Happy 30th Birthday, METRO!
I stand in the shoulders of giants, I told myself when I first stepped into the position of Editor-in-Chief for the biggest fashion and lifestyle magazine in the Philippines.
It wasn’t an easy feat, taking in so much of the history, but it was amazing to be part of this exciting moment in publishing, wherein in the proverbial third wall between readers collapse and coalesce into television, into digital space, right into your very fingertips.
Indeed, Metro has always been the originator, one that pushes forward with the times, pioneering change and moving with the ebbs and flows of content. When it was founded in 1989 by Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Larry J. Cruz, it was talking to an audience of young professionals, aka yuppies, “who had a sense of style and the buying power to support that style.” What better way to show that than with a Fernando Zobel cover, “a young man to the corporate manor born but as elusive as he was stylish,” in the words of the late Larry Cruz. He founded it with the help of Thelma San Juan, who would then return to the publication as Editor-in-Chief in 1994 when Eugenio Lopez Jr., or Kapitan, would acquire it under the Benpres group under Guide Publications, headed by the energetic Ernie Lopez.
Photographed by Pancho Escaler at the Department of Tourism building (now the Museum of Natural History), the cover had the model Gina Llano wearing an Auggie Cordero modern “baro” in Japanese piña organza. The magazine likewise focused on women, with features on beauty queens Armi Kuusela, Dayanara Torres, Gloria Diaz, and more. Metro is “devoted to a style of living, which goes beyond trends or fads,” explains Thelma in her second issue with model Patti Betita on the cover, wearing Inno Sotto. In Metro, she hopes that “we’ve gone beyond merchandise and gloss, but into the essence of how to discriminately pare down one’s needs so as to go by only the basics,” she says. These were the early days of fashion publishing in the country, and the magazine grew as a purveyor of style, and soon, designers and models became household names, both as curators and muses.
The magazine slowly grew into prominence outside of its lifestyle roots, and into the women’s titles that focused on style. From what’s happening in the metro, to the guide for the independent woman, Metro has seen many transformations in content in the early 2000s with editors-in-chief Mel Cuevas and Katrina Holigores and editorial director An Mercado-Alcantara. It was An who first challenged me to find my own voice as an editor.
I first started as contributor, so when I finally joined in May 2010, I saw how the magazine pivoted towards fashion and style—under the guidance of editorial director Christina Lopez. Metro was a pioneer even then, setting up its iPad app in 2010, the first international magazine shoot in 2011, and creating content parties that mirror much of how you have events today—executed by the editor-creative director tandems of Michealle Torres and Patrick Ty, Sarah Meier, Rex Atienza, and Eldzs Mejia.
By the time I took the helm in 2017, we were building not just a magazine, but a brand—with the website Metro.Style in 2017, and Metro Channel in 2018. At this time, social media also became a big part of our story, amplifying our covers and features like we’ve never seen before, even going viral like our May 2017 cover.
We tell part of this story, and more, in our anniversary special—as we have 30 of our former Metro cover girls to return to our pages whether in a fashion editorial or special feature. Led by our best-selling cover girls—Judy Ann Santos, Bea Alonzo, and Kim Chiu, we kick off this special milestone print and continue on Metro.Style with more covers!
As we work in the golden age of content—where the reach is exponential and measurable, where you know exactly who the audience is and what they think—it’s such a thrilling time to be part of Metro. I thank you for being part of our 30 year journey, and we invite you to be part of our next 30 years!