Legoland Malaysia Resort Theme Park

Every day is a family fun day at LEGOLAND Theme Park, designed to create an environment for families and children of all ages to enjoy and enhance their creativity.

It has plenty of awesome adventures, starting from The Beginning, LEGO City 4D Movie-Officer in Pursuit, LEGO Kingdoms, Imagination, LEGO Technic, Land of Adventure, LEGO City, The Great LEGO Race, LEGO Ninjago The Ride & Live Show, and the miniature world of MINILAND, the largest that has been built for a park. Asia’s most famous countries, cities, and landmarks have created a scale of 1:20, using more than 30 million LEGO bricks. Isn’t it amazing?

Plan your dream holidays to LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort with your family soon!

Like and follow its FB Page Legoland Malaysia @ Check its website –

Video by Beatrice Lebajo and Precious Ruby using MAC mini iPad

#legolandmalaysiaresort #legolandthemepark #malaysia #preciousmoments #rubyasoyph

The Cleopatra Aromatherapy Experience: Feel beautiful in your natural skin

Put 4 drops of Youth Serum on your face every night for 5 minutes. Ultimately, your inner beauty is your best makeup. You won’t depend on makeup to feel beautiful.

“Cleopatra’s Youth Serum with Argan Oil has given a fresh look to my skin and improved the texture,” shared Ms. Aditi Ahuja, Mrs. Universe Joy-Generosity 2018, a philanthropist, artist, entrepreneur, style icon, and event consultant. “A youthful skin compliments a youthful spirit, hence, supports me in all my endeavors in society. So, if you want to stay naturally beautiful, use Cleopatra oils! Stay fresh, stay young!”

(From right): Judith Barran, the owner and founder of Essence of Cleopatra Aromatherapy; Ms. Aditi Ahuja, Mrs. Universe Joy-Generosity 2018, a philanthropist, artist, entrepreneur, style icon, and event consultant

Hundreds of happy moms, working women, stay-home-moms, women entrepreneurs, and daughters are satisfied users of this “miraculous serum” called Essence of Cleopatra Aromatherapy Youth Serum with Argan Oil.

Judith Barran, the owner, and founder of Essence of Cleopatra Aromatherapy considered her essential oils as her “fountain of youth.” She’s grateful to share these amazing product lines created and formulated by her husband, Lloyd Barran, a pharmacist, chemist, and aromatherapist with over 20 years of experience.

Ms. Judith Barran with Tia Belle’s owner, Ms. Evelyn Dayao Wise, the newest distributor of Cleopatra Aromatherapy in Sta.Rosa area.

Put 4 drops of Youth Serum on your face every night for 5 minutes. Ultimately, your inner beauty is your best makeup. You won’t depend on makeup to feel beautiful.

For inquiries check the following social media pages:
IG account: @cleopatraaromatherapy1999
FB page: Aromatherapy/

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The Wonder of SEA LIFE Malaysia

“As visitors journey through the aquarium, we will also engage and inspire them to learn, love, protect and care for the ocean,” shared Kurt Stocks, General Manager at LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort.


The mere sight of beautiful and colorful marine life stirred my heart, inspired the imagination and brought eternal joy to my soul. It was my favorite thing, I think, and that I had ever seen. I caught myself staring at it and forgot the passing of time. It seemed big enough to contain everything anyone could ever feel at that very moment. And for the first hour or so, it was all quite beguiling and an impressive spectacle to behold.

Rainforest 🙂

Definitely, it was a fun and educational experience for my family to have an up-close interaction with sea creatures during our recent trip at SEA LIFE Malaysia, the unique and interactive indoor sea aquarium lying adjacent to LEGOLAND® Hotel, LEGOLAND® Theme Park, and LEGOLAND® Water Park.

My family enjoying the fascinating Ocean Tunnel which provides a 180-degree view of the underwater world.

With more than 13,000 marine life from 120 species and 11 different habitat zones, this double-story LEGO-themed aquarium promises a fun day out for the entire family. Amongst the marine life now housed across 25 tanks are Stingrays, Zebra Sharks, Black Tip Reef Sharks, Seahorses, Jellyfish and more.

 Other amazing discoveries at SEA LIFE Malaysia include special habitat zones which comprise a Malaysian Rainforest, a Stingray Bay and a fascinating Ocean Tunnel which provides a 180-degree view of the underwater world. There is also an Ocean Cave where visitors can take a magical dive and watch marine life up close through a concave glass.

Rockpool 🙂

 Visit Johor Year 2020

The LEGO®-themed marine sanctuary is set to draw in domestic and international tourists, further boosting efforts around ‘Visit Johor Year 2020’. SEA LIFE Malaysia adds to the growing number of vibrant tourist hotspots while reinforcing LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort as Malaysia’s top family-friendly holiday destination.

Shipwreck 🙂

“We are thrilled that SEA LIFE Malaysia is now another point of interest that will attract more visitors to the state. This unique attraction in Asia will indeed contribute to Visit Malaysia and Visit Johor Year 2020. With that, we are confident that LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort will have a significant contribution to Johor’s target of drawing in over 17.4 million tourists to the state next year. Subsequently, this will also fuel the state’s vision of becoming a high-value regional tourism destination by 2023,” said Yang Berhormat Liow Cai Tung, Johor Executive Committee Chairman for Tourism, Women, Family, and Community Development during the launch recently of SEA LIFE.

Kurt Stocks, General Manager at LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort shared, “Now with a theme park, waterpark, hotel, and a brand new 2,123 square-meter indoor aquarium, LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort is well-positioned as Malaysia’s ultimate family-friendly resort destination.”

Ocean view 🙂

“SEA LIFE Malaysia will present families with an up-close marine experience through magical storytelling, interactive displays and a hands-on encounter at the Rock Pool zone. As visitors journey through the aquarium, we will also engage and inspire them to learn, love, protect and care for the ocean,” Mr. Stocks continued.

Guests can purchase the Triple-Park annual pass at the same price of a day ticket or minimum top-up at LEGOLAND®’s official website – enjoy 12 months of unlimited entries to LEGOLAND® Malaysia’s Theme Park, Water Park and SEA LIFE Malaysia. Terms and conditions for purchases apply. For the latest update on promotion and activities, stay connected with LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort via Facebook and Instagram.

About LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort 

LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort brings together a LEGOLAND® Theme Park, Water Park and Hotel in one LEGO® themed location. It is a family holiday destination with more than 70 hands-on rides, slides, shows, and attractions, and designed for families with children aged 2-12. It’s the first of its kind in Asia and offers adventure, education, and fun for action-packed day trips or short break destination. LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort was presented with the Innovative International Theme Park award by the Brandlaureate International Awards Singapore 2018. The resort was also named one of the top 10 amusement parks in Asia by TripAdvisor®. Having bagged these achievements and much more unstated, LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort seeks to continue to expand and bring new additions to the Resort, to ensure that it remains the crown jewel of Malaysia.

About Merlin Entertainments 

MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS plc is the leading name in location-based, family entertainment. Europe’s Number 1 and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin now operates more than 120 attractions, 18 hotels and 6-holiday villages in 23 countries and across 4 continents. The company aims to deliver memorable and rewarding experiences to its almost 66 million visitors worldwide, through its iconic global and local brands, and the commitment and passion of its managers and 26,000 employees (peak season).  

Merlin currently has more than 15 attractions in Asia including world-renowned brands of Peppa Pig, Little Big City, Madame Tussauds, SEA LIFE, LEGOLAND® Discovery Centres and the fantastic LEGOLAND® resort with its theme park, hotel, and water park. The operations span across 10 countries and territories. Visit  for more information.

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Karen Davila’s Mission

“I want to influence people in a positive way,” said the multi-awarded broadcast journalist. “Be ready to work hard. If you invest in hard work, people will respect you.”

Few encouraging words from a teacher went a long way for Karen. As a young student at the University of the Philippines, she contemplated a career in fashion design. Then one of her teachers noticed her good enunciation and said she had potential as a newscaster.

“I believe that a Tagalog show can reach more people. I have this thing about change-your-life-TV. It’s like viewers have to get something from you. They shouldn’t be just entertained by your presence. Time has to come that you have to give them something,” shared Karen. Image:

“That was the first time anybody ever said that I was good at that,” she said, looking back. That’s when she decided to seriously pursue broadcast journalism. She graduated in 1993 from UP’s College of Mass Communications, and after a series of auditions, got her first job on the Business Today, a former morning show on GMA-7 with then Mon Isberto and Rico Hizon as anchorpersons. Before she knew it she was also doing the hourly news breaks.

In 1994, she joined Brigada Siete with the late broadcast journalist Louie Beltran, where she honed up on investigative reporting. A bigger break came in October 1995 when she was tapped as the news anchor for Saksi, GMA’s primetime Tagalog newscast. At this time, too, Karen became a contributing reporter of GMA News to CNN World Report. In 1996, she was given the opportunity to train for a month-and-a-half at CNN headquarters in Atlanta where she met CNN founder Ted Turner. In 1997, Karen was a finalist for the Best Environmental Report for CNN World Report.

After more than 24 years of television and radio experience, Karen is not one to rest on her laurels. She won the much-coveted TOYM (The Outstanding Young Men) Awards for Broadcasting in 2008 and TOWNS (The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service) Award for Broadcasting in 2013. In 2010, Karen was chosen as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, an honor given to young exceptional professionals below 40 years of age. This has allowed Karen to take exclusive leadership courses at the Harvard Kennedy School, Yale, and Lee Kwan Yew School of Government. She has moderated televised sessions for the World Economic Forum East Asia Summits in Manila and Jakarta.

Moreover, she has won numerous local awards including Rotary Club’s Journalist of the Year in 2004 and several accolades from UST, UP, and De La Salle Award giving bodies. She is a Hall of Fame Awardee with the Anak TV Awards, consistently considered as a top role model for the youth.

Fulfilling work

“The real point in life is to truly find who you are in God’s eyes, everything else is secondary,” related Karen. Image: @iamkarendavila

Karen said her work is physically exhausting and fulfilling. “There’s a big difference if you just read the news or you’re just a TV personality. But I also go out in the field, come back to make my reports then host the show. It’s really a lot of work,” she quipped. At present, she can be seen in three live daily TV and radio programs—interviewing newsmakers on Headstart, a news talk show that airs 8-9 am on the ABS-CBN News Channel or ANC; anchors TV Patrol and The World Tonight, the late-night newscast on ABS-CBN.  As a volunteer, she has involved herself with Habitat for Humanity and World Vision in the last 10 years as an advocate for women and children.

But Karen is not really complaining. “I want to influence people in a positive way,” she related. “I think television plays a major role in its viewers. That’s partly why many love Oprah because she’s so positive. The TV can be that way; you can empower the viewers. I’d want the people to be encouraged just by, let’s say, my life or just watching the shows that I’ve done. I want to give them something.”

What’s the meaning of life?

“If you’ve read the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon asks, ‘What’s the meaning of life?’ I ask that, too. I say, ‘this is it.’ Fine, you’re on TV and people know you. The real point in life is to truly find who you are in God’s eyes, everything else is secondary,” shared Karen, who is a Born Again Christian.

Throwback pictures of Karen / personal file

More than anything else, she wants to do good stories. “I want to be able to do a program that rates and is less sensational. I believe that a Tagalog show can reach more people. I have this thing about change-your-life-TV. It’s like viewers have to get something from you. They shouldn’t be just entertained by your presence. Time has to come that you have to give them something,” rationalized Karen, who also hosts and writes for a weekly news magazine TV show, called My Puhunan, an inspiring business program that features rags to riches stories on ordinary Filipinos hitting it big thru entrepreneurship.  “But the most important is to have a personal relationship with God. Why? Because you don’t know what God has in store for you.”

Her advice to aspiring broadcasters: “First, you should do your homework in all honesty,” said Karen. “You have to prepare well before the show. It’s important that you know the issues for the day; a newsperson should be ready to adlib whenever hassles occur during the live telecast.” She added: “The glamour part is the fact that you come out on TV and people recognize you. But be ready to work hard. If you invest in hard work, people will respect you.”

(Based on the article published in the old Mirror Weekly magazine by the same author)

#throwbackseries  #exclusiveinterview #karendavila #broadcastjournalist #newsanchor #TVpersonality #preciousmoments #rubyasoyph

Featured photo: @iamkarendavila


Distinctively bai

bai Hotel Cebu is the biggest hotel in Visayas and Mindanao to date and also a culinary destination. The hotel changed the business landscape of both the city and the province when it opened.

Cafe bai carving station

As a first-time guest in bai hotel Cebu, one can easily feel the ambiance of “modern luxury and spaciousness.” Indeed, the biggest hotel in Visayas and Mindanao to date but also a culinary destination having 8 dining options including a fine-dining restaurant. Some of these are Café bai, Marble + Grain Steakhouse, and Ume Japanese Cuisine which are all part of the top 10 restaurants in Mandaue City. The Twilight Roofdeck Lounge + Bar on the 23rd floor gives you a 360-degree view of the cities of Mandaue, Cebu, and Lapu-Lapu.

Alfred M. Reyes, General Manager and Vice President of Operations at bai Hotel Cebu.

“We are also proud to say that we have an advanced security system to ensure the safety of our guests and associates,” shared Alfred M. Reyes, General Manager and Vice President of Operations at bai Hotel Cebu.  Upon entering the hotel, guests walk through metal detectors while their baggage goes through the X-ray inspection machine. “Our glass windows are also coated with anti-blast films for additional protection. We also have a seismic accelerograph that detects early signs of an earthquake and a fire detection alarm system that is very sensitive and accurate.”

The hotel is mostly composed of glass walls to showcase the city and the harbor. It is the first property in Cebu that is environmentally sustainable by using low-emission glass windows that shield the interiors from about 30 percent of UV heat, thus saving electricity by lessening the use of automatic air conditioning units. With this concept, the hotel supports sustainable nature-based tourism.

bai Hotel Cebu is meant for business travelers who look forward to doing business in Cebu and leisure travelers who intend to visit Cebu and its neighboring islands. It is near the Mactan Cebu International Airport which is 25 minutes away, and the Domestic Port of Cebu which is 10 minutes away.

The hotel also has plenty of recreational facilities: a fitness center with a sauna, an infinity outdoor lap pool, and kiddie pool, and an in-house spa – The Spa at Cebu by RSpa. Serviced offices are also located on the 5th floor of the hotel catering to businesses that are looking to lease office space in a prominent location in Cebu.

More choices for travelers

Executive one bedroom

Reyes said that bai Hotel Cebu changed the business landscape of both the city and the province when it opened. “Our 668 rooms, 12 event venues, and 8 dining outlets added more choices to travelers who come either for business, leisure, or both. Because of this additional inventory, Cebu is now able to accept larger demands of tourists—Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and others—as well as large-scale meetings, conferences, and events.

Being a culinary destination, it offers guests delectable choices. At Ume Japanese Cuisine, ala carte meals are specially prepared by its Japanese Chef. The Marble + Grain Steakhouse is its very own fine-dining restaurant, where they serve prime USDA steak. For those who would love to talk, meet with friends and pick up where they left off, they have a self-serving coffee outlet—Wallstreet Coffee + Bar. The all-day dining restaurant, Café bai serves eastern to western specialties and is the #1 restaurant in Mandaue today.

Infinity lap pool (night)

Aside from sponsorships, collaborations, social media, and tri-media advertising, they have a membership program, the bai Platinum Membership. Members get exclusive perks and privileges such as huge discounts on their food and beverage outlets as well as two (2) complimentary overnight stays at bai Hotel Cebu and a cash voucher on selected outlets. Members are also entitled to exclusive promos at bai Hotel Cebu and discounts on their partner establishments they could avail of year-round.

Customer First

 Reyes’ work motto is “customer first – I always remind my associates about that,” he related. “I am very hands-on. I walk around the hotel regularly, do ocular inspections. I dine in our outlets to check the quality of our food. I talk directly to guests to ask about their stay. I do not usually stay inside my office. I just go there when I need to sign documents.”

The hardworking GM has been in the industry for more than 30 years. He graduated from the University of San Jose – Recoletos and had two certificates for finishing General Management Programs from Cornell University. He worked in various properties locally and abroad. His most remarkable achievement so far in his career is being the first Filipino to open a 668-room hotel in the Philippines.

“We strive to improve every day by monitoring all online reviews published on the internet and taking necessary actions for those that need our attention,” explained Reyes on how they stay current in terms of hotel reputation management. “We keep good comments and reviews as compliments. We practice transparency within the team by having our general assembly every month. In these events, we update our associates about the hotel’s current standing and discuss different situations as well as strategies. We are very thankful that we are gaining popularity and getting positive reviews and recommendations even though we are just in the first year of our operations.”

View from Twilight Roofdeck Lounge and Bar
Twilight (interior)

Managing a huge property while understanding the millennial workforce plus the evolution of digital platforms and the rising demand of travelers make his day exciting and challenging. Cebu is becoming the next M.I.C.E. destination in Southeast Asia. Hotels and properties are taking advantage of this. “This is an opportunity and I am very excited and positive about it. This positioning of Cebu challenges me to be more creative in finding ways to entice clients and continuously learn and improve in my job. Working in the hospitality industry with passion gives you the drive to manage a property like bai Hotel Cebu,” Reyes quipped.

bai Hotel Cebu envisions itself to be the most preferred world-class Filipino hotel. To achieve this, Reyes and his associates continuously work together on making bai Hotel Cebu the number 1 hotel in Mandaue City. In the long run, it aims to expand within Visayas and Mindanao with even bigger properties in terms of space and rooms, and more amenities and facilities than the present.

bai Hotel Cebu is distinctively one which stands by its own magnificence.

#baiexperience #baihotelcebu #cebu #hospitality #philippines #worldhotels

My beauty companion to glowing skin

The Essence of Cleopatra Aromatherapy Youth Serum with Argan Oil is an exceptional facial oil containing superior botanical ingredients that help to reduce wrinkles and rejuvenates the face and neck. With this anti-aging solution, you’re never too old to become younger.

Sometime last year, I was introduced by a long-time lady friend to this essential oil product which originated from Calgary, Alberta Canada. Before this, I have been trying some products that will be suitable for my combination and sensitive skin.

I would use some of them for a couple of days but after that, I would experience some redness and rashes, which prompted me to totally stopped using them. I would surmise that I don’t really need those harmful products; what I only need is something that is natural, safe, and effective.

In short, I tried the product called Essence of Cleopatra Aromatherapy Youth Serum with Argan Oil. I was attracted by its packaging and the ingredients are made of essential oils. After 3-5 days of applying it to my face and neck at night, I noticed that my skin became moisturized, the dryness disappeared, my blemishes diminished. I’m happy and satisfied with the effect that it has brought to my skin.

Since then, I keep on using the Youth Serum. It’s the only one I’m using now coupled with once a month facial. It’s a truly exceptional facial oil containing superior botanical ingredients that help to reduce wrinkles and rejuvenates the face and neck. I have found my skin companion to glowing skin. Now, I can wear less makeup and let my skin shine through.

Anti-Aging Solution

Youth Serum with Argan Oil has more than 10 ingredients available in a 30 ml. amber glass dropper bottle. It is regarded as an anti-aging solution from Canada, now available in the Philippines through Essence of Cleopatra Aromatherapy.

It has a line of Essential Oils, tinctures, and blends, which combines the ancient tradition of plant-based healing with modern-day aromatherapy and medical knowledge.

Lovely couple Judith and Lloyd Barran from Canada.

The brains behind this fascinating line of products are lovely couple Judith and Lloyd Barran from Canada. Both Judith and Lloyd became certified in Aromatherapy in 1999. In addition, Lloyd has been a practicing pharmacist and chemist for over three decades now.

Why Youth Serum with Argan Oil works so well? This product has over 10 ingredients of Essential Oils and Carrier Oils — specially chosen to rejuvenate, moisturize, heal, and completely nourish the skin.


The Carrier Oils (Hazelnut, Kukui Nut, Evening Primrose, Argan, etc.) not only moisturize the skin but supply all the vitamins and nutrients required for complete skin health and for the formation of new skin cells. As well, these Oils are very light and are rapidly absorbed into the skin, which permits the application of your makeup within 5 minutes of use.

The Essential Oils (Jasmin, Sandalwood, Frankincense, Ylang Ylang, etc.) penetrate to the innermost layer of the skin and speed up the formation of new skin cells, which cause old skin cells to be shed more rapidly and be replaced by new skin, thereby reducing fine lines and wrinkles. This effect can be noticed as early as 3 to 5 days.

To use it, place a few drops on fingertips and gently massage into face and neck at night using circular motions. Even when applied regularly, the Youth Serum with Argan Oil can last up to 3 months.

With this anti-aging solution, you’re never too old to become younger.

For more product information on Essence of Cleopatra Aromatherapy, you may check and like its FB@cleopatraaromatherapy. You can also inquire from this site.

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Raul Lebajo’s ‘Enter His World’ Book Launch

In his book, the artist invites the viewer and art lover to enter his fantastic world and pursue the surrealist vision in his paintings and drawings.

It was a proud moment for our family when my father-in-law, master surrealist painter Raul Lebajo launched his first coffee table book entitled, “Enter His World,” at the Ayala Museum recently. Finally, it has been out after 20 years in the making. It was authored by noted art critic and historian, Alice Guillermo, and published by LC: Questor Worldwide Corporation.

In his book, the artist invites the viewer and art lover to enter his fantastic world and pursue the surrealist vision in these paintings and drawings.  “Special to Lebajo’s art is the experience of universal energy that courses throughout the whole nature,” describes the author. ”

Lebajo’s masterpieces crafted over the years are divided into several topics which composed the book’s entirety.  Of course, there are landscapes of cosmic energy, the secret life of plants, offerings of fruit, an uncommon aviary, reinventing nature, varieties of organic life, a marine universe, humans in nature, forces as archetypes, cosmic furniture, the vases series, sculptures, and other works.

“Raul Lebajo is a true artist of nature, but this does not mean that he does traditional landscapes and still life paintings of flowers. He does not paint valleys of earth, trees, and sky as though they stretched out before him, or does he paint flowers bunched together in a vase for his personal delectation. Not for him is a linear perspective, for, in fact, he plays with perspective, and his views are often warped, telescoped, spiraling, and spinning into multiple worlds,” – Alice Guillermo. She received her graduate degrees in France and at the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

Martin Gerard Villamor: Cool Mayor of Cebu’s Nature Haven

With its vast freshwater supply, lush vegetation, and soon-to-open theme park, Carmen is set to be the top weekend getaway in Cebu.

Mayor Martin Gerard Villamor has fulfilled his vision for the town of Carmen, Cebu. Composed of 21 barangays the town’s assets lie on its forests teeming with springs that support the endangered bareback fruit bats, nocturnal cats, and other flora and fauna.

Now on his last term and eight years in office, Villamor realized that he can’t do everything. “I still have a lot of unfinished business,” he shared during an exclusive interview with Experience Travel and Living magazine at the Carmen municipal office. His top most agenda is to make Carmen a top tourist destination in the province of Cebu by focusing on eco-tourism.

“We are halfway there with the opening of Cebu Safari, the establishment of several monasteries for faith tourism, and the development of a road network leading to these destinations.” He will also set up the Carmen Marina that will cater to yachts and small boats, hopefully, all these will turn the town into a first-class municipality.

The town will also be the home of the biggest Aqua Intergalactic theme park owned by Bantigui Leisure Resort. Located in Barangay Luyang, Carmen, the 5-hectare development project will boast inflatable facilities for swimming and other sports activities. The park is expected to be completed in two years’ time.

Despite being an agricultural town, Villamor said a good food security plan has yet to be implemented. “We try to maintain our town to be green, with lots of agricultural lands to plant crops such as corn for food security.”

Aside from fishing and agriculture livelihood, employment opportunities are now available for the people of Carmen with the growing number of businesses in the area.

A peaceful town

There are no drug-related problems in Carmen. Minor incidents and petty crimes are immediately addressed by the law enforcers.

In terms of infrastructure, the Mayor is concerned about the narrow roads that are contributing to Carmen’s traffic woes. He advocated for wider roads 20 years ago but unfortunately, land prices have gone up. However, he proudly claimed their barangay roads are better than most towns in Cebu.

Education is also a focal point. He stressed that the lack of education can hamper the town’s growth. Classroom shortage has been addressed already in most barangays. “To date, we only lack 10 or 20 classrooms, thanks to our partner, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation.”

Last year, the town placed second among communities with a high incidence of malnutrition. This year Carmen went down to 22 or 23. Villamor is happy with this development and has since then assigned a dedicated health unit to monitor the issue.

Another concern to be resolved is water availability. “Many wanted to have water but don’t pay their bills so I decided to look for a private supplier to supply water to everyone,” he said. Right now, they have a grandstand near the plaza, partly funded by the water company. They built a sports facility so people will not be involved in bad activities.

Trust and Confidence

As he sets the vision and pace for the development of Carmen, Villamor has learned to trust the people around him. “They know how to do their job. Because of the trust, I seldom call for a meeting. I only call them when they have problems to report to me,” he quipped.

The down-to-earth mayor is adamant in pursuing a “zero-corruption” policy in his office. The “Transparency Seal” has been posted on the municipality’s website indicating its compliance. “When state auditors come here, I always tell them that they should dig deeper.”

His management style is unconventional. His simple manner of dressing reflects his laid-back approach to life.

He is known to be very approachable. He’s at work almost every day, answering questions and addressing barangay problems from the town plaza and not from his office at the municipal building. He signs papers in the morning and attends several meetings. He usually keeps his afternoons free.

His management style is unconventional. His simple manner of dressing reflects his laid-back approach to life. “My routine is almost the same every day with my glass of beer that helps me unwind,” he laughed. “What people love about me is that ‘this is who I am, they know that I’m gay, that I drink beer.’”

Definitely, the people will credit him for the town’s development, but the biggest challenge is his ability to relate to people of all types. “As mayor, you have to say yes. I seldom say no, I want to please everybody as much as I can. To be frank about it, I want to be as real and truthful as possible with as many people as possible.”

Heeding the call of politics

Villamor took up architecture at the University of San Carlos and became a successful businessman. He had a gasoline station and was also involved in construction and distributorship. But he gave them all up to be the campaign manager of his dad, Virginio, when he ran for mayor in Carmen. His dad was the municipal mayor for nine years, vice-mayor for three years, and the mayor again for five years.

Villamor had no plans of being in politics because of his temperament. He is very strict, a trait that is not exactly acceptable in public service. But as the years pass he learned to adjust. He is the 12th mayor of Carmen, “hopefully not the 13th,” he quipped, saying he now wants to give other people a chance to serve the town. He is looking to run for a councilor to help protect his legacy and other projects.

He is the eldest of seven siblings, with two adopted kids. “They (siblings) look older than me. My secret there is that when I get mad, I throw everything. All out ‘yan. After that, I will be fine. I don’t sleep on it. My staff would check on me if ‘may sapot pa ba si mayor’ (is mayor still mad)?’”

But unlike most of his other siblings and friends, he does not travel much. He wants to experience traveling from Saint Petersburg to Vladivostok in Russia by train. But for now, his heart remains in Carmen, Cebu. “I don’t want to make Carmen a city because the land taxes will get higher. I want it to remain a small, but a first-class municipality no less,” he concluded.

(Re-posted from ExperienceTravelPH)