The Cool Titas of Manila

Photography by Joseph Pascual
Makeup by Meiko Kato & Anacleta Paredes
Hair by Hyatt Laurel
Styling by Carla Villanueva

Not too long ago, a Filipino woman existed simply to reel a man in and raise a child. What followed was mere maintenance: keep the house in order, the husband happy, and the help in line; keep in touch with the kids; keep the figure so as to continue keeping the husband happy.

Where a 56 year-old Madonna can still sputter sex from a magazine cover and the Lifestyle Network urges a well-rounded life, a woman’s world has certainly flourished beyond home and family. They can run a thriving business through the day, squeeze in some aerial yoga at noon, and have enough juice (and gossip to share) for the holiday dinner party they’ve organized.

To celebrate the tita who continues to titillate with her ambition, healthy curiosity, and kooky ideas, B/BLOG assembled a set of alluring older women, from tangoing startup queen Ann Jacobe to gastronomic goddess Malou Fores. Neither desperate housewives nor ladies who simply lunch, these are women with families to be proud of, success to show, and a hell of a lot more fun to be had up ahead.

Gray turtleneck by VERO MODA | Gold bracelet from CURA V

Ann Jacobe 

42, Founder & CEO of and Managing Director of The Playground Dance and Fitness Studio

What are you having the most fun with these days?

Top of the list is Shoephoric. It’s a community for shoe lovers and we were able to grow and expand it such that even the community is becoming more involved. It’s not just about buying or showing off your shoes but it’s also helping the local cobblers.

What is your current obsession?

I want to have my own line of tango shoes. I do competitive Argentine tango. I love shoes and of all the dances, Argentine tango has the most amazing shoes. The two together make up my first love (laughs).

Brown Jacket by BENCH | Dress by KASHIECA | Hat by ALBERTUS SWANEPOEL x BENCH | Gold bracelet from CURA V

And what is your sanctuary?

I can be anywhere as long as I can meditate. Like sometimes I’m in the salon and while they’re doing my makeup, I can meditate and that to me is already a sanctuary.

Who are you to your family?

I’m the mom, the ate, and the tita (laughs). I’m also passionate about active living. ‘Ayan na si tita. Bawal ang gluten (laughs).’

How have your beliefs about work and love changed since you were in your 20s or 30s?

Siguro for me now, I learned to be more compassionate. Before, it’s more of self-love but now it has grown to wanting to share my inspiration. In whatever I do now, whether it’s work or family, it’s all focused on creating positive changes, not only for myself but people around me. Sometimes, I get more inspired from my social network when I hear comments like, ‘You inspire me, as well.’

Gray sweater from KASHIECA | Gold bracelet from CURA V

Navy Jacket by BENCH | Cowl blouse by KASHIECA | Necklace and leather bracelet from CURA V

Vivian Sarabia

66, CEO of Sarabia Optical Shops

What’s keeping you busy, Vivian Sarabia? 

My government work for Professional Regulation Commission of Optometry in preparation for the AEC 2015 and its professional integration.

Sounds serious. What are you having the most fun with these days?

Every day is a new day for me and is never the same. I do radio over DZRJ 810 AM on Tuesdays and Fridays. On some days, I’m doing PRC work and on other days, I’m an optometrist. All challenging but fun work. I go with the flow and live in the now every day.

Top by KASHIECA | Pinstripe pants by VERO MODA | Necklace & leather necklace by CURA V

Any current obsessions?

I am determined to sing three signature songs with confidence, then jam with a live band (laughs).

How do you compare your ideas on work and love today to when you were in your 30s? 

When I was in my 30s and 40s, I was in love with love. Now I am totally in love with myself—I am my #1 biggest fan! Work then was an ambition to be on top of my game. Now, work does not define who I am.

What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done lately?

This pictorial.


Cream sweater by KASHIECA | Skirt by KAREN MILLEN | Accessories by CURA V

Aji Tan

43, Owner – Healthy Options


What’s been keeping you busy lately?

I’ve been focusing on m youngest boy as he has special needs. We’re on a quest to get him the best help and treatment possible. I like to bond with my boys as they are growing up fast and I want to know their points of view on every aspect of life as they mature. I also make it a point to have my “me” time—pampering myself is a must on Tuesdays. That’s true devotion to beauty! My girlfriends and I believe in vanity for beauty. I love to dine out and spend time with my good friends, dancing every once in a while.

Any current obsessions?

I have been consistently obsessed with jewelry. From fine to fashion jewelry, they’re irresistible! I’ve also been dabbling in social media and recently created an Instagram account. It’s so much fun! I’m glad my cool friend encouraged me to have one. Now I’m hooked!

How do you compare your ideas on love and work today to when you were younger?

Love during my younger years was leaning more on blind, childish, and unrealistic thoughts. I had my share of “kilig” moments, though. Now, it’s a lot more of love for real and for life. I’m more content with the happiness I have found and grateful that God has blessed me with a loving husband.

Working then was more of a need to make a living. Dedication and the will to prove oneself was a goal. Now, it’s more about having inner fulfillment and getting a strong sense of self-worth. I’m living life to the fullest now and every day is an adventure!



Tan blazer from BENCH | Blue mock-turtleneck blouse by KASHIECA | Slacks by KAREN MILLEN | Accessories by CURA V

Malou Fores 

49, Chef-Owner of Mamou, Recovery Food, Blue Kitchen, and CDP (Chefs du Partie)


Who are you to your family?

I cook food from the heart and I’m a headache. I’m headstrong about my ideas, which might be what keeps me young.

What are you having the most fun with?

CDP. It’s a global table restaurant where we serve you food from all over the world, all plated in a “cuteness” way. Manila’s so diverse now—there are so many new concepts. Our concept involves small plating, different countries, and the love of wine and bubblies. We also have a set of cocktails all named after women. The idea also sprung from when [my business partner] Katrina and I would meet at her restaurant or my restaurant for drinks. Then eventually when Christine opened her restaurant, Katrina and I would go there. There’s that sense of friendship—and the next day, we’d go to work with a hangover.

Navy blazer by BENCH | Blouse & pinstripe pants by VERO MODA |Accessories by CURA V

Where did your love for cooking and drink come from?

Growing up, I always enjoyed eating. You go through different stages in your life—you have a boyfriend, your boyfriend likes to eat so you want to cook for him, then when you get married, all the more you have to cook since you’re a wife.

I started collecting cookbooks. More and more, I told myself I cannot sit in an office nor can I be a teacher. I really wanted to be a preschool teacher but I had gotten married and you need a master’s degree to open a preschool. I didn’t want to leave naman my husband. So I continued cooking for him and then I started Blue Kitchen. After I had my son, I continued to enjoy cooking. I had so much time on my hands and from there, I decided ‘I’m gonna open a restaurant.’ When I opened Mamou Serendra, it just totally blossomed. It was hard work but it was well worth it.

Gray two-tone blazer by BENCH | Blue lace blouse by KASHIECA | Navy slacks by VERO MODA | Accessories by CURA V

How has your attitude toward love changed from when you were in your 20s?

Along the way, you learn that people grow and what comes with growing are changes. I can’t dote on my son so much. He’s a 24 year-old man. My husband is 50 and I’m sure he has more discoveries of what he likes to do. We have respect for each other’s growth: my son, my husband, and my business. I let my chefs grow, my managers grow, my staff grow. They can give me their ideas. When I was younger, it was only my ideas that mattered. But no, this is a team so you have to listen. Sometimes it’s gonna be painful but sometimes, you really have to listen. Hearing and listening are two different things.

What are your current obsessions?

It’s got to be CDP. And an obsession for cocktails.

And what is your go-to cocktail?

The Enjou. It’s got Cremont, Crème de Cassis, Angostura bitters, and lime in a copper glass. And don’t forget the bubbly.

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