Rare is the urbanite who hasn't thought about leaving the city behind, to move to where life is less hectic. We recently caught up with a creative soul who did just that.
- Name: Jo Felice Sering or Jof Sering
- Age: 37
- Occupation: Founder and creator of Felice Magazine
- Motto in life : Paradise is a state of mind
- Married to : Fabio Benni
- Offspring: Kalea Benni
- Present address: Siargao Island
Hi, Jof! Tell us about your life in the city.
I grew up in Manila for most of my life, about 25 years. The the rest have been spent on different islands. Living in the city was fun in the beginning because of school. I loved being in UP Diliman, hanging out with my friends and playing football. It was such a great time! Then it became hectic because of work.
I did production design and some fashion-related work. I remember living like a zombie. I would have a 5 a.m. call time, go home at 2 a.m. the next day, only to go back to work at 5 a.m. It was really hard for me to live this kind of routine. I was dealing with a lot of health issues due to the stress. Now, when I fly back to the city, it's all about big family gatherings, meeting old friends, and looking for supplies. So I actually look forward to my trips there. I love being in Manila now. I learned that it's all about mindset.
What made you decide to live in Siargao?
My Dad had one of his best childhood memories here and growing up my parents would take us here for summer vacations. I feel I've been called back by the island through his stories and my own joyful experiences during those summers. Before living here, I was in Boracay for about two years and knew island living was good for my soul.
After Boracay, I stayed a bit in Manila but was so unhappy. After a stint in El Nido, Palawan, I was contemplating whether to find a job and move to Singapore (my older sister was living there), or to move back to another island. I desperately asked for a sign. Then a wedding coordinator friend asked me to help her with a wedding in Siargao. That was my big bright neon sign. I made a pact with the Universe and hoped everything would fall into place
Five years later, I'm still here and flourishing! I met my husband here, we have an amazing daughter, a small but cozy home that we own, and lots of pets.
What are the difficulties of living on an island, and what makes you stay despite these?
It's crazy here, there are no rules to super duper strict rules. You have to be a bit flexible to being inflexible. I cannot explain haha! It's just what it is. If you can't be like this it will drive you mad. Also, in the beginning I had issues with the accessibility of supplies like art materials, food, etcetera. Then I realized I don't need a lot. I make do with what I have at the moment. It's been a life-changer. Makes life lighter. Also, now you can buy everything online to be delivered right at your doorstep so there is no excuse to complain!
The island is small but I feel so much freedom. I truly belong here.
Get jealous of Jof's island life as you look through these photos: