With an encompassing legacy that spans decades and multiple industries, we retrace the paths of MEGA Founding Editor Sari Yap and listen to the stories of people whose lives she touched along the way.
When a soul passes from this earthly world to the more spiritual terrain, there will be no shortage of looking back at the life one lived in their time. Tracking points from beginning, middle, and the eventual closing of the book, there will be many stories that abound—some unknown, some expected, but all locked in the embrace of fondness. This brush with nostalgia is most welcome, especially at a difficult time. In this remembrance, we are reminded of the person that the person and will forever be in our hearts.
A storyteller herself, there are many tales to the life and times of Sari Yap. Spanning chapters told and untold, her passing not only brings to mind the stories that have made their way to many a feature or conversation, but also of the encompassing legacy that her tenacious spirit and hard work has resulted in. A celebration of her life and provision, some of the important people she has helped in the publishing and fashion industry look back on their memories with the original MEGA woman, sharing anecdotes that gives more love, light, and life to the woman who has in effect been a part of our lives.
Puey Quiñones, Fashion designer
Sari was one of the reason why I am still around in the fashion industry. I remember when I was starting in 2004, she came to my atelier in Makati and told me she believes in me, and asked me to design a dress for her, and said: “I normally don’t go to designers for dresses, but I see something in you and your work that needs to be seen.” She also told me I have the gift. From then on, we became really good friends.
When my controversy happened, she called me and invited me to have dinner and listened to my side of story and wrote about it. And when I moved to Los Angeles, every time she visits, we make sure to catch up. The same is true every time I come visit Manila, I see her and sometimes she would prepare dinner for me. I will miss her… we call each other “sis.” Even up the the last minute she will always see my IG stories because she loves seeing them. I know she is watching me and guiding me.
Melvin Mojica, Fashion show director
The one I fondly remember was in 2005. I was about to do Puey’s Fashion Show. We only found out a few days before the show that we didn’t have enough budget to helm it. I think Puey asked Sari for help. It was so last minute, then she made a few calls or something. To our surprise, she was able to secure a venue and pay for the models, plus the rest of the crew. Ang POWER ‘no? And Stellar’ yung lineup nung models namin, we had Jo Ann, Ria, Raya, Meki, 2tay, etc. Patrick Rosas for hair and makeup, and Michael Salientes was the stylist. And I would ask Puey over and over kung ano ba ‘yung pinakain niya kay Sari?
As it would turn out, the show went great and straight into our memory banks of how much Sari would go out of her way to help friends, as well as the Filipino fashion industry, which she loved dearly.
Raya Mananquil, model and MEGA YDC and Mega Fashion Crew judge
There was no doubt that Sari always had an eye for spotting and discovering talent, many of who are stalwarts in the Philippine and worldwide fashion industry today. In my case, I was a model on the cusp of turning thirty, ready to retire and hang my high heels from the runway, but unsure of my next step. After doing a short radio DJ stint with Sari as my guest one day, she told me, “You shouldn’t be doing radio, you should be on TV.” That’s when she took me on board to become a permanent judge on Mega Young Designer Competition and Mega Fashion Crew.
Like many artists in our industry, I will be forever grateful to her. She carved the way and opened many doors for young talent. With me, she re-purposed and redirected my path when I thought I had reached the end of the road of my career. Thank you, Sari, for always believing in us.
Carla Sibal, former Editor-in-Chief, MEGA
I was privileged to have met Sari back in the early 90s as she was putting the maiden issue of MEGA together. What instantly struck me about her was her passion and drive. It was infectious. Her magnanimous vision in seeing the Philippines as a progressive player in the global fashion scene back in the 90s, before anyone else had, has always been immensely inspiring. She believed so much in local talent and championed the inherent creativity of the Filipino. Through her vision, she single-handedly galvanized the way for local talent to find a voice in mass media. She will truly be missed not only as a cornerstone in publishing but also as a visionary championing the creativity of the Filipino.
John Herrera, Fashion designer
Growing up in the industry, I have always been aware of Sari’s brilliance. But my memories of her started becoming sweeter began when me and my late twin brother Paul joined Mega’s Young Designers’ Competition All Stars 2013. Over the course of a television season, we have shared admiration and respect for one another, even going as far as doing wellness activities together. I will always miss her generosity and wisdom, but most of all our friendship.
Joey Espino, Philippine Fashion Week
Sari Yap is a person who is truly an achiever and person of determination and commitment! The first time we connected was to launch MEGA magazine. She told me she wants to put up the first real fashion magazine in the Philippines…And it all happened!
Sari is full of integrity, a person who is not only beautiful on the outside, but more on the inside! Philippine fashion is what it is today with her great contributions. We Love You Sari, and God is pleased—for you have served Him for His greater Glory! That is one thing I am sure of!
Mickey See, Makeup artist
My fondest memory of Ms. Sari is when I was personally booked and had the opportunity to do her makeup for the first time a couple of years after I left MEGA. Yes, I was previously part of the One Mega family under the marketing department and stayed as an employee for almost three years. That makeup session was memorable because finally I got her full blessing: that I indeed chose the right career path and that is to be a makeup artist. Her words, as nurturing as it was, empowered me to become better in my chosen field.
Shao Trinidad, Artists & Co. Manila
Sari was my first woman boss who taught me that fear and confidence can co-exist in one breath. Regardless if the events and marketing efforts we proposed will work or not, she never failed to empower me and my team. She is one woman who’s touched my heart ever so dearly even when I left MEGA.
Bianca Gonzalez-Intal, TV host and former Editor-in-Chief, MEG
There I was, sitting across Sari and Suki in the coffee shop at the ground floor of the Mega office, and after literally just a few questions from her, I found myself hired as the Editor-In-Chief of one of her magazines—which needless to say, changed my life. In the course of the next five years, Sari challenged me, questioned me, schooled me, and most importantly, believed in me. Thank you for EVERYTHING, Sari.
Alex Carbonell, Hairstylist
“In my world!” Those were the exact words of Miss Sari that struck my heart as a creative director. She wanted everything beautiful and organized. She was a fashion believer! She had a vision and she succeeded in creating it. In her world, she believed in the significance of the details. Thank you Sari for making me a part of your hair grooming and color maintenance. It was a great honor to create your crown!
Mark Nicdao, Photographer
There’s not much memories we had together, but I would say, the really few we had it was more spiritual. We had a very short and meaningful talk in Greece. I’m lucky enough to be in the places where it’s special to her. She was an iron butterfly with a kind soul. Without uttering a word, I think she has no idea she was changing lives. She took us all in places I’ll never forget and changed the way I think forever. MEGA is her representation of piercing hard work and faith. She’s a fighter and a great mother to a lot who doesn’t have one.
Tim Yap, Co-creator of MEGA Pinoy Pride
We used to have a Monday goal setting group and each week, we would follow up on each other’s progress. She would always ask a lot of questions and was always sincere in her intention to help. I love her energy, her intense desire to be the best, her sincerity as a friend. One time when we were traveling, we checked in together and the girl at the reception greeted us: “Hello Mr. and Mrs. Yap, king sized bed?” And we were like, “Noooooooooo!!!”
Liza Ilarde, former Editor-in-Chief, MEGA
I never thought I would ever have to do a posthumous tribute to Sari Yap, someone I worked closely with for 12 years. It’s hard to come up with a story that stands out because of the length of time I was in MEGA, and also because it’s been 14 years since I left. Although Sari was my boss, I never considered her my mentor because when she hired me I already had several years of experience in publishing; she had none. Here was a woman who had the guts to put up the first glossy fashion magazine in the Philippines when she had no experience and no money. But if you ever heard her story, you couldn’t help but cheer her on. My hope is that she put all that wisdom into a book. Because, kids, this is how you do it.
Jeffrey Rogador, Fashion designer, MEGA Young Designer’s Competition All Stars
A woman of strength, power and passion. The creator of the first Philippine fashion magazine, one of the pioneers of our industry. A believer and supporter of young creative talents, I was once told by her to change the game of ready-to-wear and business in our country, as well as to focus and keep doing what I do best. She opened doors and opportunities to many Filipino young designers like me.I will not be where I am right now if she didn’t believe in me. MEGA magazine was her life and she will live forever not only in the history of Philippine fashion, but also in our hearts. Ms.Sari,thank you very much for sharing your life with us. May you rest in peace.
Pierra Labrador, former editor, MEG
Such sad news. I know so many whose lives and careers were changed, shaped, and helped along the way by Sari’s vision, encouragement, and friendship. As the newbie editor of Meg, MEGA’s baby sister, I remember sitting in her car and having an awe-inspiring conversation about authenticity and our responsibility to readers, especially since my market was impressionable teen girls. That advice served me well, and well beyond the eight years I spent in MEGA, where I did a lot of growing up myself. When I bumped into Sari recently, I was too shy to tell her in person how her words still resonated with me, so I wrote her a note and sent it to her house instead. And today…What an honor it is to have known you, Sari. My deepest condolences to the Yap and Mega families.
Raymund Isaac, Photographer
It’s was a shoot in Guam that I will always remember Sari’s child-like personality. We had just finished an editorial and Sari declared free time for everyone. So, we all hurried back to change for the beach. When we all converged at the beach club, Sari and I had exactly the same His and Hers Speedo outfit! We were twinning even before it was called as such. We laughed so loud and Sari grabbed my hand and said let’s have fun with this. Everyone in the hotel thought we were honeymooners. Lunch came and again by some sheer luck, we again had matching outfits. The cab driver who took us to lunch also thought it was our honeymoon. We played along and eventually we ended up playing the newlywed couple for the whole day. This was the first time I saw her other side, the quirky child who loves to laugh. The woman who will turn any situation into a fun and comfortable day. Even if I see her frown at time during work, she would suddenly smile at me and say, “It’s okay. It will all turn out right—everything will eventually.”
Furne One, Fashion designer, MEGA Young Designer’s Competition
Ms. Sari Yap, whom I have been privileged to work with and experience the monumental passion and grace of working with an empowering woman who brought so much hope, talent, and love in the industry. My deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of one of the biggest fashion icons of our time.
Ann Ong, Accessories designer
My memorable experience with Sari is that she always tells me: “Let your work speak for who you are.” She empowered me and pushed me to be a global designer. It was Sari’s idea and suggestion that I should be doing shows in New York, which I followed. Trusting her advices, she taught me to be successful you have to be emotionally strong and emotionally intelligent.
Avel Bacudio, Fashion designer and judge of MEGA YDC and MEGA Fashion Crew
I think si Sari ‘yung nagbigay ng daan sa mga designers, because the only Young Designer Competition is yung MEGA. And aside from that, she trusted me even if wala akong formal education. Kahit hindi ako kasing galing ng mga designers na magagaling sa atin. Tapos binigay siya sa akin ‘yung chance na mag-judge ng Young Designer Competition and ng MEGA Fashion Crew na tigda-dalawang season.
As a friend, Sari is very passionate, very lovable, and aside from that, malalim siyang tao. Kung gusto ka niya talaga, gusto ka niya talaga. Ina-idolize ko siya because, sinabi niya sa akin na “’wag ka mag-critic ng ibang designer kasi designer ka din.” And then, “artist siya, artist din ikaw.” So, kung may hindi ka nakikitang maganda, dapat igalang mo ‘yon, kasi sa kanila maganda ‘yon because artist siya. Ako gumagawa ng clothes niya, so she really trusts me. That’s why pumupunta na lang siya sa akin para mag-fit, hindi na siya nagbibigay ng peg [for the design]. I think isa sa mga hindi ko makakalimutan sa kanya is yung pinadala niya ako sa Iceland para i-shoot yung Medieval Collection ng MEGA September issue dati. From nothing na isang designer na hindi naman kilala, binigyan niya talaga ng pagkakataon. Kung maabot mo man ‘yung pangarap mo na kinailangan ng 50 steps, isa siya sa mga tumulong sa akin para maabot ko yung pangarap ko, binigyan niya ako ng 30 steps.
Rajo Laurel, Fashion Designer
Sari Yap was very instrumental in my path as a designer and as a person, as well. She gave me my first job in the industry. I came back from New York, in school, and she gave me a job in MEGA Magazine as an illustrator. In fact, she gave me a few pages in the magazine called ‘Style File‘ – wherein I would illustrate drawings of trends and of things that I would think relevant in our time. Apart from that, she has also sort of encouraged me each time. She would come up and address me, not only would she give me techniques in making dresses but life affirmation. She is really a delightful person who would share a lot of positive information that will improve my life and I will really miss her.
G Töngi, Host, MEGA Young Designers Competition
I started my career as a cover girl for Mega magazine early on as a model in the 90s and have Ms. Sari Yap to thank for the many times I’ve been able to grace the cover. Most recently was in 2013 when I hosted the MEGA Young Designers competition and got to work with Ms. Sari closely, taping the show and judging along side her with Michael Carandang as our producer. Ms. Sari has and always will be a pillar of Philippine fashion for her dedication to Mega and how she launched not only many fashion designers but models and cover girls like myself. Rest in power Ms. Sari. You will be missed by all that had the pleasure of working along side you, me included!
Rain Dagala, Former Editor in Chief of MEGAStyle
When I found out that my mom had cancer, she was the first one to approach me. She gave me a heart-to-heart talk in Suki’s room. The reason why I got brave to fight for my mom is because Ms. Sari told me what I have to do, sharing also what she went through. I like that because our friendship is bound by authenticity and truth. Everyone is surprised how I talk to her because it’s unusual.
I’ll never forget our convo in the room. I shared it with my mom and she gained courage because of what Ms. Sari said. Everything happened as Ms. Sari said it—she was honest and my mom fought because of it. Little did I know that my mom and Ms. Sari talked directly. They were each other’s strength. When my mom was going through everything, she would ask about Ms. Sari and I would tell her she’s fine and it gave her strength.
When my mom died, Ms. Sari and I talked, particularly about my mom’s designer outfit that I styled. She then requested that when it’s her turn, I should do it also for her. I braved the morgue and glammed her up as requested and as promised. Mid part, red lips, highlighter, wearing Avel Bacudio with a cinched waist.