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Pasyal Team

Posted on March 14, 2021

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Shine a light on the women behind your favorite Ayala Malls retailers.

BY VINCENT ONG

Supporting women-owned businesses has a newfound advocacy for many of us—and with good reason! Doing so contributes to women's financial empowerment, bridges the gender gap, and in most cases, even invests in the local community.

This International Women's Month is themed #ChooseToChallenge, so we felt it apt to choose these ace women retailers in Ayala Malls. Especially with the retail industry having taken a huge hit from the pandemic, we'd like to put a face behind your favorite shops across fashion, beauty, and dining, all of which are these inspiring women who have braved rising to the challenge.

Raissa Alexandra Ong Oh

Raissa brings K-beauty to the Cebu market.


Raissa Alexandra Ong Oh has grown the K-beauty retailer Dara Beauty Market from a small cafe in Lahug, Cebu City to a full-fledged business with its own brick-and-mortar outlet in Ayala Malls Central Bloc as well as an e-commerce website that even accepts wholesale orders.

A nursing graduate, Ong Oh had an usual approach to the business as she started to discover Korean skincare and makeup herself. She democratized the market by bringing in well-loved brands such as CosRX, The Ordinary, Klairs, Sulwhasoo, and Neogen, among others, and pricing them accessibly. This strategy has clearly paid off as there are talks of her opening a third location despite the pandemic.

Visit Dara Beauty Market at Ayala Malls Central Bloc.

Arleen Sipat- Sutton

Arleen's Azucar is a Greenbelt institution.


Arleen Sipat-Sutton is the fashion designer behind the independent designer boutique Azucar. Virtually an institution in Greenbelt—it has been in the mall for over a decade—the retail concept houses the namesake label as well as the resortwear brand Salsatrends, Sipat-Sutton's other venture.

Her experience spans both garment and jewelry design, and her work is marked by a distinctly feminine aesthetic with a strong emphasis on wearability in tropical weather. Before putting down roots in the mall, she cut her teeth, hawking her dresses and building her clientele at bazaars. Many of her customers have followed her through the years and have become her good friends.

Visit Azucar at Greenbelt.

Mikee Li Bi-Go

Mikee Li Bi-Go literally takes beauty into her own hands.

It was the heyday of the crayola brows when Mikee Li Bi-Go first decided to enter the cosmetic tattooing biz in Cebu. She saw how women were hesitant to stick with the outdated stamped-on look that was prone to discoloration, and so she got certified in microblading and introduced the market to natural-looking brow tattoos.

Since then, she has expanded her craft to include eyeliner tattoos, Yumi lash lifts, and BB glow—think of it as permanent foundation. Until today, she does most procedures herself to ensure topnotch quality.

Visit Winked at Ayala Malls Central Bloc.

Julita Urbina

Julita Urbina is pioneer to one of Cebu's most loved restaurants.


At 41, Julita Urbina opened Cafe Laguna. Named after her home province, the restaurant eventually earned a spot in Ayala Center Cebu in 1994, and is now the flagship of the Laguna Group of Companies. The family-run business, helmed by the matriarch, owns chains of original food concepts with franchises all over Visayas and Mindanao.

Their brands include Laguna Catering, Lemon Grass, Parilya, and Ulli’s Streets of Asia. Both Urbina and her 30-year old company have been lauded by various publications and award-giving bodies, most notably Philippine Tatler, SunStar Cebu, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Department of Trade and Industry.

Visit Cafe Laguna at Ayala Center Cebu.

Which woman in business do you look up to?

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