The doctor-couple invites Lifestyle Asia to their Tagaytay airy, cozy, and well-lit vacation house.
Doctors Aivee and Z Teo are best known for being the couple behind a series of luxe, cosmetic dermatology clinics in the country and in Singapore dubbed as The Aivee Clinic. They, however, have become household names for so much more than their business.
Their family’s well-documented adventures and daily pursuits offer aspirational content to their followers who have gotten to know them beyond what they do for a living.
From their travels, fun vacations, and even their growing pack of giant poodles, people have grown to love the Teos and their kids. There’s 14-year-old Kenz, Kenzo who’s 10, and nine-year-old Kelicia who’s also their only daughter.
In the limelight
“I would say that out of the three kids, Keli is the one that is the most engaged in social media,” Dr. Z says when asked about their family’s increasingly popular online presence. “Her outgoing personality means that she really enjoys doing vlogs and being in front of the camera. The boys—in all honestly—would rather not do social media, they would much prefer to play soccer or computer games.”
As parents, they do make sure to monitor their children’s exposure to the internet. So far, only their eldest has his own, personal smartphone as it’s now a school requirement.
“All social media is regulated tightly by us parents and we try to not make them overly engrossed with social media simply by not letting them have access to it,” he shares. “When Keli watches her Instagram account, it is usually with at least one of us parents beside her.”
The couple is also particular about how their daughter consumes content. “We make sure that Keli knows that she is beautiful in every way and that beauty is not just appearance but having a kind heart and a generous spirit,” Dr. Z shares.
He says they try their best to steer away from actual talk about facial features and body shapes so as not to make her be overly conscious. “We try to talk more about having a beautiful personality and a beautiful heart,” the father emphasizes.
Quite the open book, the Teos like to share light moments in their daily lives and despite their success, Dr. Z admits that they remain to be quite the normal family. While he isn’t sure whether their social media presence has helped in promoting their brand, it did help in forming personal connections with their clients who follow them online.
“Somehow, they are aware of our latest holiday or they would talk about how Keli and the boys are growing up so fast. There is a personal connection that happens with social media and maybe this helps in the patient-doctor relationship. It helped make everything more personal, less commercial.”
Time away from the Metro
International trips have been scarce even for the most avid of travelers during the pandemic. On the brighter side of things, families like the Teos have gotten closer by spending more time together, especially when they get to drive out of the Metro.
“We coped [during the pandemic] by having a positive outlook to this and we told the family that this is the time to finally actually enjoy our house and spend more quality time in the Philippines,” Dr. Z recalls. “We have travelled extensively over the last 10 years so actually having to stay put for a while was not such a bad thing in hindsight.”
The family took this as an opportunity to travel within the Philippines whenever the restrictions eased up. Their frequent drives to their homes in Baguio and Tagaytay were often a fun, family affair where they enjoyed the fresh air and mild climate.
Dr. Z reveals that the decision to have vacation homes in these two places boiled down to one thing: “Weather. Nothing beats the cold crisp fresh air of these destinations. It always made us feel like we were in another continent.”
With the heat, humidity, and the city’s hustle and bustle, it’s no wonder the Teos picked the mountains for their frequent getaways. “We will also have our giant poodles there because they love the cold weather,” he added.
Their Baguio home boasts of a fireplace that’s lit up on particularly cold evenings. “We will roast marshmallows and have hot chocolate,” he shared. “We will just cuddle and spend the evenings chatting and enjoying each other’s company.” And yes, those moments include the giant poodles, curling up with the kids.
In their Tagaytay home, Dr. Z’s favorite has to be the big dining table where their family would always gather to eat. Hailing from Singapore, he admits to his love for cooking for his family—especially if it’s dishes that he grew up with. His family loves Singaporean chicken curry and bee hon so much that he even cooked it for them on Mother’s Day.
“There will always be piping hot food available 24 hours a day,” says Dr. Z about that big dining table they have in Tagaytay. It’s where his family gathers, sitting for hours and having their meals. “Then, [we’ll be] feeling guilty before heading off to have a walk among the pines.”
In every home, they also have their non-negotiables. Dr. Z admits to having a preference for bright and airy rooms. “The home cannot be dark—we do not like dark interiors,” he shares.
With cooking being one of his love languages, he also requires a good grill to whip up steaks for his family. Each of their homes also requires a big television hooked up to speedy WiFi. “So that I can catch up on Netflix and watch football,” the self-confessed Liverpool fan says.
The Teos are known to see patients six days a week. So after a tiring workday or whenever they get to drive out of town, their homes are always their safe havens where they get to rest and recharge.
Sleep is definitely a luxury they fully enjoy and Dr. Z says their mattresses and duvets must be of the best quality. “A premium thread count is non-negotiable,” the family man adds.
Surrounded by art
The Teos’ elegant sartorial choices are also reflected in their homes. Having started their collection about 10 years ago, they have grown quite the collection which includes contemporary pieces from the likes of Jigger Cruz, John Santos, Elmer Borlongan, and Ronald Ventura.
One of the key pieces in their collection is a painting entitled “Four Seasons,” which hangs in their living room. The couple commissioned it from Jigger Cruz, and they had to wait two years for it to be done. It was definitely worth it.
“We loved the fact that the ‘Four Seasons’ reflects the totality of our family and covers all seasons of our new life and home,” he says, adding that it also reminded them of their new journey in their home.
Another notable piece is an Elmer Borlongan which features a little girl being pushed around in a cart.
“We bought that piece when Keli was a small girl and we were always reminded of her,” he says. They also have a Ronald Ventura depicting a hunter holding up his trophy. “For me, that meant victory. It had a very powerful message which I liked in our home.”
The couple is currently happy with their collection but they’ll definitely consider another Elmer Borlongan piece should something that speaks to them comes along. They’re also looking into young, up-and-coming artists.
Life’s new phases
With everything opening up and the couple’s work schedule filling up again, Dr. Z acknowledges that they are starting to have less time to drive out of the city and into their vacation homes.
He does, however, hope that the pandemic has changed things for them for the better. “The next phase is post-COVID. After COVID, life feels like it’s a new start. Next will be a life hopefully of less stress and more meaning,” he says. “A period where one can choose to do more of the things we like and to be able to slow down and enjoy the appreciate the things around us that matter more.”
On the business side, he looks forward to exciting ventures to keep him and his wife challenged and inspired. As their business stabilizes and their kids enter their teen years, which brings independence and having their own set of friends, he trusts that this will mean more time for him and Dr. Aivee.
When asked what makes life meaningful, Dr. Z said that it all boils down to contentment. “A life where one is not pressured by the ways of the world. A strong spirit-filled life with a personal relationship with Jesus. A healthy body and surrounded by loved ones that matter,” he concludes.
Photos (Portraits) SHAIRA LUNA, assisted by LANCE VON LUNA
Photos (Interiors): KIERAN PUNAY of Studio 100
Creative Direction: MARC YELLOW
Art Direction: JANN PASCUA
Sittings Editor: DONG RONQUILLO
Videographer: EXCEL PANLAQUE
Makeup: PONG NIU, assisted by MARK THANIE EDER
Hair: DARWIN SINEL using Revlon Professional
Stylists: LESLEY ANNE LEDESMA, assisted by JUSTINE CLAIRE FERNANDO and STEVEN BERNARD CONRALDE of Qurator Studio
Shoot coordination: MAE TALAID and MJ ALMERO
Special thanks to ANNE TIRONA
This story first appeared in the April 2022 issue of Lifestyle Asia.