Embodying grace and gravitas, society’s rising stars are exemplifying the best of Filipino values by championing hard work, a love for family, and a heart for giving back.
This is an excerpt from Lifestyle Asia’s August 2023 Issue.
Playwright George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “Youth is wasted on the young.” But such a wry observation, albeit catchy, isn’t for this era’s crop of young talent, poised to carve their place in the world. Fueled by passion and creativity, and bolstered by a care for others, society’s newest members are coming of age with eyes wide open. Exuding optimism and maturity, and guided by sound family values, they are embarking on journeys of self-exploration in the arts and entrepreneurship, whilst eager to be active in socio-civic affairs.
The beautiful daughters of businessman and retired politician Freddie Tinga, and W/17 co-founder and co-chairperson of the Red Charity Gala, Kaye, Kerry and Kyle are hitting all the right notes. A few years out of college, and with their own sophisticated viewpoints on fashion, they are tackling challenges and their careers with grace, curiosity, and aplomb.
Santino and Julio Ortega, on the other hand, sons of San Juan, La Union Vice Mayor Mannix Ortega and lifestyle blogger and entrepreneur Nicole, are just as promising, cultivating their artistic aspirations with feet planted firmly on the ground.
Raised in the public eye, amidst an ever-evolving social and political landscape, this generation is intelligent, compassionate, self-aware, and eager to give back. Cognizant of present realities, they are pushing forth the importance of sustainability, education, and philanthropy, whilst having time to cherish and strengthen family bonds. With the ability to incorporate their own takes on personal style into any ensemble, they channel sartorial aplomb and confident cool in Gucci’s sophisticated fashions, accessorized with the brand’s luxe fine jewelry and watches.
The oldest of Freddie and Kaye Tinga’s brood of four, Kyle is passionate about sustainability. “I think the world has a lot to learn about protecting the environment,” she shares. Her dream is a more transportation-friendly Philippines, “I want to see the car driving population of the country learn how to embrace riding public transportation. And I want that transport to be at a world-class standard, [that’s] safe, comfortable, and convenient, for all.”
Given her inclinations, a degree in Urban Studies, and a Master’s in Transport and City Planning from the University College of London, it’s no wonder she works as the Senior Sustainable Transport Specialist at GET (Global Electric Transport) Philippines. “I get involved with corporations, organizations, and individuals looking to transition to using electric mini busses for their transport,” declares Kyle, elaborating how their company aims to ease traffic congestion and air pollution with the use of their vehicles, either as private shuttles or as public transport vehicles.
Despite being serious about her work, the 28-year-old also knows how to have fun, devoting her free time to reading fiction, working out with her friends, and spending time with family. “As a family, every weekend we have family lunch and then see a movie together. While we all have different tastes in media, I love that we can all come together to enjoy something new,” she shares. “We also picked up Mahjong during the lockdowns, so when we have a quorum, it’s always fun to play a few rounds of the game together.”
Style and Sensibility
Kyle describes her fashion sense as feminine and fun, and has a soft spot for LA-based brand Reformation, which is known for using sustainable materials and engaging in fair labor practices. She likewise loves shopping at Net-A-Porter, and Univers, favoring such brands as Maison Kitsune and Comme des Garçons. She shares that her favorite Gucci piece is a Jackie 1961 bag that she received for her birthday. “With the classic pattern and white leather finish, it’s the kind of bag that matches perfectly with my style, and I like styling it best for day events.”
Despite being just 25, the younger Tinga sister displays an awareness that is beyond her years. When asked what about society she thinks could be improved upon, Kerry prefaces her answer by acknowledging the question’s inherent intricacies. “The fabric of society is complex with factors that connect and affect each other, so it is never just one or several things, we need everything to come together in harmony,” she conveys.
Nonetheless, she believes in the power of education to uplift the country. “[It] is the key to promoting social progress, with knock-on effects that will redound to society as a whole,” says Kerry. “An educated Filipino in an educated society is the most powerful there is.”
And while the bulk of the work is something that has to be undertaken by the government and by institutions, she believes there are things one can do to help. “We as individuals can do small and powerful things too,” she declares, sharing that for the last couple of years, along with friends and family, they have tried to help a local public school in their community. “We have given educational tools, as well as treats to encourage young learners,” she continues.
With a degree in LLB Law from the University College of London, she currently works as a communications specialist at a local conglomerate. During her free time, she partakes in art and culture as much as she can. “I enjoy reading and watching films, I also try to expose myself to art exhibits and learn about the history and cultural context of it all, meeting people involved in that space,” states the perennial learner.
Like her family, Kerry enjoys traveling, and says they, along with their youngest Kristian, often visit their brother Kody, who is currently studying in Chicago. She recalls another overseas trip as quite memorable, where she had been in Bangkok to attend a Gucci press event when she had still been a lifestyle journalist. “I wrote about how the brand and that [Fall 2019] collection truly complements individuals, instead of compromising individuality. The pieces can be loud, but when chosen carefully and purposefully, they are statement pieces that say something about the wearer.”
Having a natural penchant for fashion does run in the family, what with mother Kaye being one of Manila society’s most sartorially gifted women.
On where she loves to shop, Kerry shares, “Honestly, my mother’s closet is the first place I look through, and I know I am really lucky to have that. I think of my mother’s and my sister’s closets as extensions of my own, although I don’t know how they feel about it!” she quips.
At 24 years old, Santino, the youngest son of Nicole and Mannix Ortega, is turning his love for food into a career, studying the culinary arts at the Le Cordon Bleu Ateneo de Manila Institute. “My primary goal is to find a path that aligns with my passion and allows me to make a positive impact. I hope to continually learn and grow, both personally and professionally, while exploring opportunities that contribute to the betterment of society,” he shares.
When he isn’t cooking, playing sports or making music, he gets involved with his community in La Union, “coming up with new ideas to better the livelihood of others, with like-minded friends,” shares Santino.
For him, true luxury is just being at peace. “As long as the people around me are safe and healthy, that to me is true wealth. To be happy anywhere, anytime.”
“One area that stands out to me is access to education, especially for marginalized communities,” he elaborates, believing the country could stand to benefit from investing in quality education and providing more equitable opportunities. “Engaging in open conversations, supporting policies that promote equality and sustainability, and actively participating in community initiatives are ways we can collectively work towards positive change.”
Like his younger brother Santino, Julio’s inclinations lie in the arts, but this time in the musical kind. Having taken up Music Business Management and Entrepreneurship at Mint College, the young creator who is turning 27 this year, has his eyes set on getting into events, or having a business involving music or the club scene.
On top of this, he also loves trying out new sports, traveling, and spending time with family. Along with his parents, Santino, and older sister Natalia, the Ortega clan is keen on spending Sundays as a family, going to church and having dinners together, catching up with each other before the weekday starts again.
In terms of style, Julio prefers the classics, and generally eschews trends. “Personal style really depends on my mood, but a major style influence would be Ralph Lauren. Simple, but it will last a long time,” he shares. He also likes the accessories of Italian luxury purveyor Gucci, keen on “their belts, jackets and [their] quality bags as well,” at the same time being mindful and choosing items he knows he will use, looking amazing here in Gucci’s 25H Watch in 38mm and the brand’s iconic looks.
Despite growing up in one of the country’s most prominent families, the young Ortega is level-headed. On what his parents have instilled in him, he shares, “to always stay humble and share my blessings, and most importantly be thankful.”
The Power of Faith
For him, true luxury is what is rare for him in this world. “Something that provides great comfort, yet will last you timelessly. True wealth is that feeling of happiness even if it’s just the little things. That’s true happiness for me,” he shares.
Read the full cover story by purchasing a copy of the Lifestyle Asia August 2023 magazine via SariSari.shopping or select newsstands in National Bookstore and Fully Booked. Subscribe to the E-Magazine via Readly, Magzter, and Press Reader.
Text MARIANE PEREZ
Photos JHARWIN CASTANEDA
Assisted by ALEXIS DAVE CO & GHELO SANTOS
Sittings Editor CANDY DIZON
Creative Director MARC YELLOW
Stylist ROKO ARCEO
Assisted by DANIELLE KHAN
Makeup (Kyle & Kerry) MAYESA DELOS SANTOS, Assisted by LORIBEL BARRERA
Hair (Kyle & Kerry) JA FELICIANO
Makeup (Julio & Santino) DEXTER GONZALGO
Hair (Julio & Santino) ERIC OLIVA , Assisted by LEDZ MENDOZA
Videographer KIM SANTOS OF KLIQ, INC.
Shoot Coordination MAE TALAID
Shot on location at THE MANILA HOTEL