Powered by the love for their families, love for God, and a special love for others, these are the stories of Stephanie Zubiri-Crespi, Carla Yeung-McKowen, Sheila Romero, Happy Ongpauco-Tiu, and Cindy Yap-Yang—five wonder women—on being strong figures in today’s busy world.
Life has always been busy with Stephanie Zubiri-Crespi, a mother of two who constantly juggles work and family life. A few years ago, however, she noticed that her bustling life was starting to get busier. She had two shows, a column at Philippine Star, a personal blog, and all the social media duties that come with running a blog. She constantly writes—with her cookbook Feast with Me being an award-winning success—and is also a part of Oxfam and the World Wildlife Fund. But amidst all her activities, she always finds time to relax through yoga, binging on romance dramas (especially those with dreamy leading men), getting a massage, or even a Belo facial. Finding this balance between work and relaxation comes a sense of fulfilment, and for Stephanie, fulfilment matters more than success. “You need to have the serenity to accept that at some point, your own willpower, your own hard work can only take you so far. That’s life. You’re only the master of your own destiny to a certain point. You are more in control of your own happiness.”
Family has always been a vital part in the life of Carla Yeung-McKowen. She has built a strong relationship with her father during her youth, despite going to boarding school and law school in London. This bond with her family led to her father inviting her to become the CEO of their family corporation in Cebu, MSY Holdings, which she took as a means of giving back to her parents who have given her so much growing up. Being a part of a family corporation made it convenient for her to spend time with her husband and children. “Before, I wanted to see all the wonders of the world. My bucket list was massive. Now, it’s okay to see just a few as long as I can bring my family and we can do it together as a unit. It’s different now. I want to share my experiences [with them],” she reflects. Now, Carla wishes for her children to grow up having the freedom to create their own path in life. “I want them to have free choice. If they want to work for the family after soul searching, then I’d be happy about that.”
Behind a powerful woman is a strong foundation. For Sheila Romero, it’s her faith. Being married for 26 years, she has gone through many triumphs and blows in her life, but the only constant that remains is prayer. “The faithfulness to God is always consistent. If you just hold on to His word, it will give you courage, every day,” she says. Sheila had a first-hand experience of the strength-giving power of prayer last 2016 as she experienced a difficult life-or-death pregnancy where she was able to come out of the situation as a changed woman, creating advocacies such as the IWant to Share Foundation and Shine! Dreams Do Come True that cater to indigent patients and children with cancer. Along with her advocacies, Sheila also manages the Oracle Hotel and Residences, Roku Sushi and Ramen, Sushi Nori, and other family investments.
Happy Ongpauco-Tiu is an inspiration to everyone she meets, and making a difference in other people’s lives is always one of her priorities, whether through unique dining experiences from her premium catering business Private Dining by Happy Concept Group, or through her Pangkabuhayan Project that gives business opportunities and financial aid to her loyal employees. As a child, Happy was inspired by her parent’s success through the Barrio Fiesta chain of restaurants, and now Happy does the same with her children by exposing them to their restaurant business, with Tsokolateria Artisinal Cafe in Quezon City and I Love Backyard BBQ Joint in El Nido opening soon. But overall, Happy says that success is measured not by the amount of income or money you make, but how happy and content you are with your life.
Humility runs in the family of Cindy Yap-Yang, and for Cindy, she always sees to it that her children grow up to be passionate, unique, and humble individuals. As the wife of McDonald’s Kenneth Yang, she sees to it that her children are not entitled, especially coming from a privileged family. Constant communication and learning from mistakes brings out the best in each one. “When a child likes to talk, I listen. When he doesn’t, I encourage. I ask questions,” she says. Helping her children discover their own passions in life also help them grow to become unique. She also extends this sense of humility outside the family by being an Ambassadress of the Ronald McDonalds House of Charities with their two ongoing projects: the Ronald McDonald Bahay Bulilit, a daycare centre for toddlers; and Read To Learn, an effort to teach children in public schools how to read.
To read the full feature, download the digital version of the March issue via Magzter and Flip 100, or purchase the print copy through Lazada, Shopee, or newsstands. For orders, email [email protected]