Lifestyle Asia reconnects with some of 2023’s cover stars like Kai Lim, Amanda Griffin Jacob, Emma Hepburn Ferrer, and more to get their perspectives on the year ahead.
Marge C. Enriquez, Mariane Perez, and Carol RH Malasig reached out to Lifestyle Asia’s 2023 cover stars to ask them for their 2024 outlook. Here’s what they discover after another round of exclusive interviews with Amanda Griffin Jacob, Kai Lim, Pinky Tobiano, Tunting Cruz-Matters, Dr. Aivee Teo, Dr. Z Teo, Santino Ortega, Julio Ortega, and Emma Ferrer.
Amanda Jacob, Kai Lim, Pinky Tobiano, and Tunting Cruz-Matters
By Marge C. Enriquez
Theirs is a world of change and unpredictability. Yet these 2023 cover stars–entrepreneur and influencer Amanda Jacob, style maven Kai Lim, agri-pharmacist Pinky Tobiano and lawyer Tunting Cruz-Matters manage to look chic and unruffled. As they drive on different highways of life, we asked the state of their route along 2024. Their roads might be swerving or scenic, but they all add up to adventure and surprise. In the end, they are heading for the same destination: stability of mind.
What is your outlook for 2024?
Kai: It’s the second year since we’ve emerged from the pandemic. There’s more optimism but also some precaution. From our previous experience, we are more intentional, and we put more meaning to what we do.
Amanda: Positive for growth for my business and personal development.
Pinky: It will be the year of resilience especially in agriculture and food sustainability. My business is at the start of the food chain. Being in the agriculture and pharmaceutical industries, I make animal feeds. The rising population triggers the demand for more food, thus, it will affect the food chain. Likewise, the surge in tourism will increase the requirement for more food which, in turn, will need more animal feeds.
Tunting: Every year is challenging. You wish for the best, hoping to meet the tests and come out happier and wiser. Life is full of fascinating things, yet you never know what you are going to get. Be ready for the unpredictable and face it with joy. The US is having a big election this year. How it will fare out will be interesting and maybe scary.
What excites you most about the coming year?
Kai: I want to learn new things. This will be a year of growth in knowledge—maybe a new skill, sport or language-not necessarily in work or business.
I visit a new place every year. A few girl friends and I plan to go to Oman. My friend, who has a family business there, initiated it. Last year, my new destination was Rajasthan where I spent 10 days with my son. I usually do a one-on-one trip with my kids. Our family trip will be in Dubai, which is something new.
Amanda: I usually have everything planned. Now I am going with the flow. I will loosen up the reins and see where it takes me –who connect with and do exciting things with my business.
I will be moving back to the Philippines from Singapore in the mid-year. My husband, David, will be shuttling between work and family.
Pinky: We finished the trial for the African Swine Fever (AFS) vaccine of which I am the distributor. Hopefully, the Food and Drug Administration will approve it. In the past three years, we lost P68 billion pesos due to the AFS outbreak among pigs in several provinces. AFS is a killer in livestock. Farmers, who grow corn for pig food, have no jobs. Once the FDA certifies the vaccine and the pigs get vaccinated, there will be more supply of local pork and prices will go down. The poor will get access to cheaper foods.
Tunting: Travel, being with my family again and living life to the fullest. We did Europe last year so now it’s Asia– Manila, Laos, Vietnam, Bangkok and Hong Kong. There is a proposal to see Bhutan.
What are your resolutions for the new year?
Kai: To stop worrying or overthinking. As I grow older, I realize that the things that use to brother me shouldn’t matter as much.
Amanda: To focus on the spiritual side. I started it last year with a meditation app, but my business took over. So I hope to dedicate more time for mental well-being and lead a balanced life.
Pinky: To campaign for sustainable food production for the farmers and to reduce plastic wastes. I’m in the business of making animal medicines that are packed in plastic bottles. These often end up in the landfill and pollute our waters. I hope to get these bottles back and bring them to the plastics plant that recycles them into construction or furniture material.
I would also like promote health and wellness to groups that have no access to these services. We adopt a community and send them to San Benito Farm which can provide a mindfulness program for them.
Tunting: Growing, learning, accepting, embracing. I am learning all the time and I do my best at work. I want to do more consultancy in the Philippines. It’s time to give back to my country.
Any self-improvement goals or positive habits that you would like to adopt?
Kai: I want to highlight self-growth through new knowledge. We also do spring cleaning at the start and mini ones throughout the year. My whole family and I would like to make do with less. We will be more intentional in buying and in keeping what we need so that we don’t accumulate unnecessary things. There is no need to replace things just because newer versions are coming out. For me, something is kept for as long as it sparks joy. I have things have been kept for years. I teach my kids to take care of their things so that it will serve them for a very long time.
Amanda: To get into the routine of meditation. I found it hard to stick with it for the long term. Then I fell off the wagon. My mind has been racing. I want to develop mind power and time management.
Pinky: Mindfulness and relaxation can by being an alpha female.
Tunting: I’m in a happy place. I’m being who I am. Your environment might pose challenges, but your attitude will give you courage and strength.
I also want to spend more time with my grandchild, Hope, five. She’s the best little thing.
Dr. Aivee Aguilar Teo, Dr. Z Teo, Santino Ortega, and Julio Ortega
By Mariane Perez
There’s something about the new year that imbues the air with feelings of hope and optimism, making it the best time to look to the future while charting a course of action. For our 2023 cover stars–Dr. Aivee Teo, Dr. Z Teo, Santino Ortega, and Julio Ortega–2024 is all about healthier habits, and investing in their careers with conviction and purpose.
What excites you most about 2024?
For power couple Dr. Aivee Aguilar-Teo and Dr. Z Teo, 2024 is a year they plan to make the most of, expanding their flourishing business while having time for the family. “There’s so many things I’m looking forward to. Of course, I’m excited about opening our new clinics. We’re also renovating a lot of our clinics as well as expanding our clinics,” Dr. Aivee declares.
An interesting 2024 in store for Aivee and Z Teo
It is a sentiment echoed by her husband, sharing that 2023 had been their “year of preparation”, for their company’s expansion. “It’s going to be, we call it the Aivee 2.0. We are in the process of concept development, and it’s going to look different, and it’s going to be more modern. A little bit fresher, of course everything needs to be upgraded. So in terms of design, you know architecture, and services as well. So these things should be interesting for us in .
With the couple’s busy schedule, it’s important for them to set aside time for bonding with their loved ones as well. “I’m so looking forward to planning more travels with my kids, because my son is already going to the army in a year or two. So I’m looking forward to planning our travels, our trips. And also looking forward to fixing my house, my home, and just making it more homey. And fixing our kitchen and having a lot more time spent at home with family,” Dr. Aivee continues.
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? Or any positive habits you’d like to adopt?
Brothers Santino and Julio Ortega, like most of us, are keen to embark on healthier lifestyles in 2024. According to Santino, “My primary resolution is to prioritize my well-being by adopting healthier habits. This includes regular exercise routines and making conscious choices about what I eat and drink. I believe that taking better care of my body will not only enhance my physical health but also contribute to a more positive and energized lifestyle. It’s a commitment to self-improvement and long-term well-being that I am eager to embrace in the coming year.”
Julio is likewise keen on being more mindful of his overall health. “I know it sounds cliche but I really want to eat healthier and really take better care of my body this 2024 and I want to commit to this goal with discipline and a great routine,” he says.
Looking forward to opportunities, growth, self-improvement
Santino is likewise eager for this year to be one for growth and self-improvement. “In 2024, I am most excited about building upon the knowledge and skills I acquired in 2023. I aim to be a more productive and well-rounded individual by leveraging my past experiences to fuel personal growth. Additionally, I am enthusiastic about contributing to and positively impacting my community by applying the lessons learned from the previous year. This year is an opportunity for continuous improvement and making a meaningful difference in both my life and the community around me,” he declares.
Julio is also eager to make the most of the year. “What excites me about 2024 is the opportunities in store and me being able to work harder this year towards my goals and create a name for myself in the industry I decide to pursue,” he says.
Emma Hepburn Ferrer
By Carol RH Malasig
Emma Hepburn Ferrer’s infectious laugh ringing through the cobbled streets of Intramuros, her creative sojourn, and her time in Manila helping mount Intimate Audrey–they all feel like they happened just yesterday with 2023 only a month behind.
Her enthusiasm for cultural immersion, coupled with her disarming candor, painted a vivid portrait of a young woman brimming with boundless energy and creativity. She also showed that while she honors and takes great pride in being the granddaughter of the iconic Audrey Hepburn, Emma is her own person. As we catch up with Emma on the cusp of a brand new year, that same vibrancy shines through, now tinged with the wisdom of approaching a pivotal milestone–turning 30.
What are you looking forward to in 2024?
In 2024, her brushstrokes aim for a wider canvas–new projects, deeper growth, and even aging. She shared: “Continuing working, growing, painting. Turning 30!” This milestone isn’t just a number; it’s a vibrant culmination of experiences, lessons learned, and a thirst for what’s to come. The blank canvas of a new decade stretches before her, and she’s ready to fill it with her dreams.
What excites you the most about the coming year?
For this question, Emma goes beyond what is mere anticipation, making a promise to herself. “All the changes that I’m sure are going to come,” she shared. “And how much more resilient I will be to be able to handle those changes.” Turning 30 means entering a new decade with the experiences and the wisdom gained from the ones that came before. And she’s more than ready to learn a few more lessons in time for the next one.
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
In 2024, Emma raises a toast to a new kind of resolution–self-love. No more settling for crumbs of joy; she’ll savor the banquet of life, indulging in stolen moments of laughter, quiet escapes, and unapologetic moments of indulgence. “I’m committing to myself, and to allowing myself to seek pleasure in ways I feel I deserve,” Emma said.
Any positive habits you’d like to adopt or any self improvement goals?
Emma’s inner world in 2024 is a symphony of self-acceptance. She embraces the light and shadow, strength and vulnerability, weaving them into a blend of authentic elegance. “Trying to balance being hard on myself and easy on myself in the same stroke,” she said. “Balancing the multiple parts and sides of myself more consciously and elegantly.”
No more self-criticism, no more compartmentalizing – it’s time to harmonize all the notes within, creating a melody of wholeness that resonates throughout the year. This is Emma’s year to find the perfect balance, the quiet grace of accepting and celebrating every part of herself. Just like Emma, the blank canvas of the year stretches before us. What will you create?