Maria Isabella Margarita Lopez LichaucoHere is the second to the last installment in our series on Lopez Values Vanguards with Isabella, the eldest grandchild of Lopez Group chairman and former ambassador to Japan Manuel M. Lopez (MML) and Maritess Lagdameo Lopez. Bella is the daughter of Maita Lopez, the only daughter of MML, and Jorge Lichauco. She talks about how much she appreciates the arts and what she is doing about it.
Kindly state your full name and nickname. How many are you in the family?
My full name is Maria Isabella Margarita Lopez Lichauco, but I go by Isabella, which is often shortened to Bella. In our family, I am the elder of two daughters. With our two-year age gap, my younger sister and I notoriously fought as kids, but started getting along when I left for school abroad, where she eventually enrolled as well. We are very different, but we have the unique shared experience of growing up in Manila and spending so much time on the East Coast, where we attended the same schools.
What is your educational background? Why did you take up the course that you did? Any hobbies?
After studying at International School Manila, I left to attend high school abroad. I went to Middlesex School, a small prep school just outside of Boston, which was where I was able to refine my interests and especially develop my love for the arts. I had always been more inclined towards the arts, but it was there where I fostered a passion for painting and found an interest in art history, specifically modern art.
I then went on to attend Barnard College of Columbia University in New York, where I pursued a major in art history with a concentration in visual arts. The program was set up in such a way that studio art practices were grounded in our art history studies. Somewhat like a double major, I drew and painted as well as read about art history and theory. Outside the classroom, I was part of a literary society.
Since graduating, I no longer spend long days and nights painting, but I try as often as possible to pick up a paintbrush and make small watercolors in my spare time or play around with film photography.
Kindly describe your family upbringing and how the Lopez Values were taught to you? How did your grandparents, especially the former ambassador to Japan, teach you regarding these Values? Who influenced you the most? How was it growing up in such a close-knit family?
My parents have always maintained the importance of education, coupled with compassion. Growing up in Manila, it is easy to get stuck in a bubble, so my parents always tried to expose my sister and I to as much as possible in order to gain a greater awareness and understanding of the world.
Having sent us halfway across the world at such early ages and to a highly competitive environment, they instilled in my sister and me independence and the drive to succeed. That being said, we never ceased to feel the support and the influence of our family at home, and we were always reminded of our roots and where we came from.
I grew up spending a lot of time with my grandparents and, as the eldest of eight grandchildren quite spread out in age, I also have close relationships with my uncles and aunts. It was always heartwarming coming home as our family was always particularly excited for me as the eldest. Given that, I have also always been expected to set a good example for my younger cousins.
Above all, my parents and grandparents have made it clear that it is our responsibility to take the education and opportunities we’ve been given to give back to our community, to work hard and share our blessings.
Is this your first job? How do you find it?
I did summer internships while in college; I worked at an ad agency in Manila one summer and spent the other summers interning at art galleries and working as a studio assistant in New York. Otherwise, working at “METRO” is my first official job.
Although I had always anticipated working in the art world directly after graduation, I have also always had a curiosity for fashion and publishing, and the opportunity arose when I moved back to Manila last fall. Even though my primary interests are in art, there are nevertheless overlaps working in fashion. Ultimately, the most important thing to me was to be in a creative environment, and luckily, I am here.
Having worked at the magazine for several months now, I have definitely learned a lot about the industry. Given the pace of a monthly fashion magazine, it can be consuming at times; however, I have subsequently become much more familiar with the local culture, which has been an especially interesting part for me.
What is your advice to your younger relatives regarding the Lopez Values and the responsibilities that go with upholding these?
My advice to my younger relatives is to fully follow whatever you are passionate about and not be afraid of unexpected shifts in your path or stepping out of your comfort zone. As long as you remain true to yourself and remember the values you grew up with, you will eventually get to where you are meant to be.
is the second to the last installment in our series on Lopez Values Vanguards with Isabella, the eldest grandchild of Lopez Group chairman and former ambassador to Japan Manuel M. Lopez (MML) and Maritess Lagdameo Lopez. Bella is the daughter of Maita Lopez, the only daughter of MML, and Jorge Lichauco. She talks about how much she appreciates the arts and what she is doing about it. (Story/Photo by:Dulce Festin-Baybay)
The Lichauco sisters with their grandmother, Maritess L. Lopez