Inspiration
14 of Manila's A-List Couples
As far as power couples go, these are some of the most beautiful names in business and society.
IMAGE COURTESY OF LOUIS VUITTON/ IAN SANTOS/ RYAN ONG
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The popular hashtag #relationshipgoals commonly circulates social media these days to describe a covetous quality between a couple. Most times it's used when two individually flawless people form a union. In real life, once you meet the embodiment of this social media phenomenon, hear their stories, and see how well they complement each other, you'll know right away to label them the ideal couple. In light of this, we've rounded up some of Manila's most beautiful and successful duos in society that remind us that matches made in heaven do exist.

Juan and Bianca Elizalde


Juan and Bianca Elizalde are living proof that working in tandem is more effective. Bianca, the former model and socialite married Juan, heir to Manila Broadcasting Company in 2007, together they have four daughters.

In business, the Elizaldes are known as the duo behind Aria of Boracay fame and The Wholesome Table, an organic comfort food restaurant. "It’s really about where you’re getting your food, what are the chemicals present in that food, how processed it is, what are the additives that are in there that are wreaking havoc to your system," says Bianca.

Jonathan and Stephanie Crespi


Lifestyle and travel journalist Stephanie and Europ Continents Inc. President Jonathan believe that time for each other shouldn't be compromised. Steph attests, "In the end we have to cultivate our relationship as husband and wife because we start together and end together. This is really important to us."

Chucho and Mikaela Martinez

Mikaela made a name for herself as a model in the early 2000s. Eventually becoming an 'It' girl, she married Chucho and together they have three children: Noelle, Tyler, and  Maxen. These days, the duo balances family life with fashion and business. Chucho is involved with distributing TaylorMade-Adidas brand golf clubs, bags and accessories. Mikaela, on the other hand, is Stores Specialists Inc.'s VIP Service Manager.

David and Amanda Jacob


Filipina-British model Amanda and Hong Kong-based businessman Jacob split time between Manila and Singapore with their three kids Kieran, Kalon, and Lila. Amanda recounts, "I said yes to a date, and never looked back. We were engaged within 2 months and married exactly one year after we started dating."

Donnie and Crickette Tantoco


It was love at first sight for Donnie and Crickette, who met as blind dates during Assumption College's Junior-Senior prom. Today, they have three children: twin daughters Camille and Nicole and son Christian.

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The Tantoco name has long been associated with retail, so it comes as no surprise that Donnie and Crickette have chosen to continue the family legacy. With a background in Rustan Commercial Corporation, Donnie and Crickette put up the first hypermarket in the Philippines, Shopwise, founding Rustan's Supercenters Inc. and Royal Duty Free.

Max and Zelda Kienle


Swiss engineer Max came to the Philippines over 30 years ago, where a visit turned into a permanent stay as he fell in love with the country and his Filipina wife Zelda Aragon. The couple has two daughters, Stephanie and Jessica. They started out their business by selling rattan baskets. Then, in 1980, the Kienles contracted local craftsmen to make their furniture business a reality and thus, Philux was born. After 37 years, Philux has morphed from a small-scale business into one of the leading manufacturers and retailers in the country.

Francisco Elizalde and Sofia Zobel Elizalde


Not many couples can say they married their first love, but as cheesy as she says it sounds, this is the love story of Patxi Elizalde and Sofia Zobel. They met at ages 12 and 10, respectively, dated six years later, and married after nine. Now, he serves as president of the ELRO Corporation, which you might know as the carrier of brands such as Ipanema, Grendha, and Gola. After marriage, he fully supported his wife in the opening of a dance school called Steps Dance Studio, which recently concluded a performance in honor of its 23 years.

Paolo Trillo and Rissa Mananquil-Trillo


She was a model and former president of the Professional Models Association of the Philippines (PMAP), while he was a sports ace, Ateneo de Manila’s basketball team manager, and an entrepreneur, when they had exchanged their vows at the Conservatory of the Pensinsula Manila back in 2012. Individually, they successfully took on their respective fields and their union has only made them stronger. Today, Paolo Trillo manages the team Meralco Bolts, while his wife Rissa is one of the heavyweights behind Happy Skin, a local makeup brand that’s dedicated to providing quality makeup for the Filipina without the expensive pricetag.

Jacques Branellec and Mia Arcenas-Branellec


Newlywed couple Jacques and Mia tied the knot in Roscoff, France, just last June. Once a beauty queen, Mia Arcenas has established her career as a renowned fashion designer. Jacques is in the business of fashion himself, as he runs family-owned company Jewelmer as its executive vice president and deputy CEO. That said, we’ve witnessed collaborations between the couple before. Creations by Mia Arcenas have been used in Jewelmer fashion shows, and they’ve also performed together at special events—she sings, while he plays the saxophone. Their union proves that couples can work and play together swimmingly.

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Rafa Alunan and Amina Aranaz-Alunan


Well-known as the woman behind Filipino lifestyle brand ARANAZ, Amina miraculously juggled raising three children and co-founding the School of Fashion and the Arts (SoFA). Not to be outdone, Rafa, as he is known, works full-time at Appier Inc., a Taipei-based company, which provides artificial intelligence (AI) platforms to enterprises. After work, they get home to their three children: Lucas, Helena, and Diego.

Vincent Vargas and Cedie Lopez-Vargas


The daughter of Oscar M. Lopez and Town&Country cover subject a few years back, as well as mother to May cover subject Marianna Lopez Vargas, Cedie keeps herself ultra-busy as the president of the Lopez Group Foundation, Inc, Chair of the Lopez Group HR Council, director of the Lopez Museum and Library, and head of Logistics of the ABS-CBN Corporation. On the side, she recently concluded the first annual art and craft fair Arte Fino, which she is a partner of. Vincent racks up his own list of accomplishments. He holds the position of COO and executive vice president at JM & Co, and plays other roles in a slew of companies. He is executive director, board member and secretary of Liberty Flour Mills.

Raul Francisco and Joanna Preysler Francisco


Raul had lived in the United States for 16 years before returning home to start a cosmetic store called Central Maquillage. He first met Joanna, a customer, in 1995, and they got together seven years later. The pair have engaged in many ventures together, including The Provenance Gallery, which brings to life their common interest in art, and retail company Original Idea Retailers, which carries high-end fashion brands such as her own Joanna Preysler bags, Carbon, and Tint. She serves as its president and CEO, while he is its managing director.

Raymond Rufino and Anna Palabyab-Rufino


Set up during a blind date, Anna reveals in one of our past articles that she never even thought of dating, let alone end up marrying the college student she met when she was 16 year old. Today, they are happily married with three children. Anna has become one of the most in-demand dermatologists in the city, catering even to celebrities. Meanwhile, Raymond runs the family business as the co-president and director of the Net Group, with projects that include the development and management of Net One, Net Square, Net Cube, and more in Bonifacio Global City.

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Alfredo Razon Gonzalez and Anne Arcenas-Gonzalez


Known as the first ever Filipino professional football player in history, Freddy Gonzalez played for both international and local teams before taking his current spot as forward for the Ilocos United Football Club. He and his wife, Anne, founded the company that would become the country’s distributor of Havaianas. The pair were not particularly business savvy at the time but won over the management behind Havaianas global, which allowed them to sell the flip-flops. Apart from selling millions of pairs of flip-flops per year through Terry S.A., Freddy and Anne also own a locally made line of clothing called Thread 365, which is sold in their multi-brand store, CommonThread.

 

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