29 women so bright & beautiful
SUPREMO - Tim Yap (The Philippine Star) - August 22, 2015 - 10:00am

Turning 29 is both an awkward and awesome moment. You’re on a last hurrah to enjoy the decade that was your 20s and you’re looking at big life decisions knowing that the big 3-0 is about to make its entrance. Some people call it “coming of age.”

Some people are afraid of turning a year older — they avoid counting numbers for fear of things unknown. I looked around, felt the celebratory mood that day, and thought to myself, “It only gets better.”

At The Gallery of Greenbelt 5, Philippine STAR marked its 29th anniv with an exhibit honoring 29 power women who are all changing our world and the way we see it spread across the expanse of the white space in the center of the Ayala retail heaven. Around it were friends, family and supporters of the featured women plus an army of TV news crews all eager to record the action.

Their photos on exhibit were taken by BJ Pascual, Edric Chen, Melson Bolongaita, Patrick Diokno, Patrick Rosas and William Adashek.

The crowd? A beautiful assemblage of power brokers, retail royalty, media mavens, style swans and women in the headlines. It was a power cast, all of whom converged under the influence of the Philippine STAR Lifestyle department headed by our mother editor Millet Mananquil. The STAR Lifestyle crew, as well as the movers behind the pages of Supreme, YStyle, Young STAR, among other editors, columnists and writers, were also fully present.

It was a beautiful all-white setting for the reception and exhibit areas styled by our creative director David Milan.  Spread out across couches and low tables — the expert touch of Cyndi Fernandez (who was about to give birth anytime that week), the PhilStar-studded crowd came early for this event — sponsored by Ayala Malls, National Book Stores and Moss Manila — feasted on Hotel Intercontinental’s pass-around plates while waiting for all the women to be complete. If you think waiting for 29 super achievers to all arrive on time is easy, think again. Some came straight from their offices, their studios, the airport, salon, or their nightly newscast.




A crowd had also gathered anticipating the arrival of presidential survey top-notcher Senator Grace Poe. Took the chance to ask her onstage while I was hosting, “Are you going to be the president of the country in 2016?” To which she said, “That’s not for me to say.” I prodded further, “When are you going to announce your candidacy?” She quickly answered, “Well, definitely not tonight!”

The evening progressed beyond the political, even if the last guest that arrived was Speaker of the House Sonny Belmonte. The gathering felt more like a campus of alpha females and their families who were out to cheer for each other.

Tweetie de Leon Gonzales had her husband and kids in tow while Merlee Jayme had advertising industry bigwigs as her rah-rah team. Bianca Gonzales was an early bird despite taping schedules that day for Big Brother. Ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco, the Rustan’s patriarch, was there to support the femmes of their fam while Governor Joe Zubiri flew in from Bukidnon with wife Vicky to support daughter Stephanie. The hubbies were there, too. Richard Gomez for Lucy Torres-Gomez, Dr. Z for wife Dr. Aivee Teo. Dr. Vicki Belo came right in time for the group photo-op. Karen Davila and Cheryl Cosim made it in time for the second batch of photo ops.

There’s something really inspiring, being among such empowered individuals. I guess their can-do attitude rubs off on you. Their focused stance, sense of purpose, humor, strength and invisible energy all make a big difference in pumping up a room with a palpable feeling that great things are about to come if we let these women take over.

Wait, they already have.

It’s about time.

* * *

@officialtimyap on Instagram and Twitter.


Star Lifestyle’s 29 Most Bright & Beautiful


1. Aivee Aguilar-Teo

2. Alexandra Rocha-Araneta

3. Alyssa Valdez

4. Apples Aberin

5. Bea Zobel Jr.

6. Bianca Gonzales-Intal

7. Camille Villar

8. Cheryl Cosim

9.  Darlene Berberabe

10.  Grace Poe

11. Joy Belmonte

12. Karen Davila

13. Katrina Tantoco-Lobregat

14. Liz Uy

15. Liza Soberano

16. Lucy Torres-Gomez

17. Marie Tantoco-Pineda

18. Marielle Santos-Po

19. Merlee Jayme

20. Monica Urquijo Zobel

21. Mutya Laxa-Buensuceso

22. Nina Herrera-Huang

23. Paloma Urquijo Zobel

24. Samantha Coyiuto

25. Stephanie Zubiri-Crespi

26. Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez

27. Vicki Belo

28. Vicky Morales

29. Xandra Ramos-Padilla



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