While Audrey shares she loves her husband’s passion for the country, it’s his sense of humor that won her over. “Bentang benta pa siya sa akin,” she says of her husband’s jokes.
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“He also has a very good heart, he’s very compassionate and he’s got a lot of dreams. I always enjoy it when he talks about his dreams. He doesn’t just think and talk about it, he really works towards it.”
Blush silk jumpsuit, Jun Escario; wrap top worn as skirt, Joey Samson, Comme Ci, Power Plant
Two years after their first date, Miguel asked for Audrey's hand in marriage during a trip to Amanpulo. She was just 21 years old. What followed was a long engagement, half of which—about a year’s time—was spent with her living in Spain, as she pursued a special program in communications. In 2005, they finally wed. To make up for the long wait, they hosted two receptions: the first was an indigenous ceremony in the groom’s hometown of Bukidnon, and the second, a traditional Catholic wedding in Tagaytay.
This year, they celebrate 14 years of marriage and almost 18 years together. “We’ve been through a number of challenges but fortunately those challenges have always been outside of our marriage, not within, and you can work on those challenges as a team and it makes you stronger when you work together,” says Audrey.
As for her career, Audrey eventually followed in her parents’ footsteps and went into construction. In one instance, as she and her mother built a house, they embarked on a trip abroad in search of the perfect furniture to fill it with. Several Italian brands caught their attention and they were quick to bring back the pieces they fancied to the Philippines. When one of their clients marveled at the finished product and asked if they could not only build her house, but furnish it too, the mother and daughter duo decided to distribute some of those furniture brands in the Philippines. Together, they manage Designa Italia, a luxury home store in Greenbelt that turns three this month.
Last year, in attempt to create a sustainable project of her own, Audrey established an all-female social enterprise. She calls it the Inclusive Livelihood Assistance Benefits for All of You, or I LABA U for short. Located at a Gawad Kalinga site, the growing laundry service is run by the women of the area, with Audrey providing them with the equipment and materials they need to get ahead. It’s a way for mothers and other women in the community to become financially independent without having to journey far from home. “It’s livelihood assistance because they’re the ones running it. They’re earning from it and I’d like to take it further and have more women and see how far we can go,” she adds, “But I’m happy with it and I think the women are as well.”