By JOHN ROLAND LEGASPI
Images NOEL PABALATE
Videographer DAVID CLARENCE RIVERA and ROCHWALD IVEN FIGUEROA
Shot at THE MACARTHUR SUITE, MANILA HOTEL
Manila Bulletin Lifestyle columnist Nikki Huang gathered four of her friends for an afternoon tea at the MacArthur Suite of The Manila Hotel.
Nikki together with her friends Claudia Oliveros, Miguel Tan, and siblings Bettina and Javi Benitez spilled the tea on what they thought of the past, present, and the future of the Philippines in celebration of its 121st Independence day
The historical penthouse suite of the hotel, once home to the American General Douglas MacArthur, provided the perfect venue for an afternoon tea featuring classic Filipino delicacies, such as bibingka and puto bumbong, to set the nostalgic mood.
All dressed in modern Filipiniana these young movers and shakers are ready to ignite change.
Meet the kids who will one day change the Philippines.
Apart from being a columnist, Nikki is also affiliated with the National Youth Council at the World Wide Foundation Philippines and an intern at SSI Group, Inc. She hopes to contribute to the Philippines by continuing the legacy of her grandparents, who built Rustan’s in the 1950s. “It was such a monumental time in the Philippines. as it ushered in commercialization and the interest in lives of luxury, fashion, art, and performance. I just think it would have been a really great time to be alive and be part of that change,” she says.
Bettina, an international student taking up computer science and economics, aims to bring back the knowledge she has gained overseas to improve the technology and its industry here in the country. She says, “I know that the tech industry is really growing. It’s one of the most important industries right now.”
“I want to run the business better, provide more opportunities for Filipinos, at the same time, creating bigger and resilient buildings,” Miguel says. As the young CEO of Fasclad Inc. and a director and business partner for Anytime Fitness PH, he believes the country has evolved from a long line of history and the trends. “With Filipinos now engaged in a lot of jobs and services, it is our manpower that will make us known all over the world,” he finishes.
Javi, the son of a congressman, hopes to create something different, something more creative, in the arts and film industry. He says, “I think we Filipinos can be really proud of actors that aren’t just well-known but serve as an inspiration and as a good role model.” He aspires to make the Philippine film industry thrive and for equal opportunities “where everyone can excel and have some sort of the Great American Dream, but the Philippine dream, where everyone can succeed.”
Claudia is currently a student at the University of Navarra in Spain, pursuing a degree in Marketing and Fashion Communications. Studying in Spain made her think of the country’s past on a different plane. “I feel like it is always important for us to embrace our roots and explore the heritage,” she says. “Understanding the past shapes who we are today in terms of our morals and virtues.”