I am blessed to have friends who are beautiful inside and out. This is why I am really excited for this feature because this young stunner is also a very good friend of mine who I have not seen in ages, but still kept in contact with. Let me tell you a little about her.
Wapikehewawasis Monague is a 23 year old native Canadian (What a name!) who lived with her family for quite some time in Cebu. Of course, she fell in love with the place, the people, the food and the weather. She is a natural explorer, having travelled to more than twenty five countries before setting foot in the shores of ZeroThreeTwo.
Standing five feet and eight inches tall with the looks of a Hollywood star, she easily caught the eyes of people in Cebu’s local fashion scene. Awasis or Sas (as what most people call her) had an incredible modelling career here while juggling it with her studies. Being an explorer, she and her family eventually left Cebu to experience life in the Land Down Under, but she brought many wonderful memories of Cebu with her.
032: What brought you to the Philippines?
Sas: My family and I travelled to the Philippines in 2003. We lived in Boracay for a couple months before moving to Cebu City. My mom’s business brought us to the Philippines, but we ended up staying because we enjoyed it so much.
032: How did you find the place, people, food and weather?
Sas: Boracay is beautiful and such an easy island to fall in love with! Cebu is equally the same! It was such a dear place to me since it’s where I started my modelling career. While I was there, I also attended Indiana Aerospace University where I made a lot of close friends who I still keep in touch with up to now. I have travelled to a number of tropical places prior to arriving in the Philippines, so the hot temperature wasn’t such a huge shock to me. I have always enjoyed Cebu’s warm climate. It is such a wonderful place with rich culture, delicious foods and friendly people.
032: What was your experience with getting along with Cebuanos?
Sas: I found it very easy to make friends in Cebu. The people were very inviting and I always felt very comfortable and never out of place. I found Filipinos to be a very passionate and caring people.
032: Since you were having a great time here in Cebu, why did you have to leave? What do you miss the most?
Sas: I had to leave Cebu because my family had decided to relocate to Australia. What I miss most about the Philippines (Cebu) are my friends and my Fashion family.
Sas: The main thing that stood out to me is how the fashion industry in the Philippines was always very fun. When I was modelling in the Philippines, it never really felt like I was working because everyone treated each other like family and there was always a lot of humor involved. The clothes were a lot more personal to the designers and I remember always seeing beautiful colors and gorgeous authentic pieces while still being fashionable. I am thankful to have started my modelling career in Cebu because it opened my mind to the true beauty behind being in the industry and the “family” like relationship everyone had.
032: You have worked with top Cebuano designers and photographers, what was it like since you were still quite young back then?
Sas: Even though I was quiet young at the time, I can still remember everything perfectly; it was a very exciting time in my life. I was fortunate to have such an amazing agent Chickoy Tomol III who introduced to me to the industry. Getting my make-up done by Romero Vergara, wearing beautiful designs from amazing talent such as Cary Santiago, Philip Rodriguez and Oj Hofer and being photographed by the amazing Jon Unson truly is and was a dream and something I will never forget.
032: What was your most memorable experience in Cebu?
Sas: I have two: I remember my first runway. It was a fashion show for the opening of HSBC bank near SM City Cebu. I was extremely nervous and I remember being too slow changing into my next garment. I had to walk on to the runway with the straps of my heels undone! I was very fortunate not to trip, although I was very close! I also remember when I was chosen to be the representative of my school for a beauty pageant, and the contest involved hip-hop dancing, which needless to say was not my forte! I remember my classmates laughing with me (at least I think they were laughing with me and not AT me!) they made me feel very relaxed and we had so much fun even though I did not win.
Sas: I am currently attending the University of Alberta where I am working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree. I have always had a desire to learn and I am at a point in my life where I am not done exploring or learning.
032: Do you have a favorite Filipino dish?
Sas: I wouldn’t be able to choose just one. I do miss Lechon and adobo! I remember Filipino food as being very delicious and very colorful and always very sweet! I’m already hungry thinking about it!
032: Any future plans of coming back? And if you are, what’s one thing you’d like to do or try?
Sas: The Philippines is a gorgeous country and I miss it so much! I think it would be amazing to revisit the places I used to hang out and see my friends all grown up! I wish I would have learnt more about Filipino cooking so that I could cook it here in Canada! I will definitely be back one day!