwhile, at General Maxilom Avenue, there’s the showroom of furniture designer KENNETH COBONPUE, a space of modern furnishings depicting the vision of a multi-awarded artist. And then, at Lahug, there’s the area housing the quaint LA MAISON ROSE—an establishment mirroring the effortless elegance of the Lhuillier clan and its partners. Known as the Pinkhouse Restaurant, La Maison Rose is a romantic venue known for serving exquisite French food.
Like the work of Libiran, Cebu City is a visual and essential standout. A view from the Tops lookout alone can already spell this out. Fittingly, for this issue, asianTraveler Magazine once again works with CEBU CITY TOURISM COMMISSION to use the clothes of Libiran and honor the Queen City of the South with a crown it deserves.
Locations: Jesuit House 1730, Tops, Fort San Pedro, Circa 1900, Chocolate Chamber of Cebu, La Maison Rose, Treff at Waterfront Cebu City Hotel, Kenneth Cobonpue’s showroom, and the Terraces of Ayala Center Cebu.
On our cover: La Maison Rose
Images by Raymund Isaac
Creative Direction by Gabriel Dela Cruz and Raymund Isaac
Photo Assistance by Jayson Vicente
Styling by Aida Concepcion
Hair and Makeup by Sanny de Leva
Model: Chanel Olive Thomas
Coordination by Aida Dela Cruz
Special thanks go to the following…
Our hosts: Cebu City Tourism Commission’s Chairperson Tetta Baad and Cebu City Tourism Officer Ana Quisumbing
Our hotel: Azia Suites & Residences
Our transportation: Buena Vista Car Rentals