Angel Llanos finds growth and laughter on higher ground
HAVING moved from the glitzy world of runway shows to the laid-back environs of a flower farm, Angel Llanos has not traded in her heels and flair, though, as she steps in to this new adventure in her hometown, Cebu.
After a decade-long stint in the fashion industry in Los Angeles, she assumes a new role in her family’s travel agency based here, and pursues in developing their flower farm located up on Mt. Babag, Mystical Rose. Both so different from what she had been up to yet ones that Angel, a self-professed travel and outdoor enthusiast, is looking forward to in the year ahead.
“We started our farming adventure four years ago,” Angel shared, “With the help of family and the wonderful people that live (in this area), we were able to start smoothly and gradually grow. It’s a dream come true. My parents truly love growing flowers.”
Nestled in a lush valley, their flower farm is home to different roses that they grow for distribution, surrounded by picturesque, little cottages and patios where they accommodate guests and tourists. Angel says that the farm is a continuous work-in-progress, and for 2015, they are eyeing an expansion not just in terms of area, but in the kinds of roses and other flowers that they produce.
Weekends and some days in the week often find Angel up in the farm, being a gracious host to the guests who drop by, or simply unwinding and taking in its scenic and peaceful view. The rest of the week will find her in the city, in her family’s enterprise, Sun Travel & Tours Corp., where she is vice president for sales and marketing. On this end, Angel says that some of the things she is excited about are the upcoming international tours and travel fairs she’ll be facilitating, and their participation in the International Eucharistic Congress 2016, which will be planned starting this year.
Angel moved to California right after finishing her interior design studies in Cebu, and there was swept in the whirlwind of fashion when she first joined a clothing company in Santa Monica. Eventually she joined A.Ché, a line of designer swimwear, in which she assisted the designer and handled the brand’s client relations and marketing for several years.
“It was a lot of hard work,” Angel recalled, “but it became very exciting when we saw everything come together in runway shows and trade fairs, or when our styles get featured in magazines, TV and social media. It was also very fulfilling seeing them on display and being sold in department stores and boutiques.”
Runway shows and fashion events, model castings and meeting with stylists — these were only some of what Angel was up to in the 12 years she was away, an exciting flurry of glitz and glam. “It was so much fun being part of the process, and getting to work with other professionals as well as celebrities, which living in L.A. seems so typical yet I still get secretly thrilled,” she quipped.
Angel’s homecoming in 2013 brought plenty of surprises, as she became overwhelmed to see how much Cebu has grown, with new establishments here and there, a melting pot of different nationalities. “But despite these major changes, it’s also surprising how Cebu still remains the same in terms of our culture, our attitude and practices. A part of it I have been trying to adjust back to again but mostly I find it comforting that we have remained cool and down-to-earth, which made me feel like I’m definitely back home,” she said.
Nowadays Angel enjoys spending her free time with hobbies such as horseback riding and traveling, painting and catching her favorite Bollywood and classic films. “I still practice my interior design skills but on a very personal level, and it’s more of a pastime for me,” she added. “I would help out friends design and decorate their places, or give advice on furniture and space layout. My latest personal project was redecorating our house where I grew up in and I completely had a great time doing it.”
Aside from the goals she has set for the travel agency and the flower farm, Angel said, “One of my personal goals is to spend a lot of 2015 being grateful. I would also like to improve my skills, connect, reconnect and reach out to people, rediscover the essential things I was once passionate about, and to continue to face my fears and conquer each one.”
Photos: Alfred Gregory E. Bartolome | Make-up: Carlo Damolo | Hair Styling: Jerwin Bastatas | Locale: Mystical Rose Flower Farm